Thursday, April 18, 2019


When undertaking the decluttering of a house in which you have lived for 43 years, there is no end to the things you will find.  The living room is so full of books right now that Walt says whenever he sits down, he just picks a book at random to read.

This evening he found an article I wrote in about 2003 about the closure of an outdoor stage that Acme Theatre used each summer to present its annual free Shakespeare shows (the stage was being turned into something else).

The article itself was fun to re-read, but what really caught my eye was a little filler over on the left side of the page, obviously written by the then-entertainment editor, Derrick Bang:

Acme gadgets
employed by
Wile E. Coyote,
during his fruitless
pursuit of
The Roadrunner

* Axle grease guaranteed slippery
* Batman’s outfit
* Cactus costume
* Dehydrated boulders (just add water)
* Do-It-Yourself Tornado Kit
* Earthquake pills
* Explosive tennis ball
* Giant Kite Kit
* High speed tonic (contains Vitamins R-P+M)
* Instant icicle maker
* Instant road
* Invisible paint
* Jet Propelled pogo stick
* Jet propelled unicycle
* Lightning bolts (rubber groves included)
* Little Giant Do-It-Yourself rocket Sled Kit
* Little Giant Snow Cloud
* Rocket powered roller skates
* Roller skis (no snow necessary)
* Triple strength battleship steel armor-plate
* Triple strength fortified leg muscle vitamins
* Weather balloon
Bet you didn't know that, did you!

Ned uncovered a stack of periodicals my father saved through the war.  Several newspapers from the early 1940s with banner headlines like INVASION!, PEACE, and FDR DIES!  There is even one from 1921 about a shipwreck of a ship called the Alaska with a list of the dead and injured (the captain was one of the dead).  The 1921 paper is quite fragile and obviously it was my grandparents who saved it, since my father was only 7 years old at the time.

 There are also 3 Life magazines from about 1942.  At one time my father had two HUGE boxes of Life magazines and was devastated when I went through them and cut out all the photos of Judy Garland, but later when there was a leak in our basement and the magazines took a real beating, he didn't mind so much.

Ironically, he always told me that my "inheritance" from him would be his enormous collection of jazz records--and he had a great collection, but by the time he died, remastered CDs of most of those records had come out and when I had someone come out to give me a quote on the records, I practically had to pay him to take them away.  They were not interested at all.

However, I decided to drop off the rest of the Life magazines at a used book store in San Francisco and they paid me something like $200 for them!

The magazines are fun to go through.  My word are there a lot of cigarette ads!  Seems like nearly every page has a cigarette ad with this or that doctor recommending this or that brand of cigarette.  Seems that the worry in the 40s was that you would get an irritated throat from inhaling...I guess nobody had figured out that cigarettes caused lung cancer.

There are also a lot of ads for toothpaste and one that I loved which was nearly a page long talks about someone who is a sweet girl but it's just too bad that she suffers from bad breath.  This was an ad for Listerine toothpaste.
And of course, all the "homemaking" ads are directed at women, who were expected to be nice little Stepford wives.

What do you do with stuff like that when you are trying to downsize? 

I found a site on line for historic newspapers and discovered that there is apparently a big market for them.  I've sent an inquiry.  The papers there all sell in the $30-$100 range (each).  Then I went on eBay and looked for newspapers and found a slew of them there as well, selling for considerably less...with no bids on them whatsoever.

So I don't know if I can make any money off these newspapers.  I just can't throw them away.  If I can't make any money from them, I'd be happy to give them to someone who would appreciate them.  Somewhere in all of the "stuff" around here I have my own box of headlines for things like JFK's assassination and other notable headlines.

I was taking after my father and didn't even realize it.

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