Sunday, September 27, 2020



the book

by Sinclair Lewis, 1922

In my father's yearbooks from high school, graduated in 1928, he seemed to have the nickname Babbitt.  He never wanted to talk about it.  I wondered why.  Bought the book after several years. I can honestly say, I have not learned the "why" at all.  Who knows?  Kids say the darnedest things to other kids - even back in 1928.

I am starting chapter 15 and stopping.  So far this is a book of descriptions and inactivity and daily common activity and "something."   After several days of reading (up to page 192), I went online to read the reviews.  Maybe, I am missing something.  Look it up if you wish.  Descriptions of the book write about George F. Babbitt, a middle age Realtor in Zenith (state unknown).  It talks of his bigotry and attempts towards conformity in 1922.  While I was able to read it without falling to sleep, it still was a struggle - too much thinking.  Oh, so many descriptions of individuals.   I spent too much time wondering where I was going in this story.  The first chapter is his getting out of bed in the morning - the rituals.  The 2nd chapter follows him going downstairs to eat breakfast.

The descriptions were indeed excellent.  Sinclair Lewis does a fine job with this.  You could visualize the entire day, step-by-step.  Maybe I was expecting a quicker story line - robbing a bank, beating his secretary to death, ridding a horse naked down main street (yes, I know, most horses are naked)  - whatever.  Nope, didn't happen.  Surprisingly, George F Babbitt has some of my views on Socialism / Communism and other social bits.  He is a little bit overboard on some other events and thoughts.  

I've noticed in this book and the other one I just finished, The complete Father Brown Mysteries by C.K. Chesterton, written about the same time as Babbitt, there is an abundance of racial and ethnic slurs.  I'm sure these were included in the common talk of individuals at the time.  If you offended by certain words  - not politically correct in 2020 - stay away from these books.   As with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,  somebody will try to get these banned from libraries and, of course, Boston.

My plan is to take a break and read something else for a while.  Then, I can return and make it to the end of the book.  My book is a slightly damaged first edition from 1922.   A sticker on the inside cover gives the name of the original owner:  Martha Ann Goetz of 817 Five Oaks Avenue, Dayton, Ohio.  I thought I might write to that address after I finished the book and see if anyone would like to own a piece of history of Five Oaks Avenue.  Could be that someone has burned down that section of Dayton since 1922.

I wonder if they had stickers in 1922.  It WAS a wild and crazy time .. The Roaring Twenties.  Since the sticker has no zip code, it had to come before - say 1960 something.  Zip codes started about that time.  I am not going to look it up.


I looked it up.  1963.  I graduated from college in 1962 - was married in 1962 - received my Master Degree in Jan., 1963 - took over Sudan HS in Jan, 63 ... I betcha that I wasn't paying attention to zip codes back then.  The last 4 digits of the zip were added in 1983.  There ya go.  Learn something old (new) everyday.  If you ever go on Jeopardy and they ask the non-question, you'll know.    {aside:  Jeopardy is a hard word to spell.  How often do you need to spell Jeopardy?  Rare, I'd guess.  I will admit that I looked it up before I inscribed same on this page.  Tough word, Jeopardy,}


SNAKES:  I can't say that I've talked about them much recently.  I have encountered 3 black snakes during the past 3 weeks.   One took up residence on my back porch in the corner.  My Sadie had a fit and pointed it out.  Good Dog.   The other two appeared on my steps which go down the hill from my back porch.  Both of them were trying to escape by going through a hole in my landscape wall.   At least one of these was not a friendly snake.   There is something about looking down the mouth of a snake when it is wide open and fangs are glistening in the afternoon sun.

Even if snakes are beneficial to our environment, I worry about getting bit and the dogs being bit.  Snakes don't really mean to kill - I believe - but they will defend territory.   One of daughter Laura's dogs was bit in the eye by some snake.  She was probably just wanting to sniff that strange creature. It would break my heart for my dogs to be injured by some snake that I failed to correct properly.  It would break my heart.

So, I close.  Beautiful day - minimum wind - will get into the 80s today - water sprinklers seem to be working beautifully (it is Sunday).  SeeYa-Mtz

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