Posts Tagged ‘Nixon Waterman’

When Adam Was a Boy

July 29, 2012

Image from the London Metropolitan Archives

When Adam Was a Boy

Earth wasn’t as it is today
When Adam was a boy;
Nobody’s hair was streaked with gray
When Adam was a boy.
Then when the sun would scorch and stew
There wasn’t anybody who
Asked, “Is it hot enough for you?”
When Adam was a boy.

There were no front lawns to be mowed
When Adam was a boy;
No kitchen gardens to be hoed
When Adam was a boy.
No ice cream freezers to be turned,
No crocks of cream that must be churned,
No grammar lessons to be learned
When Adam was a boy.

There was no staying after school
When Adam was a boy,
Because somebody broke a rule
When Adam was a boy.
Nobody had to go to bed
Without a sup of broth or bread
Because of something done or said
When Adam was a boy.

Yet life was pretty dull, no doubt,
When Adam was a boy.
There were no baseball clubs about
When Adam was a boy.
No street piano stopped each day
In front of where he lived to play;
No brass band ever marched his way
When Adam was a boy.

There were no fireworks at all,
When Adam was a boy;
No one could pitch a drop-curve ball
When Adam was a boy.
But here is why our times are so
Much better than the long ago —
There was no Santa Claus, you know,
When Adam was a boy.

— Nixon Waterman in Woman’s Home Companion, January number.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jan 17, 1906

Remembering Caraway Cookies

July 27, 2012

Image from Attic Paper


Oh, baker, you haven’t in all your shop,
A cookie fit to be tried,
For the art of making them came to a stop
When my Aunt Lucinda died.
I can see her yet with her sleeves uprolled,
As I watched her mix and knead
The flour and eggs with their yolks of gold,
The butter and sugar, just all athey’ll hold,
And spice them with caraway seed.

Oh, that caraway seed! I see the nook
Where it grew by the garden wall;
And just below is the little brook
With the laughing waterfall.
Beyond are the meadows, sweet and fair
And flecked with the sun and shade;
And all the beauties of earth and air
Were in those cookies so rich and rare,
My Aunt Lucinda made.

So, add one more to the world’s lost arts,
For the cookies you made are sad,
And they haven’t the power to stir our hearts
That Aunt Lucinda’s had;
For I see her yet, with sleeves uprolled;
And I watch her mix and knead
The flour and eggs, with their yolks of gold,
The butter and sugar, just all they’ll hold
And spice them with caraway seed.

— Nixon Waterman.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Dec 29, 1900

Image from Homemade Dessert Recipes


O, for the meadow-lands, warm and sweet,
Where the tall grass whispers the whole day long,
And the meadow lark on the old rail fence
Floods all the silence with exquisite song;
To lie on the south hill slope and dream —
O, wonderful dreams that never come true;
Then home to the kitchen, cool and wide,
Where grandma’s caraway cookies grew.

O, heart of mine, ’tis a weary way
From the city’s streets to the meadows wide,
From the clearer vision of manhood’s years
To youth’s sweet dreams on the south hillside;
So far from the ways that bruise the feet
To the grassy paths that my childhood knew,
From crowding walls to the kitchen wide
Where grandma’s caraway cookies grew.

— Florence A. Jones, in Good Housekeeping.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Jul 27, 1899

Here are several Caraway Cookie recipes from various newspapers – published from 1891 – 1981:

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Jul 4, 1891

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For the Nutmeg lovers:

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) May 12, 1898

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The Wellsboro Agitator (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania) Aug 24, 1910

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This one gives the option of using the newfangled “butterine”:

Lincoln Daily News (Lincoln Nebraska) Jan 17, 1919

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This holiday recipe uses rose water and rose-flavored icing:

Hamilton Daily News (Hamilton, Ohio) Dec 2, 1926

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For leaf-shaped cookies:

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) May 17, 1936

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This special family recipe includes honey and English walnuts:

The Maryville Daily Forum (Maryville, Missouri) Sep 8, 1941

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And finally, this “modern” recipe (1981) from the American Rose Society includes rose syrup:

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Nov 11, 1981

Step Lively

July 25, 2012


The car stopped comfortably filled,
Then four men got on.
At the next corner seven edged in,
And sixteen got on after that;
Afterward two boys swung on;
Soon a red-faced woman beckoned,
And she go on.
In the midst of the glad revelry
A party of serenaders trooped on.
By and by a colored gemmen,
Redolent of old-mown hay,
He got on.
Then five giggling school girls registered.
A hard-faced mother, with a squalling kid,
Mounted the platform.
Did she? She did?
Then a pompous police officer,
With girth for several.
Ripped in.
There little maids from school
Didn’t do anything but get on.
After a while a street sweeper pushed in,
Then a bricklayer
And a hod carrier.
Three tinsmiths, four stonemasons,
Also a printer,
Two Sunday school teachers,
And a prizefighter.
They got on.
But the “con” didn’t mind — he did his stunt,
And furiously bellowed: “Move up  to the front!”

— St. Paul Dispatch.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 8, 1902

Image from The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Dazed a Conductor.

A Western woman who is on a visit to New York was boarding a street car in that city the other day. She had just placed her foot upon the step and was preparing to take another step to the upper platform when, with a furious “Step lively,” the conductor pulled the strap. The car jerked forward and the Western woman swayed back for a minutes, then just caught herself in time to prevent a bad fall upon the cobbles.

She confronted the conductor with angry eyes — eyes that had looked undismayed into those of mighty horned monsters of the prairies.

“What do you mean by starting the car before I was on?” she asked.

“Can’t wait all day for you, lady,” the conductor snarled. “Just step inside there.”

In a moment the Western woman, with a backward golf sweep of the arm, lunged for the conductor’s head. He dodged. The blow sent his hat spinning back into the track. The woman entered the car and sat down. She was flushed, but dignified. While the other women passengers were rather startled, they all knew just how she felt. Then the car stopped while the conductor went back for his hat. The Western woman rode free that time.

The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana) Jul 23, 1900

Mrs. Stelling has Eloped with a Streetcar Conductor.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 4, 1894


You very often notice, as you’re riding in the car,
There’s one distressing feature all our peace of mind to mar,
It’s the fellow right in front of us who holds his paper so,
We’re forced to read the headlines, but the villain seems to know
Just when we get an inkling of a thrilling bit of news,
For he turns the paper over and thereafter he’ll refuse
To let us finish out the line, and so, with soul distressed,
We feel like smiting him because we cannot read the rest.

There’s nothing suits him better than to tantalize our view
With some big headline till he’s sure we’ve caught a word or two,
But just before we’re quite aware of what it’s all about,
He flops the paper upside down or yanks it inside out
And every time we seek to get a fact within our grasp
He upsets all our purposes and leaves us with a gasp,
Until at last we swear it, in a law and rasping tone,
That if we had the price we’d buy a paper of our own.

— Nixon Waterman, in L.A.W. Bulletin.

Middletown Daily Argus (Middletown, New York) Mar 31, 1898

Street-Car Crushed by Train

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Oct 6, 1883

An Unhappy Exception

July 23, 2012

An Unhappy Exception.

The world is full of changes; there is nothing here abiding;
All things are evanescent, fleeting, transitory, gliding,
The earth, the sea, the sky, the stars — where’er the fancy ranges;
The tooth of time forever mars — all life is full of changes.

Like sands upon the ocean’s shore that are forever drifting,
So all the fading scenes of earth incessantly are shifting.
Change rules the mighty universe — there is no power can block it.
There’s change in everything, alas! except a fellow’s pocket.

— Nixon Waterman, in Chicago Journal.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Apr 25, 1895

How to be Beautiful

July 20, 2012

Image from HistoryCentral

How to Be Beautiful.

Would you like to be truly beautiful?

Thoreau says: “We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, and any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.”

So there, now, you sour-visaged, plain-faced people, go along about your business and grow handsome.

— Nixon Waterman, in National Magazine.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 21, 1901

Virtue of Common Things

July 19, 2012

Image from


Let’s not despise just common things,
For here’s a truth there is no dodging:
The bird that soars on proudest wings
Comes down to earth for board and lodging.

— Nixon Waterman, in National Magazine.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 16, 1901

Preparing to Visit the Fair

July 18, 2012

Image from the Mormon Channel – Legacy

Preparing to Visit the Fair.

Say, wife! they tell me’at the fair ‘ll be a corkin’ show,
An’ kinder sort o’ seems ter me as though we orter go,
But, sufferin’ Jerusalem’ the hotel rates’ll be
Too blamed all-fired steep I s’pose, for sech ez you an’ me.
Put on yer thinkin’ cap an’ see ‘f they ain’t nobody there
‘At we kin go an’ visit ‘ith while takin’ in the fair.
It doesn’t matter who they be, jest so they’re kith er kin,
Er some acquaintance, anyone ‘st’s like ter take us in.
It seems ter me ez though ermong our cousins an’ our aunts,
Our nieces an’ our nephews, like they’d orter be’s chance
To rake up some connection, ar at least somebody who
Knows some one’t knows some one, ‘at knows either me or you.
What come of all yer cousin’s folks ‘at moved ter Illinois
Erbout the time we married? Mebby they hav girls an’ boys
A livin’ in Chicago, hunt up their address an’ write
An’ say we long ter see ’em — jest a dyin’ day an’ night.
An’ what erbout the bridewell, ain’t we got no friends in there?
Er mebby in the county jail — it doesn’t matter where.
Ain’t no one in the hospitals ‘at you’d be like ter know?
We’ve got ter scare up someone or we cayn’t take in the show.


The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 7, 1893

Image from Wikipedia

The Man in the Cab

September 22, 2011


Safe and snug in the sleeping car
Are father and mother and dreaming child.
The night outside shows never a star,
For the storm is thick and the wind is wild.
The frenzied train in its all-night race
Holds many a soul in its fragile walls,
While up in his cab, with a smoke-stained face,
Is the man in the greasy overalls.

Through the firebox door the heat glows white,
The steam is hissing at all the cocks;
The pistons dance and the drive-wheels smite
The trembling rails till the whole earth rocks.
But never a searching eye could trace —
Though the night is black and the speed appalls —
A line of fear in the smoke-stained face
Of the man in the greasy overalls.

No halting, wavering coward he,
As he lashes his engine around the curve,
But a peace-encompassed Grant or Lee,
With a heart of oak and an iron nerve.
And so I ask that you make a place
In the Temple of Heroes’ sacred halls
Where I may hang the smoke-stained face
Of the man in the greasy overalls.

— Nixon Watterman, in L.A.W. Bulletin.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 25, 1897

Silent Letters

August 11, 2010

Random Rhymes



OF vowels, all — good, better, best —
The loud, round “O!” is noisiest:
The rest have ways more laudable
Because they’re all in AU-d-I-b-l-E.

The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Oct 27, 1909