Volume II, No. 1, Fall 1974


This issue begins another year of BITTERSWEET with a lot of new changes. For one there's a new editor--me! It's a new experience being in charge, having to give suggestions and make decisions. But it takes more than just one person to put out a magazine. Ten staff members, including most of the editors left this year, so we selected new members and editors. The former staff is now our Associated Staff. They worked during the summer on the magazine, and have left us a lot of material which we will use this year. So if you are interested in knowing whether the authors, artists and photographers are students or adults, you can tell by the masthead.

The summer staff worked hard during June and July, getting this issue ready. Not only did we work, but we learned. The staff was made up of old and new editors, the graduating ones teaching the new ones their job, for there is a lot more to a magazine than just writing a story. There's the business and circulation, keeping all the books and files in order and the publicity, trying to find new ways to make the magazine known. But unfortunately the editor I replaced, Jay, worked somewhere else this summer, so I was on my own. I have made it with a lot of help from everyone else. Several suggested to me that I needed some symbol for this page like Jay's rock. I started thinking but just couldn't come up with anything at all. I had a devil's claw plant that Dorothy McMicken gave me I thought about using, but it died. Then I made my name out of rocks like Charlie Mc did, but I guess I'm not as good as Charlie by the critical comments I got from the other members. Then someone suggested having a drawing of me reading some of my letters. Susan said she would draw me if I would hold still long enough to pose. It turned out pretty well, even though it is of me.

It seems like this year is going to be even better than last year. We have so many interesting stories, and we get new ideas all the time. When we first started out, it was hard to imagine having enough stories to write about for even two years. But everytime we go on an interview people give us new ideas for another story. In this issue, talking to Charlie Mc about square dancing we found out how many other interests he and his wife have.

The staff always gets an experience out of every interview that most of us know nothing about, like learning how to butcher a hog, or learning how to make an apple head doll or singing by the use of shape notes. We are going out and experiencing a part of the life our grandparents and great-grandparents took part in.

We're starting more and more stories. Some future articles will be on water mills, the job mules played on the farm, a woman doctor who is in her 90' s, homemade toys, midwives, barbed wire, shearing sheep, hog butchering, applehead dolls, tall tales, brush arbors and many others.

Everyday we get lots of mail, much of it is renewals. It's exciting knowing that people want to renew the magazine, making it worthwhile for all the hard times we went through the first year.

We hope you enjoy this issue and all the future articles. If you have any suggestions we would love to hear from you. Here are some letters we have received recently.



Dear Staff and Members of BITTERSWEET:

We have enjoyed the four issues of BITTERSWEET so very much. You are doing a fine job of writing and research.
Being a teacher I did note the spelling of suet. It should be soot in the article on "stoves". Best wishes for continued success.

R. Lester Smith
Bowring, Oklahoma

When we first read the letter, we couldn't believe that we had spelled it wrong. We did look the word up before we put it in the magazine, but didn't read the definition to see, we looked up the wrong word! Did you notice how badly we mispelled chrysanthemum on page 25?


We heard a lady wishing we had included the recipe for the good looking bread on the cover of the last issue. For her and anyone else interested we asked for it. Ruth Massey made the bread and here is her recipe.
4 c. flour
1 c. milk
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. shortening
1 pkg. yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
Mix yeast, warm water, and 1 tsp. sugar together and let stand until needed. Scald milk. Add shortening and stir until melted. Add 1/4 c. sugar and salt. Beat egg and add to milk mixture. Add 1 c. of the flour to milk mixture, then add yeast and rest of flour. Mix well. Knead using as little flour as possible until smooth and satiny. Let rise until double. Punch down and form into a loaf. Let rise again. Bake in medium oven. Rub top crust with butter.

Dear Ms. Massey:

Thanks for the four issues of BITTERSWEET--it's wonderful stuff. We always felt that there should be such a magazine about the Ozarks. we have hoped that maybe one of the colleges might do it, but in our foolish conceit had not considered the secondary schools at all, until somebody sent us the two volumes of FOXFIRE.
We have done a great deal of collecting folklore material mostly verbal stuff like folksongs, tales and legends, and superstitions--and my wife has got a folklore archive at the University that will make anybody's eyes stick out, but we have very little about pioneer arts and crafts. Your magnificent drawings and photographs certainly set things out in plain sight. Your treatment of the dulcimer and the johnboat are the best I have seen.
Mrs. Randolph and I are retired, and I am in my 80's now, and practically bedfast. But if you want to call on us, we shall consider it an honor to meet you.

Vance Randolph
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Dear Editor,

My family has enjoyed the past and present with BITTERSWEET. We have learned "new" skills and enjoyed "old" food.
As we appreciate and live the simple life we feel akin to the pioneers of the westward movement, the true builders of America.

Grace Dickinson

Donna Painter of Waynesville, Missouri wrote a note on the back of her gift subscription renewal.

"I gave my father a subscription to BITTERSWEET last Christmas. He looks forward to each issue. His only complaint is there are not enough issues. You have a delightful magazine. Job well done!"


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

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