Category Personal

Huey

Many years ago, a Somali sheep was kept by two teachers at the St. Lucy’s School for Girls, Kisumu, Kenya. His name was Huey. When it was Huey’s time to go, he was sold to a Catholic congregation “as the banquet feast for a retiring nun.” Since nothing is wasted in Africa, his hide was […]

Places I’ve Been

Sorting through a gift of 700 postcards, I was delighted to find places I’d been. The Brock Monument in Canada. While my brother and cousins played in the park, my mother tied me to a tree, with about ten feet of slack, so I wouldn’t get lost. And then, before the picnic lunch, she washed […]

Postcards from Abbie

Postcards sent by my grandmother, Abbie Slocum Winship, to her brother, Homer Slocum, and his wife, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. On the back of this one, mailed in October of 1909, Abbie wrote, “Papa got the jars yesterday. Thank you very much for what it contained but we are puzzled to know what that fruit […]

6 1/2 Fish

In the late 1970s, I had an idea for a little book of quotes illustrated with rubber stamp images of fish. I had the fish stamps; I gathered the quotes. Then I got married, became a father, earned a living, and the project was kind of back-burnered for 40 or so years. But two years […]

Mail Art & Faux Postage

“It was recognized even in the eighteen-sixties that collectors had to contend with not only forgeries of government-issued postage stamps but also stamps whose validity existed only in the imagination of their producers.”– Cinderella Stamps (1970) by L.N. and M. Williams I love mail, mail art, the post office, postage stamps, rubber stamps. All of […]

America Naked

For a while now I’ve been hearing a lot about making America great again, although I would happily settle for America being good again. And America First, that’s part of the plan, too. But this morning, while getting ready for church, I noticed one of my clothing labels, and started looking at the others, checking […]

The Can of Worms

I believe it was the summer of 1968. I was driving over to Rochester, N.Y., to visit a friend. Knowing my fear of the unknown, he agreed to meet me at the Thruway exit so I could follow him to his home. But he wasn’t at the exit, and when I called on the payphone, […]

George Dickel

On my twenty-first birthday, in search of something special, I purchased a “powder horn bottle” of George Dickel Tennessee sour mash whiskey. It was love at first sip and, more than half a century later, this whiskey remains my “desert island” favorite. I kept the bottle as a memento for a few years, but then, […]

Anthony Trollope

I am reading Masters of the Post: The Authorized History of the Royal Mail, a thumping big tome by Duncan Campbell-Smith, and I came across a passage that reminded me of a particular Waterloo of mine. The author noted that Anthony Trollope, who worked for the General Post Office before gaining fame as a novelist, […]

The Big Snow

In December of 1937, Buffalo, N.Y., had a snow storm documented by Keith Winship and his Brownie camera. The storm, while not the largest ever in Buffalo, did merit a British Pathé newsreel appearance.