A secret note found in a paperback sold at the Akron garage sale
I found a secret note in a children’s book from long ago. I don’t think anyone was ever meant to read it, but it made me smile.
“The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists’ Club” is a 1968 sequel to “The Mad Scientists’ Club”, a 1965 book by American author Bertrand R. Brinley (1917-1994).
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The original book, which chronicles the goofy antics of nerdy friends in a small town, was one of my favorites as a kid, and I’ve read it dozens of times over the decades. I still have the dog-eared copy my parents gave me when I was about 10 years old.
I didn’t know there was a sequel until years later when I picked up a crumpled paperback at a garage sale in Akron. I recently rediscovered it among old books in a cupboard, and read it out of nostalgia. It’s quite enjoyable, I suppose, but not as good as the first book.
The best part came at the end. When I turned to the last page, I found a scribbled note in blue ink. Opposite the back cover, written with a child’s hand, one can read:
The people I invite to my slumber party
I hope Tammy Ford could
I hope Carol Brunimonti
I hope Beth Henretta
I hope Jeannie Shubert
I hope Judy Geratano
I hope Sue Costigan
I don’t know about Suzy. She’s probably going to her fathers.
Such a sweet note. I remember the childhood fun of sleepovers, and this carefully constructed list brought joy to my heart.
But it also presented a mystery. “The Mad Scientists’ Club” is definitely a boy’s book, or at least it was at the time. After all, it originated as a short story in the pages of Boys’ Life magazine in the early 1960s.
This note was clearly written by a girl.
I looked forward and found the original owner’s name and address (apparently) written on the title page. Andy Blank lived on Weber Avenue, a brick road off Aqueduct Street near Mount Peace Cemetery in Akron. This reprint from Scholastic Book Services is dated 1974.
I developed a theory that Andy had a sister who couldn’t find a piece of scrap paper to make her list, so she wrote on a blank page at the back of her brother’s book. I wonder if he ever knew?
Taking into account childhood misspellings of surnames (Brunamonti, Garritano, Schubert), I determined that most if not all of these girls had known each other since elementary school in St. Vincent. Beacon Journal records indicate they were born around 1963.
Indeed, I found several names of girls in the classes of 1981 and 1982 from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, including Christine Blank, who I gather wrote the note.
I hope you guys had a great slumber party. I hope you have to stay up late, make popcorn, watch TV, tell ghost stories and talk about boys – or other mad scientists.
Mangoes, mangoes, mangoes
Don Gordon had a laugh when he read the recent article on mangoes. He could identify himself.
“I have a bunch of handwritten recipe cards from my grandmother and I was struck by how many recipes called for mangoes, which I was sure weren’t available in the produce aisle. in the ’60s and ’70s,” Gordon noted.
He never got the chance to ask Grandma about the exotic-sounding ingredient.
“One of the recipes calls for green peppers,” he said. “The mango and peppers had to be interchangeable.”
Reader Dick Spangler is the one who wrote to explain how green peppers were called mangoes when he was growing up in Richland County. This usage was widespread in Ohio in the first half of the 20th century, although it is not as common today.
Sharon Moreland Myers, the author of “Classic Summit County Restaurants,” said the Carroll County Fair had an award for best mango when she lived there in the 1980s.
“I actually won first place the first year I entered the contest,” she wrote.
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The column reminded Mimi Brulia of when she and her husband, John, befriended an older couple after moving to Findlay in the mid-1970s. The woman continued to use “the same curious twist of sentence”.
“I thought it was weird but didn’t comment because I was only in my 20s at the time and they were pushing into my 50s,” she recalled. “I was taught not to correct my elders! Apparently there were other members of the community who spoke about peppers that way, because I never heard anyone challenge her!
The Brulias left Findlay in 1979 and have lived in a number of cities and states since then, but kept in touch with the couple until their deaths a few years ago.
“Thank you for bringing back the memory of this lovely lady!” she wrote.
Finally, we come back to Spangler, who got us into that mango mindset.
After the chronicle, he became a mini celebrity in San Sebastián, where he is an usher at the Latin Mass. After the service, people came up to him asking if he wanted to buy mangoes.
“About half said they had used the term mangoes and the other half said they had never heard of it,” he noted.
Be educated in Akron
I’ve tried for almost two decades, but I can’t understand the term “community learning center”.
For God’s sake, it’s a school.
The district is not called Akron Public Community Learning Centers. These are Akron Public Schools.
CLC does not tell you whether it is a high school, middle school, or elementary school.
“School days, school days. Dear old days of the Golden Rule.
If someone wrote this song today, it would be “Community Learning Center Days, Community Learning Center Days. Dear old days of the Community Learning Center.
Can’t we just go back to school?
Mark J. Price can be reached at [email protected]
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