Readers on The Ribbon and many other things
The contributions to the peace ribbon on these pages are from ``The Ribbon: A Celebration of Life,'' published by Lark Books, Asheville, N.C. Many thanks to the artists, photographers, and all concerned in several countries. I want you to know that I feel the Monitor is helping to insure Morgan's future,'' writes Carol L. Roth of Pitman, N.J., referring to her young son. ``Just reading it for a year has made me more aware of our world, and I believe it has inspired me to go forward with my own peace efforts.'' She shares her poem about August's ``Ribbon of Peace'' in Washington.
Connecticut waved to Alabama, Utah gave a bear hug to Idaho. Pennsylvania kissed Arizona, Michigan posed with Ohio. Illinois held hands with Florida, South Carolina nodded to Vermont. Mississippi gave water to Virginia, Nebraska chatted with New York. Kansas saluted Colorado, Georgia sat with Washington. Texas smiled at Minnesota, Alaska wept with Oregon. Kentucky bowed to West Virginia, Maryland sang with New Mexico. New Jersey embraced Louisiana, North Carolina walked with Iowa. Massachusetts patted the arm of Hawaii, Rhode Island acknowledged Arkansas. Delaware called out to New Hampshire. Maine signaled to South Dakota, the moment had finally arrived. Montana ceased talking to Nevada, and everyone looked to the sky. Wisconsin prayed with Wyoming, Indiana hurried over to Tennessee. As balloons rose over the treetops, California turned to Missouri. In the District of Columbia, every state in this nation did meet. Fingers of love tied together panels into one giant Ribbon of Peace. Our people tied it around the Pentagon, Circled outside the White House lawn, and crossed the steps of Capitol Hill, a message fourteen miles long. From every corner of this nation, in paint, crayon, and embroidery, the citizens made one, united declaration, ``Nuclear weapons are not the way to Peace!''
From Pittsburgh, Pa., D. L. Gibbon writes: ``I enjoyed your Home Forum page on mazes [including Jeanne Schinto's `A puzzle of historic proportions' and, in `The loose-leaf library,' a passage from Johan Huizinga's `Homo Ludens,' Aug. 20]. One of the few poems I have permanently in my head is callled `Maze.' It was part of a joint Steuben Glass/American poets traveling exhibition I saw some 20 years ago, and I've lost the author's name. `A maze is a path/ with no easy end./ Let it amaze your eye/ but no t stall your spirit./ Be yours the power of a Creator/ Who, when he created the Universe,/ May have left a way out.' Nice, eh?''
Norma Jean Thomas of Maple City, Mich., wonders if anyone recalls the next few lines of ``Chester, have you heard about Harry/ Just back from the army?/ I think he knows how to touch his toes/ da da da da da da da.'' She adds: ``I've decided there must be almost as many camp songs as there are camps. At least I recognized only one in the 23 that Laura Matthews mentioned (`The smell of the campfire, the roar of the girls,' July 6). Even today I often sing them to myself as I drive through the country.
As I drove my granddaughter to camp for her second summer, she spent the entire 90 minutes entertaining me with songs she had learned the year before. Nearly all were new to me! But her zest matched mine of many years before. Last year on a trip to Korea I heard children from one of their nursery schools perform `Old MacDonald Had a Farm' in Korean. These children demonstrated that music -- even camp music -- is indeed a universal language.''
A new language of ``glyphics from graphics'' is advocated by Richard Davidson of Tigard, Ore., in keeping with today's ``revolution of communication.'' He suggests a modern version of glyphs or pictographs, as used by the ancients, because ``we will need briefer inscriptions conveying more freight of meaning.'' Computers would use not words but bytes. ``Think in concepts -- not in words!''
Also from Oregon, Dorothy Jackson of Portland writes: ``What a nice surprise to find a page of poems by Robert Francis in yesterday's Monitor (``The poet replies,'' July 29)! When I first began to appreciate and watch for them in your pages, I was just out of WAVES in World War II, starting life afresh in Portland, and a new subscriber to the Monitor. In college lit. courses I'd become fond of Emily Dickinson, and my liking Francis' poems seemed to follow naturally. Since then there has been marriage and three children and busy years without much time for poetry, but when I found those books [by Francis] in a dusty corner of my shelf and opened them yesterday, I still enjoyed the poems and they still felt especially mine.''
Another long-time reader, Roberta D. Matthews of Long Beach, N.Y., enjoyed ``When writers read'' (Aug. 5 and 7). ``In case you may be interested in what readers are reading, my best `reads' this summer have been `Diane Arbus,' by Patricia Bosworth; `Louise Bogan,' by Diane Frank; and `Iacocca,' by David Abodaher.''
The recent Matthews file also refers to:
John A. Gould's ``They didn't need my old Philco'' (Feb. 28). ``What I thought of immediately was my father's rule about silence at the dinner table when the early evening programs were broadcast. He forbade conversation during the newscast given by Lowell Thomas, the Amos 'n' Andy show which followed, and `Easy Aces,' which came after that. Dad was a gentle, easygoing man. The matter of the radio programs was the only one about which he was strict.''
Jill Thomas's ``The perfect pet'' (March 7). ``We have always been protective of spiders and admire their art and fortitude. Wherever we find one at work we post a note. One is in the bathroom and reads, `Do not disturb spider over sink over left-hand faucet.' ''
Will Morgan's ``The fountain pen set'' (Sept. 11), with its yearbook scribbles in blue ink, brought a postcard written in several colors and nib styles by Bruce Ammerman of Washington, D.C.: ``I much enjoyed your column. But I wish you had said something about the dangers of fountain-pen mania -- such as the compulsion to carry a whole pocket full of different pens because you can't decide which one to leave at home.'' Next to the name of Abraham Lincoln, who is pictured on the card, are the words in y et another script: ``Always eschewed ball-point pens.''
Speaking of Lincoln, Gabor S. Boritt of Gettysburg, Pa., director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, writes about the Feb. 12 page including ``Abraham Lincoln on getting it right'' in ``The loose-leaf library'': ``The Lincoln items, Mary Roelof Stott's little piece `The inheritance,' and that day's religious article [`Stilling the storm -- a divine possibility'], together, provided a fine way to remember Mr. Lincoln's birthday.''
Phil F. Clarke of Pleasant Hill, Calif., says, ``This must have been just after Sherman's march to the sea'' -- in reference to Lincoln's singling out of the King's speech from ``Hamlet'' beginning ``O, my offence is rank .. . .''
Responding to the same page, Theodore P. Halperin of New York refers to Nixeon Civille Handy's poem ``Lincoln's hands,'' accompanied by a photograph of a bronze cast of Lincoln's left hand by Leonard Wells Volk: ``The poem spoke of the strong smooth hand without veins or wrinkles. It also told of Lincoln having gone out to cut a piece of broom handle because Volk suggested that he hold something in one hand. Still, you show a picture of the clenched but empty left hand, which is wrinkled and shows vein s standing out from the surface on the back of the hand. For your information I enclose a photograph of both right and left hands. The right holds the broomstick and is smooth on the back.''
We're not going to wait for the next Lincoln's birthday to quote from lines attributed to him that Gwen S. Holley of Eugene, Ore., sends for such an occasion: ``Willingly must I do, and well, what is here for me to do today; else will I not be ready when my time comes. One step at a time and there will be no weak links for me to forge anew.''
Guy Ottewell of Greenville, S.C. notes his appreciation for the design of the Feb. 19 Samuel Johnson page with ``John Hawkins on clubable Dr. Johnson'' in ``The loose-leaf library'': ``The biographical excerpt on Johnson was delightful, the selection of paintings interesting, especially as the portrait by the great [Joshua] Reynolds contrasts so poorly with that by the neglected and embittered [James] Barry -- one of the most powerful portrait paintings I have ever seen.''
From London, artist Margaret T. Holden-Jones responds to Alma Roberts Giordan's ``The subject was violets'' (April 16). ``I did have a scrap of Ruskin's wallpaper from his bedroom, `violets' designed by himself. A few years ago I had a week at Brantwood and made studies and slept in his bedroom.'' To explain, Brantwood was John Ruskin's home in England, and Mrs. Holden-Jones remembers a story of her father's when he was with friends having a picnic dinner near there more than a century ago. The group wa s invited to have tea with Ruskin and examine his collections of mineral specimens and Turner watercolors. Ruskin asked who had been cook for the picnic.
``To this my father answered that he had been. This reply elicited from Ruskin the solemn remark, `Cooking is an art and a science, and a very great art!' ''
If food and Ruskin go together, why not food and Tennyson, not to mention Atget? Our mouths are watering, thanks to Georgia B. Skaggs, who sends from Alexandria, Minn., a Christmas Day menu (1959) of the Farringford Hotel, once the home of the poet on the Isle of Wight. To quote only ``ye thyrde course'': ``Ye Roast Turkey from ye iland farme enryched wyth cranberries and wyth fine herbs filled, or ye moste pryme Loin of Englyshe Pork, mayde so tasty wyth Apple Sauce, both served wyth ye ry ght garden stuff, or ye Ox-hys Tongue and Yorkshire Hams, ye Chicken or ye famous Sirloin of Beefe, all served colde wyth ye Green Salades.''
All this a dividend with Mrs. Skaggs's response to the page of photographs by Eug`ene Atget with William J. Dean's ``I am beginning to notice more about my own city'' (Aug. 12). She's clipping it to go with two previous Monitor pieces on Atget in her copy of Atget's ``A Vision of Paris,'' with introduction by Marcel Proust. She adds, ``You may be relieved to know that my rummaging through memorabilia is practically over.'' No, no, we haven't had ye fyfthe course yet.
Writes Iolani Ingalls of Hickory N.C.: `` `Beethoven in Hawaii,' as told by F. Judd Cooke to Phyllis Whitman (March 11), brought to memory the real advantages of our childhood in Hawaii, when our parents made music at home and teachers encouraged us in early lessons. I actually sat for a while (with doll) on the lap of Madame Schumann-Heink when the great World War I `Mother' (with `sons' on both the German and French sides) came to visit the family of one of her adoptees. Other artists cam e and went. And the accomplished F. Judd Cooke fulfilled his promise as young boy pianist, cellist, organist, and composer, going on to a notable career at the New England Conservatory of Music. `Beethoven in Hawaii' had given its young people a wonderful head start -- for most of us not in actual performing or teaching but, for all, in the love and the experience of fine music.''
From Honolulu today comes a comment by Caroline K. Shaw: ``I do not like to spend the time/ Reading a verse that doesn't rhyme/ Unless, of course, right from the start/ The contents really touch the heart;/ And once I start on one of those/ I call it just `poetic prose.'/ Some weeks ago I found one that/ A lady wrote about a cat;/ It was entitled `Endearingly' [Bonnie May Malody, Feb. 25],/ And I just loved it; can you see/ Why I have changed my mind like that/ Because of an ode about a cat?''
E. W. Morss of Marblehead, Mass., writes in answer to Dorothy Heller's ``The Mystery of Mysteries'' (Aug. 14): ``I look at the book./ To myself I've admitted/ I should stop this reading/ And rip what I've knitted./ Compelling, the telling,/ At least for an hour,/ And then to resist it/ Is not in my power.''
Leona B. Walker of Gravette, Ark., responds to Joel Ferree's ``Elementary Visiting Night'' (May 19): ``I have no quarrel with it in terms of poetry. But, as one who has taught all ages of elementary children, I would like to say something about the content. It seemed to me this parent was hanging out a sign to the world that said, `Help -- help me to say and do the right thing for my child and yet not compromise my sense of honesty.' Bless the teacher. She was trying to help by saying it was good. She
knew that any evidence of work honestly done was art -- the child's conceptions of his own thoughts. Any such conception should be accepted and admired. `It's great! Let's have more and more' isn't a lie. It's the truth . . . .''
We're delighted at how many readers say words similar to what Charles Wenne of Kansas City, Mo., writes: ``The Home Forum has been my valued friend and companion since early childhood.'' Now he sends a page from the Rooks County Record of Stockton, Kan., his mother's hometown. He suggests readers might be interested in the ``It Happened 100 Years Ago'' column as ``a form of literature'' typical of ``many areas of the US at that time.'' We have space for just two items:
``Total amount of orders issued on the school district treasurer for year ending July 31, 1884 and various purposes for which they applied were: Teachers' salaries, $1,001.25; fuel, $147; miscellaneous, $28.05; slating blackboards, $50. Total was $1,303.95.''
``Any lady who fails to attend the courthouse next Monday evening will miss a treat.''