Liz Paterra started our group in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. A few members of the Eastern Shore Writers split and formed the Writer’s Bloc. Liz split again to form the First Saturday Writers. By then Jo Campbell had moved to Willet, California. We met mostly in her home, then the Globe Theater, then the Ocean Pines Library and finally to the Berlin Library.

Liz mainly wrote biographies geared for middle and high school students. Kweisi Mfume was her first. Mfume was a black member of the House of Representatives from Baltimore. Also, at one time was the president of the NAACP.

Gary Paulsen, her second novel, is about Gary Paulsen, a writer of juvenile adventure fiction for middle and high school students.

She also wrote Student handbook: Learning and study skills guidebook (The Cambridge-Stratford study skills course)

During her last years, she wrote about Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Ada Lovelace. Townsend was Lieutenant Governor of Maryland with Governor Glendenning. Ada Lovelace was Lord Byron daughter and a math genius. She worked with Charles Babbage on the earliest computer. Ada is called the first computer programmer.

We enjoyed knowing all of them.


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From the blurb of Jean Fullerton’s book, "The Murder at Sea Haven Beach."

What is the real reason Dr. Thomas Erickson engages Leigh McCarthy to work undercover as a substitute teacher at Sea Haven High School? There are certainly problems at the school, discontent and discord among the faculty are some of them, but are they serious enough to warrant spying on the teachers, and why doesn’t Dr. Erickson trust the principal of Sea Haven High School to solve the problems in his own school?

Leigh cooperates with Dr. Erickson until one of the faculty, handsome, arrogant, and narcissistic Robert Gerding, is murdered. Leigh hadn’t counted on murder as being part of the agenda, and she wants out of her agreement with Dr. Erickson. He convinces her to stay on because he needs her to keep him abreast of the police investigation, and she agrees to do so.

She discovers that there are others besides a few teachers who had an interest in seeing Gerding dead, and although she is not a professional investigator, she sets about interviewing those other people who may have wished the worst for him. What she also discovers is that nothing is what it seems to be.

(obit) <Mrs. Fullerton had been a teacher with the Baltimore County Board of Education for many years. After retiring from teaching she worked for the Census Bureau. Mrs. Fullerton also received a Masters Degree in Child Psychology, was a historian for the Royal Hibernian Society, an amateur genealogist, and was a published poet and author.>

Jean would sometimes talk about her courtship with this boy who had a La Salle convertible. She loved that car. Later when they married, he had to sell the La Salle Convertible. So sad.

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Tom Range wrote "The History of New York City Subways." He traces the history of mass transportation in Manhattan and New York City’s outer boroughs with the use of old postcards. Public transportation has long been vital to the city, with horse-drawn surface lines established by 1831 and elevated railroad lines constructed during the 1870s and 1880s. The concept of subways, railroads operating underground, originated in London in 1863 and was applied to New York City by 1904. This collection of vintage postcards brings you through the tunnels of the subway, onto the platforms of the long-gone els, and examines New York’s renowned terminals, especially Grand Central and Penn Station. (blurb)

One article Tom wrote was about a man living in an apartment in the Bronx in 1917. This man was under constant surveillance by unknown people. He spoke to crowds of people, mostly ethnic Russians and East Europeans. Only in the last paragraph did we find out the man was Leon Trotsky.

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OCEAN PINES — Olga Audrey Rybak, 93, of Ocean Pines passed away Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin from double pneumonia. She was born March 17, 1918, in New York City to Peter and Sophia Fenchynsky Zadoretzky, who had recently immigrated from the Ukraine. Olga enjoyed literary pursuits and cherished her membership in a local writers’ group, where she regularly enlivened discussions and charmed her colleagues with her memoirs and anecdotal narratives. She was known to friends and family for her graciousness, her kindness, her wit, her intellect and strength of will considerably disproportionate to her petite frame. (obit)

Olga was a joy. We loved her articles of growing up in a Ukrainian neighborhood and going to a strict Catholic school.

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(obit) Antiquarian bookseller, artist and poet, Irene Munson Rouse died at home in Alexandria on December 6, 2017 at the age of 89. Raised in Arlington, Rouse graduated from James Madison College in 1950. In her 2009 poetry collection, Petty Street, ("We lived on South Petty Street / those years with all our kin/ and their quarrels"), Rouse evoked the Depression years of her childhood: "Beggars with bleeding feet/ and broken shoes", and, "the hobo jungle/ far below Columbia Pike, where campfires/ flickered by the Potomac River."

Briefly an English teacher and later a children’s librarian, Rouse married, and raised a family in an eighteenth-century farmhouse in Burke. To cover college expenses for her five children, she took up a new career in the book business.

A succession of bookshops—in Fairfax, Falls Church, Alexandria, and the Eastern Shore— brought her friendships with other artists and writers. "Positively Prince Street", her poetry reading series in Alexandria, launched a stream of Washington area authors in the 1980’s, and a Chincoteague shop became a popular destination for visitors to the town.

In later life, now retired, Rouse turned to painting. Her expressive, often mythical landscapes were essentially visual poems: "vivid blossoms in the garden/ alive and red and swaying." (end obit)

Irene and Bill Rouse joined our group when they had a book store in Chincoteague. I did a book-signing there one Saturday.

Bill wrote "Plucked Again, the Great Chicken Rebellion." Bill may still be with us.


After a bit of research on the internet I changed a paragraph in yesterday’s article on Don. It now reads:

His son bought Ocean Downs. Don ran it as general manager for a few years until the son went into personal bankruptcy when the economy took a nose dive in the early 1990s.

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Don Vogel retired to Ocean City after selling his advertising company in Washington, DC, Don Vogel and Associates. Back then, Drug Fair was a big drug store chain on the East Coast. Don came up with the slogan, “Don’t say drug store, say Drug Fair.” They loved it.

His son bought Ocean Downs. Don ran it as general manager for a few years until the son was convicted of fraud, income tax evasion and other money related charges.

Don also helped my wife, Jeanne, with her advertising campaign for county commissioner.

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John Somori showed up at one of our meeting. This is the blurb for his book.

The Kid From Budapest is the story of John Somori, a little Hungarian boy born in Yugoslavia, raised in Bosnia and schooled in Hungary. A happy kid, at age fifteen and a member of his school’s literary club, he participated in a nation-wide contest to write an essay about writers. He won, taking home the first prize of a Napoleon gold coin. At sixteen, with three other boy scouts he toured Eastern Europe, and a year later he wrote extensively about this trip, eventually having it published and placed in local libraries and schools. Somori’s literary club enriched his life, and enhanced his political education. In the spring of 1944 Germany invaded Hungary. Many of Somori’s friends — Jews and gentiles — ended up in concentration camps. In October of 1944 his fate became theirs. Before transportation to Auschwitz he escaped until the Soviets came and liberated Budapest. He met and talked with Raoul Wallenberg.

Mr. Somori was born in Palanka, Hungary, June 16, 1922. He escaped with his wife and son from Budapest, Hungary, shortly after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He arrived with his family in the United States in 1959, and settled in northern Virginia. He worked as a draftsman for the Fairfax County Park Authority and helped design many parks and golf courses until his retirement. (obit)

At our meeting he would talk about traveling in pre-war Europe. About life in Hungary as a German ally. The German occupation, Soviet occupation and finally America.

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14 May, 2019 04:16

On March 1, 2006, in Petaluma, CA, of complications from Cancer, Journalist, Environmentalist, Civil Rights Activist, gun owner and doglover, JOSEPHINE CONRAD CAMPBELL passed away.

Sometime around 1988, our son went somewhere and left us with a brand-new Tandy 2000 computer. It had 640 kilobits of memory. I decided to write a book.

After a few thousand words, i realized I needed help. I went to see my old English and Literature instructor, Dr. Richard Elderdice at Salisbury Teachers College. One of the names he gave me was Josephine Campbell. She had retired from writing for the "US Information Agency" and was living in Montego Bay. I joined her small group and never looked back.

We met mostly at her house, never more than six or seven sitting around a round table. Josephine wrote a lot about African affairs and the people. She traveled in Africa meeting with the high and the low.

For thirty years she was a feature writer for International Press Service, part of the U.S. Information Agency – "Telling America’s Story to the World" in the Near East Branch, Voice of America, Amepnka, a Russian language magazine, and the Africa Branch. She was a shop steward for the government union, belonged to the Prince George’s County, Maryland chapter of the NAACP, serving as an officer for a number of years, and was a member of the County Human Relations Commission, which oversaw several investigations of excessive force against blacks by the Prince Georges County Police.

"A collection of her writings is stored at George Washington University Library. This collection contains manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, newspaper clippings, periodicals, pamphlets, photographs, slides, negatives, microcassette tapes, floppy discs, and various digital records. The materials range in date from 1947 to 2006 and represent the history of Josephine Campbell’s career as journalist. Campbell was a writer and editor with the United State Information Agency from 1956-1986 and later founded Ecotopics International News Service. Her early work is represented, but the bulk of materials pertain to her research and writing for Ecotopics. Significant topics represented in the collection include international journalism; environmental issues; feminism; and human rights." (fr obit)

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Watch your mailbox. A serial will soon begin. It traces the history of our writers’ group through past members beginning with Josephine Campbell.

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The Spirit

This was written for my writers group which meets tomorrow in the new Berlin Library. The key word to use in anyway, shape or form was spirit.

I remember the Spirit. He had an underground home in a cemetery. Somehow, he was buried while still alive, supposedly killed by criminals. He escaped the grave and decided to fight crime anonymously. He wore a blue suit, a blue fedora and a small eye mask.

This was 1940. The Spirit first appeared as a Sunday supplement to the Sunday comic strips written and drawn by Will Eisner. It was not quite a comic book, it was more of a pamphlet with usually sixteen pages. Some of which were advertising and other comic strips

Dad would buy the Sunday paper at MacAllister’s Store on his way home from Church. It was either the Philadelphia Record or the Philadelphia Inquirer. Later it was in the Philadelphia Bulletin.

People of Worcester County were more attuned to Philadelphia than Baltimore. Whenever young men and women went to the city to find work, they went north to Philadelphia.

Lois, Dale and I would grab the funnies and sit at the round oak table. Most of my old favorites have bit the dust. Who remembers Smiling Jack or Tailspin Tommy? They were both pilots and flew the old double wingers. Terry and the Pirates was also about flying. If I remember correctly, it was set in Southeast Asia. We learned a little geography by reading the comics.

Wash Tubbs, Captain Easy and Dickie Dare were all about sailing the seven seas and finding adventure.

Flash Gordon was cruising the planets of the solar system and fighting Ming, the Merciless. Then he moved out into the galaxy with his girlfriend, Dale.

Nearly all the heroes had girlfriends almost as famous as the hero. The Shadow had Margo Lane. The Shadow stressed that “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit” and that “Crime does not pay” Alley Oop had Oola. Mandrake had Princess Narda. Dick Tracey had Tess and Moon Mullins had Miss Swivel. The Phantom has Diana and the strip is still running.

Red Ryder was the only cowboy comic strip that I remembered. His horse was Thunder and Little Beaver was his Indian companion. I would love to have a Red Ryder beebee gun.

Gene Autry Had his horse Champion. I don’t think he had a steady girlfriend. In films, he always won the fair maiden in the last reel. Roy Rogers had Trigger and a steady girlfriend in Dale Evans. Gene and Roy were more in comic books and not comic strips.

Bathless Groggins was another old comic strip. It started as Abbie and Slats. A young couple. Later Bathless emerged as the main character. Bathless always had little lines emanating from his body to show a strong odor.

Women were well represented in early comics. Lady Luck was also created by Will Eisner. She always wore a green dress, a green hat and a half vail. Like the Spirit, she was not a super hero with extraordinary powers. She and the Spirit were crime fighters and detectives. She appeared as a Sunday supplement in a small comic book format.

Ella Cinders comic strip was a take on Cinderella. Only Ella didn’t turn into a princess, she won a trip for a screen test in Hollywood. She and her brother go but find the studio in Hollywood has gone bankrupt. They stay and constantly try to break into the movies.

Dixie Dugan began in 1929 as a career girl. The strip varied from romance to comedy and crime fighting.

Brenda Starr, Reporter may be the only comic strip that was written and drawn by a woman. It started in 1940 and ran to 2011. Brenda exploits ranged from reporting, fashion and constant romance. She married and divorced in the strip. The creator and artist, Dale Messick, would draw cleavage and a navel. Editors at the time would erase.

I remember Little Annie Rooney and Little Orphan Annie. Orphan Annie came first. Annie Rooney came soon after as a copycat or knock-off. Both had dogs, Orphan Annie had Sandy and Annie Rooney had Zero. Both strips were highly successful. Running for a long time and making movies.

The Spirit had a lovely girlfriend. Ellen was the daughter of the city’s police commissioner. A little romance for the kids, but I don’t think she ever visited his home in the graveyard. Always the comic would show the Spirit leaving his home. His grave site, tombstone and all, would open upward and the Spirit would step out.

The Spirit also had a sidekick. A young black boy or man named Ebony White. There was also a flying car sometimes driven my Ebony.

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (775)

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