The Charlotte News
Sunday, October 30, 1938
Site Ed. Note: Well, this night of the eve of soulin', we would like to suggest whispers, on the eve of our annual costume regalia, the eve of All Saints, as they go marching, gently, along our roads and by-ways, winded by drift of the little lanterns and soft candles and sweets.
We could tell you the one about "The War of the Worlds", you know, that night when the Martians landed in New Jersey, or the one about "The Purple People Eater" by Sheb, or the one about "The Day the Earth Stood Still", you know, about Einstein.
But, it being Sunday evening, and our daily deadline overrun here, (and with the delivery boys and girls out there chomping at the bit to get their papers delivered before too much after nightfall) and as it finds us being a little foggy on it all this eve, we shall let you explore the below at your leisurely pace.
Candidly, we have never heard of such things, ourselves.
In fact, we should say that that bit about Bacon sure hits us as a surprise. Had no idea anyone ever doubted that the Bard wrote the Plays or that one Play in particular had some hidden expressions within it. None whatsoever. Never heard such a thing and wouldn't even so much as wish to consider or explore all of that for a minute ourselves, for we know who wrote those Plays. And it would scare us silly to go digging the Bard's bones and wind up burned by that curse of which his Epitaph warns in his Tombstone Territory.
Well, time for a little four and four now, and R and R.
But before that, we will say that right now, we have so many discs spinning, we thought we'd pause and listen to a few of 'em.
Stories from the past taken over whole and plopped down in the present with not even the faintest recognition of the attendant hardship which accompanied that past, displaced in the present by necessity, not to offset once enjoyed freedom, but to abate disease and lack of sanitation, rude transportation, ennui, a windowless world only affording the ruthless consistency of the present, sans color of imagination to afford flight from the shack, to give wing to the constant furrowing forth to better attend the absence of what the great lights told earlier men they needed, that which only circular hardship season to season ultimately gave the great insistence to invention to conquer it. (That was a leftover we excised from a previous note; usually we just throw them overboard but for some reason we decide to store a few coldly for a bit and see what happens. We don't know which one to which this one belonged, but it sort of fits here better, anyway, we think, so we plopped it--since we are deliberately being lazy today, see.)
Here's another excised bit, previously:
Here's a strange thing re the July 23, 1939 collision with a similar story of February 28, 1963. Ninety days after February 28 was May 29, 1963, the President's last birthday. Eighty-seven days after July 23 was October 18, 1939--and we have searched so far in vain to determine on which date the story on which the editorial was based first appeared, for it was not in The News--, an individual was born in New Orleans.
And here's yet another outtake, from one about the mine strikes, we think it was:
Come all ye young fellas,
So bold and so fine,
And seek not your fortune
Way down in the mine
It'll form like a habit
And seep in your soul,
Till the stream of your blood
Is as black as the coal
It's dark as the dungeon
And damp as the dew
Where the dangers are doubled
And the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls,
The sun never shines
It's dark as the dungeon
Way down in the mine
Oh, it's many a man
That I've seen in my day
Who lived just to labor
His whole life away
Like a fiend with his dope
Or a drunk with his wine,
A man must have lust
For the lure of the mine
I do hope when I'm gone
And the ages do roll
My body will blacken
And turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door
Of my heavenly home
And pity that miner
That are diggin' my bones
--As sung by Glenn Yarbrough, circa 1963
Did you ever see the old fifties tv show, "One Step Beyond"? Now, there was a scary show, especially the one about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and the other one about The Flying Dutchman on the Titanic, forerunner to Rod's pieces.
Starts us to shutdering, just thinking about it.
There'll probably be a lot of moral indignation loosed about the marriage near Prestonsburg, Ky., of Rosie Columbus, aged ten, to Fleming Tackett, 34-year-old miner. The husband will be denounced and the blacksmith-parson who married them will be denounced, and, above all, the parents will be denounced--all as being nothing less than inhuman monsters. In all the denunciation, probably not much attention will be paid to the rest of the story, which according to the Associated Press goes like this:
The two room cabin (owned by Tackett) is three miles north of Prestonsburg in an isolated section. In it, with Rosie and her "Flem," will live the girl's mother and father, Jim, two younger brothers, an older sister and some in-laws.
But it means luxury to Rosie. A dozen miners said Rosie and her family had lived under a rock cliff near the cabin for "two Winters."
But there's no use in getting steamed about the marriage unless you get steamed up about this, too. For such child marriages in America are invariably the issue of the animal ignorance and degradation bred by just such animal poverty and want. As long as there are people who have to live under cliffs two Winters, as long as there are people who have to live crowded by the dozen into two-room cabins, there will go right on being people who do not see anything wrong in the marriage of ten-year-old children.
You Draw the Moral
In the study of Christ Church rectory on St. Simons Island, Georgia, one night last February, Dr. Charles H. Lee, 71 and a second cousin to Marse Robert, sat preparing his Sunday sermon. With him was his wife, like him slightly deaf. They heard a sharp noise, as though a motor had backfired, but thought nothing of it. Then Mrs. Lee retired, and there came a second noise. Dr. Lee fell over in his chair, a bullet through his temple.
This cruel murder was described for St. Simons police last week. A Negro named George Cleyborn said that he and another Negro known as "Willie" or "Looney" had done it. Cleyborn fired the first shot, the "backfire," and missed, and after lying low for awhile "Willie" took the pistol and fired a second time.
Cleyborn told the police also that a white man, Henry Cofer, owner of the Golden Isle Hotel & Casino, had given him $150 and the gun to murder the rector, and that Cofer's brother, proprietor of The Brass Rail, a liquor store had employed "Willie" to assist him. Motive the police are working on is that the rector was exercised at the number and the nature of dives in his island neighborhood, and that the Cofer brothers, apparently very stupid men, set out to remove him.
But as all of us know, the only way dives can operate is with the tolerance of the police. Hence it stands to reason that the police officers who worked for more than eight months to bring the murderers of Dr. Lee to justice were the very same police officers who had permitted conditions to exist which were directly responsible for the crime. There is a moral in that which the little reader may phrase for himself.
Site Ed. Note: Having some further years on Cash, we think we understand the phrasing, ourselves, and only too, too well.
Got the key, now. Just Pickett.
Popularizing A Union
In all the world there are less than half a dozen men who can offer Yehudi Menuhin competition as a master of the violin. Name Kreisler, Elman, Heifetz, and you have almost run through the list. Ergo, Menuhin, like these competitors, sets his own fees, and does not lie awake at night for fear some scabbing Kreisler will take his job. Mr. Menuhin has just set himself a nice fat fee of $3,000 for playing for 30 minutes, on a forthcoming program of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
But now up steps the American Guild of Musical Artists to say that Mr. Menuhin can't play for the Philharmonic until he first signs up a membership slip with that union, authorizes it to be his "exclusive agent," and pays it $70 in membership fees. The union does not at all dispute Mr. Menuhin when he says "I have always sympathized with organized labor... But I have no interest requiring collective bargaining..." It does not pretend that Mr. Menuhin needs protection. It simply lays down the law that nobody, whatever his stature, can play for the Philharmonic save on the conditions it (the union) specifies. And Mr. Menuhin, thinking that "if this continues, we soon will have only one kind of art--and that which conforms to union regulations," politely declines.
Mr. Menuhin is going to be deprived of his nice fat fee. And over the nation some millions of music lovers--in great part liberals with an active sympathy for labor unions--who listen to the Philharmonic concerts on Sunday afternoons, are going to be deprived of the coveted privilege of hearing Mr. Menuhin. And so, we bet you that Mr. Menuhin and all those millions are hereafter going to feel more and more actively sympathetic toward labor unions. We bet you--like heck!
Site Ed. Note: Of course, had Mr. Menuhin first been allowed to play at the Philharmonic and only then did the union seek the fee or refuse to allow the Philharmonic to pay him, then he could have taken 'em to Court, on quantum meruit principles of contract law, you see. So, best not mess too much with skilled musicians. Boo.
The State Pioneers
To a lot of people it will be somewhat startling news that North Carolina has become the first member of the union to establish State-supported birth control clinics, that it already has 57 such clinics, and that one of the oldest of them is located in Charlotte. And, indeed, it is a little startling when you consider the exceedingly conservative character of the people of the state.
But it is not startling from another viewpoint. For many years, the North Carolina Health Department has been one of the best and most progressive in the country. Considering the resources it commands, it is perhaps the best in America. And so it was natural enough that it should be a pioneer in these clinics--which, in fact, are not simply birth control clinics. The one here, for instance, concerns itself also with general pre-natal care, with the delivery of indigent mothers, and the eradication of syphilis in new-born babes.
And nowhere were such clinics more needed than in North Carolina. The South, with 13 per cent of the national income and 28 per cent of the population of the nation, has a general birth rate 50 per cent higher than the national average. And North Carolina has the highest birth-rate in the South. More, North Carolina ranks among the first states for high infant and maternity death-rate due to lack of proper pre-natal care, and also for congenital syphilis.
The greater part of our excess birth rate is accounted for by the day laborer and sharecropper classes--which is to say people who are already too numerous to find a place in our economic system and whose share in the low Southern income is already grossly inadequate to decent living. It is in these classes too, that the waste of human life consequent upon lack of pre-natal care is most evident. And it is among the poor generally that congenital syphilis most flourishes.
We have, in short, simply been multiplying human misery. And at the same time we have been hanging an almost intolerable burden around the state's neck. North Carolina, with one-forth the per capita income of New York City, has one-third more children, in proportion to population, to educate. And the inadequate care of mothers and congenital syphilis provides us with an institutional and crime bill all out of keeping with the size of our population.
These clinics are the first sensible approach to the problem that has ever been made, and the Health Department deserves to be given much larger appropriations than it has yet had for the carrying on of this work.
In Spenser's Grave
In Westminster Abbey workmen are digging for the bones of Edmund Spenser, author of the Faerie Queen and dead these 339 years. Reason is that William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and others are supposed to have dropped scraps of paper, with certain writings on them, into his grave when they buried him. And scholars are hopeful that if those scraps can be found, they will settle the controversy as to whether Shakespeare himself or Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans and sometime Lord Chancellor of England, wrote the Shakespearean plays.
It is curious, but little is likely to come of it. The notion that Bacon wrote the plays was never heard of until the middle of the nineteenth century. No contemporary, including Ben Jonson who was jealous of him, seems to have any notion that anybody but William of Stratford had a hand in the writings. All of the evidence for the Bacon theory is of the sketchiest sort. Thus, it is said that Shakespeare was not an educated man, whereas the author of the plays obviously knew much about many things, including the law. But little is really known about Shakespeare's education. Again, it is said that the language of Bacon and the language of Shakespeare are much alike. But that is only natural, seeing that they were contemporaries. The prize piece of evidence however, is that which was offered by Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence in his Bacon Is Shakespeare, published in 1910. According to that learned savant the mock-humorous word "honorificabilituditatibus" in Love's Labour Lost, is an anagram which really spells "hi ludi F. Baconis nati tuiti orbi"--which is to say, "These plays F. Bacon's offspring preserved for the world!"
Site Ed. Note: It is not the toothy or be? What is he talkin' about? This feller needs him a lesson. Callin' us Animals, like that. Does he not know "hi-Lillie, hi-Low? House o' the Risin'...?...
Wait, a minute. Draft?!
Quare chirrah, not sirrah?
If yon I offend thee, pluck it out!
Most definitely not.
Go do your homework. Quo vadis.
But, afore you goeth, hint-helper: "1791-1823 D'Israeli Cur. Lit. (1866) 287 Such were flap-dragons, which were small combustible bodies fired at one end and floated in a glass of liquor, which an experienced toper swallowed unharmed, while still blazing."
And here's another, ye wight, might which ye not find lest ye do some raddin': Faerie, is, we glean, the female version of the fair steened, the male being just some knightly wight, yclept then by the lonesome queen as not so necessarily quare, but of the most handsome faire. But, anyway, that might take ye some teem to comprend, so be of sloth, if need it be, and learn your lessons well, ye childe of we and thee.
Note: One afternoon, in the fifth grade, we took a walk home. Before that walk, we had been looking forward to attending the U.N.C.-Duke football game in chapel hill next day, on this lovely, warm late November afternoon. On the way home, as we turned the corner on our normal route, turn off Buena Vista to the right, onto Woodbine, to the left onto Avalon, just before turning slightly to our right onto Greenbrier, then up the little grassy slope to where we lived then, we encountered a boy, walking hurly-burly, frantically the other way on Avalon, just at that corner of Woodbine.
His name we recall, but that is not necessary to convey. His father was Greek and ran a coffee shop in town, next to the theater. The boy, a year older than us, was crying, crying, mightily, helplessly: "They killed him. They killed him."
Having already heard a rumor, as we walked in from recess at around 2:15, that he was shot, with the immediate thought coming to our mind--for reasons we still don't quite understand--that we could not understand why he would have been out hunting, especially on a Friday afternoon and why a hunting accident could have so befallen such a man-- Our teacher, a member of the D.A.R., who that fall or winter--we don't recall which--would enable our class to participate in a skit, the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, before the local chapter of the D.A.R., quelled the rushing rumor through the children. "We don't know whether this is true," she said. "So we will all remain orderly and go back to class and await the bell before jumping to any conclusions."
As we turned that corner that afternoon at about 2:35, and saw the boy wringing his hands and crying uncontrollably, walking the other way, saying his words into the air, not looking at us, apparently oblivious even to our presence, so filled with tears were his eyes, we knew that he was not confused, that something awful and terrible had happened, which would perhaps forever change us.
But, we did not cry. We wanted to be brave. And so we walked on home, and turned on the tv, no one then yet being there. And we watched as Frank McGee gave us the horrible news. We have not listened, watched or read the news quite the same since. Probably, none of us who were alive then, have, we would venture. So, if you were not alive then or not old enough then to recall it, forgive us our feelings sometimes, as we approach these days of November. It used to be the ninth month before they made it the eleventh.
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