The View from Entropy Hall (Online Archive) - From Ed Meskys - RR2 Box 63 - 322 Whitter Hwy - Center Harbor NH 03226
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Issue #8

The View From Entropy Hall #8 for APA-Q 403, 11 Jan. 1997, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207.



I had this issue finished about two weeks ago just in time for the December disty and was going over it one last time making minor improvements in wording before printing, when something went wrong with the computer. I use PC Write 3.03 which will automatically write to disk every five minutes. It was doing such a backup when something went wrong and it hung up. Only 2/3 pages of the 8 composed were written to disk. The computer couldn't finish and would not let me go back to editing. After trying all sorts of things like ESC, the write command, etc., I had to reboot the computer and lost all the text except for the small bit written to disk. In the 12 years I have been using PC Write this has never happened before. To avoid this I now back up as a second file my previous work before I resume editing. Does anyone have any other suggestions on what I should have done? Fortunately I still had my original letter to Mimosa but had to re-edit it again. I had to rewrite from scratch my comments on Darkover Con, and have tried to reconstruct my mailing comments. Unfortunately the notes I made as it was read to me are gone, and I can reconstruct only about half of the comments. I am mailing this right off even before #402 arrives, and will probably comment on it in #404.



A friend, Brian Thurston, is experimenting with creating web pages and put ENTROPY on line. The address is given above, and the page contains the text of all 8 issues of VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL. I still do not have web access myself but can only get and send e-mail with only short attached files which I can read on-line. I do not know how many people will want to look at this but I will try to make most of this self-contained so that someone outside APA-Q will understand it. My interests include SF and fantasy, obviously, as well as religion from an intellectual or scholarly viewpoint, the space program, SF fandom and its history (including "Timebinders"), subways and other rapid transit, blind civil rights and the NFB, technology, both general and specifically for the blind, opera, operetta, musicals, etc. in English, both classical and modern, and the world political situation. I might discuss any of these topics in a future issue of View From Entropy Hall. In print I also publish a SF/fsy genzine, NIEKAS, and for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of NH the NH Federationist.



I just finished reading MIMOSA #18 from Dick & Nicki Lynch, Box 1350, Germantown MD 20875, and as usual enjoyed it very much. It is an excellent fanzine specializing in fan history. There are other articles. In This issue, including the latest installment of a column of hilarious reminiscences by a doctor of her med school and hospital experiences. Fred Lerner had an excellent article telling of the activities of NY fandom in the '60s and I wrote a LoC on my half dozen years there before Fred arrived in order to fill in some of the events that led to the scene as he saw it. He arrived on the scene almost exactly when I left for California, June 1962. I have decided to put parts of my letter here. Often my memory is faulty and readers could correct my errors. I have made a few changes for this audience but have not repeated the details from Fred's article to which I have referred. Anyhow, here it is.


I got into fandom in late 1955, a half dozen years before Fred. There were two clubs, the NY SF Circle which met in Manhattan on the third Sunday afternoon of the month, and the Eastern SF Association which met in Newark NJ on the first Sunday afternoon. (I am not sure whether the pro Hydra Club was still in existance.) My first Circle meeting was the last to be held at Werderman's Hall (spelling?), a bar with a back room on 3rd Ave around 16 St. For the next nine months meetings were at riverside Dive which has been well described by Bill Donohoe in Habakkuk. After Newyorkon the hosts were burned out and told the group it had to find another home. A small remnant met in various apartments for another year before the group petered out. Two new groups sprang up, the insurgent types in the Fanarchists and the more sercon the Lunarians (incorporated as the New York SF Society). A decade later when NESFA was founded they incorporated as the New England SF Association in imitation of ESFA and chose the nickname of "The Eddorians" in imitation of the Lunarians, but the nickname never stuck. Somehow I inherited the set of minutes of the Circle from its founding with Dave Kyle as secretary. It was a postcard sized looseleaf notebook and if I can ever find it in one of my dozens of boxes of unsorted clutter I would turn it over to a custodian suggested by the Timebinders. I was told later that before formally organizing the Circle had been an informal group with gathered socially without business or formality. Perhaps Dave Kyle could confirm this.

Fall of 56 I was carrying 23 credits in college, 11 of physics and 3 of differential equations, and had little time for fan activities. Harvey Segal had invited me to an early Lunarian meeting but I couldn't go, and I never got another invitation. I do not know how the Fanarchists transformed or were replaced by the Fanoclasts, but I was not invited to that group either. I remained neoish and withdrawn so it is not surprising I wasn't included.

In these early days I understand the Lunarians met in the home of Belle and Frank Dietz and Belle served dinner before the evening meeting. Soon afterwards they started holding an annual half-day convention. The first few were in a ballet studio above a CBS television studio in the West 50s. They featured a principal guest speaker and presented him with a plack to commemorate the occassion. About 4 PM they took a break and Belle Dietz served coffee and cake to all the attendees, around 50 or 60 people. The con broke up at 6 PM and everyone dispersed. As Fred mentioned, later the con moved to a meeting room near Union Square. There were several loft buildings in the area which were broken up into a number of meeting rooms with capacities from 30 to 200 or so and different groups would rent these for meetings. As Fred mentioned, various film societies used these facilities, including The Film Group.

After the Circle died some of the Lunarians, Belle and Frank Dietz, Milt Spahn, and maybe one other patronizingly established a club for neos, the Metrofen, which lasted for a year or two. They felt a need for a non-invitational club in NY and filled it. In the winter we met in one of the loft meeting rooms, and in the summer on a lawn of Central Park. I was secretary and did a dittoed meeting announcement which was also a sort of newszine. I did not regard it as a fanzine and gave it no title. Les Gerber and Andy Reiss were also members. It was Les who got me interested in fanzines other than SF Times and Inside and I started reading Shaggy, Yandro, and Cry. I think it was the Metrofen who started a fanzine (title forgotten) and I did a column, "Meskys' Metropolitan Mutterings" though it might have been the tail end of the Circle. Dave Macdonald was editor and became infamous for carrying controversial material about the Dietz vs. Kyle feud and lawsuits falling out of the charter flight to the London Worldcon. (It was because of this that Dave McDaniel, who had entered pre-fandom under the name of Ted Johnstone, didn't retrieve his real name in fandom. He didn't want to be confused with Dave MacDonald. Before entering fandom he and several other teenage proto-fen had established a role playing game called Coventry and took on personae as people do in the SCA today. Thus eventually he lived [in fandom] under a penname and wrote professionally under his birth name.)

ESFA went back to the '40s and I believe it was originally called "The A-Men." They met in Slovak Sokal Hall a 20 minute bus ride out from downtown Newark. Every March they held an "open meeting" which was as much a con as the early Lunacons. These open meetings usually featured a half dozen speakers, and were started as an advertisement to attract new members. The 1968 one featured a memorial to the recently deceased Henry Kuttner. Heinlein was staying over in NY on his way home from Europe to Colorodo and one of the other pros suggested he come out to the meeting. Everyone was talking about Sputnik and RAH had some very pertinent things to say about American education and the stupidity of the general public who neither believe in something new before it happens nor marvel about it afterwards.

Everyone there euliged Henry Kuttner except Cyril Kornbluth, who said he was a lousy writer who currupted young people with low grade pornography in magazines like Marvel Tales. A few days later when I was reading the New York Times on the subway on my way home from college I was shocked to read Kornbluth's obituary. I felt weird, thinking about hands reaching from beyond the grave.

Af Fred Lerner reported, most ESFA attendees went to dinner after the meeting. When I first went it was a Chinese restaurant, later it was a Childs chain restaurant across from Military Park in downtown newark. One month when Avram Davidson was the guest speaker we went to a Kosher Jewish restaurant instead. Anyhow, after that particular meeting I was standing outside the restaurant chatting with Sandy Cutrell, a major filker of the period, and getting ready to take the Hudson Tubes back to NY when Ed EMSH said he had extra room in his car and did anyone want a ride. Thus Sandy and I rode back to NY together with Heinlein and Kornbluth. When we hit Manhattan Heinlein invited us up to his hotel room for a drink and talk which blew my neo mind.

Are my memories of two different ESFA Open Meetings blending? Since Sputnik was October 1957 Heinlein had to be there in 1958 and I could swear that Kornbluth was at the same meeting, and rode back to NYC in EMSH's car with me. However NESFA is preparing to publish a volume of ALL of Kornbluth's short SF and at a Boxkone panel insisted he died in March 1957, not 1958.

Alex Osheroff, an old time collector, was president at one time and he had six fabulous meetings in a row with excellent speakers. The next meeting was the election meeting, only six of us showed up, and we found Slovak sokal Hall locked up. They decided to stop opening on Sundays and never notified any officers. We retreated to Alex's near-by apartment. Alex had announced in advance that he would not run again and that he was giving up collecting. He had already sold off almost his entire collection. I picked up a few minor books for a dollar each and he gave me a copy of The Eternal Lover, a joke book hand made by David Keller in an edition of 5 copies. The hoarding instinct is extremely strong in some of us, for I heard that after he finished selling off his SF collection he took up stamp collecting.

We found a meeting room at the back of a bar (Acadamy Hall?) behind Penn Station in downtown Newark where we met for about a half year before moving to the Y Fred remembered. The Y was at the opposite end of Military Park from Childs where we continued to have dinner.

Charlie Brown had been going to Worldcons since TASFiC in 1952 (though he hoaxed many into believing he had been at NOLAcon in 1951) but was not active in local fandom. He met Mike Deckinger on the plane coming home From Seacon in 1961 and Mike invited him to an ESFA meeting where I met him. He worked for an electric power company centered in Ohio and was working on an engineering degree nights at City College. ESFA was the only open SF club in the metropolitan NYC areaAfter meetings people stayed together for dinner, but as soon as the last dish was cleared away people dispersed instantaneously. I wanted more fannish contact and suggested that ESFA have an informal second meeting in the middle of the month strictly for socialization. The members agreed but suggested we do it in Manhattan in fairness to the ESFA members who commuted from NY every month. Charlie Brown suggested a bar and cafeteria on Sixth Ave just south of 14 St., "Smith's Sixth," convenient to the Hudson Tubes. For a while a dozen or so of us met there for dinner and beer. (They had Lo"enbrau on tap, then a rarity.) The next Lunacon was only a block away, so I suggested attendees go tto Smith's for dinner after the con. I do not remember whether Mike McInerney had already started hosting post-Lunacon parties in his apartment a few blocks away, which he called "Eastercons."

ESFA had its ups and downs over the years and I understand it petered out to a half dozen people who gathered informally in Steve Fabian's home in Wayne NJ, about 25 miles from Newark. I believe it gave up the ghost sometime in the early 70s.

While I was in college a friend brought me to science and math lectures, an astronomy club, and films at the Brooklyn Acadamy of Arts and Sciences. It was here I met Carl Frederick and his two friends, Bob Zarat and Norman Witriol. I brought them to the Metrofen and Carl stayed in fandom for a number of years. He went with me to Pittcon and Discon I, and several Philcons. Fred Lerner described how Carl got him into fandom. Carl now lives in Ithica and I believe Fred is still in tough with him.

Bill Everson, whose obit ran in Locus or SFC a few months ago, ran the theodore Huff Memorial film Society which met several times a month in one of those loft meeting rooms described earlier. I started going when fen told me of an old SF or fsy film being shown, The Transatlantic Tunnell, Nosferatu, etc. I got interested and started going regularly. When Julius Postal spun off the Film Group which Fred Mentioned I started going to that, too. As fred said, it had no set program but members brought films they had lying about and showed them. Every month was a weird assortment of old classics, experimental films, foreign films, or incomplete bits. One day while they were changing reels I was reading a back issue of Ted White's Stellar and Julius asked me what it was. I said it was a fanzine and he commented, "don't tell me those things are still being published." I gathered he had some previous contact with fandom but was not currently active. I invited him and his wife Naomi to an ESFA meeting, and they eventually became very active in NY fandom. Later Ted white was to marry their daughter, Robin. Both have since passed away. Incidentally, Perdita Boardman says it was Naomi who infested NY fandom with Georgette Heyer in the late '60s. I got it from Marsha then Brown who had gotten it from Barbara Boynton and had then done much to spread it around fandom. (When Marsha gifted Bjo Trimble with copies of two of the funnier Heyer books, she got back a postcard saying"Pushers are the lowest form of life.") Who was first? Naomi or Barbara? Or were they independent vectors?

Through these film societies I got to know Chris Steinbrunner, a fan and a bnf in the Baker Street Irregulars. Through him I found out about a group which met once a month to view a complete movie serial from the '30s. The group met in Pat & Dick Lupoff's apartment in Manhattan. I also went to a novie theater somewhere in the East Village where amateur movies were shown, some excellent. Chris, I, and several others then walked up to Times Square where we had a midnight supper at a Tad's Steak House. Chris was a graduate of Fordham College and still did a weekly interview program on the college radio station. In 1961 I had a summer job at the newly established Goddard Institute for space Studies near Columbia University. That fall I occassionally went back for seminars, one of which was on "interstellar communications." The speaker made reference to several ideas in SF stories and someone in the audience asked him about ideas in Russian SF. After the seminar I introduced myself to the questioner, who was John Boardman. I brought him too to an ESFA meeting as he was not currently active in NY fandom. At least I do not think he was. He might have known the insurgent group, Fanarchists/Fanoclasts. He later married Perdita who had been active in fandom off and on for a decade or so.

In February, 1962, Charlie Brown phoned me and said I HAD to come to a meeting of a new SF club he had just discovered. They met weekly at City College and called themselves something like "The Science Fiction society of the Evening Division of the The City University of New York." Next week I joined Charlie and it was croggling. Thirty or so college students who had had no previous contact with fandom held a chaotic meeting with lots of screaming, feuding, and struggling for power. The following Sunday was the ESFA open meeting and most accompanied Charlie and me. As Fred said, many entered fandom and are still here, and many non-students later joined the group. Charlie married Marsha Elkins, the oldest of three sisters. The youngest, Sheila, eventually married artist Mike Gilbert and is an editor at DAW books. The middle sister, Paula, never had more than a marginal connection with fandom but also works in the field.

The group produced a fanzine, Engram. The first two issues were mimeod, but then member Al Schuster established a printing business, Aton Offset, and did the third and last issue in many colors. An artist in the club was named Kafka and was a distant relative of the former German fantasy writer.

Jimmy Taurasi got the idea of holding a special con in NY in 1964 to commemorate the anniversary of the first World Con, and wanted to call it Silvercon. Members of all factions were invited to a meeting at the Dietz's but nothing came of the con. People there included Fanoclasts like Ted White, Lunarians like Sam Moskowitz, and independents like me. It wasn't until several years later that Lunarians and Fanoclasts started attending each others' meetings regularly.

I can think of one more group from this period, The Interplanetary Exploration Society. John Campbell in an ANALOG editorial suggested an organization of "gentlemen amateurs" to promote new directions for scientific research, hopefully not bound to stereotyped conventional science. He collected $5 dues which would bring four issues of a journal. Joiners from the NYC area were invited to attend meetings at one of the loft meeting rooms. Hans Steffan Santesson, editor of Fantastic Universe and Saint Magazine, was invited to edit the journal, About two dozen people attended meetings. I remember Dick Lupoff, Lester del Rey, and most gung ho of all an elderly lady from Boston, Alma Hill. (She was a terror in the N3F and Boston fandom and when NESFA was established dues for voting membership was set at $20 a year to discourage her involvement.) Anyhow, she was VERY active, helped run the meetings, and published a monthly newsletter at her own cost. She even rented an IBM Executive typewriter to give the newsletter a better appearance. After three issues of the Journal money ran out and people were not willing to renew early for that VERY high price of $5, when prozines were 35 or 50c.

In June of 1962 I took a job at the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Labs and moved to California. I became less and more active in NY fandom. While the two NY clubs were strictly invitational, they were always open to visiting out-of-town fen, and I became eligible. Meanwhile Fistfa (Fannish Insergent STF Association) started meeting at Mike McInerney's. I visited my family in NYC three times a year (Christmas, Easter, and while traveling to Worldcon). Whenever I hit NY I would make any Fanoclast, Lunarian, or Fistfa meeting that happened, and nobody objected. This continued when I moved to New Hampshire in January 1966 and drove down to NY about every second month. In the 70s I was extremely inactive in all aspects of fandom as the real world interfered (marriage, blindness, loss of job, birth of Stanley, divorce). After 1976 I started to get more active in fandom again and became really active again in 1980. But enough of this. I have gone far too long.



Sandy and I go to Darkover Con about one year in three. We have friends we see only there, and usually find some of the program interesting. Because it is too far to drive we must fly and that makes it too expensive to do every year.

This year the principal guest of honor was Diana Paxson and it was good to see her again. We had several good talks. It is interesting how compartmentalized the book publishing business has become. Diana first broke into book publishing with paperback originals in three subcategories. She sold pseudo-medieval fantasy (the Westria series), contemporary fantasy (Brisingamen and its sequel), and historical fantasy (White Mare, Red Stallion or some permutation of those words). Then she sold a historical fantasy based on Tristan and Isolde which achieved hard- cover publication and did well. After that she published seven more volumes of hard cover historical fantasy and has established a nitch in that sub-genre. She has sold an eithth book, HER version of Arthur, to be one volume but starting from the birth of Merlin. She is bringing her own background knowledge and research to the story which will easily differentiate it from the flood of other Arthurian novels. I am eagerly awaiting its publication in 1998.

After finishing her Irish and Niebelungenlied trilogies (the former with Adriene Martine-Barns) she helped Marion Bradley finish her sequel to Forest House to be out in a few months. Now she is hard at work on her Arthurian novel. However she wants to write another sequel to Brisingamen and more Westria but is locked into hardcover historical fantasy. There is no way she could get those books published, except perhaps to the detrement of her career track.

Her first published story was "Letter to Myself," a SF short to Scithers when he was still editing Asimov's Magazine. She sold a few others free-lance but after that all her shorts were commissioned by anthology editors or by MZB's magazine. At the con she read a story she had just finished writing on spec, but I forgot the title. It was about a turn-of-the- century landscape artist meeting the Norse gods in Colorodo and participating in a small bit of their eternal war. She plans to submit it to Worlds of Fantasy. She mentioned that she had done a story about Shakespeare meeting the Norse Gods for the anthology Weird Shakespeare.

After the con Diana flew to Maine to pick up a new Celtic harp she had commissioned from a craftsman.

Marion Zimmer Bradley was having health problems and could not come, so her assistant Elizabeth Waters came in her place. Saturday morning she gave a report on what's new with MZB. Marion was in the hospital five times in the last few months with heart problems, the last time only a week before the con. Fortunately that was able to be handled out- patient and Marion wanted to come to the con but she was prevailed upon to stay home. Her sequel to Forest House is finished and the gallies were proofed, so it will be out soon. She is doing much of the writing but is too weak to handle all of it and others like Diana and Mercedes Lackey help her. The publishers do not allow her to put collaborators' names on the cover, so she acknowledges them in the dedication. Her magazine is still losing money but she fights her accountants and continues it because she has the money and ENJOYS doing it. She does make the final selection of every published story. She has made provisions in her will for a trust to continue the magazine for two years after her death, after which it will have to sink or swim on its own.

Elizabeth Waters manned (womanned?) a table for the magazine in the huckster room. They had a new T-shirt featuring the George Barr cover of the first issue. It is well known that Marion does not LIKE filk music and says it is something that "should only be done in private by conssenting adults." Perhaps this is because Marion loves classical music, especially opera, and the simplicity of filk offends her. Anyhow, her table had a tape of Darkover filk titled, appropriately, "Consenting Adults of Darkover."

Nancy Hanger was also having health problems and missed the con, which was a disappointment.

Darkover Con always has a good full-time music track including filk, folk, and unusual music. For years they featured a folk (not filk) group called "Clam Chowder." This group broke up several years ago, but they recently got back together to cut a CD. The CD was supposed to go on sale at the con but when it was late the group came and gave a live performance. They were so well received that they promised to come back next year. That, and the fact that Spider & Jeanne Robinson will be the guests of honor, persuaded Sandy and me to come back and we took out memberships.

Judy Gerjoy (aka Jayella)has put on these Darkover Cons for close to 20 years, starting at a Jewish Center in Brooklyn, then at various hotels in NY, Wilmington DE, and finally in the Baltimore area. For several years now they have been in Timonium. Her father, Herbert, teaches something like Sociology or Government at a small private college in CT, and he has a good talking understanding of modern physics. This year Judy put him on the program several times to talk about futurology, trends in government and society, etc. I went to two of these and found them very interesting.

I had heard that the new trolly line or "light rail" in Baltimore had the airport at one end and the con hotel at the other. Therefore I proposed that we take it rather than the $18 (including tip) van. Unfortunately it was not quite finished and it ended one station short of the airport, so we had to take a cab to the line. Sandy could see the last bit under construction next to the road. The cabbie got mixed up and missed the first station and took us to the second. We found a shelter with a map and timetable which were very confusing. The map did not clearly show the route(s) but was merely an area map. The timetable seemed to indicate that not all trains went to Timonium, and that they were about an hour apart. While Sandy was still trying to figure things out a train pulled in so we scurried on. A sign said we should be ticketed but there were no sellers or machines in the shelter. Nobody was on the train to give us information about where the train was headed or how to get tickets. The train went in one end of Baltimore and came out of another. It was at street level but on reserved right of way not interacting with auto traffic. We passed through a poor neighborhood with many pawn shops and check cashing businesses. We got off at the end of the line, "Timonium Park and Ride." There we saw two workers and asked them about how to pay our fares and how to find the hotel. We had gone one station too far and had to take a cab back to the hotel. They said we didn't have to pay fares after the fact, but were lucky. There ARE vending machines at every station for tickets and trains go by every 15 minutes, so we MUST take the time to buy one even if it means missing a train. If you are caught on the train without a ticket it is a $250 fine and we were lucky. The signage in the shelter where we got on was totally misleading. And where were the ticket machines? When the line is finished to the airport where many out-of-towners, like us, will be getting on I hope timetables, maps, and ticket machines are much clearer. We took the van back to the airport but next year will try the trolly again when it is finished. The hotel told us the correct station is only one block from the hotel and there are sidewalks for walking all the way. Unfortunately they did not tell us the name of the station.



BLACmANGE (Mark Blackman). You asked about the environmental impact of the proposed hypersonic transport. From what I read, its configuration, altitude, and speed would cause far less ground level noise than the supersonic transport. Also it would burn hydrogen as fuel so its exhause would be only water. In general it would be far more environmentally friendly than the Concorde, military jets, or the abandoned US supersonic transport.

You said that Mathew's gospel was written before the Roman destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, which I had wondered about. I had suspected that it was written afterwards and the prediction was like the fake ones in the Book of Daniel, written after the predicted events. John Boardman said it WAS written afterwards. He sited some names mentioned in the passage which proves the postdateing of the gospel. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about the bible to judge the evidence.


DAGON (John Boardman). Vytautas Lansbergas, the returned president of Lithuania, is (I believe) of Swedish origin. From time to time people move or are stranded in ethnically different lands. A distant cousin of mine has the last name Lindas. When her family researched the history they found that several generations earlier a German named Linden had settled in Lithuania and modified his name to conform to Lithuanian standards. I once knew a Lithuanian with the name Stravinskas who I suspect had an ancestor in common with the Russian composer. Ditto for my next door Polish neighbor Kozlowski and a Lithuanian friend in Chicago named Kazlauskas. I have a Lithuanian friend in New York named Jasinskas and about 30 years ago the N3F had a member in Poland named Jasinski. My father's sister was married to a Bogdonavic~ius. I can think of several other Lithuanians with Slavic sounding names. Of course similar transformations have happened to Lithuanians, and others, coming to the US, especially before WWII. A cousin Vincas Vaicakauskas became William Wassle. Evanauskas became Evans. Jurkas became York. Of two brothers named Povilauckas, one became Paul and the other Pulaski. Others were only slightly changed. Gudelis became Gudell. Akstinas became Axtin. Valekys became Valek. Finally, a few were left alone even back then, like my godmother Katkus.

I was wondering if the Swedish speaking Finnish author of Singletusk and Dance of the Tiger had a Swedish or Finnish ending on his name.

I was interested in your tale of the "hell houses" run by Christian funnymentalists to "combat" Hallowe'en. They sound a lot like the "haunted houses" run here by charities for fun. For four years all of the Lions clubs of NH cooperated to run one for six nights in the Manchester area. They took in about $20,000 each year for the Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation. This year they stopped because revenues had been falling and it was getting harder to recruit the 200 workers it took to set it up, run it, and tear things down. One friend of mine was an executioner with an electric chair. I have never worked at one or attended one, but I guess the attendees enjoyed themselves at $5 a head. Two years ago the Laconia Kiwanus Club had a "haunted hospital" using the cafeteria and some store rooms of the Laconia Hospital. Last year they had planned to rent the local tourist train and hold a "haunted train." but the plan fell through. The local semi- professional theater company, "The Streetcar Company," ran a "haunted house" in a vacant store in one of the malls just outside Laconia. Todd Frazier works in the bookstore next door and said that though signs recommended no children under seven each day at least one child crying in fright came out with his parents.

While on Hallowe'en, your talk of "trick or treat" reminds me of my childhood in the "Sunset Park" neighborhood of Brooklyn in the early '40s. We never had "trick or treat" in my neighborhood and I wondered what was going on on the radio comedy shows like Fanny Brice's "Baby Snooks." Small kids stayed inside because older hoodlum-like boys would be running around making trouble and hitting victems with socks filled with coal ashes. Instead, on Thanksgiving morning the small kids would dress up in shabby old clothes and blacken their faces. Then they would ring their neighbors' doorbells and ask "Anything for Thanksgiving?" We usually got dimes. Was this practice ever followed in any other part of the country?


hOW tOO (dON DEL gRANDE). Just saw in the ERA Headlights that BART opened a new subway station on the SF Peninsula. I have now forgotten its name. Collen or something like that? As I understood the story another four stations or so are under construction, and later another four or so will finish bringing BART to the San Francisco airport.


QUAINT STUFF (John mALAY). I was very interested in the discussion of the five stages small children go through learning to write. You said that first they scribble, then draw pictures, then write random letters, then write phonetically using creative spelling, and finally over a very long period learn the complex rules of English spelling. I remember in my case the first two stages of scribbling and drawing. I do not have any real memories of the other three stages though I guess I never finished the fifth. Speaking of creative spelling, when did they stop spelling ketchup "catsoup" the way I remember it being when I was a kid?

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