Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Golden Songbook and Old Time Radio

Recently going through a box of old books, Marash Girl came upon this book which dredged up so many wonderful memories.  As very young girls, Marash Girl and her cousin Pauline would listen faithfully to Voltarine Block's radio program, "The Children's Songbag".  One week they decided to send in postcard naming the mystery song for that week.  Their postcard was drawn; the won the above book -- the only thing they ever on -- long enjoyed, but when long forgotten, provided great pleasure for scribbling to the kids who came later.

Back cover reminiscent of Miss Irene Forte, long time violin teacher at the All Newton Music School, Newtonville, Massachusetts

  Inscription reads "To Bethel and Pauline Bilezikian from Voltairine Block with every good wish.  Musical guessing game played on Saturday, July 31, 1948"
Title page reminiscent of daily piano practicing for all the girls at 474/476 Lowell Avenue, Newtonville, Massachusetts


  1. Yes, Irene Forte, who died in her sleep at age 105, having driven her big black Packard until age 98, no sickness, no Alzheimer's, no Dementia. She died in the same house she had lived in for 7 or 8 decades, on a street with little traffic, a house built at the turn of the century, 19th-20th, that is, a spacious house, with all wood floors, and a drawing room in which a grand piano resided, the house in which she would invite me to play string trios with Mrs. Scipione, the other violin teacher at the all newton music school, and an exact physical opposite of Irene, whose physical type is captured in the picture above of the woman cradling the violin in her arms.

    1. Marko Pasha says... Packards are another memory. I remember a few of them, in Hopkinton. One of our neighbors had two black Packard sedans from the late 30s or 40s. He drove one and used the other for spare parts. Somebody else had a collection of Packards from the 30s. How many people still remember Packards?

  2. The radios had tubes. Did the Packards have rumble seats?

  3. Rumble seats were for small cars. Packards were very large, which is the comic relief of the picture of thi diminutive woman, born in the nineteenth century, raised to ride horses, drive a horse and buggy, and be thrilled by riding in the first trolley cars, experience the wonder of true 'hope and change', in living by the light of the silvery moon and kerosine lamps, then the electric light bulb, listen to Heifetz recordings on a phonograph, all compliments of limited, small government remaining aloof from the private sector, thereby allowing entrepreneurial genius to flourish, and to end her days in a conveyance fit for royalty, all on violin teacher's salary.