Volume VIII, No. 1, Fall 1980


Whew! I finally reached the top branch on my tree just this summer--my position as story editor. For the first time, I can spread my wings and smile with a sense of pride because now I have earned two whole pages to chat with some very admirable people--readers of Bittersweet.

We had a dedicated and hardworking staff this summer, as usual. Also, we were able to bribe our former editor, Melinda Stewart, into working as an assistant to our advisor, Ellen Massey, this summer. Even though Melinda has left us this fall to go to Columbia and begin her pre-med training at Missouri University, our readers may continue to enjoy her stories in a few more issues. She has written more stories than any other student ever on the staff, including three during this summer. We're going to miss her dependability as well as her other innumerable contributions to the staff.

This school year we're thankful to have a full-time assistant advisor, Delilah Amos Shotts, to work with us. Mrs. Shotts, raised in Orla, Missouri, is a 1968 graduate of Lebanon High School and a former student of Mrs. Massey. After receiving her Bachelor's degree from UMC in classical languages, she, her husband and daughter have returned to the Ozarks to live. Being a descendant from many generations of Ozarkians, Mrs. Shotts has a deep appreciation of the Ozarkian way of life and the need for it to be preserved. We know she will be a tremendous help to the staff. She has already learned a great deal of just what the Bittersweet experience is all about.

Of course, even the experienced staff members haven't learned it all. If there's another way to do something, you can bet that some of us will find it, regardless of whether it's right or wrong. One of my favorite aspects of the editorial column is being able to share these experiences that our readers would not learn otherwise. I think it unfortunate that so often readers miss the unusual experiences hidden behind the finished, edited stories printed in magazines. They give the stories a more complete profile, a personal touch and a realization that our staff is susceptible to mistakes!

While researching the history of the old Franz house (Spring 1980), Melinda Stewart, Patsy Watts and Mary Schmalstig discovered an old dust-covered corset upstairs and decided to photograph it for use in "The Undercover Story," featured in this issue (page 13). Melinda reluctantly volunteered to model it while Mary took the photographs. She unwillingly undressed and slipped on an old dusty shimmy to make the photographs appear more realistic. Suffering complete degradation, she wrapped the corset around herself and allowed Patsy to lace it up the back. After the corset was in place, Mary discovered the house was too dark to take the photographs, so filled with embarrassment, Melinda followed her friends outside, only to be greeted by the owner of the house and her teenage son! The humiliation climaxed when upon reporting the episode to Mrs. Massey, Melinda found that she had put the corset on backwards, upside down and from the waist up instead of from the bust down. Although we were unable to use the photographs in the undergarment story, we couldn't deny our readers a good laugh!

We handled fewer interviews during the summer, but now that school has started, many staff members are going to be busy starting new stories and researching new ones for the Upcoming issues. Some of these include the roles of farm dogs, the construction and uses of common rail fences and the history of prairies scattered throughout the Ozarks.


Even though we usually have to rely on ourselves to promote our magazine, other publications do sometimes print articles about us, and, of course, we appreciate any and all help. Recently an article appeared in the May-June issue of Historic Preservation. We were happy to work with their editors to insure a correct and informative representation of Bittersweet, and we were quite pleased with the impressive outcome.

Also, we seldom refuse an invitation to talk or man a booth if there is a good chance to expose ourselves to a new group, providing the cost is feasible. In May, Mary Schmalstig, Chris Cotrel, Mike King, Mrs. Massey and I traveled to War Eagle, Arkansas, to participate in the First Folk-Life Fair, directed by Blanche H. Elliott. We operated a booth for three days, displaying our magazines and book. The booth was quite successful, probably because we had a new audience to capture in northern Arkansas who were unaware of Bittersweet.

We were allowed to camp near the river in Mrs. Elliott's farm pasture during the three nights we were there, and the weather cooperated with us. Everyone had a splendid time, and it proved well worth the time and effort spent. I would like very much to visit there again.

A few staff members are also planning to have a booth at the upcoming District and State Teachers Meetings in Springfield and Kansas City. We attend them nearly every year, and they provide staff members with an opportunity to directly engage themselves in promotion by meeting the public, as well as being fun.

Our efforts at publicity hopefully increase our income by selling more subscriptions, magazines and books. We also get individual donations through the mail. Regardless of the source of our income, it all goes right back into the magazine in the form of more color, new layout techniques or new equipment and supplies to publish the magazine more efficiently. I would like to take this chance to thank all of our readers who have sent in tax-deductible donations and to express the staff's appreciation of your generosity.

We also appreciate comments and suggestions from our readers, some of which are published in "Letters to the Editor," (page 2). I was especially pleased with one we received recently from Lebanon resident, John Bennett. "Thank you for enriching our present with your creative probing of the past." It is encouraging to receive a comment that so simply but beautifully summarizes the whole purpose behind Bittersweet, and to know that our readers recognize just what we're trying to capture in every story we publish.



We thank the following for their donations to Bittersweet.

Dorothy Kiesow, Tennessee, Illinois
Paul O. Barker, Pleasant Hope, Missouri
Mrs. G. C. Folkert, Bay City, Michigan
Donald Lance, Columbia, Missouri
Mrs. Leta Pryor, Rich Hill, Missouri
Francis H. Balcom, Anaheim, California
Kathryn G. Dudley, New Canaan, Conn.
Dorothea G. Morey, San Jose, California
Miriam Gray, Nevada, Missouri
Mrs. Ruth B. Stringhan, Lawrence, Kansas
Kay Glambard, River Edge, New Jersey
Jim O'Quinn, Lebanon, Missouri
Eugene Hill, Granada Hills, California
Ruth K. Gieschen, Kansas City, Missouri
Eldon Kissell, Springfield, Ohio
Alice Goehman, Belleview, Missouri
Mrs. Robert L. Doorn, Bruce, Wisconsin
Mrs. Ralph Meierding, Billings, Montana
Mrs. Fred V. Gann, Conway, Missouri
Willis J. Ezard, Conway, Missouri
Lois M. Holland, St. Louis County, Mo
Fay Akey, Arlington, Texas

Melinda and Patsy found that there is a wrong way to wear a corset.


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

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