This is a novel by Donovan Bess. Its hero is Hiram Podges. Hiram conquers the negative beliefs about old age that have brought unnecessary anguish and disease to many American old people - and much worry to their children. His adventures will make you laugh, chuckle and sigh. Sometimes he will touch your heart. One thing for sure: you will never feel sorry for him.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Donovan Bess was born in Iowa in 1909, the son of a Presbyterian minister. In 1942, he joined the editorial staff of the San Francisco Chronicle, and eventually became the newspaper's human potential editor. He later also wrote articles for Harpers, The Nation, Rolling Stone and other magazines.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
What Sort of Fellow I Am
I got born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and stayed there for ten years. I was just eleven when I saw my first dead person. Some old guy had flopped down on his back on the sidewalk and I could see by his face that's what death is. All I could think was something like, "That happens to some people and it's weird," and I ran off to play softball.
Same way with old folks I'd see here and there - weird, like ostriches or giraffes.
I had the standard Iowa Presbyterian upbringing - no problems except that they made me go to Sunday school on Sunday mornings. My dad whipped me a few times and mom wet-kissed me more than I liked, and when the three of us and my sister went to the movies, mom would check my ears when we got to the street car stop and she always found they were dirty, so she took out her hanky, spit on it and cleaned them out. That was the worst thing she did to me, so why should I complain? We were like those families by Norman Rockwell that you used to see on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post before it went broke - nice, well-scrubbed, happy-go-lucky faces with no big ups and downs.
There were hardly any automobiles around in those days. Only rich people had cars until Ford made his Model T. One afternoon my folks had the honor of being invited by Mr. James Tarlock, the banker, to have a ride in his Marmon. The car got wrecked and both mom and dad got killed.
I was twenty years old, but I admit I shed many a tear for them while alone in my room.
I got married a few years later to Miss Violet Gerber. She was half-Hungarian and half-English. The Hungarian part made her look very mysterious, while the English part made her always ready for a good laugh. We moved to Iowa City so she could attend the University of Iowa, but she only held out for two years. She didn't like all that studying.
When I was fifty-nine, she died on me. That night in the hospital, while I stood by the bed looking at her, I suddenly knew all at once she was dead. It was like little hands inside my belly grabbing me tight. She was dead - just as dead as that fellow I saw lying on the sidewalk in Cedar Rapids. But her eyes were wide open, and I saw she kept looking at something. It seemed to me she probably saw that where she was going to was a big, nice surprise, by golly! - and even bigger and nicer than, when you're a kid, they bring in the birthday cake with the candles all lit for you to blow out.
I wished I could cry, but all I could feel was amazement at her seeing all that when she was supposed to be dead. After a while some tears came down my cheeks. They were almost tears of being glad for her. I felt sort of uneasy that I wasn't fuller of grief. Then the nurse came in and said, "Hiram, it's all over. I'll just close her eyes." I grabbed that nurse and held her real tight so she couldn't do that. The nurse said, "We have to close the eyes." Why should I let the hospital tell me what I had to do about my wife? Other people came in and I was like a tiger and fought them off, and that was how she went to the undertaker, with her eyes seeing something that you and I never can see. Even though they raised me as a Presbyterian, I can't say I was what you'd call religious. But Violet's eyes told me something, so that ever since then I never was afraid for myself to die. (Well, not all the time, to be honest, but most of the time I wasn't.) For days and days after that, I ! cried and cried.
Still, I had my position as the headwaiter at the university faculty club. The honor and eminence of my position made me feel I was somebody, and helped me get by without Violet.
Maybe I've wandered off the subject of this book. But you ought to have some idea of what sort of fellow I am.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Blue Dolphin Pub, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0931892163
Book Description Blue Dolphin Pub, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0931892163
Book Description Blue Dolphin Pub, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. softcover ed edition. 158 pages. 8.25x8.25x0.75 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 0931892163
Book Description Blue Dolphin Pub, 1988. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110931892163