Volume I, No. 4, Summer 1974
It will seem strange to me to pick up the next issue of BITTERSWEET and not see my rock imprinted with THE EDITOR across the top of the editorial because this is my last issue as editor. Perhaps you have wondered why I use a rock for my heading. Did you think it was because a rock represents strength, integrity and a firm base for important judgments? If you did, welcome to my fan club composed of my mother and my girl friend. If, however, you are more inclined to go with the majority who probably find that idea hard to believe, I feel you are entitled to an explanation. My rock was one of the paperweights that I used while I worked last summer on the first issue of BITTERSWEET. I inscribed THE EDITOR on my rocks, partly to boost my ego, and partly to keep my paperweights on my desk instead of everyone else's. My rock has served me well, but it, as I, will vacate this page after this issue.
BITTERSWEET is a year old now, and, as everyone knows, the things we stir up here in the Ozarks get better and mellow with age. So it is with BITTERSWEET. I am proud to say that the staff preparing the next four issues has lost none of the fire and zeal with which we published the first four. If anything, next year's staff can start on a more stable basis, resulting in new confidence and a fresh style.
I feel there is no better way to share with you the pride and satisfaction that being the first editor of BITTERSWEET has given me than to share with you a few excerpts from the letters we receive daily.
My husband said the sound recording was worth the $6.00 for a year's subscription he paid. Thank you.
Dear Staff Members:
It was a pleasure to add BITTERSWEET to our magazine collections for the Springfield Public Libraries. May I congratulate you on your efforts in putting out an excellent regional publication. BITTERSWEET was especially interesting to me because I am an LHS graduate and I know some of the staff members and people about whom you have written.
I'm sure our library patrons will enjoy BITTERSWEET as much as I have.
I wish to especially commend your photography. You've used your imagination and know how to
get some truly interesting shots. My only regret is that BITTERSWEET was not started a few
years earlier so that I might have taken part, too.
Terri Knight Snodgrass
Dear Mrs. Massey:
Never have I taken pride in my little home town until just a few months ago. I thought it to be dull and uninteresting. Since I read the article in SEVENTEEN magazine, I never thought Lebanon High School could do as the people of FOX FIRE did. I congratulate you on BITTERSWEET and am forever grateful for the beautiful things in it. When and if I move from this town, I will keep a special place in my heart just for BITTERSWEET.
To the Staff of BITTERSWEET:
I have just finished reading the Spring issue of BITTERSWEET. First of all, I want to compliment the entire staff on the excellence of this issue. Comparatively speaking, it is a marked improvement, in my opinion, over earlier issues. That is to say, in the handling of subject matter, layout and workmanship, improvement is obvious. It is both amazing and gratifying that such a young staff demonstrated a grasp and understanding of subject matter that must be foreign, in a large degree, to their experience and life style.
Perhaps my opinion is biased somewhat by nostalgia, particularly by the articles on pages 8, 18, 30 and 36 through 40. These I can identify with in my boyhood memories.
Hopefully, the work you are doing will enhance the appreciation of our wonderful Ozark heritage. I feel sure that it will do just that.
[Ed. Note: Do you particularly like the article on page 38 ?]
Dear Mr. Luthy:
We just want to compliment you and your staff for the valuable work you are doing in preserving the old ways for the benefit of everyone interested in our Ozarks heritage. We are not sure everyone is aware of the tremendous effort and time required to research those articles in BITTERSWEET. The issue we have just received is literally packed with valuable information. We have recently received another grain cradle and we would like to use this information to describe its use. We also want to use copies of certain pages of BITTERSWEET in our hominy and sorghum displays if it's okay.
We are dedicating our new Museum addition to the Preservation of our Ozarks Heritage. You are helping us a great deal with your excellent BITTERSWEET quarterly. If we can cooperate in any way with your endeavors, just let us know.
Director Ralph Foster Museum
S. of 0., Point Lookout, Mo.
The article on sorghum molasses brought many memories to me. My first experience in sorghum making was in 1909. We moved from Nebraska to southeast of Sedalia [Mo.] at that time. Coming from a strictly German community and being of German descent myself, the language in Pettis County seemed very strange. I had never heard of "blinky milk," being "partial" to something, or that things were "gaumy." I heard many more things and superstitions. Of course, we Germans had a few of those also.
I am past 80 years old and enjoy your paper.
Anna K. Anderson, St. Joseph, Mo.
I was sent copies of the first two issues of BITTERSWEET, and I have to join all those others who wrote you to express astonishment that a publication of this quality could emanate from a high school. I have seen many professional periodicals that come nowhere near yours in editing, writing, and layout. You and your staff have my awed congratulations.
Pyke Johnson, Jr.,
Managing Editor Doubleday and Co., Inc., New York, N.Y.
When I first learned of BITTERSWEET in the MLA Newsletter I intended to subscribe, but put it off and finally forgot it. Then last week my friend Frances Starr, of the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis told me how much they enjoy it and how she appreciated the Duck Picking article. Right away I sent in my subscription.
When the magazine came my sister and I were delighted with it, to say the least. As Missourians we are proud of it and compliment you on its style, beauty, and general appearance as well as its content.
My sister's comment was, "Oh, I hope they haven't put in so much in these first issues that they have shot their wad!" I think you are resourceful enough to continue to find material as good as this.
Your effort gives us much joy--not just in looking backward, which is not an end in itself, but in ways to encourage us to keep our individuality in times when work and play are impersonal and mass produced.
Moscow Mills, Me.
My fellow staff members are hard at work on articles such as shape note singing, butchering, caves, Missouri mules, shingle making, tall tales, apple head dolls and several others, but my ears filter out the noise. I seem to be sitting in a vacuum surrounded by memories as I write. I don't know why I feel so strange, because everyone knows old BITTERSWEET editors never quit, they just fade away to college.
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.