With my conjure and charm; my witch pie, of the broken Fisherman’s Hut plate at hand, I am now prepared to step-up a ladder rung with this rung understood to be... ‘go to use a particle of THEIR vision... to find my crazy man’. To off-set this, in fact, struggle, I open with a satisfactory toward-the-end quote... from the MAGAZINE ARTICLE... that is a ‘their vision’ that I may, ‘once captured, (make) part of MY vision. A nasty twisting of their crafting? I have to do it all the time’ (Part Nine [B]):
“This singular collection is the child of an opportunity which will certainly never occur again. Let my words inspire you one and all to refrain from destroying historical specimens of this kind which happen to be in your possession”.
This quote is from... and applied... within the context of the magazine article. I’ll get to the wholeness of that in a moment. Here though... please see that for I this quote ‘is a spirit rope tied back upon... and often woven into... itself’ (Part Six –[C]) for what this whole tale is about. Could... and will... it apply to the Savage Estate? Does it apply to the lawn tractor and the removal of the gravestones? Did Melville ‘destroying historical specimens’ when he ‘removed below’ (Part Six –[C])? Did I... when I found the broken plate and ‘carry off’? Continued, such application of this quote seems to fit like a skeleton key into many... if not all... of the right side up and ‘pitched’ up side down of... New England... as this tale CONTINUES to wander along. Perhaps we have found a ‘the point of all this’ here... now?
Or are we ‘too soon’?
I address directly the magazine article now: It is Donovan Hohn “A Romance of Rust. Nostalgia, Progress and the Meaning of Tools”, Harper’s, January 2005, pgs. 45-63. Note that it is a long ...and of tiny print... article; eighteen pages (including a ‘double page’ advertisement). Understand too that the author at this time ...had, still had or just had... an editorial job at Harper’s. The ‘long article’ effect is that both in my first reading and... second recent reading... it took me a long time to read for like the reading of the Eileen Fisher article (Part One), I read it in snippets during lunch. But additionally note that after my first reading at the time of its publication... I DID SAVE THE ...whole magazine.
Why is that a note need? Because NO ONE has ever mentioned this article to me nor have I ever had contact with anyone who has ‘read’... AND I MEAN, too, READ... the article... UNDERSTANDING THAT... I... WORK... DAILY... in the subject of the article AND am same-time commercially active in that subject. TOO. I have no idea how many ‘old tool sheds’ I have been in and/or ‘cleaned out’ (‘carry off; loot’) in... THE LAST FORTY YEARS. When I was in ...junior high school... so titled then... I looted old tool sheds... ‘after school’. Anyway: “ZERO” about anything from anyone EVER about this article. BUT I SAVED IT... because it IS ‘good’.
The quote above... to tidy that up... is from a “display” at the Henry Chapman Mercer’s tool museum and is from Mercer himself (pg. 60 in the article). That’s not why I saved the article. It is not what for I exhume the article for in this tale. I exhume it to find my ‘crazy man’. I knew it ‘did this’... IN THE WAY... I wish it to do this; sort of back into my crazy man through my... New England turned up side down notice... by this article being a quintessential specimen of the New England right side up vision found in their... ‘clinical’ ‘myth be gone’ ‘clarity, accuracy, factual data gathering, ordered presentation, walled-in conclusions and ...a full sense of purpose to... successfully get their ...lawn tractor in... to mow back the wilderness’ (Part Nine [B]). Sorry to repeat this but I must be sure to declare what spike I’m driving home for... we... must notice that... the spirit rope tied back upon... and often woven into... itself’... continues to get...: Does it not?
Hohn writes about old hand tools... in all ways; yard sale, auction, fairs, shows, museums, collections, collectors, condition, storage, perceptions, characters, critique, questions, conquest, intellectual evaluations, reason-to-be, rust, trucks, ice cream and... crazy men. I save the article because of the comprehensive crafting. I did not, either the first read or the second read... ‘learn much’. This is not a weak point. It is because I have been ‘in this’ a... ‘long time’. I bought and read Mercer’s classic book in high school. I didn’t READ it...; I ‘looked at’ it intensely like EVERYONE ELSE (in antique tools) does. I ‘buy and sell’ ‘old’ ‘tool’... daily. AND endure the surround sound of that collector community. I do not ‘need’ the article. I kept it. WHY? Because that’s what I do. So when I got to writing down this tale of the Savage estate... with its ‘coy façade of fabricated myth’ ‘turned up side down’... and the need of depicting that ‘turned up side down’.... brought forth on the up side down border of congestion... from the south, southwest... with Kent, Connecticut as a frontier outpost of undisturbed New England... with that; Kent... being of ‘exposed position’ on the frontier so therefore being of a ‘fall back and fade away’ tactic necessity... I had NOT ‘forgotten about’ and DIDN’T ‘not know of’ this article of ...right side up... intellectually over viewing ‘old tools’ as a... ‘turned up side down: Are they?’
IN the article... one of the article’s crazy men... is the crazy man that... ‘I need some help. I need a crazy man”. He is Eric Sloan... from Kent, Connecticut.
Hohn treats Sloan just the way (1) I need him too and (2) ‘pitches him to the side ‘up side down’. Sloan, as character and crazy man, appears in the text early and... stays late. I used the broken plate witch pie to... ‘find’ and ‘carry off’ ALL ‘Sloan’ in the article. Sloan is best understood to be shown as...; museums, collections, collectors, perceptions, characters, critique, questions, conquest, intellectual evaluations, reason-to-be and... crazy men. Hohn evaporates all these as he goes along to leave a syrup of perceptions, intellectual evaluations, reason-to-be and ...crazy man. That may be a little brutal but it avoids the ‘dismisses him’ ‘pitched’ ‘up side down’...glimmer of enlightenment ... I noticed he harbored of Sloan...way off. I do not need Sloan for his work with old tools. I need him because he is found in Kent and... is a verified ‘crazy man’ character. His strength for I is ‘there’. But ...I will go blow by blow through Hohn before stepping to stand behind Mr. Sloan... who faces south, southwest from Kent.
The first few pages of Hohn’s article adopts the reader to the Midwestern country fair of old tools and rusted wrenches. “Nice” describes the read. At the bottom of page fifty Eric Sloan makes his appearance: “Eric Sloane, the seminal romancer of antique tools...”. At the top of the next page (51) Hohn/Sloane continues and Hohn drops the ‘nice leash’:
“When he published A MUSEUM OF EARLY AMERICAN TOOLS in 1964, Sloane almost single-handedly transformed old tools into Americana. ... At first glance, Sloane’s book appears to be nothing more than a pictorial dictionary or field guide. In truth it is a political tract, an illustrated manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism”.
Ok... here we go. Obviously “political tract”, “manifesto”, “romantic” and “Yankee conservatism” are... no longer about Midwestern tool fairs and rusted wrenches. At the bottom right of the same page (51) Hohn ends the page with “There are no wrenches in Eric Sloan’s MUSEUM (the book)”. Gloves off... for Hohn on Sloan. Two more subtle notes. Sloan’s MUSEUM book published at 1964 is ‘later’ in Sloan’s publishing career. (Hohn notice no other Sloane books in his screed). Sloane is already well wrote by this date and his early material is... better... and NOT about ‘tools’. It includes tools but, using Hohn lingo... it is MORE... manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism” (a religion?). I’ll get to that in the next chapter.
Hohn IS RIGHT that for the rusted tool collector set; ‘tool guys’... THIS 1964 book DID kick old tools ... out of the farm tool shed and ...on to my ‘weekends in junior high onward’ flea market table “FOR SALE”. Rummaging, ransacking, looting, carrying off and... very, very, very... ever more correctly defined VERY... SERIOUS... OLD TOOL... ‘collecting’... came forth... leading FOUR decades later to ... articles like this showing... old tools... right side up. Having actually ridden on this bus of a commercial market, et al, for the whole ride... I... failed to find “manifesto” and “Yankee conservatism” at my flea market table. I did... and do... get ‘tool guy romantics’ stammering before me. None the less... Hohn/Sloane... goes Hohn’s way for the rest of the article with Sloane being his ‘under the bus guy’ versus... ‘the tool guy’. Hohn adopts an “according to Eric Sloane” (pg. 56) usage of this “anti-unionist libertarian” (pg. 56)... to... “meaning of tools he and the author of the Communist Manifesto agree”.
“Yikes.” and... ah...: “Hey tool guys better get that Sloane MUSEUM book off the shelf of your... reference library”. I mean... the book’s got GREAT pictures drawn by SLOANE...: “Do they say something else if you turn them ...up side down...?” The right side up line in the sand is ...romance... manifesto... and Yankee conservatism... are NOT ‘old tools’? Old tools are ...practical educated Midwestern men rummaging in old tool sheds to ... BUY... “OLD TOOLS” ... for as little expense as possible... and take them to THEIR tool shed... often especially constructed at considerable expense... to ...well... ‘be in there’; that tool shed... AND/OR occasionally have a fellow travelers trade fair outing and ‘show off’... OF THE TOOL and OF... the ‘tool guy’ TOO. Sloane? “Squashed like a bug, guys”. What does that mean for this tale? It means that Sloane and “his manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism” are... PITCHED to the side... up side down and... Hohn proves this (pg. 57):
“My route to New Britain takes me tantalizingly close to the Sloane-Stanley Museum on the banks of the Housatonic (Kent, Connecticut), where, atop the picturesque ruins of an iron mill, Eric Sloane’s collection of edifying implements now resides. I decide to make time for the detour. According to the posted hours, the museum is open for business but when I try the front door to the main building, I find it locked. I snoop among the deserted grounds, silent but for the crunch of my footsteps on the gravel drive. There’s a flagpole with a limpid flag, a few picnic tables splattered with bird droppings, an...” AND IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME NOW, THEN, BEFORE THEN, ALL OF NOW AND THEN: Eric Sloane’s museum in Kent, Connecticut is CLOSED. It is ‘pitched’ and ‘turned up side down’.
ARE YOU SATISFIED HOHN?
“YOU FOOL!” ...of the... right... side... up... vision ...of version... of your rusted wrench all...:
IT IS STILL THERE.
I drive by it all the time. It’s beautiful there. There is NO congestion. It is closed.
Hohn attempts a soft landing (pg. 58): “I concede that Sloane was ‘a cranky guy’ with strong opinion and a romantic view of the past. Still, many of the (antique) tools I’ve seen at tool auctions look superior – sturdier, prettier, more finely wrought - than those on sale a Home Depot”.
Then (pg. 59) “Sloane’s epigraph... declares that the carpenter... is far more serviceable than the curious Carver who employs his art to please his Fancy”. The rusted wrench as art?
Hohn’s last direct reference to Sloane... (pg. 60) : “Unlike Eric Sloane, Mercer regards objects as artifacts not symbols. He insists that his tools not be treated as romantic nationalistic icons.”... We are returned to the ... “his manifesto of romantic, Yankee conservatism”?
Yes... and... right side up... within this article... may be traced back to the beginning pages... “atop a ridge... an ice cream stand called King Kone in the shape of an enormous soft-serve whose new owners (NOTE THAT) no longer offer (the) favorite flavor, orange-vanilla swirl” (pg. 54). That’s where the end-of-a-rusted-wrench-day... manifesto ...is; bitching about the “orange-vanilla”... myth be gone?
Hohn... finishes himself off... with his last sentence: “Newer is still better, but now we are nostalgic for almost everything” (pg. 63).
I... now... step BEHIND Sloane in Kent. From there Sloane wrote:
“When the study of the past is mistaken for nostalgia, beware!”