Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Training for Millburn Bicycle Races - early 1900

Hugh MacKinnon [on bicycle] trains for Millburn Bicycle Races (1900)

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Great Idea for Economic Stimulus

Aug 1952

What a great idea for an economic stimulus plan...would put money into the economy while encouraging women to be lovely. Great for our morale during down times...
I like the line, "no obligation - no canvassing - no experience."

Women who have never worn a lovely dress before can get their start here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And now let's introduce our panel...

If I could travel back in time I would be a game show panelist.

In this witty urbane life my Sunday afternoon drive into Manhattan in my creme Cadillac would be scored by Rogers & Hammerstein [or Hart] among others. I might even throw in some Mitch Miller. My Sunday nights would be spent in front of a studio audience. As often as possible I would work in some reference to a broadway show or studio taping I had seen earlier in the week. My hairdresser would be especially gifted at the upsweep - a perfect balance of high/low accents framing my face. Jane and/or Audrey Meadows, among others, would call on Mondays to dish over my observations. Life is good.

Well, anyway, I do enjoy watching classic panel game shows; oh, let's just say radio and TV quiz shows - after all Groucho did not share his stage with a panel and he's a favorite. You Bet Your Life challenges the most stark definition of quiz show. Groucho would, after all, sometimes just get the questions in around interviews. We all knew that after 30 minutes we would know more about Gladis Wilson from Pasadena and her bachelor partner Harold Carson than we might ever know about our neighbors. The questions were just icing and part of the fun was listening for one of the contestants to say the evening's secret word. George Finneman's introduction of the "contestants" would include such gems as, "just before going on the air our studio audience selected a bachelor and a spinster and here they are..." [10/26/1949, 12/06/1950,...] and, "we invited some college football players and some foreign-born girls to the program tonight and here comes the two selected by our studio audience just before going on the air" [12/05/1951]. The fun would then ensue. Just Groucho, George and the parade of contestants proved entertaining.

For my regular panel gig, I've Got a Secret and What's My Line? over at CBS would've been dreamy. IGAS regulars included Henry Morgan, Faye Emerson, and Jayne Meadows. All guided along by host Bill Cullen. On the WML sound stage John Daly acted as straight man to Dorothy Kilgallen, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis, and a mixture of Hal Block, Steve Allen, Louis Untermeyer and Fred Allen. For 30 minutes viewers strategized with blindfolded panelists asking a pretty standard list of questions - "are you a woman?, "would I have seen you on TV this week?","Do you play a sport?" are always good starters.

The mystery guest was the prize at the end of both shows -chosen due to some achievement, title, ability or fame. Most everyone in Hollywood & stage seems to have sat in, whispering with John when unsure of answer...with extra effort in disguising their celebrity voices thrown in for humor. Once the mystery guest is revealed, to everyone's delight, the guest greets panelists and is whisked away.

After the lights go down I'd hang around for just a while in my danish modern dressing room before heading back to Connecticut. As Rosemary Clooney serenades I might dissect my week's schedule; Tuesday's walk through of this week's radio script on another network, acting as hostess for my producer husband's show premier and/or meeting a copy deadline on my column.

"This is liberation", I would think. "This is New York by moonlight and I'm a panelist on a quiz show".

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Leader is Someone Who Has Followers

In "Tribes" Seth Godin asks, "what does a leader look like?"
quoting Godin -
I've met leaders all over the world, on several continents, and in every profession. I've met young leaders and one ones, leaders with big tribes and tiny ones. I can tell you this: leaders have nothing in common. They don't share gender or income level or geography. There's no gene, no schooling, no parentage, no profession. In other words leaders aren't born. I'm sure of it.

Godin then comments that the one common factor among leaders is their decision to lead.

This idea resonates with me in light of my reading of http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/nyregion/31projects.html - re: the ascent from poverty in NY projects.

While there are more than 400,000 residents in the New York City Housing Authority's 2,611 buildings at any given time... the author, Lizette Alvarez, says there are "more than 100 marquee names on a city list of alumni."

Something sets these successes apart as our focus of our interest. Headlines within the past week [and the article above] have highlighted the admirable life stories of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayer, and incoming Xerox CEO Ursula Burns. What can we learn from studying those who ascend beyond expectations? Count me among their admirers.

In current terms we would call them "outliers" - those statistical anamolies worthy of positive attention and dissection. Malcolm Gladwell has plumbed this territory well in "Outliers: The story of success," a highly recommended read.

Tonight I picture these among us as Lamplighters. So, I will share this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Lamplighter
My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From Mary - After the wedding - 1911

These typewritten letters don't require the guesswork in reading handwritten ones. The letter's tone is more factual than the one from Ivy Elizabeth.

May 31st, 1911

Dear Dora,
Am all by my lonesome just now so will try and write you a letter. Haven't written since we received your letter and postals from Linwood as I didn't think you would be back in Springfield before the 1st. How provoking that you could not have the house; we needn't have hustled the things off, but it is just as well --they are done with. Ma was very anxious to know if your hat arrived safely; suppose it did since you have not said anything about it. What a pity your muslin dresses were not quite ready to wear, it has been so hot and you must have needed them. Miss Fletcher wonders if you took your wedding dress with you; suppose she thinks you ought to have done. If you only took things that were overlooked and some that could not be put in; your hat with the leaves on and Ned's derby could not be sent without sending abother box. If there is anything that you want before you come home why we can send another box.
You certainly have done some galavanting around since you left home; I should think you would be glad to sit down at home for a while and collect your wits. We have almost got back to our normal state after so much excitement. Mary H. and the children, Edith and Auntie stayed at the house the night of "the wedding" and all except Auntie went home the next day. Mr. Moffett went home with Mrs. Mitchell and Daisey but came back later in the evening. Tell Ned the "best man" was all right; wished he might have stayed longer. Ivy and Edith did their best but I don't know which one came out first; they said one of them would pass him a plate of sandwiches or something else and the other would follow just behind with the same thing to see which he would take from -- when they found out I suppose they gigled (sic). Everybody said the wedding at the church was very "sweet" etc. Mrs. McWilliams was at church with her hubby last Sunday; she introduced us all to him. Say, but he is all right so far as appearance is concerned --he is very tall and dark and good looking, and appears to be a nice man. I wanted to thank her for the plants but several people butted in just when I was going to so I will have to try another time. I suppose you thanked her at the time she offered them but I think some of us ought to say something about themt too.
The Sunday following "The Wedding" Ivy, Marguerite and I took a trolly ride to Great Barrington and visited the boys; we stayed until six o'clock and the boys went over to John Heeremans for tea. We met Fred, Uncle and George Folsom on the car going down and we told Fred we expected to go over to John's as we had some wedding cake for Kitty--when we found out the boys were invited for tea I said nothing about going over and gave them the cake to take; I thought there would be too many. It appears, however, that she was expecting us three girls and had the table all set; am sorry we didn't go as they are leaving there for Scarborough (on the Hudson) the first of June. The boys have been very busy the last week; last Saturday night, or rather early Sunday morning, I was awakened by the door bell ringing and went down and found Charlie there with a huge box of flowers he had got off the train from Boston; Mr. Pike had brought him out in the auto. He had to get up early the next morning and start off for Barrington much to his disgust. He had five hundred carnations and some other flowers in that box and they sold every one. Bert came out Monday night and went back to Pittsfield on the last care to get two hundred roses off the same train; he stayed at the express man's house until five o'clock and went down on the first car; they sold everything they had. Both of them appeared again yesterday afternoon--everything was sold and hey had nothing to stay for so thought they would come home; Charlie called up Marguerite and she came out for supper and they went to Pittsfield at 6:45. Jessie had gone home but came home on the seven o'clock train so Bert saw her for a litle while. They both went back to Barrington last night. Marguerite was out Sunday afternoon and took tea with us on the veranda; she doesn't mean to neglect us.
Have you written Mabel? I sent her a postal the other day (it must be more than a week ago) and said her box arrived safely and that I would write soon; thought she might be anxious about it. That was nice cook book Carrie C. sent you; I have ordered three through Blatchfords - one for us, one for Mary H. and one for Aunt M. They all agreed that it was a fine book. I hope all the glass reached you safely and that you didn't break any of it in unpacking--it was put in between clothes, etc.
I went to out banquet last Thursday evening-wore my new dress and had some cranberry sauce spilled down the sleeve; fortunately I was able to wash nearly all of it out. We didn't either of us go up to the Y.M.C.A last Monday evening; I was tired and Ivy helped Pa to plant potatoes--she too has gone back to the soil "from whence she sprang" she says. Ivy has written you and told yiu all the news that I have forgotten suppose -- all about Togo catching a "huge" muskrat, the new refrigerator, etc. I must stop now as it is nearly twelve.
Give my very best love to Brother Ned.
Your loving sister,

Have hurried with this letter in order to get it off this noon.

after the Wedding - 1911

later that year...love the jaunty tone (sounds straight out of F.S. Fitzgerald)

Dalton, Mass May 27, 1911

Dear "Mrs. Chase": - "git wise to the name, ain't it a beaut!" How is "Mr. Chase"? Say kid, we haven't missed you yet, so cheer up. When do you want me to come? I'm ready at any time. Thanks for the postal, the elephant sure was a beaut. I suppose you want to hear about the after wedding affairs. Well, after Mr. and Mrs. Chase (that's you) left, never to be heard from again, we proceeded to clean up the
mess. Daisey and Mrs. Mitchell and Mr. M went first and then we cleaned. Bob and Maggie started in on the parlor and hall. The rest were in the kitchen wiping dishes. When that was done, we sat around and sat around. The Weston girls, except Lilly, all went down to see Mrs. Tooley. When they came back, we sat around, and sat around. Then we sang a bit. Maggie and Bob and Fred did the most. Then Mr. Mouffet came back and we sat around, and sat around. The Lenoxites went at quarter past nine all except Mary + Bill, Little Edith, Big Edith, and Auntie. Then we sat around and sat around 'till Mr. Mouffet went, and we sat around some more and pulled everyone to pieces, you too kid, and said how handsome you looked and how you grinned and winked at Fred. After that we went to rest. I forgot to tell you on that fatal day that while you were puttingon your travelling suit, Hilda Footer called up to extend her congratulations to Mrs. Edward S. Chase. Saturday we cleaned up and didn't do much else. Sunday Mary, Maggie and I went to St. Barrington to see the little tads. Hot! Oh! Then we came back and went to bed. Monday the packing of your trunk started, continued until Tuesday night, Did anything get broken? Did you find the cook-book, the creamer and sugar and he two letters? The cards of all are here yet. Your gold beads are here, your white clip is here, and heaven only knows what ain't here. Did you have a lovely time on your vast trip to Canada, rather a long journey for ones so young. Did you miss your chamois with the junk on it! Oh! Joy! that was one good joke! I don't know that any one has died, or married since you went except that Coney Island was badly burned and School St. is being paved. Bridgmans have one hundred chickens and Harold has sold one of the Caxton's but don't say anything to anyone about it. It is not in the papers yet. Tuesday - Haven't had a chance to finish this before today. You must be having a swell time galavanting around. Do you act like honey-mooners or like plain people. Mrs. McWilliams had her John at church on Sunday. He is a dandy looking man, over six feet, black hair. She is mighty proud of him, introduced him to everybody. He didn't have spurs on either. He looks younger thyan she does but he is probably about the same. Both the boys came up the afternoon and Maggie was here for supper. It seemed natural to have a table full but we kind of missed your beaming countenance from behind the teapot. You may be able to gather something from this letter and maybe not. We spent the morning ironing, a great pleasure. We have a new ice-box, would you care to have the old one shipped at once? We also have the book cases. You can have the old one too if you care to. The ice box may do to put Ed in when he gets too hot, or if you do, he could put you in! May Easter peace be thine Ivy Elizabeth "Togo sends love to your old man" P.S. Ma will probably write soon, and Mary when she has time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Love Letter - Sunday evening 1911

An early item from my collection of letters...

Sunday evening, 1911

My dear miss Dolby,
Am wondering if we could arrange something for this coming Wednesday evening, as you know I'm off then, we could have another go at "500", go out for a walk, go into the Empire or do any thing that you would suggest. Will meet you anywhere and at any time after 6 o'clock. Was hoping that I might see you at the Methodist church this evening, but of course you had something else planned.
Have just returned from the Hotel and, not feeling very sleepy, thought I would go over to the rooms and do some work, and at the same time write to you about Wednesday.

Very sincerely,
Edward Chase