Wednesday, July 16, 2014

More E.B. White enjoyment

It is always a delight to open the pages of his books and enjoy reading right from the first sentence.
Here a few autobiographical quotes that gave me much pleasure as I read them last evening.

"I remember the cellar, its darkness and dampness, its set tubs, its Early American water closet for the help, it coal furnace that often tried to asphyxiate us all, and the early sound of the Italian furnace man who crept in at dawn and shook the thing down. As a very small boy, I used to repair to the cellar, where I would pee in the coal bin--for variety."

"One of the fringe benefits of being the son of a piano man was that our parlor at 101 Summit Avenue was well supplied with musical instruments: a Waters grand, a reed organ with phony pipes, and at one period, a Waters player piano called an "Autola". There were six of us children, and we were practically a ready-made band. All we lacked was talent. We had violins, cellos, mandolins, guitars, banjos, and drums, and there was always a lot of music filling the air, none of it good. We sang, composed, harmonized, drummed, and some of us took lessons for brief spells in an attempt to raise the general tone of the commotion."

"Many American families have enjoyed a short interlude with baby alligators, but the Brittingham alligators were no transients; they settled right in. When they were six or seven feet long, they were moved down cellar and dwelt there in morose seclusion, terrorizing the man who was supposed to read the meter."

"Lil had a hard time deciding whom to marry among her many suitors. She kept putting the matter off and for a while went to work in New York as a secretary and became a commuter. But after a few years of this, she met another commuter--Arthur Illian, a Wall Street broker--and married him, thus becoming Lillian Illian, a dubious triumph in alliteration."

~ E.B. White from Letters of E.B. White

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