Dorothy Aldis Poem

I found this charming poem in a 1950s poetry compilation for children.  I did this drawing to accompany it.

 

Last week my wife purchased three boxes of books at an auction.  In the boxes were four of a five volume set of children’s literature called The Children’s Hour.  It occurs to me that children were treated with greater respect back then than in much of the literature meant for them today.  Authors in the 1950s tried to “connect” with the reader as much as authors today, but the effort has an entirely different attitude.  Whereas the common ground today amongst author and child is immaturity, the authors of yesterday found maturity to be the common ground.  The above poem describes a very simple and profound moment in a way that doesn’t look down on children.  It assumes that they are human beings with a cache of relate-able profound experiences.  It doesn’t assume that they need jokes about yellow snow or exposed underpants or romanticized adolescent sex to capture their attention.  To me the subtext is, “I am a human being and I had this sharply realized experience.  Maybe you would enjoy hearing it since you too are a human being.”

It is said that folks in the Dark Ages looked at the ruins of the Roman Empire and had no idea how such things were constructed.  While it isn’t fair to say that we are in the Dark Ages of children’s literature, it may be fair to say its Golden Age was the 1950s.

Franklin Pierce

Here’s a sketch of Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of these United States.  He is considered by many to be the least effective President.  He also looks very similar to Mitt Romney, but there the similarities end.  Pierce was a Democrat and Romney is of course Republican.  Pierce was rash, and Mitt Romney is the opposite of rash.

 

 

Christmas Card

This year’s Christmas Postcard owes much to my wife.  During the latter half of November we watched numerous (it felt like numerous) romantic comedies.  All the “follow your heart,” “believe in the power of your dreams,” “thinking is bad” moralism engulfed me, and I felt the need to combat the growing pressure of 90′s romantic comedies lest I should implode.  In order to press against the crushing embrace of women’s fantasy, I watched episodes of Surviving the Cut and Special Ops.  I actually completed this card while re-listening to Jack Coughlin’s excellent sniper memoir Shooter.  Not surprisingly, Santa ended up with a knife in his teeth.

Rutherford B. Hayes

This bearded president wanted to guard against the dishonorable drunken behavior on display at other Washington gatherings, so President Hayes and his wife kept an alcohol-free White House.  He spent the money normally used for alcohol on other entertainments for his guests, but this did not prevent his Secretary of State from teasing that at the White House “water flowed like wine.”