HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

October 22, 1989

Hey, they’re, Udo!–

(Unless You Want To Make A Contribution)

TIME: 07:19 A.M.
BAROMETER: 29.97″ Hg.↓

MANY THANKS for the details on Stanley Featherstonehaugh-Ukridge, whose name is more familiar to me than his fictional adventures, because I have never read the P.G. Wodehouse novels in which he appears.  But that’s the way la galette fait pulvériser, as we used to say around the zinc bars of l’arrondissement while we waited for our remittance checks to arrive at American Express.

AND MANY THANKS ALSO for the in-depth information on Rockefeller University and TreBeCa.  Now we can go to Elaine’s without making boo-boo’s about one of BigTown’s very-in districts.  Take into consideration that I was raised to believe that the intersection of Liberty Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard was the Crossroads Of The World, and the Fulton Street “L” had been built to deliver us pure-and-simples into the hands of Brooklyn pickpockets, short-changers, and con artists waving deeds to the Bridge.  SoHo and TriBeCa were non-existent concepts.  I realize now, of course, that the Crossroads Of The World is the intersection of Stewart Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard.  Had to come almost 3000 miles to grasp that enduring wisdom.  You don’t know how lucky you are.

THE OSTERHOUTS:  No need to pursue this tidbit of Catskill history.  Those we knew have probably departed, and their offspring would have no idea who we are.  The little girl in Thomas’ play would run to her parents and scream that some nutty New Yorkers want to kidnap her to work on a farm near Oneonta.  Just keep your sidewalk shoveled and stay on the good side of the whittlers down at the IGA, and your life will continue to be rich and full.

ENCLOSURE:  I thought the article on Pweabic ware might interest Anne, but she may already know about it.  You will find in the article a straight-from-the-shoulder comment on minimalism, which should convince you that it has not only wrecked literature but almost wrecked pottery making, which is much too close for comfort.  If you want to maneuver a bill through Albany to outlaw minimalism, I’ll do what I can to help (except send money).

ENCLOSED IGA AD:  Shows you that we are in the 20th century out here, too.  As you can see, we have four (4) IGA’s in Sacramento alone.  We don’t have to wait for the up-river boat from San Francisco any more.  Anytime we need gunpowder or calico, we just go right down to the IGA and buy it.  Match that in Stamford if you can, fella.  And compare our prices for horse-shoe nails or kerosene with yours.  I dare you.

THE QUAKE:  We felt it here, but just some rolling of the earth that sloshed water out of the pool for two or three minutes.  But my step-daughter’s nanny has two daughters living in San Francisco, and one of them is still shaking.  She was driving home from work when an overpass on Highway 101, and the overpass collapsed behind her.  She made it, but not by much.  The other daughter lives near The Presidio, but apparently no big damage took place around there.  That’s enough excitement for one family for this year.

YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT that I was overstating the case against The Sacramento Bee when I kept taking potshots at its creative spelling, so I enclose a Xerox (actually a Canon) of part of their earthquake coverage, showing how police officers “peak” over the edge of a freeway collapse.  I could send you a carton of examples like this every week.  Misuses are bad enough in news articles, which are done in haste, but when they turn up regularly in captions, it’s obvious that the editors don’t know the difference.  How does the Albany Times-Union compare?

BROOKHAVEN FUSION:  Appreciate the article.  I notice the familiar name of Gerhart Friedlander, which I used to hear over the paging system at The Forbidden City several times a day.  I’ll try to understand the article, even though my grasp of chemical processes is a little uncertain when I venture beyond the functioning flashlight battery.  And your unequivocal position on cold fusion is duly noted and will be kept a closely guarded secret from the editors of The Bee, who keep pestering me for information about my electro-chemise friend who specializes in newkyewlar foujin.

Enclosure On Cold Fusion:  This appeared in today’s paper, so I send it for your edification.  I can’t comment because nothing about storage batteries is reported.

THE GREAT BENEDICT CANYON MISUNDERSTANDING:  At the end of your explanation you ask me not to take my pick “…as to which story is the most plausible.”  Not possible.  I will have to stand by my assertion that Barry Sullivan lived down the street (and up the slope), and John confused him with Barry Fitzgerald, who never even lived near there, and Cedric Hardwick, whom he may have confused with the Sedgwick Hardware store below Wilshire in Beverly Hills.  We’ll never know now.  On top of that, you say there were two Indians, and John said you brought four uninvited guests (unless Jeanne took the position that you and Yeffe and the two Indians equaled four, and were all uninvited; you could write to her to find out).

THE GREAT MAIL DELAY:  Your letter of October 10, 1989 was postmarked October 11, 1989 in Albany.  It was delivered here on October 20, 1989.

Alas, the delay was caused by a wrong zipcode.  Somewhere en route two of the five numbers were obliterated by a vicious stroke of a black felt pen, leaving the first three numerals: “958▓▓.”  Not easy to read what was obliterated, but under a strong light it looks something like 17.  We can’t afford these delays, considering the significance and timeliness of our exchanges.  Why not print some labels like the ones I ran with your name on them?  If you can figure out how to print a picture of your impressive home by using GIF and CShow and “Publish,” labels should be child’s play.

You are right that we don’t have “vast acreage to mow.”  We have a quarter acre, not visible because it stretches to the left (in the photo) and wraps around the house to the right (we live on a corner).  Anything you don’t see is grass, and we pay a team of gardeners to mow it once a week.  Step-daughter who lives at the other end of Stewart Road has an acre, and we almost bought a house with an acre next to hers.  We’re very happy that we didn’t.  We would have had no use for all that open space, which would have kept our gardening team busy half a day every week.  Your idea of a snow fence is right on target.

New Catskill dwellers, mount your guard!
Confound the leaves that disregard
Your landscape, flutter down, bombard
Your leafless lawn, by Fall unmarred.
Bold action, though the choice be hard:Snowfence them to your neighbor’s yard.
–Henry Wadsworth Osterhout

And so once again we reach the end of another report, and say farewell from The Big Tomato, as we brace ourselves for Rain, Heavy At Times.  It ain’t easy being a pioneer, Udo.

Fred C. (“Water, Water-Anywhere?”) Dobbs

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