A recent issue of the New Yorker offers looks backward.
There’s a tribute to founder Harold Ross, followed by many old stories and cartoons.
Karl Decker — the longtime, legendary and now retired Staples High School English instructor — is a devoted New Yorker fan. The magazine sent him scurrying to his cellar, where he keeps his back copies.
All the way back to the 1930s.
He picked one — June 23, 1934 — and settled down to read.
There was a long article about Franklin Roosevelt; a cartoon by Peter Arno — and 500 words of “precious whimsy” by Parke Cummings.
In the summer of 1960, Karl and Parke — a famous author and humorist — worked together at Famous Writers School.
Al Dorne — one of the founders of the Famous Writers, Artists and Photographer Schools — was always looking for ideas to add to those 3 “schools” (all correspondence-based, and headquartered on Wilton Road).
Parke and Karl had already submitted proposals for a Famous Sculptors School (which required a railroad spur, to ship in granite) and Famous Dancers School (huge pads on which students would ink their bare feet, then step out the moves on big rolls of paper).
Their latest idea: Famous Weavers School. The preface read: “The School will provide each student with 4 English Shropshire sheep, a shepherdess, and …”
Dorne told them he’d have to consult with Ed Mitchell before they went any further.
“Inexplicably, our workloads increased markedly after that,” Karl reports.