Radio Days (cont.)
Again, here’s The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: Life in the Lobby.
“Our Receptionist was an attractive brunette with a bright, cheery smile. Miss Bright Eyes was perfect for the job: She answered the switchboard when it lit up, and she greeted the people as they came in the door with a warm welcome. As for the switchboard? Well, not so perfect. Lots of crossed wires and missed connections — but as I said before, we were a small radio station, a very small radio station. If a call went astray, no worries; the intended recipient was only a holler away.
“She had one typing duty. Each week, she was supposed to send the newspapers an updated schedule of programming for the week. She detested that job and quite often ‘forgot’ it, calling the newspapers to tell them to ‘Just run last week’s schedule. It will be all right.’ If the Program Director reminded her to ‘Remember to get that schedule out in time this week,’ she would accidentally kick her typewriter stand and send her poor old Remington crashing to the floor. Her typewriter spent more time in the shop than it did on its stand.
“Many of the guys on staff parked their cars on Ninth Street, and rather than plug the meters, they just had a jar full of nickels available at her desk. Since she had the best view, her other task was to try to prevent any of the staff from getting a parking ticket. So about once a day, she would bellow ‘GENDARMES!’ — and whoever was available would dash out and join her, running up and down the street plugging the meters before the cops could issue the ticket.
“There are many funny memories to recall from that little office of mine adjacent to the lobby, but I think my favorite memory occurred during the Republican Convention of 1952. Our dignified Station Manager came in the front door just as the winning candidate was announced on radio. Miss Bright Eyes leaped out of her chair and ran to the door and embraced him, shouting in his ear: ‘Oh, Mr. W. Isn’t it exciting? Ike won!’ Without a glimmer of expression, he reached up and gently pulled her hands away as he said: ‘I am a Taft man, myself.'”
What’s in a name?
Come Again? Division (responsorial) — plus: The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Hello from what seems like a time long ago and far away . . .
“I’m so glad The Divine Mum shared the Twitter story about the child named Internet (Antoinette). Let me add my own:
“When T-Bone (now 6-foot-5 and driving) was 3 or 4, we had enrolled him in a class at the local gymnastics club, to burn off some energy. He had two coaches from one of the local colleges, both men, who seemed to be patient and kind. T-Bone got into the car after one class and said: ‘David and Idiot said I’m doing great!’ I asked him: ‘Idiot? Are you sure that’s his name?’ ‘Yes,’ T-Bone answered. ‘Ih-dee-ot.’ I thought: No, it can’t be — but I couldn’t figure out what an alternative could possibly be. T-Bone talked about ‘Idiot’ the whole week, and I never came up with an answer. The next week, I double-checked at the club — the coach’s name was Elliot.
“Also a Baader-Meinhof: I’m selling some quilt fabric on eBay, and I was looking at a fuzzy .pdf file of a catalog, trying to find the name of a particular design. (Fabric names are about as entertaining and weird sometimes as paint colors.) I saw a swatch of my fabric, and I thought it said ‘Aura Fletchings.’ (All I could think of was that funny Chevy Chase movie ‘Fletch.’) Then, the next morning, I was looking through a quilt book, and there was a quilt pattern called ‘Fletchings,’ which I learned meant the feathers on the back of an arrow. This now made sense: The fabric I was selling had some feathers (which looked more like bird feathers than arrow feathers) on a deep-teal-green background.
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You’re welcome — just as welcome as you always were, long ago and far away.
Every contributor is welcome! And the more, the merrier. Too few, lately.
Joy of Juxtaposition?
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “I had not heard the term ‘Normal School’ for some time when just a few days ago I got an email from my only surviving brother, Bill. He gave no real explanation, except that he was thinking about these schools that trained teachers. I am quite sure he does not usually read the BBonward.com entries, so it was something of a coincidence that Grandma Pat had just mentioned such a school in the 3/16 edition, and it showed up again in the post from The Old Dad in the latest edition.
“Bill said that he remembered that Mom had gone to Normal School (though none of us seems to know where —another case of ‘should have asked when these people were still alive’ — or when). We do know that she taught at the one-room schoolhouse in Cannon City, a bit southeast of Dundas. I informed Bill that I had found out in my genealogical research that our Great-Aunt Bessie (sister of my paternal grandfather) had attended Normal School in Jewell Junction (now just Jewell), Iowa, and taught for several years at Ransom, south of Worthington. I was surprised that Bill did not know of this, as he knows quite a bit about our genealogy. In what I call my Big Genealogy Document (which I really need to finish up one of these days real-soon-now), this school was referred to by several monikers (mostly as Jewell Lutheran College) in different articles, but never as Normal School. During the 31-year run of the school (1893-1924), a total of 4,236 students attended, but only seven graduated in the final year.
“When Bill sent his email, it was to most of our family, so naturally I used ‘Reply All’ to send him what I knew. I think the best comment came from Bill’s youngest daughter: ‘More of our family should maybe have gone to Normal School.’
“OK, Jennifer . . . we get the message!”
The passing show
Or: Keeping your eyes open
Dennis from Eagan writes: “Subject: Grandma’s sweet suggestions.
“I found a Grandma’s Bakery van at a gas station in Bloomington recently, and I loved its ads on the vehicle!”
The verbing of America
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills reports: “This comment was made by a home remodeler on a cable channel: ‘We’re going to do it in ebony. We’re going to ebonize it.’
“P.S. My wife was watching the program. As any regular reader of Bulletin Board knows, my skill with anything requiring tools . . . does not exist.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: You’re plenty handy enough with a keyboard to make up for any number of mechanical inadequacies!
John in Highland reports: “My son lives in a Highland Park neighborhood where longtime residents have informed him that the area many years ago was a landfill. He had suspected as much, because when digging in his yard, he often comes across pieces of broken glass, pottery, etc.
“Recently, when digging a hole in which to plant a tree, he unearthed an intact beer bottle. It clearly is a return-able. It is difficult to read, but the only script on the bottle reads ‘Schlitz’!”
Everyone’s a (headline) critic!
Email from Donald: “Subject: Clever headline.
“Destanni Henderson played a pivotal role in South Carolina’s defeat of Connecticut in the title game of the NCAA Women’s Final Four on Sunday night.
“This was the headline on the front page of the Sports section in Monday’s Pioneer Press: ‘TEAM OF DESTANNI.’”
Our theater of seasons
Could Be Verse! Division
Writes Jan Borofka: “Subject: Tired of winter.
“I am sooo ready for spring. This has been the longest winter for me. I stopped watching the news and the horrific war and the climate-change scares, murder on the streets of our cities, etc., etc.
“I like to write humorous rants. I hope you will indulge me:
“Shudder and hunch
“Instead of daffodils
“Snow with a punch.
“We should see blossoms
“Not blankets of snow
“but it’s Minnesota,
“don’t you know.
“It’s been a long winter
“With little relief
“Eyes that are snow blind
“Seek a green leaf.
“I wore out my woolies
“And gave away some
“Tucked away quilts
“Thinking winter was done.
“Out come sweaters,
“mittens and hats
“Make hot chili soup
“And put salads back.
“Spring stands on
“And we have to wait
“Like a spoiled brat
“She often comes late.”
Our horses, ourselves
Wrapping it up, The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Saga of Big River — Finale.
“We cannot complete the story of Big River Stables without sharing something about the horses that the Good Wife and I owned the longest. They had the biggest impact on our lives as horse people. They were Knight and Nate.
“Both of them were Arabians. Knight came first, about nine months before Nate. He was black as the night sky, but by the time he was 2 years old, he had turned white, with a gray mane and tail. Still, he was beautiful. That white coat shined like diamonds in the noonday sun. Going back in his lineage, Grand Diamond was his sire. Arabs seem to have endurance and stamina in their blood. Whenever the herd of horses was out munching on the grasses and I would call to them, amid the thunder of hooves beating the ground, Knight was always first, outpacing the others. Nate was not far behind, perhaps only because Knight was dominant.
“Unless you’ve been there and done that, words cannot describe the peacefulness and confidence we had in each other. Knight was our daughter’s horse, but when she went off to the University of Wyoming for her undergraduate studies, I promised I’d ride him several times a week. I can think of nothing that calms the nerves and relaxes a person like riding those trails by the Mississippi River. Knight knew those trails at least as well as I did, so we were of one mind as we forged ahead. In the winter we plowed through the snow. By then, it was OK to also ride across farmed fields. They had been harvested. I will never forget one time when there was a lot of snow on the ground, maybe 18 to 20 inches or so. Knight and I cantered full speed ahead through that fluffy white snow. He showed me what he was made of: strength, endurance, perseverance. I know that the snow was not up to his belly, but it felt that way. Wow, did the snow go flying aside as we charged ahead! It was a large field. When we got to the other side, he looked back at me as if to ask if we were going back through it. And so we did.
“Nate (real name was Bin Keem) was our son’s horse. Chestnut in color, he was every bit as strong and determined as Knight, but did defer to him whenever necessary. Our son, Chuck, was far more agile than I ever was, and he could mount Nate from behind, leapfrogging up over his butt and into the saddle. I was never strong or agile enough to do that. Nate tolerated this dramatic ascent as well.
“We had a group of 25 students from Hong Kong visit Big River Stables. Hong Kong is largely a cement city. These young students had never seen green grass or even petted a dog before. Our dog Cleo, a Vizsla, allowed them to pet her, but you cannot imagine the excitement when we were able to place some of them on the backs of Knight and Nate and walked them up and down the road. And these horses proudly raised their tails and arched their necks like Arabians are known to do.
“Both Knight and Nate are gone now, and so is Big River Stables. They lived in excess of 34 years and were an integral part of our lives that entire time. Big River Stables was around for 25 years. All of the horses that came and went had some influence on us — a whole, part, whole relationship. Now the bison will roam and form wallows on the old prairies. The temporal development story of these acres brings us full circle. Our memories of living there will last forever.”
Band Name of the Day: The Taft Men
Website of the Day: The Masters