Woodrat Podcast 27: Harold C. Myers, a kid from the Vulcan

Harold Myers and family
Harold as a boy, left, and in the center front of the photo on the right, with his brother and father, both named Walter, his mother Georgina Dresch, and his grandfather Valentine

Harold C. Myers (1914-2003) was my maternal grandfather, A.K.A. Pop-pop. Today I present part of an interview my brother Steve tape-recorded in 1997, subsequently digitized by Jeff Suydam. Pop-pop’s description of his childhood, first in the little “coal patch” called the Vulcan on Broad Mountain near Mahanoy City, then in the steel town of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, is full of great details about the way people used to live, and the way boys in particular used to almost raise themselves, spending many days away from home on fishing or berrying expeditions, or building go-carts and pipe bombs and generally running wild. Pop-pop was unusual both in his love of reading and his love of the outdoors, two things he definitely imparted to his oldest daughter, my Mom. I’ve selected and edited the best parts of his earliest memories, and really wish we’d been able to record more. If you have elderly relatives or neighbors whose stories have never been recorded, I hope this will inspire you to preserve something before it’s too late.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)

Reliving the fall

the big oak

Just like that, it’s over. After all the breathless anticipation and hype, all the bluejay jeers and scolding squirrels, it’s hard to believe how quickly the moment passes and the ground is littered with the fallen. I speak, of course, of the autumn foliage, which in many parts of the northern hemisphere reaches its peak of color sometime in October. In no other month do so many people focus on trees, and if you want to relive it, there’s no better way than to peruse the links in the latest edition of the Festival of the Trees — which was hosted this time not by a northern blog at all, but by one based in Bangalore, India: Trees, Plants and more. Week by week, Arati chronicles her harvest of tree-related entries from around the world. Continue reading “Reliving the fall”

House Sparrow

in response to a painting by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Paper Garden

They said you were blue
so I got you a card.
It sings when you open it.
The clouds move, & the usual
stars & crickets: a card
like a garden, missing only
the mated pair of primates
flinging their feces at some snake.
I’ve just flown out from the tree
beside the tree beside the tree
& there you are, your eye on
my hugger-mugger life.
I have to say
you’re beginning to creep me out.
Where did that enormous
coffee mug come from
& why is it wearing a leopard’s spots?
And God, much as I appreciate
you holding my world in
your mitt, I have to ask:
whose damn blue egg is that?