August 18, 2013

Gift of old books stirs memory

I’m opening a time capsule again.

While we were camping this summer, I received a phone call from Pat Lobdell. “Herbert H. Dewey,” she began. “What do you know about him?” I was in a vacation fog and begged her forgiveness. 

Slowly, the brain mist cleared. Herb Dewey — yes, I had heard of him. He ran a store in Cadyville before I moved here. He was an interesting character who loved to write poetry. Some of it was done in a French dialect.

My friends Ron and Millie Sears had told me about him. He sounded like a character I would find unforgettable. I wish I had met him. We would have sat for hours and palavered (there’s an old word for you). He had an interesting take on life, especially life in this area, and I enjoyed his view of the world. 

I hadn’t heard his name for years until Pat rang my number and asked if I would like a copy of his book, “Ramblings of a Convalescent: Homespun Philosophy And Dialect Tales in Prose and Verse.” It was written in 1950, and on the cover, he described himself as “The Rambling Poet of the North Country.” His little book of 102 pages was published by Moorsfield Press in Champlain.

I love treasures and told her I would gratefully accept her gift, which she promised to put into the mail post haste. But there was more. She had two books written by my friend the late George Abbe from SUNY Plattsburgh. Would I like them as well? Heck, yes!

I was like a little kid waiting for his Captain Marvel mystery ring to appear in the mailbox. Soon, my care package arrived, and I couldn’t wait to view the contents. 

Dewey’s book was there along with Abbe’s “Yonderville,” from 1968, and “Collected Poems,” published just after I arrived to begin my radio career here in 1961. 

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