Oh my! (Original Boomerang for May 11, 1919)

Original Boomerang, May 11, 1919

Original Boomerang, May 11, 1919

This issue of the Original Boomerang is the very essence of spring, full of bustle and a keen sense of the season’s brevity mixed in with a sprinkling of poignant notes to match … to start off with, there’s an announcement about a short story contest being put on by the Des Moines Register, which is open to all Des Moines residents “though they may be attending school or teaching as far away as India or even Philadelphia” (note the way the Boomerang man makes Philadelphia sound as if it’s further away from Des Moines than India!).

Next up is a wonderful story about the first ride of the season in Patty to Indianola–and back the same day!–and meeting relations coming and going!

Then there’s a poem that I bet is by poet Fred Eno, quoted in full below:

There’s a little bunch of lilies
Down by the country road
Whose fragrance sends me back again
To childhood’s sweet abode.

How fleeting are their blossoms–
They bloom but for a day,
Then like some dreams of childhood
Too quickly fade away.

That was poignant, but the full-blown poignancy is still to come … in a story about how on their way back from Indianola, they passed a house with an abundance of lilacs in bloom and asked to buy a quarter’s worth of them, but when the people in the house found out who they were, they refused to sell them any . . . why? It turned out that the “man of the house” was an “old flame” of Mama’s! As Fred puts it, “the lady intimated that mama might have had the whole lilac bush–roots and all” … as they drove away, Fred recounts, “a look of fond regret filled your mother’s eyes and ‘the saddest words of tongue and pen’–stung again.” Here the Boomerang man is quoting a poem called “Maud Miller” by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892): “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been'” (read full poem here). Ohhh: Mama definitely made the right decision–what a sensitive guy!

Letters from India and other news ~

Original Boomerang, March 31, 1918

Original Boomerang, March 31, 1918

Another week, another fascinating original Boomerang! First of all, it’s interesting to see that March 31st was not only a Sunday back in 1918 just as it is in 2013, but it was Easter then as now as well (which also means that March 31st was the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox that year just as it was this year)!

The headline story in this issue is that Patty (the Enos’ 1915 Hupmobile, first introduced here) is back in working order. Last we heard (here), Patty was having trouble every time Beth drove her, which meant she had to take her to the repair shop where a certain someone she might have enjoyed seeing happened to work!! As Fred Eno the limericist points out, Patty’s running but not passing any Fords, but that still beats walking!

Next up, one’s curiosity about the photographs mentioned in last week’s Boomerang is further piqued with this wonderful list of their titles!! A Sunday School paper bought them — hmmm!! Also in this item: readers will recall that “twenty-eight thirteen” was the house number of the Enos’ residence on Cottage Grove Avenue in Des Moines.

It seems that the Boomerang man has been mailing issues of this “Little Newspaper for Our Own Family” all the way to India! But of course he would be doing that since that’s where Enola, the oldest of the Eno girls is, and this is her debut in that “Little Newspaper”! What was Enola doing in India? Working as a Christian missionary! She’s mentioned in the Northwestern Christian Advocate of September 22, 1915 as being ready to go (see below).

Enola Eno bound for India, 1915

Enola Eno bound for India, 1915

According to various notes I have from Dick, Enola eventually got a PhD from the University of Chicago along with her husband (unless the notes mean that along with the PhD she acquired a husband?), and the two of them published a Methodist newspaper (lots of newspapers in this family!) in India: Lucknow, to be precise. According to other notes I have, these dated June 30, 1977 and written on stationery from the Town House Motor Inn in Cedar Rapids, which means they must be from the lips of Beth, the one mentioned later in this issue of the Boomerang as having awakened early for the Easter service, Enola also had an Austin named Shesa!

Returning to th news item on Enola in this issue of the Boomerang, though: it’s exciting to hear that her letters have been arriving at 2813–in “dray loads”–and that the Boomerang is making it to India. It is a big world — and nigh-on a hundred years later, even as it’s smaller in some ways, it’s gigantically intriguing and wondrous, what with being able to find Miss Enola Eno in a 1915 periodical and publish it, along with her dad’s news of her letters, to the whole wide world! (Now to find those photographs!)

NB: Just as a reminder, a (growing!) archive of all the original Boomerangs that have been featured so far is available at this site at the tab labeled “Fred Eno’s Boomerang.”