2010-02-25 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro
By popular acclaim, the correct spelling is Presidents’ Day.

Robyn Borges writes, “It is a plural noun (presidents). The apostrophe signifies possession. In theory, the day was created to honor multiple presidents. So, it is a day honoring more than one president. It is one of my many grammar pet peeves to see the plural possessive used incorrectly. And, I’m glad to see my dad, Dave Reily, still guessing the song lyrics correctly!”

Larry Lewis waded in, saying that pinning down an answer is akin to the judge in “Miracle On 34th Street” having to rule on whether Santa Claus exists. Larry explains that the federal government does not observe this holiday. In Washington D.C., it’s still Washington’s birthday.

“Certain states, cities and above all, retailers, invented the presidential version of Washington’s birthday in the 1970s (long story). So, this is a ‘holiday’ literally having many birth mothers and no offi cial spelling. If pressed, I’d opt for Presidents’ Day as the grammatically correct take.

“Now, if America’s billboard and signage companies could only learn the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s,’ I’d be a happy man.”

Thanks, guys.


Next Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m. is the drop-off time for your 12-inch square works of art for Collaboration ‘10 at the Jamestown Gallery at 47 Conanicus Ave. All ages and talents are invited to become part of this community art installation reflecting the island’s creative community. No matter what medium you like to work in, if you can fit it on 12 inches square and hang it on a wall, then come display it and support the Jamestown Arts Center.


Also, beginning March 3 and every Wednesday through April 7, the Jamestown Community Theatre will offer “A Smorgasbord of Acting” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Jamestown Country Club.

The class is open to adults, teens and children ages 10 and up. For more information and/or to sign up, call Mary Wright at 423- 1586 or email her at ms.wright@ cox.net.


J.C. Pease’s query about the drug store at East Ferry brought replies from across the country.

Joe Campo in Las Caruces, New Mexico, wrote, “The answer to J.C. Pease’s question is Crowell’s drug store, if my memory serves me correctly. They did a great ice cream float and a super banana split.

Former Jamestowner and now northern California resident Mary Frances (Czarnetzki) Doss said, “If he is talking about the early 50s, it would be Crowell’s drug store. I worked there one summer with Barbara Drummond. Mr. and Mrs. Crowell were owner/operators. That would be 1952/1953.”

(Walrus note: Sanford Crowell was my uncle and his wife, Hellen (cq), was my father’s sister and my aunt. When “Uncle Sam” bought the business in the 1940s, he continued the establishment’s name, Hunt’s Drug Store. I worked there as a “soda jerk” one summer, I think 1948, with a beautiful island girl named Maxine von Schade.)


This week, Dorothy Strang and Lyla have devised some puzzlers about Jamestown’s street names.

“We think they would be fun for families to do together. Lyla insists that people should try these puzzlers with only the knowledge they have gleaned from walking and driving through our fair town. I think, though, that it is just fine to consult a Jamestown street map. Important note: These are openended questions, which means that many Jamestowners will come up with answers we have not discovered. Therefore, expect no answers.”

1. By-way designations

For a small town, Jamestown designates its roadways in a remarkable number of ways. Here’s the list, in alphabetical order, that we put together from our observations: Avenue, Circle, Court, Drive, Lane, Road, Street, Terrace and Way. What have we missed?

Try re-ordering the list from the largest to the smallest kind of roadway.

Then, list as many examples as you can of Jamestown roadways for each designation.

Next week, we’ll have some scrambled names.


B.J.’s poser drew these responses. Elizabeth Mancini wrote that the lyrics are to “Surfin’ Bird” by the Trashmen but the Big Bop- per also sang these lyrics to “Bird is the Word.” “Thanks for the fun of remembering lyrics long forgotten.”

Larry Lewis emailed, “The bird lyrics can be found verbatim in two songs, by different acts. The Rivingtons first released ‘The Bird is the Word’ in 1963. The Trashmen then (ahem) borrowed the song, coupled it with a classic earlier Rivingtons’ hit, titled, ‘Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow,’ and released this as ‘Surfin’ Bird,’ also in 1963....classic garage rock.”

John A. Murphy wrote, “That is a tune in the ‘Molty’ and the Barbarians genre, if anyone can identify Molty’s unique musical talent, they deserve a prize. By the way, Molty played at a joint in Newport about 40 years ago.”

Thanks, all!


How about, “Feed the babies who don’t have enough to eat.”


Larry Lewis, Marjorie Cottle and John A. Murphy wrote that Peter Pemantell’s movie quote is from the great Harper Lee book and motion picture, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It’s from a scene in which Scout talks about her father, the great lawyer, Atticus Finch, played in the film by Gregory Peck.

John added, “In the movie version of the book, the character ‘Boo Radley’ is played by a wonderful actor who had a well-known Jamestowner as his classmate.” Who are they?


Don’t forget tonight’s foreign film series at the Jamestown Philomenian Library. The movie is “Le Violon Rouge” (Canada/Italy, 1998) and it begins at an earlier time tonight, 6:45.

*** A Snapple cap moment: The scientific term for sneezing is sternutation.

*** Be true!


Call in your stuff to 423-0383 or 829-2760, or email us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com.

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