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America Life Photography

Sweet Moment for the Underdog

Well, you could hardly expect my voting for anyone else, seeing President Harry Truman was a Missourian as was I, but then again, I recall our classroom campaign, and some campaigned for Thomas Dewey. Then the vote, and within our classroom Harry Truman was now the President.

But in the real election, do you recall that he was the underdog, terribly far down in the polls? Few believed he could win the election. Foremost among those were the publishers of The Chicago Tribune who did the unthinkable: They printed and published a newspaper bearing the strong headline–Dewey Defeats Truman. Silly people.  For them a nightmare ensued, and one of the most famous news pictures in the world–probably my personal favorite–is of newly elected Harry Truman holding a newspaper boldly declaring his defeat.

November 3, 1948

President Harry S. Truman holds up a copy of the Tribune after his presidential election, arguably one of the most famous headline mistakes. (UPI/Corbis-Bettmann)

As a presidential candidate, Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York was not a glad-hander, not a flesh-presser. He was stiff and tended toward pomposity. “The only man who could strut sitting down” was the crack that made the rounds. But on Nov. 2, Election Day, an overwhelming sense of inevitability hung about the Republican nominee. The polls and the pundits left no room for doubt: Dewey was going to defeat President Harry S. Truman. And the Tribune would be the first to report it.

Arguably the most famous headline in the newspaper’s 150-year history, DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN is every publisher’s nightmare on every election night. Like most newspapers, the Tribune, which had dismissed him on its editorial page as a “nincompoop,” was lulled into a false sense of security by polls that repeatedly predicted a Dewey victory. Critically important, though, was a printers’ strike, which forced the paper to go to press hours before it normally would.As the first-edition deadline approached, managing editor J. Loy “Pat” Maloney had to make the headline call, although many East Coast tallies were not yet in. Maloney banked on the track record of Arthur Sears Henning, the paper’s longtime Washington correspondent. Henning said Dewey. Henning was rarely wrong. Besides, Life magazine had just carried a big photo of Dewey with the caption “The next President of the United States.”

The ink was hardly dry on 150,000 copies of the paper when radio bulletins reported that the race was surprisingly close. The headline was changed to DEMOCRATS MAKE SWEEP OF STATE OFFICES for the second edition. Truman went on to take Illinois and much of the Midwest in this whopping election surprise. Radio comedian Fred Allen noted Truman was the “first president to lose in a Gallup and win in a walk.” The Tribune blamed the pollsters for its mistake.

The headline might well have been quickly forgotten but for a chance encounter two days later in St. Louis.

Truman, traveling by rail to Washington, stepped to the rear platform of the train and was handed a copy of the Tribune early edition. He had as low an opinion of the Tribune as it did of him. Truman held the paper up, and photographers preserved the moment for history.

From the Chicago Tribune

Are you listening Senator McCain? I’m pulling for you.

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America Art/Architecture Children Culture Family Friends Home Life Photography Uncategorized Writing

School Supplies

In Springfield, Mo. where I grew up, our school started in September, right after Labor Day, if I recall correctly, and since our family never had an abundance of money, I suspect it was probably not August when we bought our school supplies, but more likely, it was the days just before the opening bell that we went to the store to buy these treasured items. That jaunt was one of the highlights of my year, for I loved school and everything that went with it, and I recall my delight when I became the owner of such precious items. It’s probably accurate to say a kind of euphoria overtook me at these times.

A couple of days ago when I went into our new Super WalMart here in Lake Havasu and passed through the school section, I spied a Pink Pearl eraser tucked in the company of scissors and paper clips and glue. I stopped, fingered the eraser package, and my thoughts flared and carried me to those long-gone days when, with my mother, I stood by such shelves, and made my selections. Pink Pearl was my brand. I bought one on Monday–actually two–for that’s how they were packaged.

Clearly, I think of Big Indian Chief tablets, and though I don’t recall seeing any in stores in recent years, I do find they are still manufactured, at least in limited form. Covers of dark red with an Indian chief in full dress feathers protected the wide-ruled sheets beneath. They weren’t of the spiral ring style, but were glued at the top with a black band. There was a line to write the name of the owner of this fine pad of paper. Maybe I bought other tablets, but I don’t remember any of those, just red Big Chiefs.

School supplies have a unique scent, especially school paste, which emits a savor of peppermint–and to tell the truth–a taste of peppermint. I know, for in our school, we all occasionally took a nip of the white, smooth stuff. Distinctly adding to the school aroma is that of a newly opened box of crayons, pristine and unbroken, their sharp points a flare of blended colors. So careful would we be of our new crayons, and what a sad moment when the first one broke, or became so worn down, we had to peel away the paper covering, and finally they weren’t even kept in their own container, but were dumped helterskelter in the pencil box.

I racked around in my brain this morning, trying to remember my  pencil boxes, but I just couldn’t bring up any images. I bobbed around on the internet, looking at pencil box images, and despite my extended surfing, I did not find a pencil box that seemed familiar.

Until…I recalled cigar boxes. Now, I’m not at all sure where I would have come to possess a cigar box, for neither my dad, and certainly not my mother, smoked cigars, but that’s what I used to store my school supplies; cigar boxes.

I realize now that I love cigar boxes–love the way they look, and the slightly wicked aroma that accompanies them, and the fact that for all my years in elementary school, I stored my school supplies in a cigar box. It’s strange, I have no recollection of how I came to possess such an item…and how about the other kids who also used cigar boxes?  Where did we get them? Maybe we went to the drug store or the grocery store and asked if we could have the empties. I don’t remember.

Once I visited in the home of my friend Barbra Day; she opened a drawer, and several pencils were there.

“Whose pencils are those?” I recall asking her.

Nonchalantly, she replied. “Oh, anybody who wants them.”

I was impressed with that, for in our home, there weren’t pens or pencils just laying around, or a supply stash somewhere. We had our own items, carefully tucked away in our boxes.

The pencils we used gave a strong scent of cedar when we sharpened them at school, and if our lead broke while we were at home, we used a kitchen knife to fashion a point. Often my pencil eraser would wear out before the pencil was used up, and the metal ring that clasped the eraser would dig into the paper where I was attempting to annihilate my errors.

Watercolor sets were furnished by the school, and when they handed to each of us a metal pan with pats of color, and sheets of paper, and little brushes, we budding artists (and non-artists, such as I) enthusiastically began our work. On very special occasions would the teachers bring out the easels, pots of poster paint and big floppy brushes to accommodate our artistic bent. I remember yet how fine it was to dip my brush into a jar of brilliant paint, and blaze it over the eager white paper.

Impossible for me to explain is my fascination with Dorothy Lynch’s (whom I don’t recall seeing since 6th grade in Bailey School) notebook paper. I probably have never mentioned this to a soul until this moment, for it can’t be explained, but there was something about her paper that I liked. It had a certain “tooth,” I guess one would say. It was a little rough–not like newsprint–but not slick like ordinary notebook paper. Strange memory.

There is much to be said for Big Box Stores and WalMart and KMart and Target where one can buy bundles of Bic pens and cartons of yellow pencils and bags of assorted-color plastic paper clips and made in China pencil boxes. There is much to be said for affording the finest watermarked paper and Montblanc pens, and Fahrney Pelikan pens which can be purchased at a discount rate of $1,418.00. There is certainly much to be said for being able to easily buy school supplies for one’s children.

But there also is much to recommend striving, and for the cherishing of materials which is brought about by the understanding of their limited supply.

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America Bible Children Christianity/Religion Church Culture Death Goodness of man Life love My Family My Home Pentecostal Photography Royalty Uncategorized

My Father, Farrell E. Forrest

My dad was born in Springfield, Missouri, but when he was a small child he moved with his parents to the hamlet of Biggers, Arkansas. During Dad’s early years his father abandoned his mother and their five children.
Despite this sad development, he had a happy childhood, and one of the stories he used to tell me revolved around a contest among the siblings to see which one could dress the most quickly. My lively dad would run back and forth to gauge the progress of each child, thereby hampering his own, so that he seldom won the game.
He was a winner, though, for he was always ambitious, and throughout his lifetime, he was known to be a hard worker. He quit school in the eighth grade to support his mother and his siblings.
In his early twenties, in Memphis, Tennessee, Dad met my mother. A few months later they were married, and a year after, in the small town of Portageville, Missouri, I was born.
Dad was feisty, impetuous and fun-loving, and he probably nearly drove my saintly mother crazy. Many times he would come in from work, rubbing his hands together in happy anticipation, a smile spread over his handsome face and say, “Let’s go to Portageville.” We children would dance in glee for we dearly loved our aunts and uncles and cousins who lived there. My mother would gather our things, and off we would go.
For as long as I can remember–even almost to the year of his death–my dad pastored churches, even pioneering several. They were relatively small churches, and he always worked a secular job. For many years, he was a door-to-door salesman, selling Fuller Brushes, and then Singer Sewing Machines. He eventually had his own shop–Forrest Sewing Center.
My dad was extremely studious and spent many hours preparing for every sermon he preached. Although of modest means, he always found money to invest in Bible commentaries and other books. I can see him now in our small living room, a Bible on his lap with two or three other books opened and stacked on each other. We youngsters were the library aides, and when he wanted another book, he would call for Homeletics, Handsful on Purpose, or Clarks commentaries, citing the volume he needed. Some of them had Roman numeral designations, and part of my mathematical training was in learning that system as I found commentaries for my father

For his 80th birthday, which proved to be mere months before his death, I threw a big party for my dad. Did all the planning long distance (with the help of some of my family) for I lived in California and the party was at a hotel in Springfield. Dapper, yet, wasn’t he. I bought all his clothes for that day, including a pair of silk shorts which I laughingly presented. At the party, I quizzed whether or not he was wearing his silk underwear.

His eyes crinkled in their usual way. “Shirley, I couldn’t wear those things.”

Years ago, his body was laid to rest in Greenlawn Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri. He awaits now the resurrection.

I honor my dad on this Father’s Day.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Children Culture Humor Life Music My Family My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Of Peach Trees, Treehouses and Violin Practice

My childhood was spent in Springfield, Mo. which is situated in the heart of the Ozark mountains. Consequently, trees played a large part in my life, and to this moment, I think with intense fondness of wooded picnic areas, of acres of black walnut groves, and of picking hickory nuts from thick forest floors. I recall climbing high into trees and of once building a tree house in our yard. Well, actually, it consisted of a few boards, hammered into place, but it functioned as a lounge-about-spot for my siblings, cousins and friends. Once either my sister Donna or my brother Junior got stuck in the high tree near the back of our yard, and was afraid to come down. I can’t remember which one of them it was, but it worried me, and I recall Mama standing at the base of the tree urging him/her down.

Closer to our house we had a peach tree. I was learning to play the violin, and I think my parents were not terribly fond of hearing me practice which no doubt led to my clear memory of my propping music in the forked branch of the peach tree, and of practicing the violin as I stood in the side yard. That must have been a sight and there’s no telling what the neighbors said. I don’t believe they thought I was a budding virtuoso, for I have no recollection of anyone standing around to gather in the magnificent stringed tones!

Earlier today I found pictures of remarkable treehouses, have posted some of them and urge you to click the link that will show you the others.
Creative and Unique Spherical Tree House Design

From weburbanists: 10 Tree Houses

Those are fabulous treehouses, but there is nothing quite like a couple of boards nailed high in a tree supporting a gaggle of giggling girls (with a boy or two thrown in). For a tender vignette, tuck in a peach tree music stand with a pigtailed girl pulling the bow across rosined violin strings.

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My devotional blog is here.