The year of moonlit calendars

Some years ago I lamented the dearth of the moons on calendars, and during the next month or so I got a spate of calendars from readers everywhere who wanted me to know some calendars do include the phases of the moon. That was the year of moonlit calendars, but I think my lamentation had some effect on the calendar makers, because since then I've felt moons get better treatment. Also, there came a letter from a man who prints calendars, and he said it didn't make a bit of difference to him, one way or the other - he had plates that show the moons and he had plates that don't, and all a customer had to do was ask for whatever he wanted. No difference in price.

Then, about that time, we got acquainted with a man who goes about selling gewgaws and favors, including calendars, to tradesmen who wish to please their customers. This he does early in the year, allowing time to print, so as December comes around and his friends need new calendars, he has a raft of samples that are no longer useful and he gives them to friends. I have my pick, and I look for my moons.

The citizens of Bloomhill, Minn., will want to know that I came into 1984 with a fine calendar supplied by Great-Value Realty Company of that community, specialists in recreational sites. I'm reasonably satisfied there is no such place as Bloomhill, and no such company - this calendar appears to be the salesman's sample for No. 164, titled Sportsman's Holiday (dandy lithograph of angler on Idaho trout stream), portfolio unit 10. Champion Calendar Company. It has the moons.

This same calendar is available in a personalized way. If you get your order in before September 1st and pick up an extra charge, you can have any quantity in 42-point Erbar type like the sample, which says, ''Prepared ESPECIALLY For William L. Nystrom, Compliments of Wolcon Insurance Co. 1725 West Lake, Northlake, Illinois.'' Mr. Nystrom gets the moons.

Years ago Tileston & Hollingsworth, suppliers of fine papers to the New England printing trade, used to hold a calendar competition among its customers. Early each year any printer could submit his design for any one month. T. & H. had set itself up as something of an authority on calendars, and it was an honor to have a design accepted. If your design was approved, you would receive enough paper to run off a considerable printing of your particular month, and then T. & H. would bring the 12 months together, collate them, and mail a free calendar to every printshop on its list - giving 12 printers considerable advertising for a month each, because your colophon was exposed.

Then there was a trade banquet and seminar at the turn of the year when New England printers would assemble and the new T.&H. calendar would be criticized by an expert - good or not so good. A citation went to the shop that had turned out the best, and this was a cherished award. I attended the session one year, and agreed thoroughly with the expert, who took each month in turn and liked or disliked. He held that a good calendar owed little to how the thing appealed as calendar art, but the thrust came on how well it told the time. Could you see the figures across the room? Did the composition defeat the purpose? And what good was a beautiful panorama of the Presidential Range if there wasn't room between figures to jot down an appointment? When was Aunt Muriel's birthday? He ran through the months thus, and in the end chose June - which had excellent press register, not too much scenery, room to write, and the phases of the moon.

Nobody on the prairies is likely to ask for the tides, too, but here in Maine a good calendar will include them. The calendar offered by Down East, the magazine of Maine, has high and low tides, you betcha. We need to know when to clam. And I suppose city folks have no particular interest in the phases of the moon. But give somebody a row of tomatoes and he'll become interested - in 1984 the September full moon comes on the 10th, a week after Labor Day. Expect frost, and if you live in Bloomhill or Northlake, cover those tomatoes.

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