Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Barrel

Harry Golden
As I've mentioned before, I was a big fan of Charlotte's best selling author Harry Golden, whose office was right up the street from our old high school on Elizabeth Avenue. He was a veritable one man band, publishing  a monthly newspaper (The Carolina Israelite) entirely by himself.  He wrote all the articles, sold the advertising, oversaw the printing and did everything else that the Charlotte Observer or any other national newspaper does with their staff of hundreds to produce their product.

His many stories of growing up in the Jewish Ghetto of New York captured my imagination. I had the pleasure of visiting him once and asked him how in the world he remembered so many of those events.  He said that the memories would come to him at odd times and he would simply jot them down and put them in a barrel he kept beside his desk.

And when it became time to publish another paper, he would reach into the barrel and pull out a couple.  Voila!

I tried that, off and on, over many years but it didn't work for me. I was never organized well enough.  I kept forgetting where my "barrel" was.  (I never really used a barrel, I usually simply named "folders" or notebooks my "barrel".....and stuck notes in those.  Only to forget where I put my latest" barrel.")

Well, yesterday, I found one of them.  It was a folder that I had begun in 1981 and it was stuffed with newspaper clippings and notes...that I obviously thought would be worth "reviving" at a later date.
Like today.

Sydney Harris
Unfortunately, there was nothing much worth saving in there.There were several Sydney Harris columns, which I always enjoyed. Harris was syndicated out of Chicago in more than 200 newspapers. His columns were full of quotable lines, such as:

The familiar phrase "the pursuit of happiness" should be reversed to read "the happiness of pursuit," for there is more pleasure to be found in the quest than in the goal."


"It is certain that nothing we have brings us happiness, but only what we are, what we feel about ourselves."

Harris died in 1986.

Then, there was a very small clipping that caught my eye about a Central High  student who dropped out of school in 1930 and went to work to help support his family.  His name was Kemmons Wilson and he had retired a multimillionaire.  The story was about Central  awarding him an honorary diploma and Wilson's words of wisdom that he spoke at the ceremony.

Kemmons Wilson

He said that an opportunist is "... a man who meets the wolf at the door and the next day appears in a fur coat," and "Work only half a day. It can either be the first 12 hours or the last 12."

As I read further down in the article, I discovered that Wilson didn't attend OUR Central High, but one in Memphis, Tenn with the same name.

Those two quotations weren't original with him either.

But it was a nice story, wasn't it.   -Ed

(Wilson, was the founder of HOLIDAY INNS.  He initially came up with the idea after a family road trip to Washington, D.C., during which he was disappointed by the quality and consistency provided by the roadside motels of that era. The name Holiday Inn was given to the original hotel by his architect Eddie Bluestein as a joke, in reference to the Bing Crosby movie.
He opened the first Holiday Inn motel in Memphis in 1952, and quickly added others to create an entire hotel chain. Holiday Inn went international in 1960. Wilson and his financial partner Wallace E. Johnson (1901-1988) were practicing Christians who saw to the placing of a Bible in every one of their hotel rooms and who donated much of their growing fortunes to charitable enterprises.[1]  -Wikipedia)