Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maine Minutiae : Famous Spider Writer

Famous Spider Writer
Hello. My name is Toby and I'm an info-holic. I love to read and to gather information on just about anything. As they say, luck favors a prepared mind. I don't read books very often at all, but I love to read articles from magazines and web sites. Having said that, I do remember my favorite book from when I was a kid. Hands down, without a shadow of a doubt and otherwise without reservation, it is Charlotte's Web by Eldwyn Brooks White. His homies just called him E. B. If memory serves me correctly, in the copy of  Charlotte's Web that I read in first grade, Charlotte died on page 163. Almost fifty years later, I still remember that. I'd read the book again if I had a copy of it. In 1939, E.B. White bought a farm in North Brooklin, Maine and preferred to spend as much time there as he could. White was a shy and modest man and once said in an interview that he "lives in a small coastal community on the East Coast somewhere between New Brunswick, Canada and Cuba." He relished his privacy that much. White had quite a varied resume. At one time or another he wrote for : The Cornell Daily Sun while attending Cornell University, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The New Yorker. Still, his best-known and most enduring work was that of a spider named Charlotte and a pig named Wilbur, written in 1952. As I write this post, in my mind's eye, I can envision that wise spider, Charlotte, weaving the message "some pig" into her silky web for all the world to see. Especially Wilbur. And millions of me. Odd, that. Almost a half century later, I still remember that. That and page 163. You know? I think I'll order Charlotte's Web for myself  for my two daughters and maybe fifty years from now, they, too, will remember "some pig" and page 163.

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