Clues from the past
- I think in the last few months, we've really learned a great deal of
information about those who were close to Don Blanding at crucial
times in his life.
I spent a few hours last night reading through all of Don's books,
looking for clues, based on the new information we have on the
Creagers, Sawtelles, Tennents, and others.
As I've said before, I think dedications at the beginning of his
books, or at the start of his poems, are one his greatest clues to us
as to how he felt about these friends & colleagues. Here are a few
dedications from his Carmel years, which may have been one of the
happier times in his life.
Blanding started to write 'The Rest of the Road' while in Taos, in
the summer of 1936...then did his two-month trip of the west with the
Blandingmobile...and finally ended up in Carmel, where he finished
the book, which was published in September.
The book is dedicated to Scotty (I think they became extremely close
in 1936-37). In the acknowledgements Don throws out almost a hundred
first-names (many of which we've figured out already). Among them are
Billie jean, Margaret Josephine, Will (the Creagers) - could
Margaret, in addition to being the daughter's name, also have been
Pinkie's real name?, or was Pinkie just not mentioned in his
acknowledgement? He mentions Romain, which could be Margaret's
husband, Romaine Young.
He also mentions Madge (Madge Tennent), Maje (Majel Claflin, from Art
school and New Mexico), Fred & Helen (Fred & Helen Ware, the actor
and actress), Lucille (Lucille Henderson from Lawton?).
Ed, Carmen, Corty (the Sawtelles), Ummie & Al (the von Tempski-Balls).
ALSO: Helen & Bob Spencer, Ranald & Bonnie Cockburn, Ted Malone,
Eddie Albright, Mildred Maureen Maloney, Jim & Margaret Northe,
Thelma & Ross Miller, Florence Keene, Jack Argetsinger, Homer Hayes,
Lahilahi Webb, Mamo Clark, Nettie Mae Jones, Loraine T. Stevens, Nell
Martin, Phil Kubel, Granny Harris, Hado, etc...
These were all the friends that Don held dear in the mid-thirties.
Also in 'The Rest of the Road' Don dedicates these various poems:
FAITHFUL to Lorraine T. Stevens (The Rowdy Duchess)
EXILES FROM THE ISLANDS to Ranald Cockburn (Co-editor of Pine Cone)
AH MANG CHU to Ted Narramore (went with Don to Micronesia in 1952)
THE SIXTH SENSE to Carmen Sawtelle
REMEMBERING A WISH to Armine von Tempski
AN OLD TEXAS CUSTOM to Will and Margaret Josephine Creager
MOON MOTHS for Hado (Who is this Hado???)
In 'Drifter's Gold', he wrote partly in Carmel, and finished in
Hawaii. It was published October 17th, 1939.
One of his first poem dedications was WIND-HARP POOL for Helen Ware.
She had died on January 25th of a throat infection. It had apparently
devastated Don, and the circle of Carmel friends.
ISLAND PERFUMES for Paul and Estrellita Jones, perfumers.
KAPAKAHI for the Outdoor Circle (later did a show for in 1940)
THE MOUNTAIN AND THE CLOD for Milton (Ted) Wassmer (his painting)
STREET SCENE for Armine von Tempski
THE GUARDIAN OF ALL GREEN, GROWING THINGS for Hado (????)
TUNE for Ed Sawtelle (the infamous organist)
PUPPET SHOW for John & Mitzi Eaton (later had puppet show in 1940)
THE DOUBLE LIFE for Jack Argetsinger
A few more dedications which I figured out last night:
in 'Today is Here', TWELVE STEPS was written for Maxwell Walker, a
friend from Ft. Pierce, Florida, who was physically handicapped.
A DISH OF ICE CREAM was written for Anna Blom, a friend originally
from Russia, who owned a bookstore in Olympia, Washington.
from 'Mostly California', FOR REVISERS, the initials E.H.G. (Edythe
Hope Genee), E.B.Y. (Esther Baldwin York)...anyone have any ideas on
the others: C.C., H.H.J., F.W., N.L., F.G., H.H., D.B., B.M., M.D.
from 'Joy is an Inside Job', RAIN for Carmen and Prentice Sawtelle.
"So many I have loved are gone...are gone,
Carl, Scotty, Earl, Cerise, Maje, Father, Mother,
Prent, Andy, Bart & Jim, The Prodigal Brother,
Somewhere between the Sunset and the Dawn."
(Scotty Creager, Earl Cohan-Challenger, Majel Claflin, Prentice
But who is Carl, Cerise, Andy, Bart, Jim (and Hado)?
'The Prodigal Brother' was mentioned in Hula Moons, who is he?
We've figured out so much this past year...but we have so much more
to uncover and sort through. Blanding has given us so many clues, in
his poems, stories and columns...it's up to us to figure them out.
- It might be his brother Jim.
--- In email@example.com, "Cadia Los" <duchess@s...>
> What a great way to spend a cold winter evening, reading through
> books! Could "Jim" possibly be DB's own brother?