Question: I have noticed
that getting a Friends of Freddy T-shirt is the really hot topic (i.e., the only
topic), at least as of August 1998, on the Freddy mailing list. I'll probably
order one of them, but only after I order your new design first. Is it available
now? What sizes do your shirts come in? Do they shrink? Do you carry XX-L or 3X-L?
Is there such a thing as 4X-L? If there is, that's what I want. Are they
pocketless or can I get one with a pocket? Can I get one with two pockets? Do
they come in different colors? If so, what colors? Would there be a charge
for a custom color? Is the design on the front? Is it on the back? Are there designs
on the front and back? Is there a discount for ordering more than one? How do
I order? Do you accept personal checks? Etc., etc., etc.
Answer: The entire run of the new T-shirt (a non-EHA Industries Catalog item)
has already been shipped to our distributors. Once the shirts are displayed at
various unconventional conventions (for example, UFO-related) across the country,
they go pretty fast, so you'll just have to get in line with everybody
else. Sorry we can't help you at this time and good luck!
Question: Because of
your numerous references to things Polish on your site, my friends and I have
a bet that you are partly Polish. Are you?
Answer: No, but I wish I were. I give the Polish people a lot of credit
for their cuisine (except certain sausages), their lively music (very
accordion-friendly), their energetic dances (I love to polka!), and their indomitable,
resolute spirits. This contrasts very sharply with my own bland ethnic background,
if you can even call it that.
Question: Could you
please give us a picture of the Big Woods and the "back road" so often mentioned
in the Freddy books?
Answer: I am somewhat surprised at how many of you have expressed an interest
in the Big Woods. Even though there's but a relatively small remnant of it left
after the "Big Fire" of '53 and all the land development that took place
starting in the late '50s, it's still quite a magical place. It so happens
I have some recent photos of that area, one of my favorites in all of Oteseraga
County. Mrs. Underdunk and I enjoy an occasional hike up there when the weather's
good, especially in the autumn. It looks pretty much the same all up and
down the road, so what you see in the photos should give you a general idea of
what the Big Woods is like today.
Above is the east-west road
between what was once the Beans' woods on the left and the Big Woods on the right.
Let me get myself oriented here now. All righty. You're looking west along
the road which is still as undeveloped today as it's been for as long as I can
remember. The south edge of the road marked the northern boundary of William's
property. If you walked due south from this spot, you'd soon arrive at the place
where the Bean farm once stood. As you know, Freddy Bean and Ed Bismuth were responsible
for torching the old Grimby place, thus starting the Big Fire. This part of the
Big Woods has grown back over the passing years, but it has never completely
regained its character. You can thank those two for that.
Above is an autumn view of
a stretch of the road just a hundred yards or so further along west.
If you continue traveling
west and cross over the old dirt road that leads up to the caves at the west end
of Oteseraga Lake, the back road soon peters out into what's little more than
a logging road, which is what it originally was many, many years ago. Here's
a late autumn view of the Big Woods on the right side of the road. It looks a
bit gloomy there, doesn't it? Well, I assure you that it is at this time
Question: Did you get
to deliver the keynote address at the 1998 CHS graduation ceremony?
Answer: No, I did not. The Centerboro Board of (so-called)
Education reneged on their agreement to have me as a speaker. They sent me a registered
letter in which they cited my recent abduction by Martians and my subsequent
clothesless materialization in Centerboro as sufficient reason to keep me off
the stage. This is not exactly the way they put it, but it's close enough.
They suggested that I'd be using the stage as some kind of platform for
crazy ideas. Frankly, I think they deprived the CHS graduates of a
tremendous once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear The Truth. I had
planned to use several very interesting and colorful charts, graphs, and sketches.
I even bought a little laser pointer for the occasion (which I can't return to
the store because I lost my receipt). And you'll just have to take my word for
it--the accordion interlude I had planned would have made quite a lasting impression!
On the whole, this was a great disappointment for me, but I have written the Board
a letter offering my services for any one of the next several years' graduation
|Question: I like
the "Tales Out of School." Do you have any pictures of the people you used to
hang out with when you were children? I'm having a hard time visualizing them.
Answer: I have this class picture from Lincoln Elementary where we all
went to school. You see our teacher Mrs. Alice Peppercorn (a.k.a. "Prune
Face") on the far right. What you can't see is that she is holding her infamous
chalkboard pointer which she always kept handy just in case she had an opportunity
to whack (on the slightest provocation) some misbehaving pupil. I
don't remember all my little classmates, but I will point out some of the
people I have mentioned now and then, here and there. In the left half of the
bottom row (almost at the end) you'll see two boys without ties. The one on the
left is Freddy Bean. The boy standing furthermost to the left with his tie reaching
halfway to his belt is Petey. Louis Doberman (tieless) stands behind the sign,
and the little fellow on his right (also tieless) is Sean McMurty. Herb Garble
is standing at the end of the bottom row right next to Prune Face. She always
made him stand within pointer range, no matter what we were doing. I am
standing directly behind Herb just off Mrs. Peppercorn's right shoulder. The girl
standing next to Herb is Ella Tingley. Herb was very sweet on her even though
she once poured glue over his head. To see the bully Richard Albacore, look in
the back row. You'll see his huge head, swollen with bad intentions no doubt,
silhouetted against the utility building to the right of the rightmost window.
||Question: What does
Mrs. Underdunk's house look like? Is it really a mansion?
Answer: You be the judge. This is a photo of Mrs. Underdunk's home at 184
Sherman. After the last of the once well-to-do Richmonds was carted off after
having lived as a recluse in the place for God knows how many years, I assisted
Mrs. U. in purchasing the property. She had to sink a lot into repairs
and renovations, and I'd have to say it's now probably one of the most desirable
properties in Centerboro, although it's not likely to go on the market any time
soon. (However, if you're seriously interested, I'll let you know if it
ever goes up for sale. Just send me your e-mail address and I'll send you the
particulars as part of my "Extra Service at No Extra Cost!" policy.)
Question: About Martian
speech--how close an approximation to it is your rendition on the "Handy Phrase"
Answer: Some folks think the white-throated sparrow's song sounds like
"sweet sweet Canada, Canada, Canada." Others think it sounds like "Old Sam Peabody,
Peabody, Peabody." Do you think it really sounds like either? Do
you think if you went out into the woods and sang "Sweet sweet Canada, Canada,
Canada," the sparrows would fly down to check you out? My phonetic representations
of Martian "vocalizations" are as close as I, employing the human auditory processing
setup and English language, can get. Maybe the Kalahari bushmen could do a bit
better. If you ever have to use the phrases, I'll bet that a Martian who
is really trying could probably make out what you're saying. The only reservation
I have about vocalizing with Martians concerns their hair-trigger reversions to
primitive (i.e., aggressive) behavior. I mean, what if you inadvertently mispronounce
the phrase for "You're looking good today" and the meaning you convey to the Martian
is "May your carapace rot"? You'd really be in for a long hospital stay, believe
More Short Answers to Infrequently
My established practice for
answering questions posed only once or twice continues. The questions themselves
will not appear because they can be readily deduced from the answers.
- Yes, you definitely could
have seen Mrs. U. and me on July 27 in Huntsville, Ontario. We were having
dinner at the Three Guys and a Stove restaurant at about seven o'clock.
- Sorry, I do not plan to
have a "classified ads" page at this site. Ditto for a "personals" section.
- I'm done with aquatic pets--at
least for now. Thanks anyway.
- Well, I guess Mr. Brooks
probably did base his character "Mr. Webb" on the Centerboro tailor by
- Wonder Woman vs. Predator
does not sound like a good movie idea to me.
- Herb's middle name is Milton.
- I discard unsolicited manuscripts,
so I sure hope you kept a copy for yourself.
- I attained the rank of
Technical Sergeant before my discharge.
- I have no recordings for
sale at this time.
- At Christmas I usually
display a large, spotlighted Martian dressed as Santa climbing my chimney.
- Shirley MacLaine? Interesting
gal, but arbitror eam de planeta alia venisse.
- Yes, I have tried
"real" Buffalo wings, and they're not as good as Dixon's at all!
- No, I will not do
"product placements" at my Web site.
- Five favorite insects in
order: walking sticks, katydids, cicadas, giant water bugs, and really
big dragon flies.
- I have no favorite teams
of any sort as I find watching "professional" team sports excruciatingly boring
and a huge waste of time.
- I may already have mentioned
this elsewhere, but I started composing this site with the AOLpress software.
As my proficiency increased, I switched to the splendid Dreamweaver software.
- No, I don't have any alien
implants. No one does. That's all baloney! At least I think it is.
- On your suggestion, I checked
out Gillian Anderson's performance on Hal's "Extremis." It's good,
and of the four versions, I like the"download mix" the best.
- Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey Underdunk
had no children.
- I'm not going to
argue with you! Old "Prune Face" Peppercorn certainly was a nasty
- Yes, I'll be attending
our 60th CHS Class of '39 reunion next July. I hope you'll have better food.
That chicken dinner you had at the 50th was terrible! What was that--rooster?
E-mail me for the name of a good caterer.
- Why would I want
to write poems about the features?
- Do I sound like a philanthropist?
No, I will not loan you $200.00.
- From what you tell me,
my guess is that your husband wasn't beamed up. He probably just ran away.
- Seems to me that the "Age
of Aquarius" was a complete bust.
- EHA Industries, Inc. is
not interested in underwriting your research into recycling clothes dryer lint.