Monday, June 28, 2004

Bicycling is sometimes better than walking...

I remember buying my first bike when I was about 10 or 11 years old. My Uncle Bill sold me his son’s old bike. It was little more than a chain and a frame, but he charged me 40 cents for it and roared with laughter when I asked about a guarantee. He gave me one: it was unconditional and would last for one hour after purchase. At the same time, he sold his daughter’s old bike (complete and in operating condition) for 10 cents to my little sister, even though she was several years away from being able to ride it. Dad paid, and Mary Anne loved the idea. She didn’t know what guarantee meant, and apparently, I didn’t know what color coordination meant. My finished bike was painted with yellow and orange stripes. After a few weeks of riding an embarrassed zebra, I was eager to save for a new one. I guess repainting it never crossed my mind.

My second bike was a new, red Columbia with basket, enclosed horn, and heavy fenders. It weighed nearly as much as a horse. Dad co-signed for me; Suresky’s Tire Center gave me credit; and I pedaled to the showroom every week to pay $2 (Mom claims it was $1.25) until I completely owned my bike. As expected, immediately after the final payment, it began to fall apart, starting with the horn.

But it did help me in delivering the afternoon newspaper. Most of the time I relied upon it. It helped me move from the Times-Herald to my customers, Saturday was best, as it was usually a thin paper. That was best. Easy to fold and easy to deliver. I hated the thick editions. They were heavy and impossible to fold for throwing.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

What's In A Name

As I pondered my Shakespeare Clerihew, I wondered. What kind of name is Shakespeare anyway?

After all, what’s in a name? Or in a few varying letters? William SHAKESPEARE (or Shaxberd, or Shaxpere,) the noted English playwright, was born in Stratford-On-Avon in 1564 (no record of his birthdate, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564, or May 7, 1564 in the current calendar,) during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (or Elizabeth Tudor, or the “Virgin Queen,”) sister of Queen Mary (or Mary Tudor, or “Bloody Mary,”) and daughter of King Henry VIII (or Henry Tudor, or Monmouth) and Anne (or Ann) Bolen.

In 1582, Shakespeare (or Shakspere---his preferred spelling---or Shakspeare) married Anne (or Agnes) Hathwey (or Hathway, or Hathaway.) In 1583, the couple’s daughter, Susanna, was born, followed in 1585 by the twins, Hamnet (or Hamlet) and Judeth (or Judith.) Susanna lived to marry John Hall; Hamnet died at age 11; and Judeth married Thomas Quiney (or Quyny, or Queeny.)

Shakespeare’s (or Shagspere’s) business investments included a shared interestwith his friend in the 1599 (or 1595) building of the Globe Theater. Shakespeare’s (or Shake-speare’s) plays were then presented at the Globe---before it burned down during a performance of “Henry VIII” (or “All Is True) in 1613. Apparently, the roof (or eaves) caught fire when a cannon was set off in Act I, Scene IV.

Then, in later years there were some “scholars” who claimed Shakespeare’s (or Shackespere’s) real name was Francis Bacon (or 1st Baron Verulam or Viscount St. Albans) or Christopher (or Kit) Marlowe. And, to simplify our historical research, also born in 1564 in nearby Rowington was a William Shakspere (or Shaxpere,) a soldier and malt seller---but it was never determined whether or not he could read or write or enjoyed any of his namesake’s plays. To add to our merriment, another William Shakespeare (Or Shakspeare) was drowned in the river Avon in 1574.

Perhaps, the latter’s ghost really did the writing, giving veracity to the childhood “factoid” that Shakespeare’s efforts were really written by another person with the same name.

Topaz from Cottage Street