Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Velma Weighs In

Velma gave me this handwritten note which I have been asked to type out and post on the blog for your information.


Nick Fish

Dear Readers,

I feel this note is long overdue. I am a computer phobic which might be trite, I know, for a 96 year old woman but true nonetheless for me. It has been one of my longest standing battles to master the machine, but alas, I fear the machine may end up mastering me. For that reason, I have been woefully out of touch with this blogging process. Thank God for assistants like Nicky and the help of Justin who bear with me through it all. One types out my chicken scratch and the other reads it back it to me.

Recently, I have had the good fortune of sitting down for a series of conversations with our blog master. A couple of times over the past few weeks, we met, shared a drink and chatted about the journals which you have been reading for close to a year now. They were a ton of fun and personally, I hope I get to read them on this very blog soon. I was even given the honor of previewing some of the pages of the graphic novel he and Courtney are working on and of which I am featured in. I find it important to mention that he has stepped away for the blog for a few weeks to begin lettering said graphic novel. Mr. Fish might continue the process in his absence, although I suspect that might ruffle a feather or two where Mr. Rivers is concerned.

But really, reading my awkward, self-important, 19 year-old self has made me feel young again. And I thank you from the bottom of my 96 years-young heart for sharing this journey with me. It is a wild one with far too many twists and turns for my comfort, and one for you that has only just started.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Best Regards,

Velma Graydon

Photo: Pages from THE WONDER CITY, Courtney Zell

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

May 4, 1931

Met with Fox last night at the Bakery. After throwing back a whiskey with me, he said that by the description of the man I was giving him, it sounded like someone by the name of Tobias Finch was following me. Fox said he is a private eye usually hired by the very affluent to investigating heists and thefts. He occasionally comes into the Bakery and was in last week having a drink with Mick and Rick. When I approached both of them, they both said (so eloquently) that he asked nothing about me. How strange this all is.

Irving was no where to be found today. I left a note on the door to his office saying I had come for my session. I sincerely hope he's alright.

In the most important news, I received another letter from Robert. He has made it to Edinburgh and is staying with his grandmother as Mrs. Vanderford has given him leave to see his family while they're in Great Britain. He says he will stay the reminder of the month and rejoin Mrs. Vanderford in London. He said many times that he missed me and wished I was with him. How I wish the same. He said he has no doubt his grandmother would love me.

And through all this I have finals to attend to. I can hardly believe my first year at Barnard is drawing to a close.

Monday, September 8, 2008

May 1, 1932

I have confided in Dottie that someone has been following me. There have been at least six occassions since Jacob Vandewater pointed out the tall gentleman three weeks ago that I have noticed him every once and again when I'm off campus. For some reason I can't bring myself to tell anyone else but her about it. He seems to trail far behind me that I can never make out his face, but like some secret agent or mysterious gumshoe of crime novels, he wears a gray hat and trench. He is abnormally tall, at least 6'4", I can't be sure exactly. Besides that he's only a shadow lurking behind me.

Dottie said that she thinks Fox the bartender at the Bakery can help me. She said he knows all the "shady" characters. With that, I think I'll pay him a visit.

Tomorrow night, Dottie, Sarah and I are going to see Tarzan the Ape Man at the Roxy. It will be my first time at what they call the cathedral of the motion picture. Perhaps my tall mystery man will join us.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

April 20, 1932


OFFICE: 9:30-10:30 AM


Communipaw village had a special relationship with the Native Lenape inhabitants. It was from them that they learned how to cultivate the land for cabbage growing and the surrounding river beds for oyster hatching. They were known for harvesting an overabundance of each.

These two factions of Communipaw came to be, those who cultivated the land and those who cultivated the water. It wasn't until the British took over the region that a small group of founding father began collecting the materials for the archives which was started and kept in the House of the Four Chimneys, a "lordly mansion" built by a Dutchman named Van Horne.

All Communipaw Dutchman had a fondness for smoking pipes. It was said that decisions could not be made in the community without the founding fathers smoking their pipes in consultation. It was said that the natives showed them how to dry a special tobacco blend which helped them raise the spirits of the land and sea.

The Communipaw were very insular and suspicious of outsiders coming into their village. For the longest time, Dutch was the only language allowed to be spoken in the households of the village.

Some of this really sounds ridiculously perculiar. I wish I knew why I had to sit through this.

Monday, September 1, 2008


A note from Mr. Fish:


Velma and I have returned safely from our summer of expeditions in locations I choose not to disclose since you have a tendancy to post my emails. I've noticed some regularity with the blog, which is refreshing. Velma mentioned that perhaps elaborating more on Irving Lincoln, the Communipaw, and points in the Washington Irving material could be necassary. I suggested posting a link to Knickerbocker's History of New York from Project Gutenberg since the book itself is out of print.

Hope your summer was restful and productive. Sure to see you soon.



Mr. Fish's idea is a capital one. Below please find the link to Project Gutenberg's online edition of Washington Irving's Knickerbocker's History of New York

There you'll be able to read reference's to the mythical Communipaw Dutch community as referenced in Velma's recent journal postings. It's http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/13042
I've also found this website on Irving's Communipaw which my be of interest.


Photo: www.aboutbookbinding.com