Wednesday, June 22, 2016

E. L. Moore on getting older

[E. L. Moore's North Conway Station]

My goddamned legs are going to remain numb but I can get around pretty well . . .  worse is my numb finger tips . . .  I gotta watch the keys pretty close and still make mistakes . . . but I manage.

Why the hell do I have to spend all the time I do on those cussed drawings (except in the interests of accuracy) when you have them done over anyway. Still it ain’t really work, just tedious, since I can sit in my easy chair and do them. But damit I gotta move around a lot to photograph the stuff and printing the pictures is a helluva strain on the gut. I type a couple of pages then go lie down a while, then type a couple more but they eventually all get typed. It’s much more fun writing in longhand in bed. But hell, I got no complaints, much, I eat well, got plenty of leisure, lots of books and don’t get up until I get damned good and ready . . .  except to feed my cats. When they get hungry they won’t let me sleep.
E. L. Moore, age 79, in the cover letter to Kelley’s Folly, to Tony Koester, then editor of Railroad Model Craftsman, dated 26 May 1977.

Legs never going to get any better but I get around pretty well -- numbness in finger tips is more bothersome, causing me to watch my keys : ... no more touch typewriting. But I got no real complaints -- old age would [sic] be so bad if one didn’t keep on getting older. Lots of oldsters complain of poverty, loneliness and being bored . . . .  I ain’t got none of those bothering me . . .  and I’ve got good and constant company and bedmates -- my cats. So what the hell!
E. L. Moore, in a letter to then editor of Model Railroader, Russ Larson, dated 29 May 1977.

Just a brief note, E. L., to let you know that some cantankerous old buzzard is sending me nasty notes under your name. After all these years of hard work I’ve finally become editor and I still don’t get no respect.

By the way, I’d like to buy both articles: “The Village Store” and “Butz Milling and Feed Co.” The snow scene of the village store would be a nice addition to one of our winter issues.

Keep in touch. Your postcards help brighten our day.
Extract from a letter Russ Larson wrote to E. L. Moore dated 30 August 1977. It looks like E. L. Moore was sending Russ Larson letters with some harsh words intermingled with the usual Moore-isms. I haven’t seen the whole exchange, just some surviving pieces so I don’t know what caused this or when it started. I suspect it might have been the usual annoyances and frustrations a writer encounters magnified by ill health. Russ Larson handled it with charm and professionalism, and things cranked back a few notches as time went on. And Mr. Larson kept buying submissions from E. L. Moore.

Me, I been feeling right pert until I read of that Greek bastard, 98 years old, who, it was reported, ran 42 miles in less than eight hours. Hell’s bells, I’d do well to walk eight miles in 42 hours. Says he gave up sex at 85 . . .  I assume he ran out of women. Just to read of him congeals my blood and makes me want to bury my head in the sand to my toes. Only thing is I’ve always wanted to go back to the land but I don’t want it writ on my tombstone “When I said I wanted to go back to the land I didn’t mean this deep.”
Extracted from a E. L. Moore wrote to Russ Larson dated 1 September 1977.

This is not -- and I repeat -- is not something an inexperienced modeler should tackle. It is, in fact, the largest and most complicated structure I’ve ever built, and except that was done as a favor for a friend, one Fred Kelley, a no good Irishman, I would never have attempted it at all. Yet it turned out to be fun, and a challenge, and hard work all rolled into one.
The opening paragraph to E. L. Moore’s unpublished manuscript for The North Conway Depot submitted to Model Railroader on 6 January 1978. Russ Larson accepted it. It’s interesting that during a period when he admittedly wasn’t at his best healthwise, he still produced what he thought was his largest and most complex model building.

And now the doc says I gotta cut my sex life in half. “Which half?” I asks, “thinking or talking about it.”
Extracted from a letter E. L. Moore wrote to Russ Larson dated 12 January 1978.

One of these could be me -- two old codgers sitting on a park bench -- one says: “E. L. remember in years past how we useta set on this very bench and watch all them gals goin’ by in their fancy dresses?”
“Yep, I remember.”
“You remember how we useta look at their purty round bottoms as they went by?”
“Yup -- I recollect. What I can’t remember is why?”
Another extract from that 12 January 1978 letter.

E. L. Moore died on 12 August 1979.

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