Volume VI, No. 3, Spring 1979
Spring is on its way. In the midst of the January snow it encouraged us to keep hoping spring would come as we selected the pictures to use in the spring photo essay (page 32) and the two spring pictures to use on the covers. Since slick roads this winter prevented us from going on as many interviews as usual, we kept busy taking care of the business of continuing Bittersweet. We have just selected the new staff members for next year. I hope their enthusiasm remains as great next year as it is now.
We are always happy to hear of the success of those who have helped us with our magazine. Daisy Cook's paintings have been used in our stories several times, and reproductions of three of them are now available. Details follow in a letter from her husband, Warren. Our readers have become acquainted with him through his stories in the last issue, as well as through his walnut tree story in this issue (page 25).
With the publication of our book, Bittersweet Country, has come several opportunities to publicize what we are doing. We have been asked to speak at the local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. KY-3 TV Station in Springfield again featured Bittersweet on a segment of their regular news program. They covered both the magazine writing aspect and our reactions to the publication of our book. We have also been featured on radio talk programs in Rolla and St. Robert, Missouri. Several bookstores around the state have asked us to come to autograph books for their customers. Some of the stores we have been to are: Bennett Schneider, Kansas City; Heritage Book Stores, Springfield and St. Robert; Chapter One, Columbia and Branson Book and Card Store. We certainly appreciate the media and stores for their promotion of our book and magazine.
Spring has also brought many more invitations to present programs. We have already accepted five invitations for March and April. It seems though as if we never get enough, for we always have more volunteers from the staff than we have places to speak.
We always appreciate it when our readers take time to write us suggesting new ideas or commenting on our magazine.
From Bittersweet Staff:
I am delighted with the story in the current issue of your magazine. I am also pleased that it
included the article on Daisy's paintings. Her recognition is growing rapidly and I am sure your
magazine can take credit for a fair share of that growth. Do you know that Crowder College has
reproduced 9000 prints, in limited editions of three of her paintings the college owns? They hope
to sell them in order to raise funds to improve their museum storage facilities. I assume that your
magazine cannot accept advertising. It would certainly reach a lot of people that could relate to
the theme of her work.Warren Cook,
ED. NOTE: The pictures that have been reproduced are "Making Grape Jelly," "The Pie Supper," and "The Church Picnic." For more information you may write to Betty Shook, 3132 East Sunshine, Springfield, Missouri 65804.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the last issue of BITTERSWEET, especially the article on play party
games which brought back fond memories of rainy day play when I attended a rural school years ago.
You seem never to run out of material! You might inquire of some of your older sources if the custom of "Chicken Soups" as a sport of young men was prevain the Ozarks. The "sport" consisted of securing the chickens, for only stolen chickens made "good" soup. An interesting story I heard in my youth was of an incident when a group of boys went to "relieve" the aunt of one of some of the chickens she kept in a small, locked building. On their arrival at the scene at night, the larger young men lifted a corner of the house so the nephew could crawl in and pass out the trophies, but before he could come out himself the rest lowered the corner and went off to enjoy the "soup" without him. The details of what happened when the aunt unlocked the chicken house the next morning were never told.
Congratulations on your continuing success.
Moscow Mills, Missouri
Dear Mrs. Massey:
The morning mail has brought my autographed copy of BITTERSWEET COUNTRY and I'm
delighted with it. This is a grand piece of work, and makes me feel good just to be on the edge of
this activity in my role as subscriber to the magazine.
Please give my very best wishes to the kids involved in this undertaking. The experience should stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
D. B. Mabry,
Editor, CROSSTIES Magazine,
St. Louis, Missouri
Dear Mrs. Massey:
My grandson, George Curry, gave me a copy of BITTERSWEET COUNTRY for a gift
Christmas. I have read and enjoyed it very much. At the age of 85 I am still interested in the work
that you people are doing. We are now trying to lock the stable door but the horse nearly escaped.
The cradle on the front seems a replica of one I owned and used in the early twenties. The title struck close for I too have been doing some writing on the same line. My life has been long and very eventful. With only fifty-one months of schooling the chance of writing a passable story were very remote. I had a rather remarkable war record (W. W. I) and my children (4) started begging me to write about some of my experiences. At age 82 this work was started. This resulted in about 45 typed pages and these caused an outcry for more from my kids and others in my family. The result is not a book but a story in narrative form about me and old times as they were lived and seen by me.
This story had been written before your book fell into my hands. Your recipes, music and a few other things did not interest me. Your book did not mention ox teams, froes, puncheon floors and several other things that were commonplace in my early youth. I've never felt ashamed of the fact of my poor education but have just tried to make the most of what I had. After again urging you folks to keep up the good work I'll try to give you a thumb sketch of my own life.
I was born in a lovely little settlement in the eastern part of Pope County, Arkansas. This community was named Pleasant Grove. This was turned into a rather derisive nickname Buttermilk. I was the 13th child of 17 born to my father and mother and attended local rural schools. Usually these schools had two months summer and two months winter terms. Passing the county teachers exam. in 1912 I taught the 1915-16 term at Dude Ridge school. About 6 years in my father's gin and sawmill during my teens, then rural teacher, soldier, rural carrier, farmer, school director, notary public, J. P. and state representative all came my way. Also, I helped oversee the cotton plow up at the beginning of the depression.
I will close by saying I'm just an 85 year old relic (born 12/27/93). My teeth are store bought. My tonsils, appendix and prostate glands are gone, my left eye is artificial and I have a pacemaker imbedded in my left shoulder. By the way my story is named Dolan Burris and Buttermilk Country.
Thank you folks for several hours of interesting reading.
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.