Volume VII, No. 2, Winter 1979
I am convinced that if Bittersweet has ever had a hectic year this has to have been it. As the school year began we hurriedly met the deadlines of getting out our publicity and mailing out the last issue. It seems like that from there we have just gone from deadline to deadline without ever fully having a minute to catch our breath. And just as we were about to, the cool nip of the winter wind reminded us of yet another more pressing deadline--that of final layouts for this issue you hold in your hands.
It is sometimes a nuisance to need to have everything done so far in advance, especially when I have to predict the outcome of things that have yet to happen. Last fall when I explained that the staff attended the National Cultural Journalism Workshop in St. Louis, August 9-12, I said, of course, that we had a good time; but we found "a good time" not nearly as expressive as what we felt. Combining business with pleasure, each day we attended four workshop sessions with time in between to mingle with other students and advisors from other projects. Though geographically and culturally there were miles between each project, there was a refreshing unity of being joined by a common interest--a respect for the educational value of a culture-rich environment. It could be that being just a naive country kid I was overwhelmed by things that would seem hardly out of the ordinary to most anyone else. Regardless, the whole trip will be one of my most preserved "bittersweet" memories (that makes just about a zillion), and I couldn't go on to our winter news without telling you a little more about it.
September 18 we traveled to Tuscumbia and talked to a group of teachers from Miller County who were thinking of establishing a museum and setting up some type of program with the same purpose Bittersweet has. As of yet I haven't heard if anything further has been done, but I hope they will be successful.
The District Teacher's Meeting at Springfield was held a week early this year, and the day we were to set up a booth at the book exhibit, we received still another speaking engagement from Lake of the Ozarks American Association of Retired Persons. And so on October 4 we split up--a group of us went to Springfield for the teachers meeting while another traveled to Sunrise Beach and talked with their AARP.
Jim O'Quinn of Lebanon held an old-fashioned barn party in October and to our delight invited the staff to come. It was quite a new experience for many of us and a lot of fun.
On October 22 a student from Southwest Baptist College, Donna Wallace, came to do her student teaching with Mrs. Massey. Not only have we benefitted from her, but also she is gaining an insight of the uniqueness of our class.
Another new experience we had was to attend the Missouri State Teachers Association Convention in St. Louis where we set up a booth at the book exhibit. Mrs. Massey, Becky, Linda, and Mary stayed at the convention for three whole days (which put me in charge at school). We got a lot of publicity from the exhibit and Bittersweet Country sold very well.
Speaking of Bittersweet Country, November 17th marked its official first birthday. Christmas will be here nippity-split so if you haven't finished your shopping, the book is an excellent gift. The staff and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and an exceptionally warm New Year!
COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS
Dear Students -
I purchased "Bittersweet Country" while visiting Silver Dollar City last weekend and it's hard for
me to put down. I wanted you students to know how much I am enjoying the book. My
grandfather is 96 years old and was born and raised in the Pilot Grove area (Clear Creek) as was
my grandmother. My grandparents were and still are very important to me, but it is so hard for me
to visit my grandfather because he is in a home in Boonville. I am always at a loss for things to
talk to him about, but your book has changed all that. I am so anxious to see him and talk to him
about some of the subjects I have read about in your book. He is very hard of hearing or else I
would read the book to him. His mind is as good as ever but his body is slowly wearing out.
So I just wanted to thank you for giving me the inspiration to make the trip to really talk with him. I know he is full of so many wonderful tales, but difficulty in communication has locked them away from his family.
ED NOTE: That is great! An experience like that is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of Bittersweet.
Dear Bittersweet Friends:
I sure like "Bittersweet!" While it is mostly about the Ozarks, much is about Missouri in general,
and also all of the midwest. It's wonderful that you are keeping the past alive! Missouri, in the
very heart of the country, must be the typical American state; part eastern, part western, part
northern, part southern. Once it belonged to the Indians, then to Spain, and to France till Thomas
Jefferson bought it for us in the world's best real estate deal! Once part Union, part Confederate,
now all American!
Steamboat traffic centered here on the upper and lower Mississippi, the Ohio and the Missouri. The fur trade that first explored the west jumped off from Missouri, as did Lewis and Clark, the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon and California Trails and the Pony Express.
Missouri also gave us one of our finest recent presidents--Harry Truman. Harry had one thing it seems no one in politics has today--good common sense and also guts! If "give 'em hell" Harry was now president, just think how much better off we'd be.
Byron A. Peterson,
Spirit Lake, Iowa
Dear Bittersweet Staff:
What a joy it is to receive each copy of "Bittersweet," and how comforting to see that some of
our young people are interested in preserving the good old-fashioned values and customs,
including hard work. I'm sure a great deal of that goes into each issue.
Having lived in your area of Missouri for about twenty years, I am familiar with many of the places and people covered in your magazine.
Congratulations on being able to publish such a splendid magazine.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Dear Ms. Watts:
I have just received the fall issue. You are obviously continuing the tradition of excellence and
resourcefulness set by your predecessors. As I said last year, there is no professional honor that
has pleased me more than being listed on your Advisory Committee.
I am especially impressed with two elements in this issue. First, the visit with Joe and Sophie Piazza and the piece by Alfred Waters are dramatic evidence of Missouri's ethnic heritage. In quite different ways, these two stories are unusually moving. I look forward to calling them to the attention of my students.
Second, I realized--not for the first time--how consistently excellent your cover photography is, much better than many more expensive magazines.
Thank you again for your good work. Best wishes to your staff and especially to Mrs. Massey. We hope that we can arrange for you to visit on our campus again this year. I'll be in touch with Mrs. Massey later in the year about that.
Ben F. Nelms,
Professor of Education University of Missouri,
We thank the following for their donations to Bittersweet.
Lanora Maupin, Bellflower, Missouri
Ray Cahill, Fowler, Colorado
Ben F. Nelms, Columbia, Missouri
Jake Shakelford, Shawnee, Kansas
Mrs. R. L. Wymore, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Erma L. Pace, Hermitage, Missouri
Mrs. Edwin G. Crocker, Storm Lake, Iowa
John P. Phillips, M.D., Salinas, California
Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.