Volume IV, No. 4, Summer 1977
About a year ago I picked up my pen and wrote the first "The Editor's Paw" column. Now I write the last.
We know that drawings and photographs used in a story often contribute to the story's atmosphere. We have received many comments on the photo essay "You're Pulling My Leg" (Spring 1977) which featured rare photographs taken by George Hall in the early 1900's. We mentioned he met his wife on his travelings but failed to mention her name, Valley Dean Sharp. That is why we again want to thank Lillian Hall Tyre for use of many of her father's photographs.
It is also true that another atmospheric dimension which adds to a story is sound. Our earlier volumes have all contained sound sheets, but this volume has not. Because fiddle and ragtime piano music are being worked on now, each will probably have a separate sound sheet next year which should be compensation enough for not having one this volume.
Many readers will be excited to hear that KODE Channel 12, Joplin, Missouri, and other affiliated stations around the country will broadcast a fifty-four minute documentary on Bittersweet, prime time this fall. The documentary's producer, Bob Phillips, and cameraman, Karl Lee, spent many hours with us filming interviews of past stories with our contacts, as well as the beautiful scenery we have often featured with great pride. Though the two men spent many hours with us we hardly knew they were here. Their every visit was a pleasant experience for us because of the consideration and concern they showed. Chances are stations elsewhere will rent and broadcast the documentary later in the year.
One short note to our library subscribers--we now have Bittersweet book-markers. If the library would be interested in obtaining some of these yellow and brown bookmarkers free for your library patrons, let us know how many you would like. We'll send them to you.
Every now and then a former Bittersweet member stops by for a visit. We are always pleased to see them and hear of their doings, but we were really surprised in March when Doors Brelowski dropped in while on her trip during her two month college break from West Germany. Some readers may recall that a letter from Doors appeared in this column last issue.
Six different faces are no longer uncommon on interviews and in the classroom as our new members begin to acquaint themselves with our work. An editor being watched and followed closely by a younger member who will fill that editor's position next year is not uncommon either. New members, new editors--a hope for tomorrow.
Looking back on my last year in Bittersweet, I recall the pleasure I felt as I watched each of us learn. That time has gone. I have learned much, though not all has been good. Looking forward, I hope those following me possess the strength and courage needed to change the things I could not.
This time has often been rather sad for those who were leaving, but not so much for me. This is one year I am glad is over! Soon I will be directed away from the familiar toward a continually changing, and sometimes frightening, horizon.
Still, with all these words, I cannot truly hide my thoughts of leaving behind all I have ever known. Though both my mice, Michael and Gabriel, died this past winter, they, and those things which are like them, shall always be with me. Even the people, including you, faithful readers, will occupy a tender spot within me that shall never fade.
Now as my ink well runs dry I know the time has come. I must clean out my desk, pack up my belongings, and lock the door to which many have come for guidance and comfort. As each of us departing looks back we recall many days. Leaving, I smile to those who remain and say, not "good-bye," but "catch you later."
THE EDITOR'S MAILBOX
Dear BITTERSWEET Staff:
As I read, in this last issue, about the young men floating downstream in boats with paddles, I
most envied them, their youth and the chance to do these things. My mOther, bless her, was so
frightened of water, but it was understandable since she had a brother who drowned in the St.
Francis River, so she refused to let any of her children learn to swim. We were not allowed to go
near water. When I was away from home for the first time after finishing high school and entering
summer school, I took swimming lessons without my mother's knowledge. Even though most of
her children learned to swim after they were grown, my mother never lost her fear of water.
Of course, being a woman and living in the days when every girl and woman learned to piece quilts, your article on "Pieces of the Past" (I love that title for the article) was the most interesting to me. Now, since piecing and quilting of quilts has been revived, these patterns and articles in your magazine are of special interest. I have collected several linen or cloth calendars and plan to make a quilt top of them. There are such pretty ones. My favorite one that I have so far is a 1975 calendar from our local bank and has a picture of a cotton gin at the top with big open cotton balls surrounding it. We live in the area of Missouri where lots of cotton is grown.
Dear BITTERSWEET staff:
By any slim chance might you still have a stray copy of issue 6 that I might purchase to replace
this issue that was borrowed and not returned to me? I would greatly appreciate your checking
It seems everybody who sees this magazine falls in love with it.
You folks are doing an excellent job with the BITTERSWEET.
We do have copies of 6 and all other issues. Due to the low numbers of issue 7 we have discontinued Vol. II packages but we'll continue to sell all single issues until we're completely out.
We now live in colorful Colorado but would rather go East or South and homestead. Don and I
have eighteen beautiful treed acres west of Denver and enjoy a spectacular view of Denver.
Our big But is--no pasture for our horses or goats, high altitude isn't too great for our pigs, the chickens won't lay any eggs, and the growing season is so short that only lettuce and leaf crops grow. We sure miss fresh tomatoes and other vegetables.
Our Siberian Huskey sled dog team does real well up here. They sure provide good winter entertainment but haven't returned any mOney or food for our table. So I think they will have to retire and take a back seat as we mOve on to a better, more suitable climate. I am anxious to find out about Ozark country.
Beth & Don Bittel
Dear BITTERSWEET Staff:
We look forward eagerly to each issue of BITTERSWEET. Ours is the last generation to
remember first hand many of the things you write about. Its good that you get them in print
before they are lost forever to the generations who can't imagine a world without television, radio,
or jet planes.
We have been away from our beloved Ozarks for many years but our roots go deep in its rocky soil and we climb aboard one of those new-fangled jets every so often to come home and drink in the breathtaking beauty of the hills whether it be the fresh greens of spring or the blazing colors of October--when you live there all that beauty is taken for granted--live in desert country for a while and it takes on a new meaning that is very precious.
Keep up the good work and future generations will bless you for preserving the heritage of the hills.
Mr. & Mrs. Merlin Carlton
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.