Where My Day Begins

This is the nerve center of my home, the coffee station. It is where I spend my first conscious moments every day. Above the coffee pot is an original drawing by Jack Davis. Its subject, Alfred E. Newman, and his words are familiar, but this particular rendering has been seen by few. I will tell you its story.
The late Paul Burnett taught journalism at Auburn University. When it came to the basics, he was rock solid. If an aspiring reporter could have but one mentor, there was no one better than Paul Burnett. That was fortunate, because he represented exactly one half of the journalism faculty at Auburn in the early 70s. However, he was stupefyingly wrong about one thing: he liked to tell his students, “All you need to start a newspaper is a typewriter.” My young bride Rheta and I, students of his, bought this clap-trap and departed Auburn for St. Simons Island, Georgia, where we established a weekly newspaper. St. Simons was a young reporter’s dream, an interesting character and an interesting history around every corner. Nobody ever had more fun going broke than we.
One day, someone told us, “Jack Davis is vacationing on Sea Island.” Having derived a significant portion of my education from Mad Magazine, I knew exactly who Jack Davis was. It turned out Jack, a Georgia native, was an annual visitor to nearby Sea Island, the Palm Springs of the deep south. We reached him by telephone, which you could do in those days, and he agreed to let us come out for an interview. We knew nothing about Jack, really, except his work, but we learned firsthand the grace and good nature for which he was famed among colleagues. He sat with us pups on a screened porch, spending over an hour of his vacation entertaining our naïve, earnest probing. After the last note and photograph were taken, and he was home free, he asked, “Would you like me to draw something for your article?” Would we. The next day, a friend of his dropped the above drawing at our office.
It might be my favorite possession. Jack Davis died yesterday at 91. It just now occurs to me, many of you may think you don’t know who Jack Davis is. Google him. You will be amazed.

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95 responses to “Where My Day Begins”

  1. Great (and intriguing) story Mr. Johnson. I was reading MAD magazine (and the usual gang of idiots) in the ’60s – as were you, apparently.

  2. Wow! JJ, Thanks for a great start for my 78th birthday. I always love to hear stories of people who love Auburn University and remember things from the past just like I do. I remember getting off the train at Auburn 54 years ago and still love The Loveliest Village just like you do. Thanks for a great comic strip that I have enjoyed since the beginning. You made Mr. Davis sound like the gentleman I’m sure he was. May he rest in peace. That’s a great story. Keep up the great work. And, Never forget:

    God bless us every one.

  3. What a wonderful memory. I beat you guys, I was reading Mad in the 50s. What a great magazine it was back then.

    And what a great drawing of Alfred E. Neumann!

  4. Yesterday, looking at photos of Mr. Davis on-line, my immediate impression of him was “That’s someone I would have enjoyed meeting…and who would have probably made me feel he enjoyed meeting me.” Jimmy’s vignette of Mr. Davis convinces me I was correct in that regard.

  5. I was famous in college for having a subscription to MAD Magazine. I didn’t always have time to run to the drugstore and wanted to make sure I didn’t miss an issue.

  6. Thank you so much for writing Arlo and Janice. One of the best ways to start the day – along with coffee!
    Your kindness is apparent in your writing.
    I read Mad Magazine also and love your musings.

  7. JJ, thank you for sharing your photos and nifty story about your interview with Jack Davis. MAD magazine didn’t have much of a female fanbase, but I had a subscription back in the day. And I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that several of your female correspondents noted they also were fans of the magazine. In reading about Davis, I loved the part about Davis being gratified to see his art hanging in Bob Hope’s office. And now we know his art hangs proudly in your house. Furthermore, YOUR original cartoon art hangs proudly in some of OUR houses. It does at mine. Plug for the Kickstarter fundraiser: BUY JJ’S ARTWORK !

  8. Yes, Dom, I thought of you yesterday when Jimmy Clanton came on the radio “Just A Dream” and then the editor of Wooden Boat magazine included “Cover of the Rolling Stone” in his letter to me. Made me laugh that Louisiana still gets around.

    Yes, happy birthday and 364 more very merry unbirthdays to you.

  9. jack Davis was an icon to me in my youth. I was a regular reader of MAD during my teen years, and Jack and the rest of the Usual Gang of Idiots taught me to question everything and think for oneself in a gentle, humorous ways. Jack’s caricatures were whimsical yet dead on.

    Although I mainly remember Davis for his work with MAD, he had a lucrative career as an illustrator. His work was frequently seen in advertisements and movie posters. Few people knew that he was also a Civil War buff and enjoyed re-enactments. He also did highly accurate illustrations of the various uniforms and leaders of the war.

  10. That’s too bad about Jack Davis — I read a lot of MAD in the 60s, and loved his work.

    Another great cartoonist, Richard Thompson (“Cul de Sac” and other works), died yesterday as well. Sad.

  11. Parkinsons which was what Rick Thompson had is a terrible disease. I have a number of friends and acquaintances with Parkinsons. Truly sad, it often seems to stoke the talented and gifted.

  12. Considering the age of the painting, the whip might have just been an everday appliance. The modern mind sees it in the other light, because who uses horse-drawn carriages anymore for daily transport?

  13. A toy whip for a miniature carriage pulled by Shetland ponies? The child certainly appears foppish enough to be from a family that could provide that for him.

  14. Liked your word “underdeprived”, eMb. I suspect a number of us fall into that category.

    Today is 54th WA. Since I now have some workable teeth, it’ll be a slab of prime rib tonight! I just finished my Christmas ’15 fruitcake; tomorrow it’ll be my first pizza in 7+ months….
    I give thanks.

    Was an avid reader of MAD from the mid-’50s or thereabouts; had some enjoyable items in it as well as some not so enjoyable.

  15. Or he could whip the servants or his dog carriage or his horse he rides. Or it could just be a play object.

    Didn’t any of you like Lash LaRue and own a whip of your own? I did along with Hopalong Cassidy six shooters, a Roy Roger’s rifle and a complete Cowboy outfit.

    My heroes have always been Cowboys. I thought Dale Evans sucked.

  16. Mad – 25 cents – Cheap

    My first encounter with Mad was in 1958, the first issue I purchased had Alfred E. Newman on the cover standing alone atop a wedding cake. The back cover had a spoof ad for Salem cigarettes, (Sail em, Don’t inhale em). One of my prize possessions is a CD collection (now out of print) of Mad Magazines containing all issues, books and anthologies through the early 2000’s. I was an avid and proud reader from my ninth grade introduction through my stint in the army 65-67. Somewhere in there I became more interested in Playboy…for the jokes and cartoons. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  17. Since the Next Big Creative Thing from Hollywood seems to be all-female cast reboots of classic movies (observes the man with the all-female staff), I thought I’d make a few suggestions for them…

    1. Twelve Angry Men (Twelve Angry Women)
    2. Spartacus (Spartaca)
    3. The Longest Day (Would fix the complaint there aren’t enough movie roles for actresses)
    4. The Red Baron (The Red Baroness)
    5. Master and Commander (Mistress and Commander)
    6. The Quite Man (The Quite Woman)
    7. The Godfather (The Godmother)
    8. King Kong (Queen Kong)
    9. The Third Man (The Third Woman)
    10. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Ms. Smith Goes to Washington)
    11. Bonnie & Clyde (Bonnie & Clarissa)
    12. Midnight Cowboy (Midnight Cowgirl)
    13. His Girl Friday (Her Girl Friday)
    14. Yankee Doodle Dandy (Yankee Doodle Danni)
    15. Cool Hand Luke (Cool Hand Lucy)

    I actually may have seen that last one, at a drive-in, many years ago. At least I remember it featured a bunch of scantily-clad females in a prison setting.

  18. My only memory of movies at drive ins was Ben Hur. We looked up to watch the chariot race. I actually know who I saw that with, something I cannot say about many movies and certainly not at a drive in.

    Been Her. Now that’s a good one for you Ghost.

    No one likes a clever woman.

  19. Jackie, and the sequel: Been Her, Done That

    Ghost, Mistress and Commander sounds like the captain’s into games ashore. And His Girl Friday could be either Her Girl Friday or Her Man Friday with today’s changed society.

    And would you remake Thelma and Louise with a male cast?

  20. Wrote a nice long comment. Realized as soon as I hit Submit that I should have copied/saved it first. It disappeared. Computer doesn’t like me today.

  21. Twitter is a great addition to the A&J family. Should JJ continue to update his current where abouts on it, we have one less thing to worry us. His current self reported location is @BostonComicCon.

  22. It’s kind of neat to know someone that we respect and that has some notoriety such as JJ would have a hero of his own. 91 is a life well lived. He gave a LOT of people great enjoyment. Now I just wish that I didn’t have so much to worry about!

  23. Weird! Anything more than a couple of sentences and I get a message about the requested URL being unavailable. I’ll try again later, I guess.

  24. Isn’t that just like a man, Ruth Anne? Or does your computer have a female name?

    Mark Quiet Woman is simply an oxymoron.

    I am in a hurry to go see if Walmart finished giving away the shrubs at 75% off . I got a truck load. Can’t play word games but will think about it enroute.

  25. Maybe if I break it up?

    We’ve been on a cleaning/sorting spree lately. In part, it’s to bring order to “the room that no one is allowed to see” (Who knows? I might even start using my sewing machine again.) It’s also to make the job easier for whichever niece or nephew gets stuck dealing with our junk when we’re gone. Hopefully we have many years to work on this, but given how much stuff we’ve inherited and kept we may need all of them.

  26. Part 2: Much of what we’ve found (in boxes that haven’t been opened in years) is already trash and some of what we’ve kept probably should be. Some pictures, clippings, and memorabilia will end up being scanned and shared on Facebook. Other items will be offered to our city or county history museums. Finding things to offer for the current exhibit on life in Winter Park during WWII was one of our motivations; they’re displaying some of my parents’ leftover oil ration coupons as well as the newspapers they kept announcing the war’s end.

  27. Part 3 – that inspired the rest: Another of the things we found is a June 1959 issue of Playboy. Bob says he thinks he got and kept it for the article by Kerouac, “Origins of the Beat Generation”; the centerfold is missing which unfortunately means so is the jokes page. The music and theater reviews and the ads are interesting too.

  28. Forgot to say I have four almost grown hens out in breezeway in dog carrier. We are going to put in garden as free range pet chickens to eat bugs. Four different breeds. They were the ones no one wanted to take home. And 50 lbs. Of feed and fancy water and food containers. They will get the expensive dog kennel to keep from being eaten by hawks and a large dog house for now.

  29. My mom always claimed I was conceived in Winter Park during the war as my father was stationed there for his final pilot’s training before shipping off to Africa and then Italy. Was there a base there?

  30. Ruth Anne, you might see if any of the local university or school libraries might want old books or newspapers for historical value in teaching. And talking about the ads in the Playboy, look at the ads in any old magazine. It’s fascinating (to me anyway) what they sold and how much they asked for it. And look at what has vanished from the market over the years and how it was packaged.

    By the way, check out this site: http://birminghamrewound.com/

    The co-founder, Tim Hollis, has a museum in his home where he displays his collection. He has fast-food giveaway items, old games, and a ton of other stuff. If you run across anything like that, drop him an email. He might want it.

  31. Orlando Air Force Base was on what was then the outer edges of Orlando and Winter Park; it was later the Naval Training Center. McCoy was south of town; it was a SAC base during the Cold War and Vietnam years. It turned into Orlando International Airport.

  32. Yes, my dad flew first for Canada and England, then came back to be in Army Airforce, so probable. He was shipped out of Florida.

    My mom always told stories about his best friend who was part of Heinz catsup family and whose wife traveled with a staff that included her physician. That is apparently who confirmed my existence. So typically unlikely. My dad was not rich, just charming and good looking, smart.

  33. Waiting out a hail storm and flash flooding, read the link. Yes, that would be where my dad trained. He flew P-57 fighter plane repurposed with cameras for filming behind enemy lines. They trained secretly so I am sure that was where. He was sent from Mississippi to Florida to complete training.

    I may be here awhile. Water is washing over hoods out on street.

  34. Mark – I used to make a game of pulling ads from 1970s era magazines and matching them up with their 1990s counterpart. (Grandparents had STACKS of old National Geographics and Reader’s Digests) “Now WITH PABA!” “Uses CFCs!” “No cheap UNLEADED fuel here!” “No PABA!” “CFC Free!” “Runs on unleaded!” Makes you wonder how much testing really goes on

    Had to have a filling replaced after work. I have a big voice, but a small mouth. Besides excess tissue, the dentist and hygienist were struggling for access to my back tooth. I now have a very sore jaw. And trying to eat food with half your tongue perceiving food at the opposite temperature is just pain weird. Warm/cold ice cream!

    One of the “checkout” ladies is the sister to one of my employees, and the daughter of a fellow manager. My employee just became a first-time grandma this afternoon. Her sister just happened to be showing a coworker a picture of the baby, born only an hour earlier, as I rounded the corner. I stopped and got the scoop and my appointment delayed by a few minutes! 😀

  35. Oh, and it was only THIS YEAR I realized dentist office woman was family to other manger/employee – I’ve actually “known” dentist one longer! TWO YEARS LONGER! Never made the connection in four years – even with Facebook pictures. {Facepalm}

  36. Trying to clear my schedule for The Big Speech at CrapFest II tonight. Hearing someone who has been paid over $21 million for her speaking prowess should be a rare treat.

  37. Ghost dear, why are you torturing yourself like this? I can think of many, many things that would be time spent more enjoyably.

    While it isn’t my top choice, I intend to unload and load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, do a couple loads of laundry and go to bed with Rick Braggs, figuratively speaking, and the Adventure Dog, all ten pounds of love.

    What you are doing is like self flagelation of an open wound, the blood flows immediately.

    Love you.

  38. Actually, Jackie, it’s either that or upgrade my mom’s desktop computer to Windows 10. Since the latter will only be available for about another 24 hours, and the former seems as hard to get rid of as Jason Voorhees in “Friday the Thirteenth”, I will probably go with the latter. 🙂

    Love you back.

  39. Debbe: Re your earlier post re walk in cooler. If JJ accepts this long 2001 column, it may clarify things. Peace,

    Hot air.
    Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2004, 2015 Evan B. Hazard.
    Mammon College sits high above Influence River, just west of Enterprise City. Of Enterprise City’s 200,000 households, 15,000 (mostly east of the railroad tracks) have no air-conditioning (AC). AC costs money: the price of the unit itself plus the electricity to run it. How many households in Enterprise pay a price for AC? Easy question: 185,000, because the other 15,000 don’t have AC.
    If that’s your answer, you likely never took a class from me or some of my colleagues. We usually pose such questions only when the answer is not the obvious one. All 200,000 households pay a price for AC. We’ll come back to them later.
    Next question. What do the following have in common: computers, dachshunds, electric fans, fluorescent tubes, freezers, furnaces, granddaughter Anna (and the piano she was playing as I wrote this in 2001), refrigerators, shade trees, walleyes, and water heaters? (He’s tricky: they’re alphabetized, so the order won’t give us a clue.) We’ll also come back to them later, after two largely true stories.
    One: Some biologists met in Cartel Auditorium at Mammon College. They were sweltering, because the building’s central AC was broken. As a professor approached the lectern to open the session, two workers carried in a window air conditioner, set it on a table on the stage, plugged it in, and turned it on. After they left, the prof turned off the machine, amid laughter and applause.
    Two: I once attended a meeting at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. Planning on a short nap after arriving on a hot August afternoon, I slept until after 9 pm. Since I had missed the meeting’s “mixer” and any chance for a restaurant supper, I went to the hotel coffee shop for a sandwich. One waitress was complaining to another about the heat: “It was so hot last night that I had to turn the AC to ‘high’ and open all the windows.” I thought, “Evan, don’t say anything; there’s no point in it.” I just stored it.
    Back to the good people of Enterprise City. Their computers, dachshunds, electric fans, fluorescent tubes, freezers, furnaces, piano-playing granddaughters, refrigerators, shade trees, walleyes, and water heaters all use energy, and therefore all produce heat. We design furnaces and water heaters to produce heat, but the others can’t help it.
    But wait: freezers and refrigerators don’t heat things, they cool them! That’s nice, but they do it by taking heat from inside the fridge and putting it outside. You can feel that heat from the fridge’s vent. Furthermore, the mechanism that removes the heat generates heat itself, so more heat comes out of a fridge’s vent than is removed from its cold box.
    If you have AC, either central or room-by-room, your home is a refrigerator. The AC removes some heat from the air inside, adds the heat produced by the machine itself, and vents it outside. What difference does it make? The overall effect of the refrigerators and the households with AC in Enterprise City is to raise the town’s temperature. The prevailing westerlies typically move the heat they generate east toward the households that don’t have AC. I don’t say we shouldn’t air-condition. But we should understand all the costs, and who pays them.
    There’s an upside to this. In winter, all of your indoor machinery, not just your furnace, heats the house. Many big box stores get most of their winter heat from their fluorescent lights. The chest freezer in our old basement did double duty nine months of the year, its waste heat rising to heat the house. A computer is, among other things, an expensive space-heater (or lap warmer). If you had to run the faucet a minute to get hot water into the upstairs bathroom, at least the water remaining in the hot water pipe heats the house. CD players, TV sets, and computers are not cost-efficient space heaters, but, at least for nine months or so in Bemidji, their waste heat is a gain. In the summer, it’s a loss, adding to your electric bill and to the heat that your AC donates to your neighbors.
    The workers’ supervisor thought the biologists would benefit from the portable AC. But, since it was venting more hot air than cold air into the auditorium, it would have actually heated the place. The waitress had unwittingly made her apartment hotter, by diluting the cold air her AC had provided with hot air from outdoors. I thought it politic not to add to the hot air in the coffee shop.
    p-hotair 757 8.0 publ 010612s, rev.

  40. I saw the news about Jack Davis yesterday on Facebook and shared it. I knew the name rang a bell, but then it showed a caricature he had drawn, and I knew then who he was. Having read Mad Magazine since the days they were 25 cents, cheap I recognized the art work immediately. I shared the article, hope you saw it.

  41. Yes, thank you Bill. Alfred E. Neumann, Charlie Brown and Playboy and New Yorker cartoons fueled my desire to be a cartoonist at an early age. I loved cartoons since I could see them,not even read. But they were who made me want to draw cartoons. And I did and got them in print, so there is that.

    And yes,I started reading New Yorker at about age eight or seven, second grade. I know I read Playboy since 50s, no one ever knew what I read. Benefit of having parents who didn’t read.

  42. Interesting that Ruth Anne’s original post seemed too long, but JJ printed my whole column. Read it carefully, as there w/b a short quiz. My ID has gone public here by accident several x, so what the heck.

    BTW, I hold the “Copyright ©” to all my columns. Please do not make cc. or forward. Thanks, emb.

    Mark: . . .. “Mistress and Commander sounds like the captain’s into games ashore.” You’ve seen “The Captain’s Paradise”, starring Alec Guinness?

    Also, “Would the Quiet Woman be a science fiction movie?” [+ JACKQULINE and Trucker]: Sociologists & psychologists have long known that, on average, men jabber and gossip more than women do.

    After WWII, B52 [if I have the # right] was the designation for a 2-engine bomber AKA “flying coffin.” Apparently a rather unforgiving plane. My roommate in the BOQ, a capt. whose wife had just joined him from the States, bought the farm in one in a flight over occupied W. Germany. Sad.

    While digging in my files, ran across this, an updated bunch of symbols that I have at the bottom of both running files and draft essays. At least one of the spaces in line 4 was occupied by a circle with a cross [just two lines, like +] in it, the astrological symbol for planet Earth. Originally transferred from ancient Word Perfect, apparently not compatible w/ this blog.

    ¶ ½ ¾ ¼ ? ? ? ? ? ? © @ ® ™ ? Å Æ å á å ? ? á à æ Ç ç É ? ? é ê è ? ? ë ? ? í ? ? ñ ? ? Œ œ ó ô ö ? ? Ø ø œ ? ? ß ? ? ú û ü ý ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ° — ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ÷ ‰ ? ? ? ? ± ? £ ¢ ??? °? WDTSAG entrée matinée fiancé fiancée Trouvé Année année mélange Søren Curaçao Fauré Velcro®™ chacun à son goût ??? ??? ???

  43. emb, probably a B-26. They had a “wing loading” problem (small wing area vs. the lift it had to provide) that made them subject to stall/spin accidents. Also known as the “Flying Prostitute” for having “no visible means of support”.

  44. emb, no I haven’t seen that one. I need to look it up because I like those black and white British comedies. And Alec Guinness was excellent in them.

  45. My exciting evening abbreviated to soaking in a tub full of lavender Epson salts and bath lavender bubbles. And I still hurt.

    For got about the chickens on breezeway and lights came on when opened door, they started cooing or chirping and it was so sweet. Dickenson cannot figure out what they are. As Ghost would say, they have 80% of their feathers. About as big as a small football. No one had better eat them.

    Just knocked my iced tea over, going to bed with Rick Bragg, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Adventure Dog. Good choice for entertaining men. It’s a book, I grew up 30 miles from the Ferriday trio. Jerry Lee’s mama’s house was always being run into by drunks until he moved her.

  46. Jackie
    What does your large dog house eat besides chickens?

    of feed and fancy water and food containers. They will get the expensive dog kennel to keep from being eaten by hawks and a large dog house for now.

    We love you

  47. Riding the train again from Dearborn Mi to Chicago. Had a ” hinky” type day. Nothing major went wrong but enough to make both my wife and I uneasy. Arrived at the station and realized in the last 3 yrs, they’ve built a new one. But was able to board on time.

    Riding was pleasant. Was able to plug in my phone and had WiFi the whole way. Probably could get there quicker but it’s nice to let someone else do the driving.

  48. So True Old Bear. I was stunned to find when I began doing genealogy that,I had dated relatives. We should all keep records like Mormons and we could avoid that.

    Have not gotten past first chapter but we all know Jerry Lee married his 13 year old cousin. I thought she was 12.
    That was still fairly common in Louisiana back then.

  49. Part 2

    When I read MAD (25 cents cheap) in the 50s I could not understand
    why my father enjoyed it. He was OLD – he was 42.

    If I recall (without looking it up[big word that]) MAD originally was a comic –
    and “comic decency police” did not approve (comics produced juvenile delinquents-
    smoking,truancy, wearing blue jeans) so MAD became a magazine.

  50. Re Thelma and Louise with a male cast, a man may not have rejected the rape which caused T & L to take off in the first place, but more importantly no man is going to drive a beautiful convertible over a cliff. I almost drove off a cliff once, but that’s asfad.

  51. Good morning Villagers….

    Wow, JJ, thanks for sharing your morning rituals with us.

    …and did Mad magazine’s back page fold into another pic or something…been so long since I’ve seen that magazine, loved the ‘Spy vs. Spy’ antics.

    Emb, thank you for clarifying my cooler adding heat to the outside…it understand it much better now.

    And a blessed belated birthday wish Doumocon.

    Steve, that is on my ‘bucket’ list…a nice long train ride across Canada.

    Mindy…loved that pic…too funny.

    They got the vitamin D added to the water supply…my eggs shells should be stronger, thicker in a few day. Battling cracked eggs on the packer gets on my nerves.

    And a good morning to you Old Bear. Never understood that 6 degrees of separation, but there’s a lot of things in life that are hard for me to understand.

    love to all….

    And Jackie, I was wondering about your chickens yesterday…thanks for the update.

  52. Yes, Mad had their “fold-in” on the inside back cover. When you got it lined up right, the apparent picture and text changed into something completely different.

    And it did start as a comic book, changing to magazine format to get around the “Comics Code Authority”. That was a censorship board set up to regulate comics in the 1950’s when certain people took a strong dislike to the horror and crime comics of the time. Their regulations killed off the original comics line from the owners of Mad, and left them with only that publication as a going business.

  53. MAD’s ‘fold-ins” and Spy vs Spy (and sometimes Spy vs Spy vs Spy. Remember the gray lady Spy?) the two best reasons to read it!

    Isn’t Thelma and Louise already a remake–Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? They did jump off a cliff in the end! 😉

  54. “Steve, that is on my ‘bucket’ list…a nice long train ride across Canada.”

    Not sure I want to go that far, but do envy Steve living where he can travel from A to B by rail. Definitely the way to travel. From late ’30s-early ’40s did that regularly from NYC-Pawling, NY and back on the New York Central RR [2 hr.], and ’47-’51 from NYC-Ithaca on the Lehigh Valley RR, NY [9 hr.] while attending Cornell U.

    Last long trip [overnight] in the USA [mentioned here before], was with Elaine / the “El Capitan”, Chicago-L.A., June ’55 [preceded by rail from Ann Arbor, MI to Chicago, + taxi to the other rail station]. I came back from CA by station wagon w/ other grad students. Elaine had to leave earlier, flew, got sick at Chicago [Midway; O’Hare wasn’t there yet]. May have had something to do w/ her condition; our oldest was conceived about Paul Revere Day ’55.

    Since then, our only train rides were overseas, ’82, ’83, ’85, maybe other: UK, Fr., Ger. Also rode trains there ’52-’53 while in USAF, same three places.

    Debbe: You’re welcome. Thanks for the teachable moment.

    Another t. m., one similar to those Ghost and OB like to point out. There’s a misplaced “I” in a previous post. Don’t feel bad; just ran across something like “He and I went . . .” in an online newspaper. [Hope the three booboos I found above were the only ones.]


  55. Although I did read Mad, I was not so deeply into it as some, so indeed I did not recognize Jack’s name. However, I was very sad to hear that Richard Thompson died. Cul de Sac was one of my absolute favorites despite its short tenure: Right up with Calvin and Hobbs, and A&J. (Don’t be modest, Jimmy! As a comics reader, I really do consider A&J a top comic!)

  56. In the early 80’s I was taking frequent helicopter flights, usually boring. There was once when we flew by a double waterspout and once when the door next to me popped open.

  57. Jerry in Fl, good deal. I have been reading it since I ran across it a couple of years ago. Since it is in my home area I take a special interest in the 1960’s and 1970’s pages, things that happened while I was growing up. And the earlier items help explain how some things got the way they are now.

  58. I rode the train to Chicago in 2013 and realized it was the first time that I has ridden a train in the US. I’ve been lucky enough to ride trains in Japan, UK, Germany and Italy. Service there is much nicer and smoother. It’s nice to relax without having to worry about driving.

  59. Jean dear, Thelma and Louise drove off a cliff at the end; Butch and the Kid jumped off a cliff during; and 9 Chickweed Lane jumped the shark months ago. But the result was the same…they all hit bottom. 🙂

  60. So did you get your mama’s computer updated? I am going to have to break down and get mine reinstalled and turned on. Ditto TV or maybe not? I haven’t missed it yet.

    Paying the bills for nothing but I seem to do that a lot.

  61. Steve from Royal Oak, the difference between passenger service overseas and here usually boils down to one thing. Here the rails exist mainly to carry freight and the passenger trains operate at the freight carrier’s sufferance. They have no stake nor interest in the passenger trade they gave up in 1971. Most foreign service is privately operated and must maintain certain standards of service and is not bullied around by the freight operators.

    Think of what the interstates would be like for drivers if the trucking companies owned those roads and you could only operate your car when and where they allowed it. That is the situation Amtrak is in. And unlike your car, where you pay to operate and maintain it, Amtrak is largely dependent on the whims of the Federal government, and we all know how well they budget.

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