A Derivative Ghost Story

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A few weeks ago, the folks at Wisconsin Life announced a competition in ghost writing. Wait. That's not quite what I mean. The competition was not to write under a pseudonym. It was a competition to write an entirely original ghost story in fewer than 600 words.

The resultant entries chosen for broadcast appear online - though, for reasons I do not comprehend at the moment, Wisconsin Life has opted for a format not designed to be accessed on one of today's most-used Internet-access tools (which is to say, iPads, such as the one on which I'm writing this). In any case, the challenge was to write an (it was emphasized) original story. Which made me wonder what a derivative tale might resemble. So I sent to the competition the following non-contribution, which I now share with you. Happy Halloween!

This is not an entry in the Ghost Story competition for several reasons: (1) With the exception of one substituted word, it is not original. (2) I don't think I could compete in any case, because my son works for National Public Radio. (3) I'm a friend of the judge. But the challenge itself enticed me, what with its insistence that the story be wholly original. "So," I said to myself, "what would be the opposite of that? A derivative ghost story, of course!" So I played a bit with that concept, keeping within the total word limit, and thought you might find it similarly amusing. As a NON-entry, then, it is offered in the spirit of exploration - and you're certainly free to do what you like with it, since it's public domain in any case.

Here you go:

Derivative Ghost Story

I … had not been asleep long when I was awakened by the continual repetition of a monotonous sound. [“The Spectre in the Cart” 1904 by Thomas Nelson Page, 19 words]

“She is below,” I thought, “and terrified by my entrance has evaded me in the darkness of the hall.”

With the purpose of seeing her I turned to leave the room, but took a wrong direction - the right one! My foot struck her, cowering in a corner of the room. [“The Moonlit Road” 1909 by Ambrose Bierce, 51 words]

She looked straight into my eyes. “Dear, do you not understand? Have you forgotten? I died three years ago today.” [“The Bridal Pair” 1902 by Robert W. Chambers, 20 words, replacing “his” with “my”]

On her limbs was the stiffness of death, and on her face, in the fading light of the sun, the terror of something more than death. Her lips were parted in entreaty, in dismay, in agony; and on her blanched brow and cheeks there glowed the marks of ten hideous wounds from two vengeful ghostly hands. [“The Romance of Certain Old Clothes” 1885 by Henry James, 56 words]

“This is too much!” cried I passionately, and convinced that I was the victim of a trick, though how such a trick could have been effected, I did not care to consider. [“The Underground Ghost” 1866 by John Berwick Harwood, 32 words]

As soon as I had partially recovered my comprehension I rushed madly to the door, with the dim idea of beating it in. My fingers touched a cold and solid wall. There was no door! [“The Lost Room” 1858 by Fitz-James O’Brien, 35 words]

Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. [“The Yellow Wall Paper” 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 26 words]


The Shock of Nostalgic Recognition

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The American Association of University Women first attracted my attention decades ago by the quality of its incredible used-book sales. While the AAUW is laudably devoted to such efforts as supporting education for women, I confess it was the lure of massive quantities of used books that drew me to the organization. This year, I'm targeting the 76th annual book sale of the Appleton, Wisconsin, branch; it's scheduled for October 25-28 in the Northland Mall, and high-energy sorting activities have been going on for many, many days. I'll be donating a considerable run of American Heritage, myself - thereby clearing some bookshelves and hoping to find a home for a publication I've loved but haven't consulted for some time.

But one of the delights of handling hundreds of discarded books is stumbling over unusual items - often, those of no interest to most prospective purchasers. Case in point: the shock I got when I picked up a tattered book titled Mr. and Mrs. Mouse. Credits on the title page are as follows: Illustrated by Ida Bohatta Morpurgo. English Version by June Head. Publishing information ran: Ars Sacra, Herbert Dubler, Inc., New York, N.Y. It was copyright 1943 by Herbert Dubler, Inc. And, yes, I'd absolutely had a copy - last seen probably 60 years ago. I hadn't been looking for it. It had never entered my thoughts later. But it evoked a double-take and an ensuing quick grab, followed by residence in my tote bag and an IOU in the cash can.

An online search has turned up little information. "Ida Bohatta" was apparently a popular German illustrator of children's books, and a Google search of images shows the book cover, where it's titled Mauschen Sorgen. So was the U.S. version in any respect outstanding? Well, after I finished reading it, I did, indeed, savor one entry - a poem accompanying this illustration - which I think became something of a family saying:

"I have the most astounding news,
The best you've heard for ages,
They're giving bits of cheese away
In pretty wire cages."

"Don't you be taken in, my dear,"
Said cautious Mrs. Grey.
"I never trust the humans when
They give their cheese away."


Keepsake Closeup

Tuesday, September 11, 2012




Comic-Con Hint: Use Your Camera to Take Notes

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jim Sokolowski
Dave Olbrich
Yesterday, I whined about not having time to post, if I also took time to be active in convention activities, and it continues to be true. In the moments I'm taking before leaving for the show, I downloaded a bunch more photos and realized that I can use pictures to remind myself of conversations that I'll be able to refer to later. Because I know full well that I will quickly otherwise be lost in a haze of dimly remembered events. And it's not because of what I've drunk; it's because there is just too much to remember. Case in point came this morning as I transferred photos from my camera to my laptop for a backup (a good idea, by the way; you can at least salvage a chunk of what you've done, if your camera is stolen or dies). I'd forgotten till I looked at the photos that I'd had a laugh-filled pre-show exchange with Dave Olbrich and Jim Sokolowski in which we chatted happily about the long-ago days when Dave (with Malibu) and Ski (with Marvel) lived through the acquisition of Malibu, the marketing of the time, and so on and definitely so forth. And, in the midst of all that, we were delighted to see Jim Lee with his family cheeerily preparing to enter the floor. (Mind you, this morning I'm frustrated to realize I don't know the names of Jim's other family members, but I love the photo and hope someone out there can fill in the details. In any case, I'm just saying: Nice!)

Ski's now Archie Comic Publications' Senior Vice President of Sales and Business Development - and it is terrific seeing him again and - And if I don't post this right now, I'll miss the first panel I need to attend.

Jim Lee and Family


2012 Comic-Con Preview Night

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I grabbed the chance to give Jill Thompson
a copy of our Parent's Guide to the
Best Kids' Comics. Her work is, of course,
recommended therein.
As ever, there are choices for bloggers, Tweeters, and the like at Comic-Con International: San Diego: doing or posting. Tweeting is simple, but even that means Taking a Moment. So you're in a world surrounded by activities and fascinating people and news - but TIME OUT! I've been taking notes about a vast variety of news, not to mention catching up with people I haven't seen for at least a year. And, to top it off, the jammed Preview Night is the least crowded the floor will be. So it meant lugging my two totes around, greeting with hugs, taking a few photos and moving along. (Moving along is a good idea; security is rightly keeping people from blocking halls and aisles. Rightly, because really. But it can be hard to grab a moment when at times you must, like a shark, keep moving to survive. Oh, come on. It's not that bad. Because really. But it's not the time for an in-depth interview.) The exhibitor booths are different. Given folks' need to do business so one shouldn't hog time, you can still talk to people. Which will be a goal for today. After I give blood. Which I need to head out to do now. Yikes!


Don and Maggie Thompson At Last! Half a Century Ago

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Maggie Thompson, Don Thompson
Woo hoo! Don and I had been engaged for two years, and every weekend he would take the bus to Oberlin, where he would stay in a rooming house while I lived in Dascomb Dormitory (freshman year), with my grandmother (the intervening summer), and in Fairchild Dormitory (sophomore year). My college tuition was supplied by Allegheny College, where Dad taught and which participated in a faculty-member-offspring student exchange program with other colleges. So Don and I had gone through months of tension regarding whether the tuition would continue, if we married. I bet you can figure out that it did - and so it was that we found ourselves at 3 p.m. at Christ Church, Episcopal, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, on June 23, 1962.
There was a reception in the Church Parish House following the ceremony - with sandwiches made by Mom, featuring her home-baked bread (Blue Ribbon-winning quality, per the Crawford County Fair). Mind you, she'd added food coloring to each batch, so the sandwiches were pink, yellow, green, and blue. (At least one guest - hi, Nancy! - took one look and opted to come back after she'd eaten at a nearby restaurant.) There was a follow-up celebration at the house - and then someone (Dad?) drove us north to Erie, where we caught the train to Cleveland - where we were to spend the rest of my summer vacation before we moved to Oberlin.
Susan Thompson, Charles Thornton,
Maggie, Don, James Broschart, Mary Curtis
Weather during and just after the ceremony was lovely - as you see here. But, it's fun to note, there was a light rain during the drive to the train station - and that gave us a rainbow, as we set out on our wedded adventure.
(Oh, and a postscript: That wedding gown had been worn once before: when Mom and Dad married September 17, 1941, in Hudson, Ohio. Mom had sewn it for herself.)


Don Thompson Met Maggie Curtis 55 Years Ago Today

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ed, Mary, Betsy, and Maggie Curtis, Don Thompson
This is a year of anniversaries for me - and one of them is today. At about this time 55 years ago, Mom was offering to give Don a ride as far back as our house on his way back to Titusville - an invitation he gladly accepted. Yesterday, Gary Colabuono asked on Facebook for what amounted The Tale of Don and Maggie Thompson - or at least the first chapter. So ... Mom (science-fiction writer Betsy Curtis - no, you've never heard of her) drove to Kinsman, Ohio, thinking that an announced picnic of science-fiction fans and pros was being held at the home of Ed Hamilton and Leigh Brackett. That turned out not to be the case. One of their relatives lived across the road, Mom made inquiries, and it was revealed that the picnic was at the home of Basil and Virginia Wells. What to do? Mom commented later that, if Dad had been along, we'd have probably given up - but it was just Mom, my two younger sisters, and me. So off we went to the Wells home. Other picnic attendees included P. Schuyler Miller and Andre Norton - and a fan named Don Thompson, who'd hitchhiked there, invited as a member of the National Fantasy Fan Federation.
Don, it turned out, was not only a fan of Mom's but also shared many other pop culture interests (before that term was even used). He and I talked pretty much nonstop on topics ranging from SF to fantasy to movies to radio shows to pulp magazines to detective fiction to comics to Mad magazine - and so on. He'd just finished his sophomore year in Journ School at Penn State, where he worked on the radio station and belonged to the SF club. And, yes, he was 21 and I was 14. (When this information was included in Dark Horse's Between the Panels, I was told, lawyers going through the preliminary draft circled it as a possible legal concern for publication. Hee!)
As noted, we drove him as far as our house - whence he continued his hitchhiking travel to his home. Next communication from him: a copy of Humbug #1 folded to fit into a #10 envelope with a note asking whether I'd seen it - which I hadn't. Over the next while, we wrote now and then, and he visited a few afternoons during vacation breaks. Again, nonstop conversation about SF, fantasy, movies, radio ... Yep, more pop culture chat. I graduated from high school, we started dating in 1960, and he graduated from Journ School. Mom even included him in the 1960 WorldCon "Best Group"-winning costume group shown here. (It's "The Five Fannish Senses": Dad as Sense of Science, Mary as Sense of Humor, Mom as Extra Sense, me as Sense of Wonder, and Don - Well, Don was 35 to 50 Cents, the price of science-fiction magazines.)
So I started college at Oberlin in the autumn of 1960, and Don went to work for the Cleveland Press, taking the bus each weekend and staying at an Oberlin bed-and-breakfast (well, I don't think he got breakfast there, but you get the idea) each Saturday night. Till we got married June 23, 1962.
Hey, that means I get another anniversary this month! Hot diggity!


Dick Beals Thought Big

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dick Beals
The sad news came this morning via Mark Evanier's website. Richard Beals died yesterday. Born March 16, 1927, he turned what many with his dreams would have termed an insurmountable disability into a triumphant career. His autobiography is appropriately titled Think Big, and its back cover summarizes, "Was he just lucky? No. Dick believes that 'Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.' Dick prepares, and then gives life's challenges everything he has in his 4'6", 68-pound frame." He loved sports - but his size kept him off the playing field. Except that it didn't - because he adapted his role to that of cheerleader and commentator. He loved acting - but his size and eternally youthful voice would have been an impediment to most other performers. Nevertheless, he turned that voice into an asset, by daring to move to California in 1952 to try to make a living in a highly competitive field.

I quote from Think Big, page 81:

It happened on a day when a bunch of us were sitting around in the lobby of CBS.

"Hey, busy actor," [Virginia Gregg] said, grinning at me. "Which of the directors upstairs here have you met?"

"Well, none, actually," I said. "I got to see Mr. Del Valle's secretary, but she told me not to bother seeing the directors at CBS."

"Why not?" Ginny cried in disbelief.

"She said Mr. Del Valle's wife does all the kid's parts and I wouldn't stand a chance."

"She said what?" Her eyes flashed all sorts of colors. "You come with me." With that she grabbed my wrist and hauled me to the elevator. When the door opened, she yanked me in and smashed the button for floor three and tapped her foot as the elevator slowly responded. It opened and down the aisle we went. She dragged me past the first secretary into the first director's office as a startled Elliott Lewis looked up.

"Elliott, from this moment on, never use me for kid's parts, on Suspense or any of the other shows you direct. Use Dick Beals. Is that clear? He's better than I will ever be."

And without waiting for an answer, down the aisle we went to the next office and the next one and the next one. Same story. Same startled director. When we got to the last office there sat Mr. Del Valle's secretary. Ginny, followed by my wrist and then me, flew into Mr. Del Valle's office. The man behind the desk, tanned, steel-gray hair, crew cut, ex-marine type, continued reading the script on his desk. He slowly raised his arm and waved a hello.

"Jaime, listen to me for a second," she began impatiently. "This is Dick Beals. He does kid's voices. Use him. Don’t use me ever again." Silence. Long pause. "Are you listening, Jaime?"

He never looked up. "OK, dear, anything you say," he murmured. "Be talking to you soon, Dick." Silence. Longer pause. "What are we having for dinner, honey? I'll be home right after the show … 'bout 6:30."

Mission accomplished. In less than five minutes I was locked in to every CBS radio show. Shows like Suspense, Lineup, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, Amos and Andy and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. The last CBS radio show … Gunsmoke … went off the air six years later. God bless you, Virginia Gregg, wherever you are.

I first met him at a Friends of Old Time Radio convention in Newark a few years ago where he was appearing as one of the celebrity guests. The voice of Speedy Alka-Seltzer, both Yank and Dan of Roger Ramjet's American Eagles, and more, more, more (including roles in those CBS shows he cited) - he was a wonderful choice as a guest. I was fortunate enough (Thanks, Anthony Tollin!) to appear in a Superman re-creation as Lois Lane, interacting with Beals as Jimmy Olsen - which meant I saw at first-hand how unfailingly professional and supportive he was, whether working with professionals or amateurs. He remains an example for us all of how to triumph over challenges.

Think Big, folks! He did.


Barnaby May Be the Best Comic Strip You've Never Seen. Until Now.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Free Comic Book Day 2012 was terrific, and I made my customary run to Madison, Wis., to visit the comics shops there, checking out the FCBD offerings and comparing this event to those of years past. (I even began with the "in memoriam" drive-by of what had seemed to be a busy suburban comics shop north of the city - disappeared between one FCBD and the next three or four years ago.) The shops on my route (as I travel west to east) are: Westfield Comics, 7475 Mineral Point Road; Capital City Comics, 1910 Monroe Street; and Westfield Comics, 944 Williamson Street. And, frankly, it's a route I recommend, with each shop offering a different "feel." Each, too, this year was experiencing an even higher community participation, with shoppers young and old happily enjoying the annual celebration. I'll eventually revisit the event as I plow through the FCBD handouts (not to mention my purchases - because it's all about finding the treats in plain view in today's shops). But at the moment, I want to single out something you may have passed by. Just. In. Case.

Over the years, I hear many things, lots of behind-the-scenes news, gossip, comments, etc. Often, I'm asked to keep things quiet. "I know you'll be excited to hear this, Maggie, but don't tell anyone." So sometimes I actually push the information as much as possible out of my memory so I don't accidentally mention something that isn't to be common knowledge. And so it was that I exclaimed with surprise as well as delight to see the Free Comic Book Day release from Fantagraphics: a hint of the volumes to come that will provide the world at last with The Complete Barnaby. I'd been told about the project last year but it was with the request that I keep it quiet - and told that putting together the collections was complex and could take quite a while. But here it is! With the first volume due this summer!

Yet at each shop, as I waved the introductory booklet at people, I was met with friend after friend who hadn't heard of the strip. I hope that, by the end of FCBD, at least a few people have begun to anticipate the release of the first collection. Cushlamochree!

"Crockett Johnson" was the penname of the brilliant David Leisk (1906-1975). His ongoing legacy is (or was until now) the Harold and the Purple Crayon books, and he also illustrated a number of other children's books, four of them written by his wife, Ruth Krauss. Those tended to feature characters slightly younger than Barnaby, whom he introduced as a daily-newspaper character in 1942. The concept of the strip was simple: Barnaby is a little boy who wishes for a fairy godmother; what he gets is Mr. O'Malley, a winged, cigar-chomping character who is never seen by Barnaby's mother or father or other adult. Not that Mr. O'Malley is invisible; coincidence simply continues to complicate Barnaby's life, as adults think he has imagined the ever-increasing fantasy elements of his life.

There have been a few earlier attempts to bring the characters into wider circulation. There were two book collections (1943 and 1944, with at least some of the strips redrawn for the presentation), a Barnaby Quarterly magazine in the mid-1940s, and several mass-market paperbacks from Ballantine in the mid-1980s (with strips reproduced so small the text is occasionally hard to make out) that tend to be pricey, when you can find them. Are they fun for kids? Well, for years as I was growing up, I read and reread one of the copies of the Quarterly - and, even though I had no idea there was something called "hoarding" during World War II, I loved what I read. Part of which you'll find in the Fantagraphics sampling. Check it out. I can hardly wait for the completed Volume One.


Grace's Invention

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Artificial cat checks out the Crawlway
Instructed to come up with an invention for school, granddaughter Grace developed this "Perfume Crawlway" for cats. Designed along the lines of a carwash, the invention takes the cat, once entered, into a spray of perfume (presumably a perfume cats would like). There is also a sparkly dust-shaker. (Bonus!) Using considerable ingenuity to keep an unsealed box upright, she demonstrated the set-up as shown. The success of the project is easily seen: Note the cat [Milani] in the box. [Footnote: Grace points out that the box device, with perfume and sparkles removed, could do in a pinch as a shelter when camping.]


Getting Ready for Comic-Con International: San Diego 2012 - Yes, Already

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jerry Robinson and Mark Evanier
Yes, it's only February - but February isn't too soon to begin to consider July's Comic-Con in San Diego. Anyone who has attended within the last decade knows it, and the strange aspect is that many of those who know it also find themselves becoming tense about what is, year upon year, a delightful mix of adrenaline and unexpected pleasures. The catch that makes many tense is the uncertainty over what is to come. So it's time to take a look at a few suggestions and to solicit even more from those who know what's what. (By the way, one of the most expert of those who know what's what is Mark Evanier, whom the convention drafted long ago to evoke anecdotes and other information from those who have made the comics industry what it is. If you have not made it a point to attend his panels, make this your year to do so. He is also a prime source of general advice about attending the convention, and you'll find that and more at his website. Don't miss that, either!) Anyway, in the midst of making my own plans, I've so far come up with suggestions to myself that I'll set down here for the record.
(1) Plan ahead. Look at the convention map, the San Diego map, the convention schedule, etc. Note whatever is of interest to you.
(2) Don't let #1 stop you from preparing to seize the opportunity, if something that looks like fun offers itself. Years and years ago, Don and I realized that we were growing so tense over planning that we decided to relax at the next Comic-Con and just enjoy whatever happened. We had a resultant relatively stress-free event that was packed with surprise encounters we'd have never experienced, had we gone with an agenda so strict that it didn't allow us to take time to hang out with nice people.
(3) Consider what to pack. If you want photos, take your best camera; it's not as though you'll see these folks all together somewhere else. Not to be morbid - but this photo is the last one I was ever able to take of Jerry Robinson. (And I love my digital camera and have since added a telephoto lens to the one I had last year - but don't forget to stick some extra memory cards in your pocket. I actually had to walk half a mile back to my hotel room last year to grab one I'd left there, when I realized the one in my camera was full.)
(4) Sign up for Twitter and begin to follow people you care about. Then check it during the show. Sometimes, folks will Tweet about where they are, what they're doing, and what news they've learned. It's a pop-culture festival, after all.
What have I forgotten?
And, before many minutes had gone by, Mark Engblom reminded me of his invaluable tip sheet.


Caveman Is Preparing for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


What? You Thought I Had No More Chicken Bowl Photos?

Admittedly, there were rules and regulations controlling the attendees. The daughter of the household outlined a couple of them for the visitors; it could have been complicated, since her office consists of the entertainment center atop which sat the television set that a few of those present were actually watching. But I'm here to report that everyone was well-behaved, and both fort and office remained intact throughout.
And did I mention there was food? Linda Holmes (of NPR's Monkey See pop-culture blog) brought a contribution that was actually pretty much consumed before all the guests had arrived: hot dog pieces in corn muffins. She said she'd found the recipe online. Thank you, Internet!


Chicken Bowl XVI Follow-Up

This was the moment of triumph, in which Stephen Thompson (right) announced Dan Cernikovsky as winner of the binge-don't-purge event.
In the brief moment during which my laptop is functioning, I feel it incumbent upon me to provide at least a few images of Sunday's Popeye Chicken-Enhanced Chicken Bowl. Given that this laptop will crash at any moment, let's see what I can post before it does ...
... And, indeed, crash it did. When will I learn to save, save, save? In any case, the house was filled with about 50 attendees - from as far away as New York City and Iola, Wisconsin. There were those who savored the food (which, yes, did include a black bean soup for the vegetarians in attendance), those who actually watched the Super Bowl, those who raced from room to room firing Nerf missiles (those racers, it should be noted, were among those still in grade school; none of those who were older came remotely close to the racers in energy level), and even a few who took photos (especially at the moment of the tiara-winning triumph of the attendee who earned the most points for chicken consumption).


Chicken Bowl XVI: It Begins!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

There are those who believe that national attention will be solely focused on the Super Bowl today - but I'm here to tell you that there are those whose sporting spirit will not wish to neglect the wonders of another form of competition. That form was initiated by Stephen Thompson a decade and a half ago, and followers have been impressed by his ongoing dedication to the sport. He has summarized the event for the National Public Radio website on its "Food" blog The Salt - and commenters there have already sneered at what they perceive as its frivolous nature. But come on: How many of you would have devoted yourself to this sort of annual event for so many years so devotedly?
So here I am in Maryland, preparing to be surrounded by chicken-eating devotees. Some of them may even watch the game while gorging. Stephen and I went yesterday to the Popeye's from which the chicken will be picked up today (and let me recommend this particular Popeye's establishment; the gentleman was charming, if a bit bemused: the Takoma Park restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue).
I've already managed to incapacitate myself slightly in all this: a missed step led to a certain bruising, including a swollen right foot. But the way I figure is that it will let me all the more empathize with the Super Bowl players requiring icing during Today's Other Event. But, of course, that'll be secondary to the true excitement. Up with chicken!


2012: My Year of Family and Anniversaries

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

March 2011 (left to right): Katy Curtis, Maggie Thompson, Paul Curtis, Grace Thompson, Stephen Thompson, Valerie Thompson, Devon Jaruk, Roy Jaruk, Jonah Thompson
This is one of those years of coincidental landmark line-ups. Consider: Mom and Dad were born in 1917. I was born in 1942. My sister Mary was born in 1947. I met Don in 1957. We were married in 1962. Valerie was born in [harrumph] Stephen was born in [another harrumph]. The Cleveland Press folded - and Don and I were hired by Krause Publications - in 1982, the year we moved to Wisconsin. It seemed to me that this is a logical year to celebrate all of that - and to get into more communications with family and friends. It was a shock to learn that my last remaining aunt (Dad's sister) and uncle (Mom's brother) died in 2011, so again: It's time to make an effort to reconnect - and this is a perfect time. I was thrilled to hear this month from a cousin I'd been trying to locate.
When was the last time you reached out to your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins ...? This would be a great year to do it!


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