Press-Republican

Columns

April 29, 2012

Hung up on hanger collection

Sid Couchey was a friend and an idol. I still haven't fully processed the fact that he no longer sits at his drawing board, creating some of the most whimsical and wonderful drawings and paintings we've come to cherish and love.

Many years ago, he and his wonderful wife, Ruth, sat with Dr. Nancy Church and me at a table to celebrate the publication of her marketing book with his illustrations and a smidgen of my work on radio commercials. I asked where Sid and Ruth had courted, and they smiled, certain I had never heard of a summer resort known as Requa Lake in Rockland County. Of course I had. It was constructed and owned by my uncle Glode Requa, my mother's brother. My full name is Gordon Requa Little. Small world, isn't it? I really miss Sid, and if you aren't familiar with his huge body of work over many decades, starting with the "Richie Rich" comic books, it would behoove you to check it out.

Sid had a fabulous sense of humor, and it was my pleasure to laugh with him many times. Bud Blake also had a wonderful view of life, and his comic strip "Tiger," still published in this paper long after his death, makes us laugh heartily every day.

Apparently, Blake and I shared at least one hang-up. In the strip published last Monday, Punkinhead tries to be helpful by going to fetch a wire hanger from the closet. He retrieves a tangled mess of hangers, all jumbled together, and his punch line is classic. Check it out.

It was a great way to start my day and engendered a great deal of thought in my old brain, as I conjured up memories of hangers past and present. Those who know me are aware that I have many collections of "stuff." Some collections were completely inadvertent. Hangers, for example. How and why do any of us have so darn many? Never mind that part. Let us just scan the hanger horizon for a moment. Chances are my great-great-grandparents never owned a single hanger. Usable wire hangers weren't even known until the early 20th century. My ancestors and yours probably hung their coats on hooks. In the very early days, they didn't bathe much and wore the same duds until they disintegrated.

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