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Because 10 Years Ago Is Basically Now

Filed under: Seal Barks   Tagged: , , ,

Google Alerts, which doesn't always have a bias toward the present (very sensible of it), pointed me to "A Sort of Neighbor Remembers Shawn," a 1993 letter to the Times following William Shawn's obituary:

To the Editor:

"William Shawn, 85, Is Dead; New Yorker's Gentle Despot" (front page, Dec. 9) reminded me of the time in 1972 that I noticed Mr. Shawn's entry just above mine in Who's Who.

Quixotically, I submitted a short story directly to him, pointing out that we were neighbors of a sort and hoping he would like my piece, which was based on a military situation I had covered for Life magazine as a young reporter.

On a standard New Yorker rejection slip that came back with my story, Mr. Shawn had scrawled: "Try Shawcross."

I had no idea what he meant until some months later, when I was proudly showing my Who's Who entry to my daughter, I noticed that the neighbor just north of William Shawn was Lord Shawcross of Friston, the renowned English barrister and writer, Britain's chief representative at the Nuremberg war-crimes trials.

However, I refrained from troubling this other distinguished neighbor of mine.

Deerfield, Ill., Dec. 10, 1992

If you've got a TimesSelect credit to spend, here is the obituary itself. From the story:

Mr. Shawn had long been a fascinated reader of The New Yorker, and in time the Shawns moved to New York. Once there, he began doing reporting assignments for the magazine's Talk of the Town section.

"I was paid $2 an inch when the piece appeared," he later said. "It was practically starvation. After a while they let me come into the office and work."

As time passed, the boyish-looking reporter became known as a prodigy of conscientiousness and organization. In 1935, he turned his hand to editing, although he still wanted to write.

Mr. Shawn worked extremely hard in those days, but he also enjoyed relaxing. "About once a month we'd have a party and about 30 or 40 people would show up," The New Yorker veteran E. J. Kahn Jr. wrote in his book "About the New Yorker and Me." "Shawn was our star. He'd be our piano player."

Why had I never absorbed that before? So let's review: Shawn played the piano, Lee Lorenz played the trombone (and later the trumpet), and the late Donald Reilly played the trombone as well. How many others were there? Besids the sprightly Dougless Trio, is there now or has there ever been a New Yorker orchestra? I think I've got my own question for the column.

Wait a minute—I don't have my Atlantic subscriber info here to check this, but this turned up on Google:

Sitting In - 98.01
It included mainly New Yorker people -- Wally White (piano), Paul Brodeur (clarinet), Donald Reilly (trombone), Warren Miller (trumpet), Lee Lorenz (trumpet) ...

Obviously this must be followed up on.


Cramble is a v. in the Oxford Universal meaning the twisting of vines or roots. Kinnell nouns it. How about roundel? That’s not a rung. Is he standing on his little shield?

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