A visit to Iowa and Dubuque in October 2008

12 Feb

On my way to Sauk City, Wisconsin last Columbus Day weekend to celebrate the Walden West Festival, I took the opportunity to stop off along the way to visit members of the Editorial Board and Authors.

I arrived in Battlecreek just in time to take Randy Vanderbeek for dinner, and also picked up two boxes of pulps. Some items to fill some holes in the Philip Fisher project; a run of Crime Busters containing the Norgil the Magician stories. Otto Penzler published two volumes of these stories back in the 1970’s. But there was a third volume that was never published; and finally a series of serial novels by George F. Worts featuring Gillian Hazeltine.

The next morning I visited with Bob Weinberg in Chicago, and as always we talked about everything but the kitchen sink, but mostly about the pulps, and future Lost Treasures projects. He asked me to give priority to “The Suicide Squad,” and I noted that Rodney Schroeter was just finishing the John Solomon project. I also mentioned to Bob that the Governor of Wisconsin was going to declare February 24, 2009 AUGUST DERLETH DAY to celebrate the author’s 100th birthday. Bob immediately suggested that somebody should approach the postmaster to issue a commemorative postmark to promote the declaration. (I made a note to follow up!) The two of us also discussed a long standing project The Best Short Stories of August Derleth.

I next set the Tom-Tom (Global Positioning Device) to guide me to Dubuque Iowa via Highway 80 West where I met with David and Audrey Hammer and went out for a Chinese dinner, and back to Laurel Cottage for a wonderful evening of discussion. The discussion centred around four projects: 1) For The Record: My Name is Hammer 2) Don’t Eat Them Eggs 3) A collected edition of David’s travel writings entitled “To Share the Sport” and 4) “Your Annals, My Dear Watson” which is an Omnibus edition of David’s multiple volumes of pastiches. The next morning after breakfast David showed me his excellent collection of Postage stamps. I won’t elaborate because there is too much detail, but rest assured David is a fine collector, and the Dubuque Humane Society will benefit from their Sale when David passes over/under the Reichenbach. In the afternoon I packed the trunk of the Ford Explorer with boxes of David’s books that he received back from Gasogene Books of Indianapolis. There were a dozen titles or so in all in quantities varying from 8 to 700 copies. David and I agreed that I would try and sell them on his behalf.

I arrived in Sauk City to commence the whirl of the weekend: dinner at the Old Feed Mill in Mazomanie; a tour of Sauk City cemetery conducted by David Switzer; A motor tour through the the Baraboo bluffs culminating in delicious apple pie a la mode, complicated with buzzing biting malodorous bugs; dinner at David Drake and his secretary at Leystra’s; a visit to the cemetery again for a candle-light ceremony around Derleth’s grave, and a visit with his daughter April who attended graveside that evening. Sunday morning the annual meeting of the August Derleth Society, and permission to publish 4 collections of Derleth Short stories with the joint logos of the August Derleth Society and Arkham House. Next the Walden West and the presentation of The Young Writer’s Awards by Fred and Julie Roelke. This year it was a hard cover edition of Volume 8 of The Mill Creek Irregulars entitled The Watcher on the Heights. David Drake was the guest speaker and he gave a heart felt rendition of his contact with Augie as a teenager wanting to write, and how helpful Augie was to neophyte writer from Dubuque. (I learned that evening over dinner that David grew up three doors down from David, and played in the construction dirt of Laurel Cottage when it was being built. This is indeed a serendipitous coincidence.) David agreed to do an introduction to one of the four volumes of Short Stories and we settled on an overall title The Macabre Quarto. I visited with Henry Russell on Monday morning and we trekked out to visit both the Sauk City and The Prairie du Sac postmaster to arrange postmarks for February 24, 2009. It is important to note that the postmark must contain the word station.

I am advised that both the Post Masters will have the postmarks available on February 24 2009, and the mail that day will be postmarked with these two devices. Collectors should send their envelopes properly addressed with postage affixed (An Edgar Allan Poe postage stamp is in stock) for Poste Restante service.




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