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in Moitoret’s combined cellar printshop and rabbit hutch.

Starting the New Year

OK, OK – so let’s forget all that “Captain” stuff. Just call me “Mister” now – as of Christmas Eve! Quite the nicest Christmas present Uncle could make, after 53 months of khaki and olive drab uniforms, was that cherished right to wear civilian clothes again.

Safely in civvies at last, we started this new year by mailing Scarlet Cockerel 17 (that notorious issue censored by some Pentagonic G-2 army colonel back in ‘42). The original edition had shrunk below 300 copies in the meantime, so a limited private mailing was the only solution. However, there are copies available to fill requests from any neglected but interested NAPA members.

(Incidentally, we also have some duplicate Scarlet Cockerels of issues 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, 22, 23. And No. 16 – that much-delayed April Fool issue which amateur printers will hail as a typographic masterpiece – will probably be completed and published later this spring.)

Our correspondence, erratic enough for some years now, virtually ceased after Thanksgiving. Reason: we gave thanks in Hawaii, in anticipation of a pleasant six-day voyage to San Francisco; then followed a five-day trooptraintrip to Massachusetts, and a prompt-and-painless separation from the service December eleventh. Since returning we’ve been busy getting acquainted with that fat little eighteen pound alarm clock which keeps blasting us out of bed with unignorable reveille alarums. In spite of which we’ve almost decided not to give Him back to the Indians.

It’s a strange feeling to rejoin one’s beloved Slick Chick after ten months, and then to discover a four-month-old (first-born) Pink Chick whom you’ve never seen. Diapers, warmed bottles, Pablum, strained carrots, formula, colic – can it be that I caused as much bother 31 years ago? Hence, our apologies to those friends we missed in the Christmas card deal.

Vic Moitoret broke the spell. His phone call to find out if we were home yet brought us a-calling at the newest chez Moitoret before their phonograph was operating or even the bed unpacked – much less the press set up. After all, with Cambridge scarcely three miles distant, across the Charles River, what could possibly prevent an amateur gabfest? Finding Vic had added another equally interesting member to the Clan Moitoret in the person of Mrs. Vic, we were delighted to admit Rowena to our little Mutual Admiration Society.

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The Amateur Printers Club loved to razz poets, claiming poetry was only fit to provide 4- or 8-line plugs to fill out the short pages of a paper. For that reason, we used to say, every printshop should be equipped with a poet.

Doggoned if Vic didn’t take our advice and get himself one! “Ro,” he hollers from the cellar, “this fifth Cemetery Rabbit needs four lines to fill page one.” And chop chop – down comes four lines of copy!

Sitting side by side on the day bed, she smiled and put her hand in his. He pinched her on the hand and she scratched back! She smacked her lips and he cried; then she snuggled on his shoulder – how he wailed! She swung a mean uppercut; he bopped her with his noggin, not once but twice! He reached for her hair – alas, ‘twas snatched from under his very fingers. He cried and she cried… That’s the younger generation, upstairs.

At home we found the last ten monthly mailing bundles and many other amateur papers which we’ve not yet finished reading. Outstanding are Helen Wesson’s New Year’s and Xmas ‘45 issues of Spigot. Tony Moitoret’s third Tick Tock is not only his finest job of printing but also one of the finest of recent amateur papers. Containing several literate contributions of merit and bountiful editorial reflections on recent amateur activity and trends, it represents an honest and sustained effort to produce a good substantial amateur paper – something which is lacking in far too many of these miniature mimeographed messes which have cluttered up recent mailings.

Quick, Rowena – a poem, pul-eeze!

Unwritten Lines
by Rowena Autry Moitoret

Oh, little poem I tossed aside
For more important things,
You’re groping in my consciousness
Searching for your wings.

Gripe Department

To celebrate our return to activity we might as well tramp on someone’s pet corns. One thing that irkitates us is this Teen-Age fol-de-rol.

An obvious and probably fruitless attempt at stimulating activity, it ignores the fact that the literary and publishing efforts of younger members not infrequently have eclipsed the polished poop of pontifical elders. For example, eight to twelve years ago at least five NAPA editorial laureateships went to amateurs sixteen to nineteen years old – and in normal competition with all older members.

So why make today’s “youngbloods” self-conscious by branding them a junior journalist class?

Vic’s proposal to perplexed printer poppas: Why hold your rambling child? Just lock him in a spare chase and park among the standing forms.

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Weaker Moments is a bit of fluff perpetrated from time to time by Ralph Babcock as this mood for madness percolates and circumstances permit. This twelfth number evolves from Vic & Ro Moitoret’s Peripatetic Press on the sixth of January 1946 in the interests of amateur journalism (as found in the National Amateur Press Association) and to celebrate the impending evanescence of Cambridge’s 20 inches of snow which virtually congealed that winterless father from California as well as his little red automobile. Blame any typos on Tchaikovsky’s fascinating rhythms.

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