Eric Sloane published “When the study of the past is mistaken for nostalgia, beware!” in 1958. That is over fifty years ago. It was forty-seven years before Hohn ended his article with his “Newer is still better, but now we are nostalgic for almost everything”.
Newer is still better, but now we are HOMESICK for almost everything?
Sloane’s ‘mistaken of past’ ENDS his “Author’s Note” in his THE SEASONS OF AMERICA PAST, Wilfred Funk, New York, 1958. He BEGINS this “Author’s Note” with:
“Nostalgia, it has been said, is a great American disease. Yet an appraisal (note word choice) of the past need not be nostalgic. True nostalgia is “homesickness,” and even the most ardent antiquarian (note word choice) would not so yearn for the past as to want to return completely. In this speeding world, the faster we travel, the farther back we leave our past. We soon find ourselves using all our powers to “keep up with things,” and looking backward at all has become a lost art. Even beholding and evaluating the present becomes difficult.”
This, again, he published in 1958. The “Author’s Note” is followed by the first chapter; “Speeding up the Seasons”. This chapter’s text... is a splendid Sloane screed that if hen pecked by a writer of their own screed... would discerningly allow the words “political tract”, “manifesto”, “romantic, “Yankee conservatism” AND “Communist Manifesto agree” to be applied.
Additionally... the text is highly roll-off-the-tongue quotable, includes a greasing of verbal skids to slide towards a saying “cranky guy” and... is horribly STILL relevant as an anticipation of the first Earth Day (1970) ONWARD to our ...green planet concerns of our NOW. Example:
“Twentieth-century progress is sometimes more involved with speed and quantity than with quality. For the sake of speed and reduced costs, modern manufacturers have become artists at imitating nature, Some ice cream (NOTE THIS) manufacturers use piperonal (excellent for killing lice) as a substitute vanilla flavoring. Diethyl glucol (paint-remover) and anti-freeze material is used as an egg flavor. Ethyl acetate once was used for cleaning leather and textiles, but it makes a good artificial pineapple flavor now. Oil paint solvent, amyl acetate, fakes banana flavoring, benzyl acetate imitates strawberry; butyraldehyde fakes nut flavor. Some food manufacturers guarantee “artificial flavors absolutely pure.” (pg. 15)”.
“Do I wish to ever... lick... a King Kone orange-vanilla soft serve (Part Nine [C]) after ‘reading Sloane?” I ask MYSELF. Who cares about Hohn or... anyone else.
ROMANTIC political tract manifesto Yankee conservative... commie?
The whole damn 1958 book... is... SO FAR AHEAD and now... SO FAR BACK THERE... go get it... off of the bookshelf in the TV ROOM... sit down and READ IT. DO NOT... just look at the pictures like the last time... way back - way back - when it was a wrapped gift ‘under the tree’.
One will find a very ...reasoned... NO: SEASONED prose style of very SEASONED content presented by a very SEASONED hand that makes, WITHOUT SAYING SO EVER... very SEASONED SENSE. It is an informative and satisfying read that has been long PITCHED up side down; forgotten and not known of.
And I am not going to spend a whole lot of quoting to prove this. I do not have too. Eric Sloane... pitched... up side down... IS STILL THERE. Everywhere actually. That his museum is closed... there by being... AT KENT... a splendid example of New England... ‘fall back and fade away’...: I mean: Can I believe that I... taking on the congestion of old New England right side up pitching the old New England upside down off to the side... has for me... at that MY outpost fort of strategic defense in Kent, Connecticut not only my crazy man Sloane ‘there’ but has his museum there TOO and it is CLOSED so... I ...cannot go there because IT has already fallen back and faded away TOO. The Sloane museum, like Susanna Johnson, hisses, “GO TO HELL” when one ‘tries the door’.
Sloane... in this prose snippet from this book... ALREADY...- in 1958- FULLY takes on the speeding white SUV sunglasses wearing ‘she’s driving’ on old cow paths strip mall congesting meridian ROLL OVER... with... “more involved with speed and quantity than with quality” (above)... AND... rips orange-vanilla soft serve a new one... TOO...IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH. Such rich fertile soil I find?
“He’s a crank”. I got it.
I do not need Sloane anymore. He is done for me. He; my ‘crazy man’ delivered. Delivers. WILL CONTINUE TO deliver. He is still there.
Let’s be nice and talk about the two foot high stack of his published work. “Yeah like everyone KNOWS so like, OLD NEWS”. He started early and peaked as ‘crank’ before 1960. Success filled his wallet so by the time MUSEUM of TOOLS (1964) was published ‘pictures’ ‘of things’ with info snippets was ‘he was knocking them (‘Sloane books’ in the physical sense) out’. TOOLS IS THAT... although ‘tool guys’ STILL see it as a manifesto... that goes against rusted wrench art. “GOING BACK” and actually “READING” Sloane I ...NEVER... (my carefully chosen word)... ‘Sloane books’ “YEAH I HAVE THAT ONE I THINK”... encounter. Most ‘have some’ “THE TOOL ONE” and ...have read NONE... including “THE TOOL ONE”. And stammer/stagger ‘away’. They ‘spend no money’ is their ‘in antiques (antiquarian) dealer’ jargon spot-found. Too.
AFTER their original publication supply dried up... for ‘Eric Sloane books’ (resembling in generic commercial common-ness... Snoopy calendar type ...stuff...) there was a decade long window (‘pre-internet 1980’s - 1995) where ‘some’ ‘book collectors’ ‘collected’ ‘SLOANE BOOKS’ and a ‘bibliography’ of his books was published. But the internet market place quickly proved one may ‘get’ ‘any’ ‘Sloane book’ ‘you want’ at any time ‘easy’... so... today... collector’s ‘be gone’. The books, in New England estates are, from my vantage... ‘always a few’ in the... what is presented to me as... ‘our library’. Currently... ‘to sell’ Sloane... hardcover in dust jacket; clean and crisp... WHOLESALE ‘to the trade’... ‘six bucks’... OR LESS. Basically I don’t “buy” Sloane at all... I GET Sloane. And no one ever quibbles the point; GET... not BUY. SO... I alert the reader:
“Perhaps we have found a ‘the point of all this’ here... now?
Or are we ‘too soon’?” (Part Nine [C]).
That’s the second time I’m supplying a... the ‘answer’ or ...conclusion... to this tale... of the Savage estate contents... Best to lay off licking the King Kone and ‘take note’.
Now that my witch pie and my crazy man have done their work. Now that ‘orange-vanilla’ tastes bad. Now that my south, south west fort against congestion ...has assured NO CONGESTION by having its museum ... closed. Now that Susannah has given birth, the gravestones are tossed into the sea, the myths...be gone and... history is not whispered... are we done? May I go back for my second visit with Helen within HER Savage estate “I am the heir”. No. Not yet.
I have to stand behind Eric Sloane at Kent and look... south... southwest... and denote... where... ‘this’; the congestion and right side uppity-ness ‘came from’. This is because I NEED to understand this to ...understand... ‘where’ Helen... ‘is coming from’. I remind that the last time I wrote of her... SHE had become, to I, ‘suspect too’ (Part Eight).