Letter by Harvey N. Gardiner
Rural Dialect – August 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine
More about that “more ’bout” locution
I just received my July 1999 issue of Colorado Central which I enjoy reading every month. On page 33 is the letter, “More ’bout that issue.” I am not writing in response to the letter’s subject matter, but because of the phonetic/hick spellings used. I guess that the style is intended to underline that the letter was written by someone in “these parts.”
Anyway, the letter reminds me of two letters written from Alma to the Fairplay Flume in March 1882. I enclose them. These letters use the same phonetic/hick spelling style, and are socially reflective of Alma life in 1882.**
While I am taking up your time, on page 35 the letter “Don’t blame the Vikings” spells Thomas Edison’s name as Edisven. Kind of along the same line of cultural appropriation, I read an article in The Wall Street Journal detailing how Microsoft’s Encarta CD-ROM encyclopedia is writing different history for different folks. The American version reads that the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, while the Italian version reads that the telephone was invented by local boy Antonio Meucci. Global pandering?
I think your “Lycra lemmings” is an absolute hoot.
Sincerely, Harvey N. Gardiner Boulder
**The reason I know about these letters is that I am an archivist in Norlin Library at the University of Colorado. I have been researching the historical importance of the Moose Mine on Mount Bross above Alma for several years, and I am trying to get my manuscript “Aerial Mining and the Contact Leading to Leadville” published.
“Suggestions for Alma Voters” Fairplay Flume v.4 n.4 (March 9, 1882), p.2 c.3
— from “Tax Payer”
“On eleckshun day evry saloon thet has a back door should leave it open and those thet have not got one should make one by the day of eleckshun and giv away as much rot gut at my expense as they kan. By doin’ this I think I am sure to be eleckted and as soon as in office I would appoint every saloon keeper a justis of the piece and have them fine their own customers for byin `pizen.’ I would take up the bath tubs thet are now in the streets and put them in sum dry place where they might hold water for the accommodation of the grate unwashed. I would have the electrick lite in the town hall and all the saloons, on the corner of every street and on top of Mt. Bross. I would build a Yunion Depoe for all the railroads in the state to enter in and shall try after awhile to get the state capitol located here. Sum second adventer may want to know where the money is to cum from to all these things; the answer is plane; giv bonds as long as they’ll hold out and then petishun the legislacher for more.
“Now, Sir, I think there is not much dout of my bein’ eleckted Mare with such a kode before the voters and plenty of distilled bumble bees to back it.”
“Taxpayer’s Alma Hash”
Fairplay Flume v.4 n.S (March 16, 1882), p.2 c.3
— from “Tax Payer”
“Eds. Flume – I didn’t intend to hev ritten you agen until i was eleckted, but i feel so hily complemented by the genernous notis of the [Alma] Bullytin, in which it ses: `One or two more effusions from taxpayer will convince the publick that he is a consulate j-k-s,’ that I have taken to scratchin mi hed everynite an feelin’ my ears, havin’ made up mi mind that as sure as they commens to sprout to go an’ apply for a situashun on the staff of the Bullytin.
“The temperance crowd held a meetin’ in the church on Sunday evenin’ to diskus the effeckts of temperence. They get lots to sine ther paper, most of ’em people who wernt no erthly amount to a grogseller anyway. When a man don’t drink forked litenin’ he may just es well sine the piece an’ perpetuate his name as a martyr to his country’s good.
“In walking down the street here you kan pass more saloons than you kan drink at an’ keep your feet in good order, while at the temperance meeting they can pass more resolushuns than they kan stick to….
“Our new fire engin’ is doin’ good work, but i feel sum wot disappointed at the namin’ it `James Moynahan.’ [Moynahan was a store owner in Alma]. I thot they mite hev given me a chance to hev mi name on it, for after bein’ eleckted mare this year i wanted to run for leftenant guvner next an’ president of the yoonited states in ’84.”