Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It's time to finish some things on DawnReader, I've decided.  I started several things in recent months, then sort of forgot about them when other things caught my interest.  Back on July 4 of this year, for example, I did an initial post about the old literature anthology we'd used at Hiram High School my freshman year, 1958-1959, when I studied ("studied" might be more accurate: quotation marks say a lot) with Mrs. Ruth Browning, a young new teacher whom quite a few of the freshman boys were, uh, interested in. Intellectually, of course.

(Here's a link to the initial post, if you'd like: Link.)

The cover you see in the image above is a scan of the copy I now have (I found one on a used-book site), but the cover is a "re-cover"--the one that replaced the original (when it had been lovingly read so many times by so many appreciative frosh), whose design I can't quite summon from memory. But the contents are the "old" contents--nothing's changed. Old pages, new cover--sort of like, oh, an Old Man who buys a new sweater-vest.  I want to take you on a swift journey through some of those pages to show you the kinds of things we read--or, better, were assigned to read--back when Dwight Eisenhower was president, and JFK was an ambitious young U. S. Senator from Massachusetts.  What did publishers and English teachers think 14-year-olds ought to be reading more than fifty years ago?

A tad more context.  Top ten songs of 1958:

"At The Hop"Danny & Juniors
"It's All In The Game"Tommy Edwards
"The Purple People Eater"Sheb Wooley
"Don't"Elvis Presley
"All I Have To Do Is Dream"Everly Brothers
"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)"Domenico Modungo
"Sugartime"McGuire Sisters
"He's Got The Whole World (In His Hands)"Laurie London
"The Chipmunk Song"David Seville & Chipmunks

Most popular movies of 1958:

1. South Pacific
2. Auntie Mame
3. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
4. No Time for Sergeants
5. Gigi
6. The Vikings
7. Vertigo
8. The Young Lions
9. Some Came Running
10. The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw

Most popular TV shows of 1958:

1. Gunsmoke (CBS)
2. Wagon Train (NBC)
3. Have Gun Will Travel (CBS)
4. The Rifleman (ABC)
5. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS)
6. Maverick (ABC)
7. Tales of Wells Fargo (NBC)
8. The Real McCoys (ABC)
9. I've Got a Secret (CBS)
10. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (ABC)

Notice a pattern?  Seven of the top ten were Westerns.  (I was in heaven!)  Two were sitcoms, the other a quiz show.  Got a better idea of My World now?  A better idea about why the contents of Adventures in Reading did not exactly get me singing "The Chipmunk Song" whenever I had an assignment?  Let's take a look ...


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