Those of you reading these columns in chronological order
may be wondering how we got from Christmas to Halloween in one
Well . . .
Suffice it to say that, as far as candidates for reprinting
/ expansion go, 1988 ended up being the motherlode of folkloric
fodder! The first five columns of that year were all worthy of
online reprinting, and in most cases I expanded them to finally
turn them into the columns I wanted them to be all along.
As I may have already mentioned, we decided as of January
1988 to go bimonthly, so for the first six months there were
only 3 issues. The January / February issue featured a look at
Abe Lincoln, in honor of February's President's Day (and in memory
of the fact that Lincoln's Birthday used to be celebrated on
its own - also in February). We looked at the darker side of
the man, the seances and premonitions, and I couldn't wait to
expand it properly, which I finally did in April of 2001.
The March / April column, which featured April Fool's Day,
was later earmarked (and indeed submitted) for online publication
in March of '99. However, we ran into severe server difficulties
and the piece never ran. Upon my return from self-imposed exile
in April this year (2003) it seemed all too appropriate to start
thing off with this "lost column".
Finally, the May / June column featured a new look at Independence
Day, something I'd wanted to do for some time. It was a natural
for online publication, which took place in July 1999.
Now, you may have wondered why I would throw a "Fourth
of July" column into a May / June issue. Well, between the
vagaries of printing schedules and the adjustments to the new
bimonthly schedule, I'd discovered that the columns were typically
reaching people on or just after the holidays they dealt with
- not the most ideal of situations.
Therefore, I was determined to get the July 4th column out
to our readers well in advance, hence its May appearance.
Naturally, Mom subsequently decides to return to a monthly
schedule right after that issue went to print.
And so it was that the year 1988 gave us two Independence
Day columns in a row! Fortunately I was able to come up with
some fun facts about Ben Franklin for our July '88 issue - it
turned out so well, in fact, that I couldn't resist expanding
it and sending it into cyberspace for our July 2000 issue.
August came around, and this time I had a really good one.
Mike and I had just gotten back from a visit to an old, old house
in New England, which had turned out to be haunted. It was a
It was also a natural for expansion when I put it online in
May / June 1998.
Now, September's column has never been reprinted, and almost
certainly never will. You see, it wasn't really a column, per
se - at least not in the sense of telling any sort of a story.
I started it by doing a sort of follow up on a few previous columns,
such as the Queen Mary, and by the time I'd finished I'd run
out of room. You see, I had to leave space for brother Mike's
Yes, Mike had returned to Book Again that Summer, and we now
had air conditioning as well! Quite an eventful time . . .
And so it was now October, and time for our third Halloween
column. This one came to me from one of our best customers, who
was a folklorist himself - Ben Keller.