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Point of View: Crypt Yields Antic Script

Wed, 02/09/2022 - 17:15

It’s funny, but when you’re looking for something, something else, something that you had given up looking for years ago, turns up. I’m speaking here of the script of “Five Characters in Search of an Editor,” a show with excerpts from actual letters written to The Star spanning 1885 to 1973 that we put on at Guild Hall.

The original script and two copies were, adhering to an ancient Star tradition, misfiled. I came across them downstairs in the 1985 Guild Hall folder, only a decade out of place. I held the scripts up to Yupay, noted my name on the cast of characters, and told her that the show is so timeless we could put it on any time. Is there an anniversary coming up? Whoops, Chrissy just told me the village held its 100th in September. Oh well, surely there will be another occasion.

It wasn’t exactly like coming upon the Dead Sea Scrolls, but, to me, it was pure gold. Peter Turgeon, our director, thought each reader ought to preface his or her epistolary forays with the date and year. No, said Val Schaffner, that would ruin everything. If our theory was that certain types of letter writers varied hardly at all throughout the millenniums, we should just let it ride.

And so everything was mixed up, and, as I recall, it all went wonderfully, Wilson Stone’s piano playing, reminiscent of silent movie days, striking just the right chord. . . .

“No doubt it is naïve to expect impartial and accurate reporting in this day and age.”

“Would you be willing to have me submit literary material for your consideration? I specialize in prose and poetry.”

“I think a great improvement to the beauty of our town would be to build a wall around Town Pond. . . . The wall could be of concrete or bricks or something fairly cheap that gives good wear. Just think how nice and neat looking it would be.”

“Would you please advise what varieties of roses decorate the fence at the East Hampton railroad station? They, together with the other shrubs, make the station the most attractive on the south shore. It is so nice in these days of confusion and peculiar ideas to be able to turn to a paper that has . . . standards.”

“The lovely hedge of honeysuckle at the railroad station which with its fragrance gave us hail and farewell for so many years is now but a happy memory and one turns away from these scarlet substitutes with distaste. A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose as Gertrude Stein hath it, but I think she was mistaken.”

“As it has been for many years, we are again invaded with the ‘city people.’ Respect for local people, who have made this town what it is today, has diminished to a point of no return. So, local housewives, when you are shopping, and your feet are run over by a radical shopping cart pusher, or when you have to wait 10 minutes until ‘they’ get done talking about last night’s cocktail party, show them the courtesy they would show you. Push in front of THEM in the check-out line! Unfortunately, their behavior is the same on the highway.”

“Why fight a world war on this subject of ‘class’ and find the same thing in your own town? I could not help overhearing a conversation by one of the ‘upstreet’ people in regards to doing something for ‘the class of people’ who lived ‘below the bridge.’ What is meant? If the bridge is any form of dividing line, that means the railroad. If so, then the greater part of the Township of East Hampton is ‘below the bridge.’ This dividing into classes, figuring you are better than your neighbor, was what started the war just past.”

“There was a touching account in your last edition of a person, probably a Boy Scout doing his daily deed of kindness, who tried to tear from its bed one of the fearsome red roses at the station. Why was he prevented? Let the good work go on. . . .”


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