Tuesday, April 30, 2013


That is what she goes by - - - I.M.P.

It is her byline in the Herald Tribune.

All of the many activities she engages in are on the edge. Most recently she was the sole passenger on a world record airplane ride.

That is Isabel Mary Patterson; IMP.

However, her real claim to fame is as an autodidactic iconoclast; and I say that in the most respectful terms. 

She reads too much to be fooled by impostors.

She loves to tweak the nose of those in power. And she does it without fear.

Her favorite "tweakies" are weak-hearted politicians and do-gooders. She believes in self-subsistence and Independence. That could be why her first marriage ended so abruptly.

Born in January of 1886 she lived a hard-scrabble life in the west.

IMP had been raised in a log cabin on a Canadian Island. Her father could not seem to put down roots or do anything on a steady basis. That is probably where she learned that depending on one's self is the only choice.

Then, on the other hand, she does not seem to be awed by the male personality. She judges people on what they have accomplished; not by gender, color or orientation.

Well - - - I must back up on that last statement.

She does not have much use for socialism - - - and many claim that she founded the basis of libertarianism. However, other than politically, she does not impinge on other people's orientation.

Her platform is as a literary critic in the "Trib." Even her boss is required to listen to her terse truths - - - if he wants to keep her on the staff; which he does. She sells newspapers.

They say birds of a feather - - - well, you know the rest. It apparently is true. IMP's best friends were Ayn Rand and Rose Wilder. I use the past tense of 'were' because I have heard that she had a falling out with Ayn Rand.

I believe - - - someday far in the future - - - it will be said in print;

IMP had several books published and I have heard she is working on another one.

I sure hope it is full of "Patersonisms." They are so much fun to contemplate.


"A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state."

"No law can give power to private persons; every law transfers power from private persons to government."

"As freak legislation, the antitrust laws stand alone. Nobody knows what it is they forbid."

“Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered, in which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.” 


I swear if anyone has anything  more to say about IMP, in the very far future, it would be this:

©W. Tomosky♠

Monday, April 29, 2013


It was one of the few times I returned to New York City.

The reason was not my doing. And it wasn't Bogdan Yelcovich's either; well, not directly.

However, I was introduced to a different part of the world than I am used to.

No, I am not speaking of my wanderlust. I am speaking of a steamship passenger.

Word got out that I was heading to New York City.  There were two ladies, one from Scranton and another from Binghamton, who desperately needed to get their letters to that passenger. All I could imagine was some sort of tryst.

But that was not the case. It appears that this special passenger, once aboard the ship, was no longer able to receive mail. Whatever he would receive required hand-carried delivery.

That was my task.

The gentleman who I was to deliver the letters to was Lewis Freeman Mott.

I am not at liberty to say who the two ladies were.

Now this Mott fellow was happily married so that ruled out the tryst. It appears as though he was very important in the "Dante Society."

Mott, being an influential fellow on the subject, was going to make a presentation in Italy on Dante Alighieri's famous piece of literature; "The Divine Commedy."

Mott was also prepared to give additional presentations. These presentations would be on the work of the two ladies; from Scranton and Binghamton respectively.

The emergency delivery was for their most recent updates to their work. They wanted Mott to have perfect manuscripts to present from.

It seems (at least to me) as though everyone and his brother had previously visited the topic; but what do I know.

All this was pretty hot stuff.
Or if they had not commented - - - then they were mentioned in the works.
However, Mott had written a short treatise on the subject that was hot off the presses.

A copy was given to Harvard.

Mott was a professor who gave the underdog a chance to be heard.

So I personally delivered the letters to Professor Mott. He thanked me and offered me some currency but I had to refuse.

My payment had already been made when I was introduced to this new part of the world.

©W. Tomosky♠

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Hell, I was almost  to Apalachicola, Florida when I was in Savannah.

Why not take another day to visit there?  I had heard so much about the fishing, both finned and shelled. And hunting - - -  it was outstanding. I thought I may wish to settle there someday.

So I scouted the place out.

Of course the first place I headed for were the fishing warfs.

The fellows on this boat were quite friendly. I asked them how they shrimped.

They said they "oystered" most of the time. The shrimp and sponges were getting scarce. Then they gave me a demonstration with their rakes.

I asked if I could go out with the oyster pickers the next day. They said "NO!".

It was supposed to storm and they were not going out.

They normally raked the bay at the end of the river. The bay was shallow and when a storm came up the waves were horrendous.

This is the sponge exchange in downtown Apalachicola.

One of the fellows that sold sponges said that Apalachicola was previously known as a trading post called Cottonton.

Cottonton grew because of the bay and the river. On the other side of the river was a great forestland full of deer, turkeys and bears.

One fellow from the oyster boat said he was going hunting in the forest across the river becuse he could not fish. Asked me if I wanted to tag along.

I jumped at the chance.

Besides turkeys, deer and bears I saw a cotton-mouth moccasin, an alligator, a snapping turtle and some the the largest spiders I had ever seen.

I hate spiders!

There were some big old estates built in Apalachicola after the north won the battle with large ships.

The civil war ended but the port kept on growing.

This home was constructed in 1830 by George Raney

Apalachicola grew fast and became third busiest port in the Gulf of Mexico.

The port created wealth and a diverse population, building the foundation for a great city.

Thomas Ormon is credited with carving a large portion of the city out of wilderness.

The Ormon House was built partly in Syracuse, New York and shipped to Apalachicola. Then the parts were assembled here.

I wonder if it followed the same route as I did? I bet not. Probably took the Erie Canal from Syracuse to the Hudson River and then down to New York City. The remainder was probably on the ocean.

The original blueprints for Apalachicola were modeled after Philadelphia.

In 1831, the town changed its name. The change was made to recognize the Apalachicola Tribe.

The name of the tribe meant "Those on the other side of the river."

But somehow, and don't ask me why, I think Apalachicola will be famous far into the future - - - or
possibly - - - just a little into the future.

©W. Tomosky♠

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Holy cow. Was that a long trip.

It was a good thing that the Scranton Railroad Yard allowed me to take off for three weeks.

Without pay of course.

Bogdan mapped out the route for me to take from Scranton to Savannah, Georgia. It involved railroads, rivers and canals - - -  and a few miles of riding on a buckboard.

I will show the route to you someday.

Right now I can't wait to tell you about a family I met and what they taught me.

I had a great time.

That is Royal, his wife Queenie and their ten children.

Queenie is holding the youngest one they call Child. The two older ones on the right are named King and Sarah. The little guy with the tie standing in front of Sarah is Edward. To the left of Sarah are Emily and Gale. The little guy to the left of Gale is Ben and the little girl to the left of Ben is Kitt. Standing next to her father is his favorite; Cheeney. Now, and finally, can you see that little head between Cheeney and baby Child? That is Quiet. She is very bashful.

Royal built that home himself. It was so perfectly done I had to look closer. My bricklaying background kicked in when I saw the chimney.

I was a little nervy by knocking on the door and asking who built the home. When Royal told me he built the home I just had to learn some of his secrets of bricklaying; which obviously, he had a few.

It was a Saturday. When we finished discussing the finer points of bricklaying Royal asked me to come back on Sunday. He said that Queenie was having a birthday party for King and they would like to have me stop for some treats.

So I did; and had a great time.

Royal played an instrument that he made with his own hands. He made it out of an old tin tea box that someone had thrown out.


I wish you could have heard Royal play that old hunk of wood with the tea cabinet attached. He was absolutely amazing.

Now here is a guy that works with his hands laying up bricks and still has the sensitivity to not only make a banjo but play it well also.


So I asked him to play me his favorite song.

He told me he can't play a song - - - he can only play me a story.

And this was his story.


We sat there most of the day with Royal playing stories and Queenie silently weeping. I could see the tears running down her cheeks.

The older boy looked away - - - not in embarrassment - - - but more afraid that he was going to cry after seeing his mother cry.

Royal told another story I liked particularly well. It was sort of a wanderlust song but had that part about humble people just trying to make a go of it. They were stuck doing their work in the cold forest. However, their hearts, minds and imaginations traveled along the rails.


I don't think Royal knew it but there was a white man, yet to be born, who would catch the hearts of many other white men. He wasn't going to catch them with tricks or anything else. He was going to catch them with the clear logic of the black man.


As I was walking past that black church in Savannah I just had to write everything down that I heard the preacher say. It was all so clear. 

I think that the "yet to be born" white story teller will do justice to the preacher's words.

Well, that is all I can say.

I am starting to feel a little like Queenie's older boy.

©W. Tomosky♠

Friday, April 26, 2013


I get a lot of questions about why I departed New York and my great paying job of bricklaying.

Well, part of the draw was just getting out of New York, both the city and the state.

Yes - - - the city had a lot of action and fun things to do.

But I could not stand the corruption any longer.

Everybody remembers that it all started with the politics of Tammany Hall. However, hardly anyone has met the goons that "the hall" hired to enforce their wishes.

 Yes, Monk Eastman was a big player for Tammany Hall - - - until they had no more use for him.

Then they put him on trial.

And it was a rather exciting trial.

 Of course he was found guilty.
Now I shouldn't be so harsh on New York City. The "Battery Park" on the southern end of Manhattan was a real nice place to sit and watch the boats while the trains puffed and tooted in the background.

And you could get around to almost any place on the train.



But those guys in Tammany Hall were always in the background and we all knew it.

And I could see nothing was ever going to change.

 Ever - - - - - - -

Sometime after Eastman's demise, I am not sure when that will occur, an Argentinian will discover Monk Eastman and write a story about him. He may title it  "Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Inequities."

He may even give a detailed description of the inequities to be purveyed - - - along with a price list.



And because he will probably be somewhat embarrassed about his new acquaintance, the Argentinian author may hide the story in between the pages of "A Universal History of Infamy." We will just have to wait and see..

However, that is at least 30 years in the future so I wouldn't hold my breath.
 ©W. Tomosky♠

Thursday, April 25, 2013


What a great view.

They call this "Hanging Rock." I wonder why.

It is in Danville, Pennsylvania.

However, the area between the river and the cliff is a little narrow for a roadway, a railroad and a canal.

I met the man who took this picture. He said it is going to be placed in the United States Library of Congress.

I hope so.

The hanging rock may puzzle some but I have seen this type thing happen before. It is the "natural progression of progress" - - - if I may use that phrase.

First the rivers were used by rafters to ship produce from rural areas to places like Baltimore and Philadelphia.

It happened on the Susquehanna River, which by the way is the river in the picture, and on the Delaware River - - - just to name two.

Then the canal systems were built. What better place to get water from than the small streams that ran into the rivers. Besides - - - it was already surveyed by God and deemed to be the most level place to build a canal.

Right on their tails were the railroads. So the railroads had to build next to the canals. They did not want to go uphill and downhill either. But there were existing roads in those locations.

So the railroad companies had to blast new roadways for the carriages. And they were not about to go the extra mile. So they blasted just enough for the carriages to pass.

Oh yes - - - how did I get here in Danville, Pennsylvania?

It was Jim McFee again. His relatives had come here from Ireland and built the canals. Some of them stayed in the area to work in the iron works.

So Jim's Uncle Eppy sent him this map.  He wanted to show Jim how he was supposed to use the river and the canal system to get to Danville to visit his relatives.

See how the canal followed the Susquehanna River from New York all the way to Northumberland?

Danville is only fifteen miles from Northumberland. Uncle Eppy made it look a little closer to Scranton. Maybe he was trying to make the trip look a little easier than it was.

Anyway, we made the trip to Nanticoke by raft, then hopped on a canal boat just to see what that was all about. The canal boat took us right to the boat basin in downtown Danville.

We had a good time downtown. There were a lot of pretty girls there. I think I will return by myself some day.

Oh - - - I almost forgot to tell you. Guess who I met while I was standing on the bridge going over the canal. Give up?  Gomer Thomas!

Yes - - - that Gomer Thomas. I wanted to meet Waldorf Phillips but Gomer told me he had another engagement in Baltimore.

It wasn't a big trip. You can take the river or a railroad to get to Baltimore. Gomer gave me this fancy cover page - -  - and the following second page of his and Waldorf's music.


He must have been thrilled that I recognized him right off.

I had seen a woodcut of him on the Opera House in Scranton. It was a very good likeness.

Gomer took us to see the new bridge that they had just built across the Susquehanna River.

We left Danville and headed back to Scranton after a day or two. Jim had sort of a falling out with his relatives. They sure were not any Uncle Eppy or Aunt Polly.

On the canal ride back we saw a moose in the woods - - -

 - - - and several beautiful waterfalls.

It was a nice trip back but Jim was very moody.

With good reason.

©W. Tomosky

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I love to read scientific magazines.

You can learn so much about windlasses, gears, brakes, steam engines, Mr. Howes Incredible Sewing Machine and so on and so forth.

So let us get on with the learning of science.

They have me wondering. How is this glass coffin working out? 

Do the relatives sit around with their guarantees of "slow decomposition."

If so, do they have a lawyer at hand in case things don't work out too well? 

Or possibly these coffins are only for those who "lay in state" whatever that means.

In either situation, I would keep a case of incense at hand.

That is not the woodcut of the steamship "Cambria", it is a schooner. Sheeeesh.

Now this Henry fellow, the one "who lately attempted to shoot the King of France,"

Was he late in his attempt or was this a recent attempt? And what the heck are the galleys?

Does he have to work in a kitchen or does he have to remain chained to a bench and row one of those boats for the remainder of his life?


That Prince Radziwill - - - he is such a cut-up.

And "four girls of uncommon beauty."

Sounds like the Deutsche concept of 'polymorphously perverse' didn't have much over the prince.


 This is just beyond ridiculous so I will hold my comments.

And weren't we all just dying to hear our good correspondent from Providence, Rhode Island expound on the size of an eagle's wings?

Well - - - so much for science. At least we got some from Orville and Wilber.
©W. Tomosky

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


There we stood beside the rails.

I looked at Bogdan Yelcovich and he looked at me and then we both looked at Jim McFee.

Jim asked "Well what are you two goons looking at?"

"You" we said in unison. "What the heck are we going to do here in Henryville on a Friday night?" I continued on.

Jim looked at me and shrugged his shoulders as if to say "I have no idea."

You see, the three of us had just taken a train for a fifty mile trip from Scranton to Henryville; all on Jim McFee's word that we would have a good time. He said he had family there.

So we asked the man at the station where the McFees lived. He gave us good directions and then smiled. It was not a friendly smile - - - it was more of a "I know something that you don't know" smile.
Well, it was a heck of a walk. When we got there Jims Uncle Eppy and Aunt Polly were doing chores.

Uncle Eppy had fire going and Aunt Polly was making soap.

When they saw Jim they immediately dropped what they were doing and ran over to him. Jim got hugged like no man ever got hugged.

We said we did not wish to interrupt them so they asked us to stay and watch. It was an interesting experience. I had never seen anyone make soap before. Bogdan said he used to make soap when he lived in Russia or Eastern Europe or wherever he lived before Scranton and the Isthmus of Darien.

Uncle Eppy and Aunt Polly made us promise to stay for supper and then they would  put us up overnight. Real nice people. 

The next morning Jim's Uncle Eppy gave us some fishing poles and took us trout fishing. We had a good time on the stream. I was surprised to see so many couples walking across the footbridge.

Uncle Eppy said that we were close to some big hotels in the Pocono Mountains. That was the reason for all these people. Lots of vacationers.

I am glad that they were all dressed up and not fishing. That left a lot of fish for us to catch. Aunt Polly cooked them up for us that night. She made some fishhead soup for us to eat the next day, before we caught the train back to Scranton.

We slept well in the fresh Pocono air. Aunt Polly fixed us breakfast; bacon and fresh eggs from the coop. Uncle Eppy had walked over to the next farm and brought back home made butter.

That was the best breakfast I ever had. Especially with that fresh butter on Aunt Polly's sourdough bread. MMMmmm.

We took another walk to see more of the stream. We didn't fish but we did see a bear. That was a little frightening. Everyone was excited to tell Aunt Polly about the bear. She listened courteously but I think she had seen a bear before.

We had our fishhead soup, which was delicious, and caught our train back to Scranton. Aunt Polly Sent us a postcard about two months later.

She was so nice.

©W. Tomosky