Chesapeake Bay's Independent Newspaper ~ Since 1993
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Volume XVII, Issue 50 ~ December 10 - December 16, 2009

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Remembering When We Were Babes in Toyland

The perfect gift can shape a life …

About this time of year, we like to devote an issue to the presents we give and get. Often it’s how we solve the problems of giving the right gift. We seek our favorites in the wares and services of local shops, recall the best-received gift we’ve ever given or noodle out gifts that even the toughest receivers on our list won’t reject. The reigning champion in that category: Connie Dargo’s gift of Bowen’s Grocery’s famous chicken salad, portion packaged and frozen in half-pint Mason jars, to her demanding mother-in-law.

This year writer Jane Elkin has inspired a new approach, and I’ve invited our writers to join in a quest for stories of treasured toys. It turned out to be a nostalgia thing, for all our tale-tellers (but one, staffer Diana Beechener) are 50-plus, in the age of second childhood.

Should I be surprised?

In the days before Santa’s visit, the temperatures of all the kids rise to fever pitch over the year’s triumphant fad toys. Even I’ve got a craving to see those Zhu Zhu hamsters, made by a fellow native St. Louisan whose devotion to fun and invention has paid off big time. So what if their cuteness is seasoned by a little antimony?

But as everybody knows who’s old enough to be doing more giving than getting, the height of the pile of presents around the Zhu Zhus makes stiff competition, with a big wayside of disregard. What’s going to win favor? It’s anybody’s guess.

This week’s stories of toys remembered may not guide you to the perfect gift, whose value far outlasts vogue. But it will remind you that the gifts that do win a child’s heart or rouse a child’s interest endure, shaping memories and making careers.

The child is father of the man, William Wordsworth wrote (and both Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Beach Boys sang), and this week’s story proves it’s true — and mother of the woman, too.

We’ll Settle for Making Yours a Little Easier

This week’s issue brings a gift to you, too. It’s the gift of finding what you seek on the first try. You’ll get it, I hope, when you turn to 8 Days a Week.

It took some frustrated readers, on top of my own dose of frustration, to see how we could do a better job of helping you plan your precious discretionary time.

Photographer and community arts organizer Bea Poulin thought we’d failed to list Gifts from the Arts, the third-quarter show of nine-month-old Muddy Creek Artists Guild. It ran Dec. 3 through 6 and Dec. 9 (as well as Dec. 10 through 13 this week). When she looked up those dates in our pages, Gifts from the Arts wasn’t there.

“What happened to the calendar entry for our show? I can’t believe that it was not included in the Bay Weekly calendar — such an important part of the paper.”

She’d have found it had she looked further into Shows and Sales, our traditional category for events that run more than three days.

I’d had the same problem myself a couple of weeks earlier. I knew the event I was seeking was in the paper. I’d seen it twice, once when I edited 8 Days a Week and a second time when I proofread the section. But when I wanted to go, I couldn’t find it.

Obviously, 8 Days a Week was falling down on the job.

Once I recognized the problem, solving it was simple.

Now you’ll find all that week’s events (that we have notice of; we still count on event planners to keep us informed so we can keep you informed) in a single day-by-day (or days) calendar. Including plays, art shows, ballets and concerts.

I hope ease is just the gift you’ve wanted. Please let me know.

Sandra Olivetti Martin

editor and publisher; [email protected]


© COPYRIGHT 2009 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

from the Editor