Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fiftieth Anniversary of Mrs. Pollifax Series, by Dorothy Gilman (First Novel, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, 1966)

Green lawn at the back windows rose as a steep curtain and the library alley at the top was beyond sight.  In the 1966 library quiet, with no security cameras, the whole neighborhood was unseen alone there in a quiet intimacy.   The windowlight shone on 900s, politics and history, and biographies. 

Along the the building wall that lawn privacy did not impress intimacy onto the break room, its scrubbed neutrality framed a daybed reserved for anyone who might become ill while in the library; the room was like the room of the school nurse.  But in that room, someone said something unusual, once. 

I started to work at the library in July 1965, I worked all day every Saturday.Usually I walked to my parents house on the lunch hour, and mid-morning, mid-afternoon, I had fifteen minute breaks.  There was a Christmas Tree set up at the desk of the Librarian, the high school pages decorated this together.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Mrs. Pollifax series, by Dorothy Gilman.  As a new reader, at page eight of the Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, I came across a recollection of Mrs. Pollifax – her cousin had brought her with him when he shot rats at the county dump.  The McCormick Library break room returns steadily to my thoughts.  I believe someone said, in the break room, on the weekend they shot rats at the Purdy Dump.

New York Times, March 20, 1966 – the internet reports a review by Harold C. Schonberg of this first Mrs. Pollifax mystery novel, and the review refers to the rats at the dump passage, which is on page eight.

When I was a fifth or sixth grader, as a guest of our neighbors, who had moved, we walked along one road where a telephone wire filled up with crows.  My neighbor said to me “There is a bounty on crows.   You shoot a crow and bring it in and they give you money for killing it.” 

It sounded horrible to me and I accepted that, doubtless, that was true.  The Pacific Northwest Room could not find much about a bounty on crows, or about a bounty on rats in 1966.   

One of the other high school pages, in probably 1966, said that on the weekend, they shot rats.  I can wonder, now, if their imagination brought them from Mrs. Polifax to a comment like that. 

The idea entered a poem I composed in 1969.  The idea had seemed horrible to me, my poem was about the deaths of animals.


Tom will die in the accident.

Tom shot rats at the Purdy Dump.

Tom died in the accident.

Snow drifts in the soft folds of the workman's jeans.

She can see him step around her with a shotgun.

We know why people shoot at cranes.

Shooting anything is cutting

your own skin.

There is a cloud of blood along

the surface of the snow.

She whispers    I am dying

She is certain she is dying.

But obviously nothing has changed.

She holds her arms up, staring at

her undependable dark veins.

This is the day of the  rising souls

All Souls' Day

when the dead rise in the earth.

Cranes and the animals die around her.

They cover up the ground.

They cover up the broken grass.

Her arms fall across the wings of a swan.

She has died.

The wings and arms are crossed.

The feathers rustle in the rising wind.

They will never lift off the earth.

They end like a falling tree.

They are already lost.

It was only with Tacoma Reads Together and the choice of Dashielle Hammett's Maltese Falcon that I began to read some mystery novels.  The difficulty of reading about violence is a part of almost all the novels they call mysteries – many of the mystery novels have Socially Redeeming Qualities such as the establishment of a learning opportunity for the reader who needs to grasp the events and the societal situations and misfortunes that involve crime and violence. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Conversation Recollects The Bavarian Restaurant Building

February Christmas Wreath

On a walk earlier in the week I asked at Stadium Thriftway about work being done on the rest of their building.  Between Christmas Wreathes and now, the fence surrounded the auto business, the wreath on the auto business continues.  

The upstairs will be a German beer parlor and restaurant, downstairs there probably will be a Starbucks, and she remembered the German Restaurant on Division, The Bavarian.

At The Pacific Northwest Room I learn the building with The Bavarian was Viafore’s Italian Restaurant for forty years, only became The Bavarian in 1959.  Upstairs was Merrick’s Dance Studio.  A publisher took me to lunch at The Bavarian once, and once I stopped by to have a strudel in a Hunting Lodge room with Deer Heads.  Rock and Roll Magic was advertised for the upstairs Dance Studio, and on one of my bicycle rides past on the return from a store,  I heard a party and the song, Have Nagela.

When it became an El Toro, after a time, the building burned, and I took a photo of this difficult event.  The building was a landmark.  

 The building with the Thriftway Store was a Chevrolet Auto Repair Spanish Mission Style building.  Through a window on a far side I saw that from the windows on each side would be a view.  
The Bavarian Destroyed

Spanish Mission Style

Friday, February 5, 2016


When I went past some daffodils in a flower bed I thought of how perfect they were.  They seemed great enough to stand up to how it has started to rain again, later in the afternoon.

The Wordsworth poem Daffodils was part of school.  Always liked it.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sanders' and Hillary Clinton's Parental Choices

Along with one natural child, Sanders also has three step-children, while  Hillary Clinton has raised an only child.  Parenting often is veiled from the view of voters.  What are non-parents to do?  We know the parenting, or breeding, majority gives only a limited response to non-parents.  

Sanders added three step-children when he remarried after a divorce.  Perhaps this did not increase the number of his biological children.  But he decided to marry a woman who was not Zero Population Growth, by those standards, three is too many.  When he decided not to search farther for another prospect,  but to marry someone with three children, he chose against a possible marriage to someone with no children, or who had limited her family size to an only child.  As a politician he must have seen his dilemma and his paradoxical choice. 

As a non-parent I observe times when I could not make progress and have wondered if the dominance of kindness about children, when non-parents are a clear minority, makes human resources prioritize and choose to hire parents over non-parents.   

The sexism in employment has been measured.  It is a clear male sexism, and it is females who go through the pain of childbirth and who lactate.  Non-parent women are categorized and stereotyped alongside them.   

Planned Parenthood officially supports Hillary Clinton, and in the recent Iowa Caucus I see her neck and neck with Bernie Sanders.  Bernie Sanders is listed at one location on the internet as the parent of one son.  To some degree his group has neglected to specify differently.  With the parenting element often veiled from the voting public, I remember, You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.   Abraham Lincoln

What are non-parents supposed to do, in the face of people who have the social and the human resources opportunity to a sentimental appeal from the admitted helplessness of new-born babies?  A Peanuts strip includes Lucy Van Pelt appealing that it is not right to bring new children into this uncertain world.  What are non-parents supposed to do, when we certainly know that it is only a very limited response the parenting, or breeding majority gives to the non-parents?   

Family arises as a topic although we have gone through much social change during the past fifty, sixty years.  A big impression for me, even as a non-parent, is the importance of taking a kind perspective about little children, and one major definition of family is the living situation with parents and dependent children.  However, the family size of a potential candidate is an indication of the behavior and choices made in private.