Of Mooncursers and other Spun Yarns

Of Mooncursers and other Spun Yarns
Click the link below and visit my Book site

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Look at a Future

I thought I'd take a little step to the side and go to the future here. I'm not getting away from the intent of this Blog but I've written this as something extra because I can't stand not to. Here's a blog about a small town in America a small working class community, a beautiful little town with narrow streets and wide side walks, made for walking.. Homes close together all in walking distance to stores Churches, schools and parks. Sounds different already doesn't it. Well the truth is it was designed that way back in 1919 nearly one hundred years before this idea has begun to be modern. Houses are quaint and tucked back along the streets partially hidden by trees that shade house, sidewalks and streets a like. Sounds like a community of the future where America gets back to being a community for people, not designed around automobiles. Dundalk is truly the city of the future.

In my blog about Dundalk farms I write about a time after the depression. If You think things looked bleak for Dundalk now, just look back to 1932. It's surprising how much steel mill workers and foundry men and todays well educated society of executives were and are after the same thing. The goals are the same, the means of getting there a little different.

Dundalk has fallen on hard times and disfavor because much of local industry has been lost. WOW! What a bunch of baloney that is. Here we are in the age of the computer, when people can work at home out of an office a thousand miles away from their jobs. What difference does it make that the steel mills aren't what they were that General Motors is gone. Steel jobs were dangerous and Fisher body was mind numbing drudgery and the only thing they supplied was a pay check. There wasn't an ounce of satisfaction in any of it. I know because I did both, that's the kind of work that ran me away from Baltimore. In the mid 19030's your grandfather had two days a week of work if he was lucky and there was no job for your mother. Today you can both work, granted you aren't getting rich but your living. It will get better.

The only thing I know of that Dundalk needs is a Hela Port or a reasonably fast rail system or a high speed ferry boat to get people downtown and the airport so that these modern men and women can get to the airport in 30 minutes. What a wonderful way to get to work. These executive types can live in apartments or houses with small yards and little or no maintenance.They are buying rundown old shacks in town and spending a fortune to fix them up Dundalk is a hundred times better place to live. For Saturdays or Sundays there are tennis courts on the school grounds ball diamonds soccer fields and football. The park has a band pavilion there are ice cream stores. People congregate on Shipping Place to set on the walls to talk. Hot dog and sandwich vender's peddle food from bright stainless steel push carts. This future paradise is not in the future but is here and now and it is not some greatly admired European city It is Dundalk. If you live in Dundalk take a walk around an look. I think you will see I'm right. It's a little rundown but it's mostly cosmetic, a little paint and plaster and your up and running.. You people are setting on some of the most high priced property in Maryland. You just haven't been discovered yet. Make a lot of noise folks it's coming and it'll come faster if you make a racket about it.

Douglas Pollard

Crazy Harry

Crazy harry wasn't crazy was he. Nope. Crazy wondered around town and could be found anywhere in the city. Now and then he would wind up in night clubs bars and restaurants around Dundalk. He was an amiable fellow with a knack for the theatrical and an impossible talent with a pair of scissors. He was a comedic showman in the best Vaudeville style.

The first time I ever saw him was at my home. In my growing up years and as a young adult I caught his act at a lot of Baltimore establishments. We had a house full of company from Georgia, aunts, uncles and my grandparents as well as friends..

My Brother Charlie had gone to Dundalk for some reason and stopped by Dovies Night Club and Harry was performing on stage. He finished up his act and my brother asked him to come with him to our house that we had a crowd there that would be a good audience and when finished he would drive him to the Hollywood Inn. Harry walked everywhere or road the streetcar in which case he always performed while riding. People threw money at him. It was always believed, by almost everyone, that he had a bundle of money socked away someplace.

Harry came in sat down and began telling jokes and said he'd like a drink. My mother went through the usual list of things to drink. Ain't ya got no liquor he wanted to know? Mom remembered the fruit cake. She had some that my father had soaked with rum. Crazy, stuffed the cake in his mouth and swallowed it making us all fear he would choke to death. He told more jokes and mimicked perfectly anybody that said anything Then he went around the room and roasted everybody. We all found it amazing how he hit the character of each person in the room. He didn't know any of us. Then it started, a sound cam out of him a little like a mouth organ crossed with bagpipes. Started off low and got louder WER-EEE-EROL-WER-EEE-EROL-WER-EEE-EROL-----I DON'T WEAR NO UNDERWEAR AND I DON'T WEAR NO WOMENS DRAWERS----WER-EEE-EROL-WER-EEE-EROL--- AROUND AND AROUND AND A WAGON WHEEL, WER-EEE-ERO-WER-EEE-EROL

Slowly he reached down in his carpet bag and pulled out a pair of scissors and paper. He held the paper behind his head cutting out the profiles of every on in the room some of them were folded several times and were three profiles. The whole time he was doing his singsong, song. He stopped his song and said Now I'll sing you a real song and cut loose with WER-EEE-EROL and we laughed going through that song a couple of times he then broke out with a beautiful rendition in true Irish tenor style of Danny Boy.

He finished, with tears in his eyes stood up and bowed, In the time honerd fashion of this show we threw money at him. He picked up the coins and put them in his coat pocket. We all clapped and cheered. He started for the door and my mother offered food and he refused. Just as he started out the door he reached in his pock pulled out some coins and said pennies with disdain, I don't take pennies. He tossed them on the carpet and went on out, my brother behind him

After he was gone I scrambled to get the pennies, to my surprise they were corks out of bottle caps. Every one got one last laugh, it was on me. My brother returned home and told us that Harry had questioned him about every person that would be there. So there was the answer to Harry having such an uncanny insight into the personalityof each person. It seems no less amazing that he could draw conclusions about our personalities from such a brief discussion about the people. That required a great amount of insight into people to do that. Crazy Harry wasn't crazy was'e.