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“Founder's Message”

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					     “Founder's Message”
(SPEBSQSA Barber Shop Re-Chordings, November, 1941)




                         and



 “The Founder's Column”
 (The Harmonizer, September, 1943 through June, 1953)




                     2002 SPEBSQSA, Inc.
                                            Preface

OWEN CLIFTON CASH (1892-1953) was born in Missouri on February 13, 1892. His family
moved to the Cherokee Indian Territory in 1897 or 1898 when he was age 5 or 6. The territory
was later to become part of Oklahoma. As a youth, he played in the hometown band and sang in
a barbershop quartet as early as age 18, when it is reported he gathered at home plate with three
other baseball players.

In 1938, that now-famous chance meeting with Rupert Hall in the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas
City led to the founding of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop
Quartet Singing in America. What started as a casual get together quickly became a highly
organized, musically proficient, aggressively promoted hobby organization bringing music and
fun to hundreds of thousands of singers and millions of happy listeners around the world.

O.C. Cash never held any official title in the Society, preferring instead to bask in the limelight as
Founder and "Third Assistant Temporary Vice-Chairman." In that role, he penned many articles
that appeared in Society publications the SPEBSQSA Barber Shop Re-Chordings (1941) and The
Harmonizer (1943-1953). In columns spanning his interests as fly fisherman, cook, and, of
course, the world's greatest barbershop baritone, Cash's writings defined the cheeky, devil-may-
care, light-hearted spirit of the Barbershop Harmony Society. He spiced his work with anecdotes
about his hundreds of friends and acquaintances throughout the Society, inside jokes about top
quartets and tall tales and self-deprecating humor.

As a body of work, Cash's writings provide valuable insight into one man's view of a hobby he
adored, although it should be noted that his views were not always shared by all, and may or may
not have reflected the "official policy" of his times. Nevertheless, today, almost 50 years after his
death, O.C. is still fondly remembered and revered as a visionary and elder statesman, to the
degree that his name is often invoked in reference to "the way things ought to be." Consequently,
many opinions and words attributed to O.C. Cash have appeared through the years in various
SPEBSQSA publications, and in correspondence and opinion pieces written by others. Some of
these quotations were accurate; others were quoted incorrectly.

In 1997 the Heritage Hall Museum of Barbershop Harmony and the Society Archives Committee
undertook the task of compiling as many of the articles written by O.C. Cash as could be found.
The intent was to have a single source document that could be referenced when using quotations
attributed to O.C. Cash. Joseph Schlesinger, an Archives Committee member, carefully
transcribed into electronic format the original O.C. Cash articles from The Harmonizer and its
predecessor, the SPEBSQSA Barber Shop Re-Chordings.

The following manuscript comprises the complete published output of O.C. Cash found to date.
Any future articles found written by O.C. Cash can be easily incorporated in the manuscript. The
document will be stored in the Heritage Hall Museum for access by any future writer or
researcher.

O.C. Cash used humor to express his ideas in many of his articles, using the language of his
times. To preserve his writings, his exact wording was maintained. Nothing was changed to
make them acceptable by today's standards. Future writers are cautioned to take care when
quoting O.C. Cash so those reading their articles may not be offended.



                                                  i
The Archive Committee thanks former Heritage Hall Museum Curator Ruth Blazina-Joyce for
her cooperation in locating the O.C. Cash articles. Her contribution made the job much easier. A
special thank you goes to Joseph Schlesinger for the many hours spent transcribing the original
articles.


Members of the Archive Committee involved in this publication were:

Bob Bisio, Chairman
Dan Waselchuk, Museum Director
Dean Snyder, Society Historian Emeritus (deceased)
Wilbur Sparks, Society Historian
Joseph Schlesinger, Committee Member
Jack Baird, Committee Member
Clyde Taber III, Committee Member (deceased)
Brian Lynch, Society Public Relations Director and Staff Liaison.
Ms. Beverly Brandl-McCumber, former Heritage Hall Museum Curator/Archivist
Ms. Ruth Blazina-Joyce, former Heritage Hall Museum Curator/Archivist
Ms. Robin Bahr, Museum Assistant




                                                                                      Rev. 2/02


                                               ii
                                                  November, 1941
Dear Brother Joe:

You have asked for a little message to appear in your           My most happy years, as it seems to me now, were spent
bulletin, and I'll be doggoned if I can think of anything of    in my old home town of Bluejacket, Oklahoma, as a kid,
interest to write about. Of course, all of us down here in      singing with the various village quartets, going on hay
Oklahoma are making plans to attend the Grand Rapids            rides, and attending church sociables with the old gang.
Convention. That's about all we talk about. Brother             I have lost track of the kids I once knew and sang with
Carroll has been sending me most of the correspondence          years ago, but when I meet Art, Joe, Deac, Hank, Bill,
he has had with brothers over the country, and I am             Pete, Sam, Frank, and others from all over the United
thrilled to death with the interest which is being              States at our conventions, I sort of reconstruct my outfit
manifested in our Society and the next convention.              and have a reunion with the old Bluejacket gang. I even
                                                                sing some of the same songs the soft, blonde summer
There are two things I particularly like—good music and         visitor from Kansas City taught us the night I dated her
good fellowship. I take the first for granted when I am         on that hay ride in June, 1910. Ah, she sure was a cute
around Barber Shop singers, but although I attend several       little trick, and knew all the songs then currently popular.
conventions each year, only at our Society Conventions          "I Care Not for the Stars That Shine" was one we learned
do I find the genuine, old-time, small town, neighborly         on that occasion, and our Barber Shop quartet sure
affection and fellowship so manifest when our bunch             knocked it for a goal.
gets together. That's why I like all our old scalawags so
much, and why I never miss an opportunity of being              Well, I'll be seeing you at the reunion of all the old gangs
present when they congregate. Will Rogers' most                 at Grand Rapids in June, 1942.
famous remark was: "I never met a man I didn't like".
Well, I have met a few fellows in my time that were first                                                 Yours sincerely,
class "horses' necks", but I never met a "Barber Shop
singing horses' neck".                                                                                        O. C. CASH



                                                  September, 1943
                                                      PITCH 'EM HIGH!

   Boys, we sure have come a long way in the 5½ years           Oakland County, Mich., and any number of other soft
   since our little group of cronies in Tulsa first decided     singing quartets don't give out sweet music. I would,
   to "perpetuate and preserve" the kind of quartet             and I did, sit up all night, twice, to listen to 'em.
   singing we had been brought up on. That was in
   April, 1938. Look at us now. All of which goes to                                    * * *
   show that if an idea appeals to the better side of a
   man's nature, and isn't motivated by anything that is        Bill Novak, Cicero Chapter Secretary writes that he
   either selfish or commercial—it will live—and grow.          misses The Gay Nineties costumes which are rapidly
   I take no credit. I just felt the need of "an outlet" and    disappearing from our Contests. So do I, Bill.
   I found that thousands of others did, too.                   However, maybe it's a modern trend that we shouldn't
                                                                try to do too much about.
                           * * *
                                                                                        * * *
   "Pitch 'Em High and Sing 'Em Loud" has always
   been a cardinal principle with me. Maybe that's why          No one can say that the P.A. system at Medinah
   I've always liked the "Beacon 4" of Wichita so well.         Temple was perfect—or even nearly perfect.
   But I can't agree with Chick Weber, charter member           Actually, it wasn't even good. And a number of good
   of the Chicago Chapter, who bemoans the fact that            quartets suffered as a result. But it proved one
   there were so many "soft singing" quartets at the last       thing—that every quartet should study mike
   Convention, 'cause I love soft singing. Don't tell me,       technique as carefully as they study their blend, their
   Chick, that the Kansas City Barber Pole Cats, the            notes and their harmony. Even with a perfect P.A.
   Muskegon Unheard of 4, The Harmonaires of the                system, a knowledge of the use of a mike properly is
   Clayton (Mo.) Chapter, the Hamptonians from Hal              highly essential.
   Staab's home town, Carleton Scott's Keynotes from
                                                                                                                          1
                                             December, 1943

        The editor feels it necessary to say that the blood-thirstiness exhibited in Cash's writing herewith
        is not chronic, but youthful exuberance.

                                                                                                     The Ed.

Barber shop quartet singing was still in vogue when I          Ed and the boys by this time had worked out the
was growing up as a boy at Bluejacket, Indian                  chord and had just got into it and were holding it—
Territory (now Oklahoma). It was mighty rough and              putting the steam or pressure to it—when the
wild around the old home town just before Indian               drummer fellow raised up in the chair and sang out—
Territory became a state. Everybody wore a pair of             "da da da da" ending up on a fifth, seventh, eighth or
six-shooters more or less to hide their nakedness, if          ninth, making a five tone chord—his tone being just
for no other purpose. I was too young to do much               about one-sixteenth of an inch above Ed's pretty
killing myself, but I saw lots of it done by the other         baritone note. You know how these five tone chords
fellows. I'll never forget a killing one cold Saturday         sound and how the fifth tone messes up the regular
night back in 1906. It was when Ed Potts shot the              baritone note.
drummer from Kansas City in Jim Davis' barber
shop.                                                          Well, Ed ordinarily was a nice, even-tempered
                                                               Christian sort of an individual, but this smart aleck
There was quite a crowd in town this night—Indians             drummer seemed to rile him up something awful. Ed
and cowboys shooting and fighting and drinking and             jumped up, pulled out his six-shooter and said, "Say,
raising hell—but nobody had been killed and it had             pardner, there ain't but four men in a quartet" and
sorter quieted down by ten or eleven o'clock. No               with that just hauled off and shot him about a half-
women had been on the streets all day. They were all           inch above the left eye. Things were pretty quiet for
at home where they belonged. (And, mister, that isn't          about a minute or two and then Jim, the barber,
a bad place for women to be even in this day.) Ed              wiping the blood and brains off his white coat, said,
Potts who ran the livery stable had come up to the             "Say, get this bum out of here," meaning the
barber shop for his regular Saturday night shave. Ed           drummer. Well, without even wiping the lather off
was one of the leading citizens of Bluejacket. Taught          his face, we took the drummer out behind the barber
a Sunday school class and was member of the School             shop, dug a grave, put him in it, patted down the dirt
Board. He was the best livery stable man I ever                even and level and nice, and all sang "Shine On Me."
knew. Always kept his whiffle trees clean (he just             (We used the same arrangement that the
simply wouldn't tolerate a dirty whiffle tree),                Southernaires afterwards made famous.) The moon
furnished nice, flowery laprobes and otherwise was             was shining mighty pretty that night, which
right down to date all the time, and always had nice,          suggested that song selection and I have always
new buggy whips. And, too, he was the best baritone            thought it was very appropriate.
I ever heard. Had sort of a sob in his voice, kind of
moaned his baritone sweet-like, you know. Well, the            Never heard anything more about the affair as we
boys had been waiting for him all evening to show              didn't have any Sheriff and Judges and stuff like that
them a chord in some tune which I have forgotten               down in the Indian Territory in those days and folks
now. So when Ed came in they got right down to                 got along fine just tending to their own business and
work. And just about that time in walks the shoe               settling their problems as they came up. But we did
drummer from Kansas City. Jose Montaya, the                    have quite a little excitement about the shoe samples.
Mexican who worked at Ed's livery stable, had driven           After getting the drummer decently buried we went
the drummer over to Welch, a neighboring town, in              back into the barber shop and worked over a few
the buckboard that day, with his two trunks of sample          numbers and then someone suggested that we go
shoes and dropped him off at the barber shop on his            down to the Bluejacket Commercial Hotel, bust open
way back to the stable.          Well, the drummer             the sample trunks and each one see if we could get us
swaggered in and sat down in Jim's chair and said,             a new pair of shoes. Well, sir, when we busted into
"Gimme the works," which meant haircut, massage,               them trunks, what do you suppose we found—all the
shave, bay rum and everything. Jim folded him back             shoes were for the left foot and size 6A. That was the
in his chair and had just softened up his beard and            lousiest trick I suppose that was ever played on a
had him all lathered up when it happened.                      bunch of barber shop singers. We all took an oath
                                                               that we would never again buy a pair of Acme shoes.



2
Oh, yes, Ed said later that he was awful sorry about what      I had forgotten all about this particular singing session in
he done and I guess he was pretty remorseful about it,         Jim's barber shop at Bluejacket until the Grand Rapids
because the drummer had used the buckboard, driver and         Convention. The Okies were singing to a large group of
team, for a week and Ed never was able to collect his          their admirers one day when Cy Perkins slipped up
bill—the company at Kansas City just simply refused to         behind us and threw in a fifth on our final chord. I didn't
pay it.                                                        have my gun with me, but I did tell Cy in no uncertain
                                                               terms that. "There ain't but four in a quartet."

                                                               Hoping you are the same, I am

                                                                                                                     O. C.



                                                       May, 1944

                                    THE FOUNDER, O. C. CASH, SPEAKS HIS MIND
                                     ON BLIND "EMPIRES" AND "DEEF" JUDGES

I don't know why I keep thinking of the Grand Rapids           The Okies sang in the first preliminary and from all
Convention unless the lousy deal the "Okies" got in that       unbiased reports went over big with the audience. But
city reminds me of a similar streak of bad luck that           just to show you how incompetent and prejudiced the
overtook my ball team, the "Bluejacket Boosters," during       judges were, one of them came rushing over to me after
my boyhood days at Bluejacket, Indian Territory.               the quartet had finished and said: "The Okies have
                                                               certainly won one distinction. They have the honor of
Back around 1910 I got me up a ball nine that was a            being the first quartet eliminated in the contest."
stemwinder—beat every team in the country until we
began to run into a bunch of blind empires. Of course, I                                 * * *
was captain of the team, played first base, batted in the
clean-up position and drove in practically all the runs just   Well, I couldn't understand it all until I made some
like Lou Gehrig. I was also conceded to be the world's         inquiries about the judges and their background. I found
greatest baritone even in those days of good barbershop        out one was a lantern maker from somewhere upstate
quartets and splendid baritones. Well it was my custom         New York. The continual hammering and picking away
just before the beginning of each home game, after the         on them tin lanterns, they say, has simply made him as
Bluejacket Silver Cornet Band had wound up its concert         deef as a board. Then there was an Irishman—Reagan I
(I was director of the Band, too) to get three other stars     think was his name—from Philadelphia or somewhere,
of our ball nine who, with me, made up our quartet and         (wonder whatever became of that guy), who was an
gather around home base and rip off three or four              electrician by trade. I found out a fuse blowed out ten or
numbers. We always wound up with "When It's Apple              fifteen years ago and busted both his ear drums and he
Blossom Time in Normandy" and "Cuddle up a Little              had not heard a sound since. Another Judge they told me
Closer." We made it a practice to throw our arms around        was a doctor of some kind from Illinois. Now this Doc
the empire sort of friendly-like while singing.                person wasn't stone deef, he was just terrible hard of
                                                               hearing. But he might as well have been deef. The
After these preliminaries it was a foregone conclusion         Okies popped up a few little simple chords to him and he
that the "Bluejacket Boosters" would likely win the ball       just booted them all over the infield. We figures we
game. And by giving the fans a Band Concert, some              might as well been singing at some old ladies' home.
good quartet singing, and winning the ball game (and
incidentally I usually knocked one or two home runs            So I keep thinking which is worse, blind empires or deef
during the game) very few ever asked for their 25c back.       quartet judges. I don't know, but I'm disgusted with
But we ran into trouble when we started going away             both.
from home to play Welch, Narcissa, Fairland, Vinita and
other teams. The empires in these towns were just as           Hoping you are the same, I am
blind as bats and had absolutely no appreciation or
understanding of good music, whatever. All of which                                                                  O. C.
brings me to the subject of the deef quartet judges that
were on duty when the Okies performed at Grand
Rapids.


                                                                                                                         3
                                              September, 1944

Brethern, there is a problem facing the Society that       out and help his wife buy a pair of shoes, look at a
will just simply have to be solved. The problem,           hat, etc., at the exact time Red had them scheduled to
brethern, is the sistern. I refer, of course, to the       sing.
attendance of the women at our Contests.
                                                           Now it is a comparatively simple matter to avoid all
Now I have nothing in particular against women as a        this confusion and interference if the brethern will
breed. I suppose they have a place in the scheme of        just follow some very simple rules. And if they do, it
things, although I have never had the time or              will be a distinct pleasure to have the women folks
inclination to look into that question and therefore       attend these Contests in the future. In fact, if we just
can not say positively that they do. I am told,            follow these rules there will be no end of excitement.
however, that there is respectable authority for a         What are we anyway, mice or barbershop singers?
contrary position. Generally speaking, though, I have
always found women generally speaking. But to me           Now take Red and me. We've got four of the
they have never been as annoying and exasperating          prettiest, most winsome women you would ever care
as they are popularly and generally supposed to be.        to meet. But they are just as contrary and hard to get
Sometimes when I read of a guy killing his wife and        along with as the next ones. These women of ours
then bellyaching about being arrested for it, I just say   were there under our feet and in our way every
it serves him right, and that he ought to be               minute. But Red and me went right ahead with our
inconvenienced a little for losing his temper. Now         business, were never late for an appointment, never
that proves I'm approaching this problem with an           went out and bought no hairnets or stuff, and
open mind and a liberal viewpoint.                         performed our duties as we were supposed to. Red
                                                           and me follow about the same formula when it comes
But getting down to our difficulty. I have no              to handling women, and this all reminds me of an
objection to the women attending our Contests, but I       incident that occurred in Bluejacket, my old home
do think they should be kept under complete control        town, when I was just a boy there, dreaming of
at all times during these functions. I know there is       someday becoming the world's greatest barbershop
another and different school of thought which              baritone. And here's what happened.
contends strenuously that these events are, or ought
to be, planned and conducted strictly as pleasure          Sometime around 1905 or 1906 there came into
trips.                                                     Bluejacket, from nobody knows where, the widder,
                                                           Kate Fuller, driving a span of dun ponies to a covered
To be specific, here is the way the women messed me        wagon in which were her three boys, aged about 8,
up at the Detroit affair. For the first day or two         10, and 12, and what few belongings she owned. It
Cousin Bob Bridwell (he's my singing cousin) and I         wasn't long before she acquired the name of "Hell
sat around the lobby of the Book-Cadillac Hotel            Fired Kate." She was very much attached to her boys
trying to get a quartet to sing for us. When we saw        and when they grew up she attended all the dances,
two or three fellows with them little bamboo canes,        baseball games, rooster fights, crap games, and every
wearing coats, ties and hats alike, we just assumed        other affair which the boys went to. These kids were
they were in a quartet and we would immediately ask        continually in some shootin' or cuttin' scrape and
them to rip off a tune or two for us. The two or three     "Hell Fired Kate" was always right in the middle of
that we lassoed always were willing to sing, but when      every fight, knocking everybody down that got in her
we attempted to find the one or two that were              way.
missing, we learned they were out with their wives
getting a cup of coffee, buying a hairnet, searching       While the kids were young they were terribly careless
for nylon stockings, getting a permanent, or on some       about washing their necks and ears, but otherwise
other frivolous errand. As a result Cousin Bob and         they grew up in about the same manner as the rest of
me never did get a entire quartet together. I              us—stealing water melons, chewing tobacco,
understand there were some pretty good ones there          smoking cubebs, fishing and playing hooky.
too. Carroll Adams and Red Masters had the same
trouble arranging quartets in the preliminaries. The       The oldest boy, Henry, upon reaching 16 or 17 years,
schedule had to be changed up continually because          being a little more ambitious than the rest, began to
one or more members of most every quartet had to go        branch out, and in addition to water melons, started


4
taking on an occasional hog or steer. With this extra      this rule of conduct was so successful, and there is no
business he became fairly prosperous according to          doubt it was at least effective, and if it was good
the standard of the day, and when he reached 18 or         enough for our forefathers, I say it ought to be good
thereabouts, romance began to stir in the marrow of        enough for us.
his bones, like the first faint upsurge of sap in the
delicate willow by the brook's edge in springtime. So      Well, Frank Rice and I was setting in the Hotel lobby
he went down to Tippett's Racket Store and bought a        Sunday morning after the Contest and I had just told
brand new celluloid collar and red bow tie and started     him about "Hell Fired Kate" and her boy Henry,
sparking Uncle Albert and Aunt Martha Shields'             when we noticed Red's women limping out of the
oldest girl, Bertha. Uncle Albert was a fine old           elevator on their way to breakfast. One of them had
Shawnee Indian, and had considerable property and          her face scratched up a little, but the other one
Aunt Martha was a woman of no little education and         seemed to be in pretty good shape excepting the limp.
refinement. She resented Henry's attentions to             I said to Frank, "Well, I see Red has had a conference
Bertha. Uncle Albert didn't seem to care one way or        with his women folks." Frank said, "Yes and it looks
the other. In due time, Henry and Bertha ran away          like he was pretty firm with them." Then Frank
and were married, just as everybody knew they              thought a few minutes and said, "That reminds me.
would, and Aunt Martha just raised the very devil          Guess I ought to go up and whip Alice. She ain't
about it. Uncle Albert didn't say a word.                  done nothing but she may be going to." Well, we got
                                                           up and strolled over to the elevator and I went on up
It was not long after their marriage when the              to my room and worked over my women, but it
honeymoon had sort of faded, that Bertha forgot she        wasn't necessary for me to bung 'em up much. Frank
was a woman, shot off her mouth and gave Henry             and me loaded the women on the train about noon
some of her lip. Well, Henry arose to the occasion         and had a very pleasant trip home, had practically no
and just hauled off and whaled the living hell out of      trouble with them at all.
her. Of course all of us in town heard about it and we
were mighty proud of Henry. Aunt Martha went up            Now why can't you fellows do like me and Red and
and down the street just snorting and faunching,           Frank done, and we'd have this problem worked out
looking for the City Marshal and finally had Henry         in no time.
arrested. But Uncle Albert didn't seem to take much
interest in the goings on.                                 Like I said, I never have trouble with women
                                                           anymore. Of course my wife and Betty Anne jump
In a day or two the trial came up before my dad, who       onto me once in awhile for not getting my bedspread
was Justice of the Peace, and of course with               on straight and for just rinsing off the dishes and not
everybody else in town, I was there. Aunt Martha           using no soap on 'em, but I don't pay no attention to
was on the front seat, mad as hell and with eyes           them. I know I do my house work just as good, and
flashing, ready to testify against her son-in-law. But     am just as neat with it, as anybody.
Uncle Albert was nowhere to be seen. Dad thought
he ought to know Uncle Albert's attitude and sent the      Trusting you are the same, I am.
Constable out to bring him in. When he got Uncle
Albert on the witness stand, he said to him, "Albert,                                                       O. C.
you haven't taken much interest in this case, and I just
wanted to interrogate you to see what you knew
about it. First, do you approve of a man whipping his
woman?" Well, there was a decided hesitancy on the
part of Uncle Albert to speak, but after he had
switched his "chaw" from one side to the other and
had uncrossed and recrossed his legs he said, "Yes,
Judge, dammit if you don't whip 'em once in awhile
they git to thinking they are just as good as you are."

Well, sir, I have always remembered that bit of
philosophy spoken there in that frontier court by a
son of the Old West, speaking, as it were, out of a
lifetime of experience with a pretty lusty type of
womankind, the kind that has made this country
great. And I can't help but reason it out this way. If


                                                                                                                5
                                              November, 1944
My Dear Brothers:

Brother Dick Sturges ships me tons of clippings            all these old worthies would begin shaking hands,
about the Society. I see pictures of guys that I know      and there they stood for thirty minutes just looking
just have to be the best fellows on earth. I feel pretty   each other in the eye and crying unashamedly. (As a
well acquainted with them, but I would like to know        child I wondered WHAT IN THE HELL they were
them better. These old barbershop boys just get next       crying about. I was hungry. I wanted some fried
to me somehow. So when you fellows have pictures           chicken.) Their common faith, and devotion to their
made of your quartet, chorus or other groups, please       religion, their troubles and their sorrows brought
make an extra copy for me. Put names on it and             them together and held them in a bond of affection.
write something appropriate and truthful like "To the      They were straight-laced, but neighborly. These old
World's Greatest Barbershop Baritone." I have              Baptists believed in "predestination." "Whatever is
hundreds of pictures of Governors, Senators, movie         to be, will be, whether it ever happens or not," they
stars, etc., but I want some of guys that can carry a      said. They despised modernism in religion. I
tune.                                                      remember, after we moved into Bluejacket from the
                                                           farm, one day Dad got to arguing with a modernist
Then, too, if your quartet gets to messing around and      preacher. This smart, educated, city preacher said,
cuts a few records, send me some. I have quite a           "They ain't no Hell." "The Hell they ain't," retorted
collection and when "I shuffle off this mortal chord"      my dad, and the smart preacher seen my dad had him
(Carroll says that is poetical licensousness) I am         and he wandered off down the street talking to
going to leave all these records and pictures to the       himself.
Society.
                                                           It's remarkable what warm friendships have already
Now if you brothers will do this I'll invite you to my     developed and what depth of affection and regard is
funeral, and if you have never attended a first class      manifested among the brothers after only a few years
funeral you want to come to mine. Of course, I             of this Society business. When we elected old Phil,
haven't set the date and I don't want you to get           President, and then crowded around to congratulate
anxious and rush things, but at the proper time you        him and tell him how much we all liked him, darned
will be notified—provided you have sent me pictures        if the old buzzard didn't swell up and start crying.
and recordings. Brother Joe Stern is working out a         You would have thought he didn't have a friend in the
Society burial service and he and I think it is going to   world outside of us barbershoppers. Then Huck
be pretty slick—kind of cheerful-like and lively.          Sinclair and me was setting around there in Detroit
Some of the rest of you may want to use it. If so, just    one morning, listening to all them sweet chords,
make mention of it in your Will. And by the way, it        shaking hands with the boys and wiping our eyes,
is not a bad idea to remember the old Society in your      and Huck, between sniffles, said, "Cash, I never
Will if you would like to leave a little contribution      knowed I had so many friends or could sing so good."
for the happiness of your fellowmen.                       Just thinking about all this warm fellowship makes
                                                           me sort of mellow.
Thinking about funerals, pretty chords, and stuff,
always reminds me of Bluejacket. My father, who            Hoping you are the same, I am
died August 26th, was a Hardshell Baptist preacher
for fifty years, and a pretty doggoned good one, too.                                                      O. C.
As a kid in the Indian Territory I used to go with him
to these country camp meetings where everyone took
a basket of food. There was always at least three          P.S.: But listen, you old vagabonds, if you don't send
preachers who exhorted fully an hour and a half each       me them pictures and records, I'll kick your britches
and the morning session never wound up before two          right around your ears. Don't get the idea I'm soft.
or three o'clock in the afternoon. When the last song      (This don't apply to them wimmen quartets.)
was sung, usually it was,

       "Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
            That saved a wretch like me.
         I once was lost but now I'm found,
             Was blind but now I see."

6
                                                February, 1945

Dear Gang:

I ain't had time to get down to serious writin' for this    without hope, dejectedly awaits the dawning of a new
issue of the Harmonizer. I thought some about               day. I have concluded that it is not because they are
writing a piece on the hangin' of Ike Sellers, near         guilty that so many bankers languish in ‘durance vile'
Catale, Coo-Wee-Scoo-Wee District, Cherokee                 but simply that they just don't give a dam. What's the
Nation, Indian Territory, in the fall of 1897. Maybe        use? What difference does it make? Undoubtedly
I'll have a chance to do that one for the May issue.        that is the pattern of their thinking.

Then there was the bum who dropped into Catale off          But, ah, what joy and happiness is in store for that
the freight train one afternoon, just as my dad was         banker who turns his back upon the evil of the world
talking to the Postmaster about finding a school            and enters in to the saving grace and fellowship of
teacher. The bum got the job and turned out to be           the Society. Take Foss Farrar and Brother Hall of the
one of the finest guys I ever knew. He was my first         Home Bank, Arkansas City, Brother Durand of
school teacher and conducted a singing class at night.      Junction City and Dale Wells of the First National,
He knew a lot about harmony, too. Perhaps, I can            Parsons. There you observe redeemed men. They
whip that yarn into shape for the August issue.             have recaptured the love and affection of their
                                                            fellows. They have joined the Society. They now
Oh yes, almost forgot to tell you about W. T. Wright,       leave their banks by the front door and with heads
a bank president in Concordia, Kansas who wrote me          held high, shoulders erect and a confident smile,
the other day inquiring about our Society. I up and         greet their neighbors with the calm assuarnce of men
wrote him back in a hurry, something like this—             who have ‘beaten back.' (But, confidentially, you
                                                            may be interested to know these men sing a rather
"This replies to your delightful letter of September        lousy type of barbershop harmony.)
25.
                                                            Another thing about our Society that has a special
You have finally gotten on the right track. There is        appeal to bankers is the matter of cost. At the annual
nothing that so quickly and effectively restores the        falsification of the bank records, it is a pretty dumb
respectability of a banker as joining up with the           sort of banker that cannot embezzle an extra two
SPEBSQSA. No other action will more certainly               bucks to pay his annual International per capita tax.
regain for him the esteem and confidence of the
community than his association with a group of              Hoping you are the same, I am
barbershop quartet singers. Out of consideration of
these facts and because of the warm hearts and                                                             O. C."
generous souls of our group, the rules, sometime ago,
were amended to permit bankers to join our Society
just the same as white folks.

I have often contemplated the sad plight of the
unregenerated banker and have pitied him in his lost
condition. There he sits from ten until two every day,
his feet in a tub of ice water, a callous expression on
his face, a frigid gleam in his eye, monotonously
uttering all day long, with irritating regularity the one
word, "No, No, No." Of course his program is varied
occasionally when he repossesses some poor devil's
Model T and forces that unfortunate thereafter to
walk downtown for his relief check. After such a
day, is it any wonder the banker closes his desk, pulls
his hat down over his eyes, slips out the back door,
enters his luxuriously appointed Cadillac, dashes
home, pulls down the shades, locks the doors and,


                                                                                                                7
                                                       May, 1945
Dear Gang:

"Owen, how did you get started on this quartet singing         to please him. So as soon as we got settled Dad began to
business? Who was the first barbershopper you can              promote a "subscription" school among the squaw men,
remember?" I have been nagged to death with these and          the few white settlers and the more progressive and
similar questions during the last few years. I bet if I have   friendly Indian families. There were no schools in the
been asked those questions once, I have heard them two         Territory then except in a few of the towns. Dad sold the
or three times at least. Well, they are fair questions—        idea to some of the neighbors and the men of the
important ones—and my public, if any, will get fair,           community soon had a log school house built and ready
truthful answers if it reads beyond this paragraph, which      for business. Strangely enough no one had thought about
is doubtful.                                                   a teacher for the school. The "Territory" in those days
                                                               was settled by the Cherokees, horse thieves, outlaws, ex-
My first school teacher was the person that got me             convicts, adventurers and vagabonds of varying degrees
started out on the right track. It just goes to show if you    of cussedness. It had never occurred to Dad that anyone
amount to anything in this life you have to be surrounded      smart enough to teach school would certainly have sense
early in your career by proper influences, associate with      enough to stay out of this part of the country. So he was
the right kind of folks, and have the benefit, in your         up against it in finding a teacher for his pretty, new, log
younger, formative years, of wise counsel, and an              school building.
exemplary pattern or precept of conduct. Jim Wiley, my
first teacher, filled the bill. He was the kindest, most       One day, though, Dad went over to the store and post
affectionate and, in many ways, the most remarkable            office at Catale, which was run by an old frontiersman—
man I have ever known. And he knew harmony up and              Fay Beard. "Fay," he said, "What are we going to do
down, backwards and forwards.              He exerted a        about a teacher for our school?" "Never thought of that,"
tremendous influence on my life and kindled in me the          Fay replied, "I've been here since the railroad come, but I
ambition to become the "World's Greatest Barber Shop           don't remember of ever seeing or hearing of a teacher of
Baritone."                                                     any kind in the Territory."

In the fall of 1897 my dad hitched up our two ponies, old      A Frisco freight train had just passed and two tramps had
Tom and Kate, to a covered wagon, put Mother, Sister           been kicked off at the water tank. They had drifted into
and me in it with all our belongings, and left our little      the store and were warming themselves before the big,
farm in Chariton County, Missouri, bound for the Land          pot-bellied stove in Fay's place. One of the tramps
of Promise—the West. On arrival some weeks later at            manifested a noticeable interest in the conversation
the little frontier postoffice of Catale, Coo-Wee-Scoo-        between Dad and Fay. As Dad started to leave the tramp
Wee District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, Dad set       approached him and said that he was a teacher and would
us up in a rather comfortable log house on a farm rented       like to spend the winter in the Territory and teach our
from an old Cherokee Indian, who had taken possession          school. That was Dad's introduction to my hero—Jim
of quite a large tract of land in that vicinity. No one then   Wiley. Well, Dad didn't have much education but he
owned any land in the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokees           knew a thing or two and did not want to be imposed
had been forcibly moved to the Indian Territory from           upon by an uneducated or unqualified teacher. So he
their former homes in Georgia and other portions of the        interviewed Jim, examined him thoroughly, inquiring
South and turned loose in this practically uninhabited         carefully into his qualifications. Finally he asked Jim,
country to shift for themselves, to settle upon, claim and     "Do you believe the world is round or flat? We are liable
defend any land they chose. They were not in a very            to have some trouble over that," Dad said, "because some
good humor about it either. Years later the land was           of the folks around here think it is and some think it
divided up and allotted or patented to individual Indians,     ain't." "Well, Mr. Cash," Jim said, "I can teach it either
preference, so far as possible, being given those who had      way." "That's good enough for me," volunteered my
established homes, to retain the land selected and             dad. "Get up behind me on my horse and let's go. You
improved by them.                                              are hired."

Well, in 1897 my sister and I were 3 and 5 years old, but      Dad brought this unexpected guest home with him that
we were much brighter than the average children of that        night for supper and Mother just raised the very devil
day or this, and Dad thought it time for us to start to        because he had not telephoned her in advance, so she
school. He was in favor of education. He believed it           could have the cabin spruced up and a salad and dessert
was a good thing if not overdone. I stopped mine in time       prepared. Jim lived with us for nearly two years and


8
became the idol of the kids and the leader, wise               about Jim, wondering what crime or crimes, if any, he
counselor and source of education and culture for the          had committed, where he was and whether he was still
community. But he never told us about his family,              alive. Shortly before my father died in August, 1944, he
where he came from or anything of his past life. I             told me many things about Jim I had forgotten and I
remember he used to hold my sister and me on his knee          determined right then to find, if possible, the answers to
before the fireplace in the evening while Dad was doing        the questions that had kept alive, for the past forty or
the chores and Mother was getting supper, and tell us          fifty years, our curiosity about this mysterious, yet
stories about a new fangled contraption that recently had      likable person. Remembering the rumored escape from
been invented called the "horseless carriage." He              the Illinois Penitentiary, I wrote Mr. Joseph E. Ragen,
showed us pictures of one that actually ran. On rainy          Warden of that institution. Mr. Ragen spent several days
days he would carry my little sister to school on his back.    digging into Penitentiary records more than a half
It got so that after every heavy dew Sister would contend      century old to get the facts. It appears Jim was first
that it was too muddy for her to walk and after a              convicted, when a boy in 1882, of forgery, and was
prolonged and serious argument, Jim would finally give         convicted of the same offense and served three additional
in and tote her to school. Forty-eight years later I think I   sentences, four altogether, in the same penitentiary,
learned why Jim was so fond of us kids and so kind and         being discharged the last time in the fall of 1897. He
affectionate toward us.                                        was out of the penitentiary only a few months between
                                                               sentences and within a month or two after his final
Well, one day at school in the spring of 1900, two United      discharge he was teaching our school.
States Marshals, resplendent, as these officers always
were, in large white hats, blue serge suits, silver stars      Marion H. Allen, Circuit Clerk, Monmouth, Illinois and
denoting the authority of their office, high boots and a       Mr. W. K. Richardson, an attorney of Galesburg, Illinois,
brace of pearl handled six-shooters dangling from wide         each made quite an investigation for me concerning three
cartridge belts, drove up to the school house in a             or four of Jim's trials and convictions. Records were
buckboard, came in and held a brief, whispered                 meager but Mr. Richardson searched the files of local
conversation with Jim. After a little while Jim came over      newspapers and found several stories about Jim's
and patted me on the head, told me to be a good boy and        troubles. One story dated 1895, telling of his last
eat my cornbread and milk when Mother told me to, then         conviction, mentioned his children. Undoubtedly, he
stooped down and hugged and kissed my sister and went          thought of them fondly many times as in the azure haze
out the door with one of the Marshals. The other officer       of a Cherokee twilight, he gazed into the glowing embers
remained behind for a moment and told us, "Now                 in the fireplace of the humble Cash cabin. (Now that's
children, you all go on home and tell your parents there       literature, that lick.) In one newspaper article it said
won't be no school this afternoon or tomorrow or the           "The prisoner is personally rather a fine appearing man,
next day. Everything will be all right though, don't be        with keen eyes and pleasant address." That is an
worried, Mr. Wiley is just going away on a little trip."       accurate description of Jim as I remember him.
We never heard of Jim again. We never knew what
happened, why they took him away or where to. It all           This forgery habit seems to have been chronic with Jim,
created a lot of excitement in the neighborhood and some       but I am sure he never meant no harm. Likely that was
lousy, low-lifed gossip started the rumor that Jim had         the only way he could collect his wages. Employers
escaped from the Illinois Penitentiary and had come            were terribly overbearing and arrogant in them days.
direct to the "Territory" to hide out. But nearly fifty        And, too, he undoubtedly was convicted on perjured
years later I proved beyond a doubt that this was a            testimony, and his attorney probably was very young and
malicious lie. Jim didn't escape. He served out his            totally inexperienced.
sentence. In fact he served out four terms in the Joliet
penal institution before coming down to the "Territory"        Now at this point in the narrative I can just see rowdy old
to live with the Cash family. And he was a model               Cy Perkins rare up on his hind legs in the back of the
prisoner too, never give nobody no trouble as far as I         Lodge Hall and shout, "What the hell has all these
have been able to determine. He was just a fine guy.           boresome details got to do with barber shop harmony?
                                                               Let's sing a song. Hells bells!"
Well, sir, it sure was lucky for the old school house that
these officers came for Jim in the nick of time, for me        Well, it has this to do with it.
and Wolf Ratlinggourd, my Cherokee playmate (he was
a lead singer) had planned on burning the damn thing           There was not much entertainment down in Coo-Wee-
down and going fishing that very afternoon.                    Scoo-Wee District, Cherokee Nation, back in '97. Folks
                                                               couldn't run over to the Honky Tonk, after they knocked
From time to time during the intervening years since           off work at the war plant, for a short beer and listen to
1900, whenever my family got together we always talked         Bing singing "Don't Fence Me In." So the long winter


                                                                                                                        9
evenings after school with only a coal oil lamp to            back in Missouri and he said it reminded him of old
provide the "bright lights" made Jim a little restless. So    Drum, Speck, Red and Sue his favorite fox hounds.
he got all the folks in the neighborhood together at the      "There goes the Bankheads or that's the Ratlinggourds"
school house one night and proposed to hold night school      he would say as the various groups opened up across the
two nights each week without charge to anyone.                valley, just ‘Bonging' away like all git out."
Everybody in the neighborhood, full bloods, bandits,
grandfathers, grandmothers, and mothers with babes in         Old Jim would be about 80 or 85 now, if living, and I
arms, came and he asked them what they wanted to              sure would like to see and talk to him. Can't get any
study. The first choice was "figurin'." Jim didn't give       trace of him. If any of the Illinois brothers are related to
them no second choice. He just simply announced that it       him, recognize his picture, or know where he is I wish
would be singing the second night. So we had our big          they would let me know. I'd like to bring him to the next
attendance and our only community social affair on            Convention and have him lead the singing. He is a much
Friday nights at singing school. Jim put the folks            better director than Frank Thorne or John Hanson, and,
through all the regular singing school tricks, taught them    better looking too. If I find him I would like to ask him
hymns and patriotic numbers and I remember two                why them Marshals took him away. I know he never
popular songs, "Two Little Girls in Blue" and "After the      done nothing, but I'm curious to know what them bums
Ball." That's where he squeezed in a little harmony—on        thought he done.
those popular songs. But his harmonizing really showed
up at the end of each session when he started his "Bong,      I'll never forget the time Jim let me ride up behind him
Bong, Bong, Bong" exercises, taking a bass note first and     on our cow pony, "Shorty," going over to Catale for
then progressing up the scale in true barber shop style       some sugar and coffee one morning. We ran right onto
and having each group hold its note on the chord. Of          the boys as they was hanging Ike Sellers. But that story
course some smart aleck will say that Bing done that in       will have to wait until later. But Ike was hanging there
"Going My Way." Well, maybe he did, but Jim done it           with his eyes all bugged out, kicking and thrashing
first.                                                        around something awful. It sure was a badly botched up
                                                              job and the boys were so ashamed of it they always
After the singing was over and the various families           denied having anything to do with it.
started back to their cabins, it sure sounded might pretty
in the crisp, frosty air, to hear those "Bong, Bongs"         Hoping you are the same, I am
rolling out over the hills. Dad was an old fox hunter                                                                O. C.



                                                    August, 1945
My Dear Brothers,

Well, as I was saying, old Ike was ahanging there on that     things if one could help oneself. Ike had stolen the pinto
sycamore tree, gurgling and snorting, his legs flailing the   cow pony of old Chief Stumbling Block, Chief of the
air, eyes popping out, tongue getting blue and swelling       Cherokees. Now horse thieves were considered the
mighty fast, as me and Jim come galloping down the            lowest form of human life in those days. Men loved
road to get some sugar and coffee at Fay Beard's store        their horses more than their wives. A well trained horse
that crisp October morning. As I told you in the last         never talked back or gave you any of its lip, neither did it
Harmonizer, it was in 1899 down in Coo-Wee-Scoo-Wee           ever go through your britches pockets at night.
District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. This was
my first hanging and although I later came to enjoy this      So when you stole a man's horse you tortured him
frontier pastime very much, the hanging of Ike Sellers        unmercifully and wrung with anguish the finest,
haunted me for several days. Ike asked that he not be         tenderest and most sacred precincts of his heart and soul.
forced to die "with his boots on." But the boys figured       It was just like kidnapping in these days. In a subsequent
that since he was a horse thief the little niceties usually   article I want to relate the technical details in the hanging
practiced at hangings in the Territory, such as stringing     of Ike Sellers, pointing out the errors made in that affair
them up in their sock feet, should be dispensed with in       (it was an awfully botched up job) and calling your
Ike's case. That is why, I am sure, Ike was kicking           attention to the proper way in which these functions
around so frantically when we rode up—he was trying to        should be conducted. But a more gruesome thing has
kick off his boots. He did not seem to mind being hung        taken place here in Tulsa and I feel I should pass up Ike,
so much, but it was an awful disgrace in those days for       for the time being, and warn you of the impending
one to die with one's boots on. One just didn't do those      catastrophe that threatens our Society.



10
               Society Danger Acute                                     Women Present Terms

It's the wimmen again! For some time we have heard       Now I'm not having no truck with this thing—have
rumblings of a proposed women's auxiliary to our         been avoiding all appearance of evil ever since it
Society. In Detroit this June, I am told, misguided      started. But through the underground I find that the
women of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio,           women are making these demands:
probably others, ribbed up the Oklahoma girls to start
the movement in Tulsa and I'm damned if they ain't       1.   They want to        become     an   auxiliary   of
done it. With little or no publicity they called a            SPEBSQSA.
meeting at which about 75 gals showed up—just
twice the number we had here in Tulsa at our first       2.   They want their National Secretary to occupy the
get-together. It was a terribly sad affair. I heard           same office with Carroll. Now that would be a
about the proposed meeting and got Doc Enmeier and            pretty kettle of fish.
some of the boys to put on dark glasses and long
white beards and spy on the sisters. The rest of us      3.   They want a Department in the Harmonizer so
got a booth at the Chinks over across the street and          they can get their pictures in the paper. They say
waited. Well, sir, about nine o'clock Doc and the             they will contribute to the printing cost. But that
boys came rushing over, took off their specs and              will precipitate a hell of a row when it comes to
beards and Doc said, "I never thought I'd live to see         agreeing on the amount.
this day!" Then he gulped a glass of water and
continued, "This meeting was called for eight o'clock    4.   They will sponsor a National Contest to select
and, would you believe it, at seven when I sneaked in         the most beautiful "Sweet Adeline." Of course
behind the sofa on the mezzanine opposite the                 they want to doll up in hoop skirts and stuff, curl
meeting place, there were at least fifty wimmen               their hair and look pretty.
already there just singing to beat Hell. It sounded
awful . . ." Then he moved over closer and lowered       There will be more demands if this idea isn't stopped
his voice . . . "sounded awful good. Them wimmen         before it spreads further. But I don't think we should
has been practicin'. You can't fool me!"                 worry about that. This thing is bound to fizzle out in
                                                         a year or so. Undoubtedly it is just a flash in the
Well, sir, these spys told us that the girls followed    powder room. I believe we ought to let them piddle
our procedure of getting up impromptu quartets and       along with it, and be as tolerant as possible with them
sending them out for brief rehearsals. One of their      until the ultimate demise of the movement occurs. In
pick-up quartets—"The Ladies Rest Room Four,"            the meantime if we can use this as a topic of
Doc said, was right on the beam, and the "Four           amusement for our Society I think we should do so.
Powder Puffs" were almost as good. But the "Three        So I am going to ask all you brothers to write me
Permanents and a Rinse" were a washout, he said.         suggesting possible names for the girls' organization.
The girls dug up a Director somewhere that the boys      They won't ever be able to agree on that. So we must
said was pretty handy with her notes and a rather        help them.
slick item in other respects. So all together it was a
very discouraging day in the life of our Society.        Hal has suggested "The Bustleers" and "The
These women are using "SPEBSQSA" in their                Corseteers." I think "Sweet Adelines, Ltd." or
publicity, but I think we can stop that by injunction.   "Floradoras, Inc." would be more appropriate. What
Otherwise the thing has gotten out of hand and us        do you think? Let me have your ideas and I will put
boys in Oklahoma is up against it. Our chapter has       it all in my next column.
been conducting community sings during the summer
at the Philbrook Art Center. The women are now           After we get 'em named we will start in naming their
moving in to take over the next one. If this is          quartets. They will have trouble with that too.
attempted of course there will be bloodshed.
                                                         Now we have had so much fun during the past seven
                                                         years and our Society has been such a joyous, happy
                                                         one that it is a shame this had to come up just when
                                                         we were getting along so peacefully.           I am
                                                         bewildered, confused and all messed up, besides
                                                         being upset.

                                                         Hoping you are the same, I am
                                                                                                           O. C.


                                                                                                              11
                                                 November, 1945
Dear Gang:

I sure hate to keep old Ike hanging there on that             Nobody paid much attention to the thing and it was
sycamore tree all this time, but I just haven't had time to   presented for adoption at one of the regular meetings. Of
cut him down yet. After me and Jim looked over the            course there are a lot of big words in all constitutions and
proceedings a little that fall morning in '97, we rode on     when the Secretary began to read it, passing up some of
over to Fay Beard's store, got our sugar and coffee, and      the big words and mumbling over some of the others, the
half a dozen twists of Granger terbacker and started back     sisters lost interest and just about that time a slick little
home. By that time Ike had finally kicked the bucket and      item breezed into the meeting, wearing a perky hat, with
one of the boys had lettered up a crude sign which he had     a frilly veil that trickled down over her face like a
hung on the seat of Ike's pants. The lettering was pretty     rippling waterfall, and one of the women said, "Isn't it
rough but we could make it out as follows:                    just too darling for anything!" Another remarked, "Oh, I
                                                              think it's terrible."
                   "This is Ike Sellers.
                                                              Then all the women jumped in and got to talking about
        Ike was a mighty bad man in some                      this Jane and her new hat and one said that she couldn't
        respects and a damn site worse in others."            understand what her husband saw in the dame; that her
                                                              house always looked terrible; she never washed the
Now as bad as Ike was, he wasn't as ornery as a certain       dishes; was always running around singing in a quartet;
coyote right here in Tulsa, and I want to tell you about      etc., and the meeting sort of resolved itself into a general
him and what he done.                                         discussion pro and con of the subject women always like
                                                              to talk about—the other woman. The net result was that
The barber shop singing women in Tulsa got their              in the mumbling and skipping of phrases and clauses in
organization off to a good start and finally picked the       the Constitution by the Secretary, no one noticed the
name "Sweet Adelines, Inc." They were having a lot of         trick section that this bum put in. The Constitution was
fun, doing a lot of singing and developing quite a few        adopted unanimously when put to a vote and no one
good quartets, when this guy pulled the trick on the          thought anything more about it until they received copies
sisters that I'm going to tell you about.                     in the mail and had time to read it over carefully. Then
                                                              all hell broke loose. Every member suspected everybody
Well, these "Sweet Adelines" didn't know when they            else of trying to slip something over on them, all of them
were well off and some of them began to agitate               being of the opinion that if they were prevented from
adoption of a Constitution. Not knowing much about            talking about the women in the club and thus enjoying
such stuff they asked this hyena that I am telling you        themselves, that they didn't want to belong to no singing
about, to help them write it up. He fixed them up a           society nohow.
document about like any Constitution should be
prepared, but while they weren't looking he slipped in        All the time this clown who done the dirty work and who
this provision:                                               is a bachelor and had no woman to get crippled or
                                                              bruised up in the inevitable fracas, was sitting on the side
     No. 4. Morals. That every member constitute a            lines enjoying all the friction and confusion. He is a
     committee of one to be on the alert for any              sadistic sort of guy—enjoys gore, bloodshed, misery and
     malicious remarks about a fellow member or the           hell raisin' in general.
     Society, and to report same to the parliamentarian
     who shall report same to the Board of Directors.         By the time the next meeting of Sweet Adelines took
     Any one found guilty will first, be reprimanded;         place the sisters were all worked up to a terrible frenzy.
     second, be fined; third, be suspended from the           The offensive provision of the Constitution, of course,
     Society.                                                 was eliminated but only after a whale of a fight. After
                                                              the meeting my woman came hobbling in home about
Now, brothers, just contemplate that for a moment.            two o'clock in the morning, all bedraggled and bunged
What fun could any woman have all bound up with those         up, with the new $18.75 dress I had just bought her, in
restrictions? This slick villain sure knew his wimmen         shreds, so bruised up she was no good around the house
and how to mess them up.                                      for a couple of weeks. You would have thought she had
                                                              been to a bargain sale.




12
Now all us husbands who have had to wash the dishes            But everything is lovely now amongst the wimmen.
and make the beds for the past few weeks while broken          They've got more members than we have, got a bunch of
bones were knitting and wounds were healing are going          good quartets and are making plans for a chorus. They
to "church" this handsome tenor singing bachelor with          are learning the hard way how to run their business and if
the curly hair that played this lowdown joke on our            hospital facilities don't run out they will make it all right.
wimmen.
                                                               Hoping you are the same, I am, etc.

                                                                                                                    OWEN



                                                   February, 1946
My dear Brothers:

Every now and then something reminds me of that                lawyer in the club. (The other lawyer classification is
peculiarly different attitude our brothers seem to have        vacant. I chose to go in under the classification of
concerning business and Society membership. I can't            "Vocal Artist"). Well, this lawyer saw me go over to my
recall a single instance where a brother has solicited me      wife's bridge table about nine o'clock the night of the
for business. They are usually so busy telling me how          annual club party, to tell her I was ready to go home.
good a baritone, tenor, etc., they are and what a fine
quartet they used to sing in that they forget about            There wasn't a quartet I could scare up in the whole
soliciting new business, or else, as I prefer to think, they   crowd and I was pretty bored and sleepy. There ensued
figure membership in the Society is such a privilege that      the inevitable argument that you might expect under the
it must not be cheapened by being used as a business-          circumstances, but no blows were struck, and I thought
getting approach. When I want an honest barbershopper          no more about it. Wife and I compromised the matter
to fix my watch, radio or automobile, I have the darndest      and I went over and got into the penny ante game and
time finding a brother that knows what other brothers do       lost $1.16. After these thieves had taken all my money I
for a living. I wonder if that is typical of conditions        got up from the gambling table and went over and picked
existing elsewhere. If so, it is something we can brag         up a December, 1933 copy of Life and was looking
about. It has irked me on a number of occasions when           through it, when this lawyer sidled over. "Say," he said,
solicited by a fellow member of some civic clubs I             "I couldn't help hearing how rough your wife was with
belong to, to give that brother what little business I have    you awhile ago. Don't it beat all how uppity wimmen are
in his line.                                                   getting these days. Now take Sim Watkins' wife. The
                                                               Lord knows she had a good home there with Sim. But
Not long ago, and that's what brings this up, an               she didn't appreciate it and was always giving him some
undertaker friend of mine reminded me of the excellence        of her jaw and got so she wouldn't do nothin' around the
of his service and how sensible it was to make proper          house. Sim was nice about keeping the axe sharp and
arrangements for certain eventualities while one was in        last Christmas gave her one of these gasoline
full health and vigor. He noted sympathetically that I         lawnmowers. But it didn't do no good, she still wouldn't
was not looking as well as usual. I couldn't help              keep the lawn mowed. He finally had to divorce her. I
comparing this guy with the mortician I meet frequently        got it for him last week. That makes the twentieth
at these barbershop meetings. This singing undertaker          divorce I have handled in this club this year." At this
always has some screwy, unsingable chord he wants to           point he had a little trouble with his cigarette lighter, but
show me the baritone to. He is a terrible pest, or was         after a puff or two on his fag he continued. "Owen, the
until I met his fellow mortician. Now I appreciate and         trouble with the dumb clucks in this club is they don't
love him for the sales restraint he manifests in the           know their rights. Now incompatibility"—But I had to
presence of a prospective customer.                            interrupt right there as I noticed the little woman had put
                                                               on her mittens and overshoes and was ready to go home.
I was coming out of the Tulsa Barber College one day           But I hurriedly told my lawyer friend I was definitely in
after getting a haircut, when one of the two barbers in        the market for a first class divorce, but that I had already
this club I belong to, saw me and just gave me the devil       promised my business to Charley Merrill of Reno, unless
for not placing my business with a fellow club member.         I was elected U. S. Senator and went to Washington in
But the cleverest sales talk was put to me by the only         which case Jean Boardman got the job.



                                                                                                                         13
I am happy to report, however, that shortly after this        Hadn't heard from him in 35 years. Fred Sahlender
conversation my woman joined "Sweet Adelines, Inc."           found an old professor in Illinois I'd been trying to locate
and after singing with the girls two or three times her       for years. I busted an engine on my farm recently. The
disposition has improved so much that I have thrown           engine was made by a defunct outfit in Saginaw,
away my crutches.                                             Michigan. Couldn't get repairs in this country. Wired
                                                              George O'Brien. He dug them up and they were on their
Now, the foregoing recital is preliminary to the              way in an hour or two. Now when I need a good bull, or
suggestion that it might be a nice thing for each club to     a boar, or rooster I'm sure some of the brothers will be
have a roster printed occasionally, showing the business      able to fix me up and I can depend on what they tell me,
connection of each member. Possibly some of the               too.
chapters already do this. I don't know whether it offends
against our Code of Ethics or not. I haven't read the         And by the way, while I am on the subject, what brother
Code—in fact I don't read anything but the Founder's          can sell me a 1946 radio-automatic player combination?
Column, although some of the brothers tell me the rest of     I have a bunch of barbershop records and no player. I
the Harmonizer is pretty good, too.                           can't wait for delivery of a talking machine here in Tulsa.
                                                              I want to play these records yesterday.
But this Roster deal would do me a lot of good. I call on
the brothers all over the country for various things and      Hoping you are the same, I am
always get good service. Joe Stern recently traced an old
schoolmate of mine, who once lived in Kansas City.                                                                OWEN




                                                      May, 1946

Dear Brethren:

In the beginning of our Society and shortly before April      to the Indian Territory. Shortly after Oklahoma became
11, 1938, I sent a letter to twelve of my friends in Tulsa,   a state the Democrats took over and began to hold
inviting them to a buffet dinner, in which letter I           precinct, county, congressional and state conventions.
announced that we would work over approximately 100           Dad never missed one of them, and as a child I always
barber shop songs listed therein.                             went with him to these affairs. I was very much
                                                              interested and impressed with the proceedings. All of
Mindful of the jealousy and envy that men are sometimes       the conventions followed the same pattern.          The
subject to, I signed the letter as "3rd Assistant Temporary   convention was called to order by some local orator, the
Vice Chairman." I did not want to assume an exalted           convention call read, and then nominations were
office in the Society and I could think of no more            solicited for the office of Temporary Chairman.
unassuming or humble title than the one I used. By strict
and faithful attention to my duties I hoped in time to be                     Unshirted H--- for G.O.P.
elevated to the position of Temporary Chairman. I had
long wanted to reach that station in life.                    After much argument, accusations, incriminations, and
                                                              speech making some spellbinder was elected Temporary
In 1896, just after William J. Bryan was defeated for the     Chairman. With much importance and grandeur he
presidency, my father moved from Missouri to the Indian       would approach the speaker's table, and in a loud and
Territory. Dad was a Hard Shell Baptist preacher, a very      impressive manner, address the assembly about as
religious man, and I don't remember his ever having used      follows:
any profanity except on the occasion of the defeat of
Bryan by McKinley. He brooded over this affair for a             "Mr. Chairman and Fellow Democrats:               I
few weeks after it occurred and then one day he said that        appreciate more than I can ever tell you the signal
the Yankees and Republicans had stolen the presidency            honor you have conferred upon me today by
from Tilden in 1876 and now had come along in 1896               electing me your Temporary Chairman."
and robbed Bryan. He said he'd be damned if he stayed
in a country that permitted such an outrage and that he       Then he would proceed to tear into the Republicans and
was determined to leave the United States and go down         just give them unshirted hell for an hour and a half.


14
Each of these conventions and performances was a great         But Adams, Embury and others insisted that a
show to me as a boy, and the frequent repetition of the        Constitution and By-laws be adopted first. I had no idea
proceedings stamped upon my young, impressionable,             these men were ambitious, power-hungry individuals,
and extremely alert mind the definite conclusion that to       seeking to sidetrack me and you can imagine my utter
be elected Temporary Chairman was the greatest honor           chagrin when the Constitution was adopted over my
that could be achieved in one's lifetime. I became             protest, having in it a special section which froze me in
imbued with an insatiable ambition to be a Temporary           my old position, making me "Permanent 3rd Assistant
Chairman of something or other. In the formation of the        Temporary Vice Chairman" for life. Thus I was
SPEBSQSA I thought I saw my chance.                            eliminated from any competition for the higher and more
                                                               honorable offices in the Society.
                Founder, Victim of Fraud
                                                               But all that has now been corrected by the generous
At our first mid-winter board meeting in St. Louis, many       action of the Omaha Chapter. On Sunday, March 31, at
of the old-timers in this movement—Carroll Adams, Phil         their fine Parade of Quartets which I attended, that
Embury, Doc Nelson, Deac Martin, Maurice Regan, Joe            chapter unanimously elected me Temporary Chairman of
Stern and others—were present, and I fully expected they       their organization. My boyhood ambition has been
would do right by me and advance me from the lowly             realized. I am happy again. So happy that I have
office that I had assumed, to one of dignity and               decided to attend the Cleveland Convention in June. I
responsibility in the national organization. Here I            expect to see all of you there. And please don't forget to
suffered the one great disappointment of my life, and ran      address me hereafter as "Mr. Temporary Chairman."
into the only sinister plot and unholy cabal that so far has
developed in our organization. During the meeting of           Hoping you are the same I am
the Board (and I had appointed all the members by
authority of my office as 3rd Assistant Temporary Vice                                                             OWEN
Chairman) I frequently suggested that we elect officers
as the first order of business.




                                                     August, 1946

While at Cleveland some brother, or some brother's             bell hop could get him down to the Lodge Hall to meet
barbershop widow, told me of a brother, who, before he         the Chicago brothers. After the session with the Chicago
became a brother, was in Chicago on business and came          boys, our hero, although he had two or three days' work
into the Morrison Hotel late one night, tired as a dog,        in Chicago, dashed back to the old home town by plane
jerked off his britches, took a short shower, raised the       and signed up 30 or 40 brothers as charter members in a
window and hit the hay. He had just sunk down in the           new chapter. He took care of what was left of his
good old soft feather bed, anticipating a fine night's         Chicago business later.
sleep, when he was brought up with a start by the sweet
strains of a barbershop quartet. He called the Assistant       Now this story is true in every detail and is typical of the
Manager of the Hotel and asked that two bell boys be           enthusiasm of a dyed-in-the-wool barbershopper.
sent to his room immediately. "It's an emergency," he          Another case in point is that of the Clef Dwellers of the
told the A. M. The bell hops arrived pronto, out of            Oakland County (Mich.) Chapter who flew down to
breath, and our tired business man instructed them as          Cleveland Wednesday night before the Convention, sang
follows: "Hear that singing? Now you (addressing one           all night for some of us early-bird arrivals, flew back to
of the boys) locate it, then telephone back quick the          Detroit Thursday morning, worked all day at their jobs,
location and hold 'em there. And you (to the other boy)        then flew back to Cleveland that evening and sang until
you stay right here, help me on with my britches and           the shindig was over. If this quartet continues to
things, then take me to 'em."                                  manifest all this energy, in time the Kansas City
                                                               Serenaders may have to relinquish second place, though
It was a regular meeting of the Chicago Chapter that had       these Missouri boys seem to have it tied up pretty tight
aroused our brother. Well, our hero fooled around and          for several years yet.
fooled around taking his time getting on his clothes and
prettying up and it was almost three minutes before the


                                                                                                                       15
Then when I got home I found a letter written by           encouraged and assumed I was fighting a
Brother V. E. Kinsey, of Royal Oak, Michigan, who          winning battle.
got barbershop religion, it appears, rather by
accident. Let me quote the brother, as he "testifies"      "Then the irony of fate manifested itself.
as to his "experience" very interestingly:                 Along came the Ladies Night last Friday.
                                                           What a swell night! What a wonderful group
     "Kind Sir:                                            of fellows and gals. I went home in the throes
                                                           of a very severe and critical prognosis. The
     "Since I haven't time to go to New York and           mystical repetition of the program of that
     counsel with Mr. Anthony, and, trusting that          evening is still with me. Most of it is very
     the difficulty which confronts me is one you          lovely as the flowers in May, though the
     have already hurdled, will you be so kind as to       basses and the leads making up quartets
     permit me to explain my problem to you?               bother me at times, also when I hear a deep
                                                           bass voice say, ‘whom we all know and love.'
     "As far as I can discern my background is
     fairly normal. My parents and home were               "Perhaps you have sufficient detail to give me
     average, when still in my tender years I was          a diagnosis.     Or should I consult a
     told about the birds and the bees. Eventually I       psychiatrist? Do you think I will be able to
     married the most wonderful girl in the world          throw this elephant by its tail? Do all
     and have always tried to do my job as best I          barbershoppers go through a similar diaper
     know how. I even have successfully avoided            stage?
     run-ins with the laws and courts of our fair
     land.                                                 "I am trying desperately to retain my dignity.
                                                           It looks like hell for me to be going down the
     "Then suddenly I decided to attend the concert        street in the funeral coach singing ‘He's a
     at the Masonic Temple last winter where all of        Jolly Good Fellow.' (The brother is proprietor
     those quartets of the SPEBSQSA sang and               of a funeral home.—Ed). What will act as a
     equally as suddenly I had a reaction that is          good antidote?
     impossible to accurately explain. I thought I
     had ahold of my seat all right, however, I            "Thanking you for giving my complex
     finally realized the janitor was telling me           perplexities your personal attention, and
     everything was over and I should go home. I           hoping some day I will be a good
     guess the darned fool though I had imbibed. I         barbershopper, I wish to remain, etc."
     seemed to glide home, and I got home in my
     car about the same way Dobbin, fifty years         Now do you suppose any other men's organization in
     ago, would instinctively take his master to his    the country can boast of such interest, loyalty and
     front door, and during this trance the evening's   devotion among its members? Old Phil, Hal, Frank,
     program was being rehearsed in my happy and        Carroll and all the fine fellows on the Board and
     lightened soul.                                    Committees have done, and are doing just what is
                                                        necessary to cultivate and keep alive the spirit of
     "It took weeks to get over this blow, but          barbershopping exemplified by the three instances
     suffice it to say I enjoyed it. When recovery      just related.
     seemed about complete I joined up with the
     Society in Ferndale on January 4th. The gang       Well, with all this material you boys have furnished it
     was swell to me. I have never met or               has not been such a strain on the old brain to write
     associated with a finer bunch of fellows. As       this Column. That suits me fine as I haven't wanted
     the evening progressed I felt another attack       to exert myself much since returning from the
     coming on. That night, after I got home and        Convention—just wanted to sort of louse around,
     attempted to retire I was ‘Seeing Nellie           relive the events at Cleveland and nourish and dwell
     Home,' ‘Working on the Railroad' and               upon the affection I have for all barbershoppers
     ‘Welcoming the Flowers in May' all night           everywhere.
     long. It sure made a wreck out of me. By
     persistent determination and courage I             Hoping you are the same, I am
     survived this second sinking spell. Then after
     the February meeting I felt definitely                                                            OWEN




16
                                                 November, 1946

Us columnists—me and Winchell, Thorne, O'Brien,               the unsuspecting never read and which, in effect, nullify
Spaeth, Pegler, Deac and others—all have a little             the entire policy.
different style, but it seems to me these other nationally
known writers have been imitating me a little too closely                              * * *
lately. I think I will change my column up some, fix up
separate paragraphs and put little stars and things in        During the war I received an inquiry from Dr. Paul
between them, like O. O. McIntyre used to do. However,        Spangler, Chief Surgeon of his outfit, and Captain in the
in this plan it just occurs to me I may be following Hal's    Navy. He was then stationed somewhere in the Pacific.
pattern, as it appears in his chapter bulletin. This          I observe from clippings from Portland, Oregon papers
reminds me that sometime when I am too lazy to write          that Doc is back in circulation and immediately upon his
my own stuff I am going to ask Hal to be "my guest            discharge from the Navy, organized a sweet singing
columnist." I notice my colleague, Drew Pearson, has          chapter in Portland.      We haven't been very well
guest columnists every once in awhile.                        represented in the Northwest and I hope Brother
                                                              Spangler and the boys out there will do some missionary
                         * * *                                work and establish other chapters in that area.

Speaking about Chapter Bulletins, I get a few of them                                  * * *
regularly, and all are extremely clever and interesting.
Likely there are many that are as good as or better than      Recently, in going through four or five filing cases of
"Sharp Notes" of the Washington Chapter, "Harmony             correspondence I had with interested brothers all over the
Swipes" Louisville Chapter, "Harmony Notes" of the            United States, when the Society was being set up, I
Kansas City Chapter, "Pitch Pipe" of the Chicago              began to wonder where all these fellows were and
Chapter and others, but I just don't happen to see them.      whether they had finally gotten into a chapter
It would be stimulating to all the chapters if they could     somewhere. Many of them I run into from time to time,
be on the exchange list with some or all of these             but others are lost to me. I think I will make a list of
bulletins. These Editors get pretty literary at times. For    these oldtimers sometime, put it in my column and see if
instance in one, this from Oliver Wendell Holmes struck       we can locate them.
my fancy:
"Alas for those that never sing                                                        * * *
 But die with all their music in 'em."
                                                              Much of the enjoyment I get from my connection with
                         * * *                                the Society is in visiting with various brothers who
                                                              happen to pass through Tulsa and come up to see me.
I always read every word in the Harmonizer (after first       Last week old Deac, on his way to Dallas to make a
reading the Founder's Column) starting on the first page      high-powered speech to a group of prominent Texas
with the name of the Officers and Directors, and then         citizens, dropped in on me. Deac is a farmer, you know,
examining all the ads and articles. Even the ads are          and he and I went out to my farm and spent the day,
interesting. There is a certain ad, of a certain firm, in a   riding the range, branding calves, ringing the hogs,
certain city that I always look forward to. And if I ever     shucking corn, and pitching hay. I made some pictures
need a "Combination Shear, Punch and Coper" to use on         of Deac, all booted and spurred, but they didn't turn out
a Judge, Jury or Tax Commission, I know where I am            so well. I wish they could have appeared in the
going to buy it.                                              Harmonizer. Deac made a mighty good hand for about
                                                              fifteen minutes.
                         * * *
                                                                                       * * *
There appeared sometime ago in the Harmonizer an
article by a certain insurance man, from a certain large      The brothers at Macomb, Illinois invited me to their
city in Illinois, that to me was extraordinarily              recent Parade and it was a dandy. It seems incredible
entertaining. I could not imagine such a fine piece of        that a town of around 9,000 should be able to put 3,100
work coming from the pen of such a poor tenor singer          people in an auditorium to hear a barber shop harmony
who has devoted his life to working out those paragraphs      concert. I noticed that not a single person left the
in insurance policies appearing in small, fine print, that    auditorium until the Parade was over. The work of the


                                                                                                                    17
chorus impressed me especially and the nice thing about       from Milwaukee, where I can put Betty Anne about June
it was that in the 100 men comprising it, all ages were       1? And is there a cabin on a lake in that territory that
represented—High School boys and great-grandfathers           Mrs. Cash and I can rent, preferably near a chapter that
all singing close harmony for the sheer love of singing.      will furnish a quartet to sing all night and fish all day
What a wholesome influence on our way of life it will be      with me for a couple of weeks before or after the
when such groups are organized in every village, town         Milwaukee Convention? I will furnish chewing tobacco
and city in the land!                                         and tackle, but will want some of the brothers to dig the
                                                              bait and clean and fry the fish.
                         * * *
                                                              Hoping you are eager to do same, I am, etc.
I want to wind up this disconnected piece with a want ad.                                                         O. C.
Do any of the brothers know of a girls' camp not too far




                                                      May, 1947

I'm still thinking about that "To the Ladies" number in       You notice I said we had three cornets in this quartet.
February. It was a splendid idea and I am sorry I didn't      Well, at that time trumpets were reserved for the
get in on it in some way, but the last time I wrote a piece   exclusive use of Gabriel and a few of his more musical
concerning the ladies (the one about the proper way to        angels. Nowadays it seems like everybody is blowing
handle women attending our conventions) I didn't              trumpets. I don't think it's right.
receive much favorable fan mail from the more obstinate
sex. So far, the girls don't seem to pay much attention to    Now since these barbershop quartet girls have so much
what I tell them. But I want to try once more.                trouble getting the proper vocal effect on our
                                                              arrangements, especially the baritone, I suggest they
I have had a lot of difficulty with these women's quartets,   work up some combination in brass, or saxophones, take
especially with the baritones. The girls have been            our arrangements and see if they can't hit these chords
messing up my part so badly and refusing to take my           right on the nose, as they are written, and quit trying to
advice that I have just about despaired of doing anything     improve on the way us artists do them.
about it. I tell this female baritone and that one to go up
an eighth of an inch on a certain note and they think it is   Now, getting off that subject onto another, I am
sufficient or sounds better, to go up only a sixteenth of     wondering if the reports which headquarters has been
an inch. I believe I have an idea in this piece that will     sending out that we have 17,749 members and 1,300
remedy this situation.                                        organized quartets, is correct.

When I was a boy at Bluejacket, playing first, or solo        We may want to have an audit made of these figures in
cornet, in the Bluejacket Silver Cornet Band, me and          the light of what I am about to tell you.              At
Merle Woods, his brother Roscoe and another fellow            Christmastime I received 16,179 greetings from
used to get together before band practice and rib up a        barbershoppers all over North America and about 1,200
brass quartet. We had three cornets playing lead, tenor       cards with pictures of four guys and funny quartet names
and baritone, and Merle filled in the bass with slide         printed on them. Until I get my old age pension, of
trombone, playing it up kinda high like. I remember we        course, I can't afford to acknowledge all these greetings
used to harmonize on "Sweet Bunch of Daisies" and "I          and I am taking this means of thanking all those old boys
Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" and other popular               who thought of me so kindly at Christmastime. It was
tunes of the day. It sounded awful pretty. The rest of the    terribly nice of them. Don't think I'm "uppity" or "high
boys in the band would gather around and argue about          falutin" if you don't get acknowledgement of all your
the chords and sometimes we would almost stop band            letters and cards. This Society correspondence has just
practice for the night. Merle is now a big newspaper          about got me down. I'm ready to holler "Calf rope." But
owner, publisher and editor, but I bet he would give his      I do like to hear from you old "codgers" from time to
eye tooth to have just one more of these instrumental         time even if I can't answer all my mail.
barbershop sessions in the back room of Jim Davis'
barber shop, with all the boys we used to know when we                                 * * *
were kids. I'd sure like to join him, too.


18
Since I wrote to you folks last I have attended a few        Well this leaves all in fairly good health. We had the
Parades and am more astonished, as time goes on, at the      usual run of colds and bilious spells during the winter,
enthusiasm with which these entertainments are received.     but all of us have had a round or two of calomel and have
The Parades at Omaha and Dayton, Ohio were                   been taking Black Draught regularly and the family is
tremendous successes. Also, I happened to be in New          feeling tolerably well at present. I have all my early
York earlier this year, and the boys cooked up a "little     plowing done, hogs killed and meat cured. Corinne and
party," (as they said) which developed into a gathering of   Betty are getting ready for canning, and have the soap all
more than a hundred on the spur of the moment with           made and put away. So we are right on schedule with
some very fine quartets, Harry Armstrong, Sig Spaeth,        our spring work. Hoping you are the same, I am
Bob Goepel and other notables present. This was a very
nice occasion.                                                                                              O. C. Cash

                         * * *



                                                   August, 1947
My dear Brethren:

Probably the greatest thrills I have experienced in our      Canadian brothers. Establishing our organization among
Society affairs occurred during the first year of two of     our neighbors to the North has been one of our finest
our organization. The first meeting of our group (about      accomplishments. I wonder if we can't set up one or
37 men) of course, was the high spot. Then the ensuing       more chapters in Mexico during this year. Many of our
good fellowship and enthusiasm among the 150 to 200          civic clubs have chapters South of the border and we
men who soon became identified with the Society here in      ought to make our Society truly international by getting a
Tulsa, was a source of gratification to all of us. Within    foothold in Mexico and other Latin countries to the
three months after our first meeting these fellows—          South. I am sure Brother Sunny Blevins of San Antonio
doctors, plumbers, bankers, lawyers, merchants, et           and his Texas comrades, will help us if someone starts
cetera—were meeting on the streets, shaking hands and        the ball rolling. We might as well make this thing
addressing each other as "Brother" and whereas they had      encompass the Western Hemisphere.
previously walked two and two up and down the street,
they soon began to walk four abreast.                                                 * * *

We used to gang up and sing with a traffic policeman         I had a letter two or three months ago from Ben Edwards
during the heaviest traffic (until the Police Chief put a    of Anchorage, Alaska, asking about forming a chapter
stop to it) at the intersection of two of Tulsa's busiest    there. I hope Carroll and Bill won't let Ben rest until we
streets. And at Oklahoma City we had even more fun           have an Alaskan chapter organized. Ben was one of the
doing this because the Flat Foot Four were all traffic       first Secretaries of the Tulsa Chapter, and a good one—a
officers and we had four different corners to sing on.       much better Secretary than bass singer—although he
Britt, Johnny and Red never wasted any time getting          probably will dispute this. With nights six months long
started, but old Sam would always argue with us, act         in Alaska, what an ideal place this is for a barbershop
contrary, and threaten to call the hoodlum wagon and         singing group.
throw us in the hoosegow before finally chiming in with
us.                                                                                   * * *

Those were the good old days in the beginning of our         At each National Convention some quartet always comes
Society.                                                     along to capture my fancy. Usually it is one that is not in
                                                             competition and naturally that quartet throws all caution
But now the big boost all of us get in our association       to the wind and just simply hauls off and "busts" them.
with the brothers from all over the U. S. and Canada, is     Such a quartet at Milwaukee was the pickup gang that
the Annual Convention. The last one is always the best.      Jean Boardman brought from Baltimore and Washington.
Renewal of acquaintanceship with all the faithful            I had listened with chills running up and down my spine
brothers is an event I always look forward to.               to this outfit singing "You Remind Me So Much of My
                                                             Mother" and was impatient for Frank Rice to hear them.
The most delightful of my experiences at the last            Frank got in late Saturday afternoon.
Convention was meeting and visiting with so many


                                                                                                                    19
I watched the expression on Frank's face when they           should have been on some of our programs. This
tied into this number and although I did not open my         would have reminded many chapters that organization
mouth, Frank turned to me and said, "Now, Cash,              of quartets in high school should be one of the
dammit, don't argue with me, I know a barbershop             principal projects of our Society. These boys were
quartet when I hear it, and them is it." Frank and I         planning to attend college together and told me they
agree that a quartet ought to pitch 'em high and sing        would undoubtedly slay the co-eds when they sang late
'em loud. As good as this quartet was, I thought I           at night under the windows of the girls' dormitory. All
detected a slight weakness in the most important part.       this reminded me of my own great success with the
Maybe this is because I am so good at it. Jean seamed        wimmen during my school days when singing with my
to be just a little too refined, and restrained on the       kid quartet, "The Super-Colossal Symphonic Four."
baritone.     I could have improved the quartet              By the way, that would be an appropriate name for
considerably by taking over the most difficult part.         Jean's outfit.
Undoubtedly Jean was a gallant and thoughtful lover;
is a dutiful husband; a good provider; as well as a kind                              * * *
and indulgent father; but, commendable as these
virtues are, this just simply won't get the job done         Do you brothers realize that at the Milwaukee
insofar as this baritone business is concerned. One          Convention, we had four choruses in attendance? At
must slap his kids around once in a while, whip his          our first Convention in Tulsa in 1939, we had only ten
wife occasionally and be aggressive generally to build       or twelve quartets. At the Oklahoma City Convention
up that self-respect and confidence so necessary to a        next year, I hope we have that many choruses. If the
good baritone.                                               Oklahoma City boys and the Int'l. Board agree I
                                                             suggest we arrange to have these various choruses each
There is a certain rowdy, though lovable, individual,        put on a 15 to 30 minute recital in a hall where there
member of a renowned quartet in a large Midwest city,        will be quiet and everybody can listen under better
that I have always thought, with one exception, was the      conditions than existed in Milwaukee. We may have to
ideal baritone.                                              allot an extra day to get this all on the program. It will
                                                             not be many years, with both choruses and quartets
He is a lusty, robust, rambunctious, unrefined sort of       attending these Conventions, until we will have to set
singer; knows where the chords are and how to put            aside an entire week, making it a "Barber Shop
them together; sleeps in his underwear, and otherwise        Harmony Festival," as well as a National Convention
has all the qualifications of a good baritone, except for    and Contest. Why not have a Chorus Contest at
one thing—the poor devil just don't have any voice.          Oklahoma City in June, 1948, in addition to the regular
Jean has the voice all right, is handsome and dignified      Quartet Contest? If you agree that we should do this,
and all that, but if he keeps up with the other members      write your Congressman, who happens to be Charlie
of his quartet, he will have to go into training, learn to   Merrill of Reno, Nevada.
chaw terbacker, and toughen up a bit. I prophesy that
if this Washington-Baltimore quartet competes at                                      * * *
Oklahoma City next year, they will give the Serenaders
a tough battle for second place. The competition is          There is a comparatively new book out by a fellow by
getting to the point now where no one cares much             the name of Henry F. Woods, Jr., entitled "How to
about winning first place; his ambition is to dislodge       Become Well Known." He mentions me, Lincoln,
the Serenaders from the runner-up position. This is          Andrew Carnegie, and a few other great men, and gives
very much like it used to be down here in Oklahoma in        our Society a nice play. But he refers to me as "a little,
the election of Governor. We followed the practice           unknown, obscure lawyer in Oklahoma, who had an
years ago of impeaching our Governor just as soon as         idea that accidentally developed into a source of
he was elected. It got so everybody ran for the "long        pleasure and happiness for millions . . ." If we had any
term"; that is, Lt. Governor.                                lawyers in our Society who could stop singing long
                                                             enough to attend to business, I would sue this guy for
                         * * *                               libel, slander, assault and battery and maybe something
                                                             else, because this bird has certainly made me feel very
Did any of you fellows hear the High School Quartet          insignificant.
from Waukesha? My Betty Anne dug up this outfit
and led them around for me to hear. She said, "If you        Hoping you are the same, I am
must listen to a quartet you might as well find one that
is good looking, has a trim waistline and wears a                                                               Owen
pompadour." These kids were really on the beam and



20
                                                November, 1947

In my column I have mentioned once or twice Ben              best chorus of its size in our organization, but if other
"Butch" Edwards, formerly of Anchorage, Alaska. Ben          choruses are as good, or reach the degree of smoothness
has recently located in Tulsa as Vice President and          that this group exhibited, they are, or will be, almost
General Manager of Tulairco, Inc., distributor of            perfect.
Ercoupe airplanes. Butch was the first Secretary of the
first chapter of SPEBSQSA, and as such was first             I don't suppose many of the Brothers have seen a First
Secretary, you might say, of the national organization.      Secretary. They are an unusual, though amiable, breed
At least he was de facto National Secretary and he and I,    and I observed on this flying trip that Butch was the
prior to setting up the national organization, sort of       center of interest. He and I have decided that when we
loosely handled all Society business. In addition to these   get the time, we are going to fix up one of these sleek
distinctions, Butch is a very photogenic bass singer.        looking Ercoupes with pictures of quartets and the
                                                             insignia of the Society plastered all over it, and spend
Butch put in several years flying for the Navy during the    three or four months flying from one chapter to another.
war. After his discharge from the Navy he went to            The hospitality, good fellowship, and cordiality that
Alaska and spent a couple of years in an igloo eating        greeted us on all our stops was heartwarming and we are
blubber and hobnobbing with the Eskimos. The Eskimo,         looking forward to another air trip at our first
he says, is about as musical as the walrus and he was        opportunity. Tulsa was honored the other day by a visit
glad to get back to Oklahoma among his old barber shop       from our jovial Secretary, Carroll Adams. He was on his
singing friends.                                             way back home from Oklahoma City, where he
                                                             conferred with the Oklahoma City brethren concerning
Butch heard about the San Gabriel Parade and suggested       the national convention in June 1948. Carroll had only
that he and I fly out to see the Brothers on the West        an hour or two in Tulsa between planes, but he did find
Coast. In a moment of weakness I accepted the                time to bust a few with some of the Tulsa Brothers.
invitation, although it was rather embarassing for the       Carroll assures me that the boys in Oklahoma City are
World's Greatest Barber Shop Baritone to make a tour of      going to put on a splendid Convention. At this event we
the chapters with such a mediocre bass.                      expect a large delegation from the West Coast and the
                                                             Southwest. If you boys back North and East are curious
We left on September 30 and flew into Lubbock, Texas         about the brand and style of harmony the Brothers in the
for lunch that day. The Brothers at Lubbock threw a          West have developed, you ought to attend this
feed for us and held their regular meeting at noon of that   Convention. You will find that barbershoppers are all
day. Needless to say we enjoyed the hospitality of the       alike, whether in Kankakee or Kalamazoo. You won't be
Brothers immensely. The Lubbock Chapter is a live one        disappointed in the quality of harmony developed by
and as everyone knows, the first one established in          these fellows out West.
Texas.
                                                             I have been so busy putting up my second crop of hay
The next day we made Phoenix, Arizona and spent the          and getting my hogs in shape for butchering and
night there and the Brothers of that charming city pulled    marketing that I came very near missing this issue of the
off a nice dinner and meeting that night, which we           Harmonizer. I am now ready for hog killing, after the
enjoyed very much. This chapter has two very fine            first cold snap and frost. I have my hickory wood all
quartets and they were both on hand and entertained us       prepared for the smoking process and any of you
with some lively, unique and pleasant harmony.               Brothers who happen along through Oklahoma after
                                                             December 1, just drop in and I will fix you up with some
The Parade at San Gabriel was a well planned and             good old farm style smoked meat.
extremely entertaining event. Of particular interest to me
was the splendid performance of the chorus. I have not       Hoping you are the same, I am
heard very many of the choruses throughout the country,
and I must not indicate any preference, but the singing of                                                    OWEN
this group thrilled me to my toes. I won't say it is the




                                                                                                                   21
                                                  February, 1948

Some of the Brothers have spoken to me from time to          immediately abolished so I would have the distinction of
time concerning the lack of appreciation which the great     being the only person ever to be granted that honor.
universities of the country have manifested towards our
Society. Others have complained that we have not had         I was further assured that any vacancy in the various
general acknowledgement of our efforts to preserve the       departments of the University would be held open until I
one distinctive type of folk song and music peculiar to      was offered the professorship.
America. Recently I corresponded with Brother Bob
Hamilton, Dean of the Law School, University of              It is not unlikely that I will follow in the footsteps of
Wyoming at Laramie, about this. I called his attention,      General Eisenhower, and on retirement, accept the
however, to the fact that Harvard or Yale had conferred      presidency of my Alma Mater, the University of
an honorary Doctor's degree on one of our Brothers—a         Wyoming, if and when a vacancy occurs.
member of the Kansas City Chapter. The name of this
Brother escapes me at the moment, but he used to run a       This Doctor's degree came to me at a particularly
men's apparel shop at Independence, Missouri, and at         appropriate time. My company has been hiring Doctors,
one time was County Commissioner of Jackson County,          scientists and things, in the last few years, in such
Missouri. I think he got work in Washington, D. C., and      quantities that those of us who never went to school
if I remember right, is living there now. He seems to be     much were terribly embarrassed in having to address
doing all right. He plays the piano by ear and I am told     everybody as Doctor So-and-So. Now I can hold up my
sings a sort of squeaky baritone. I understand he used to    head with pride and without temerity associate with these
get the boys together in the back end of his shop (the       guys.
Alteration Dept.) and rip off a tune now and then, but
that it wasn't very good.                                    So, gentlemen, at long last the great seats of learning of
                                                             this country are beginning to accept, appreciate and
I suggested to Brother Bob that some of the Alma Maters      honor our Society and through me and Brother Truman
should confer honorary degrees on former officers of our     (just recalled his name) have rewarded the efforts of you
organization. The University of Illinois, I thought,         boys in keeping alive the spirit of song and democracy in
should compliment Frank Thorne; Harvard should do            this great country of ours.
something for its distinguished graduate, Charlie Merrill;
and Smith College in Northampton, might get the girls        A large delegation of the Laramie Brothers will be in
together and confer something or other on their fellow       attendance at the Oklahoma City Convention in June and
citizen Hal. Hamilton College did something for Elihu        to compliment them, don't fail to greet me there as "Dr.
Root and Alexander Woollcott, and I contended that Phil      Cash", in a loud and vociferous voice.
Embury, a fellow graduate, ought to be equally honored.
                                                             Getting this degree has done a lot for my morale and I
I am sure this correspondence had nothing to do with the     feel very cultured and educated. Hoping you are the
invitation which the University of Wyoming extended to       same, I am
me, shortly thereafter, to attend the program and public
recital which the Laramie (University Chapter) of the                                                 Sincerely yours,
SPEBSQSA put on December 17, 1947, and accept an
honorary Doctor's degree from that great university.                                                       DR. CASH

It goes without saying that I accepted the invitation with
alacrity and presented myself for acceptance of the
degree "Doctor of Barber Shop Harmony". Brother Bob
read the citation and Dr. Ottis Rechard, for the President
of the University, conferred the degree. I responded, of
course, with an appropriate, profound address to my
fellow Doctors and graduates of the University. I was
advised that the degree was created, conferred and




22
                                                       May, 1948

Since getting my Doctor's degree, I have reformed and          conducted, the Oklahoma affair will produce the most
am trying to live up to the honor. I have changed my           interesting barber shop harmony and choral singing yet
reading habits entirely. Recently I got some classical         heard by our members. There will be several choruses in
books from the Library, among which was Thoreau's              attendance. The Corn Belt Chorus, 150 strong, will be
"Walden". It occurred to me that a Doctor ought to keep        there. The Olean, New York chorus plans to be present,
up on philosophy and other profound subjects. I don't          and I'll be disappointed if Fritz Drybrough and Bob Ising
know whether you Brothers know much about the old              don't have their gang there.
masters or not. You probably are just as ignorant as I
was until I attended the University of Wyoming one             The local Committee at Oklahoma City has arranged for
night last December. But this Thoreau fellow was a             special events for the choruses on Saturday morning,
pretty smart egg back in the early 1800's and did a lot of     when nothing else is scheduled on the regular program.
philosophizing here and there. He ranged or roamed all         Governor Turner has invited the choruses to sing on the
the way from Concord, Connecticut on the south to              front steps of the State Capitol where inaugurations are
Northampton, Mass., on the north, and was the friend           held. The State's public address system will be ribbed up
and contemporary of such writers as Emerson,                   and thousands of people will come from the surrounding
Hawthorne (not to be confused with Frank Thorne, the           countryside just to hear this recital.
columnist) and Hal Staab, the literati of the period.
"Walden" was written about 1845.                               Referring again to the cowboy angle, one of the
                                                               snappiest quartets that will be seen and heard in
Well, sir, you can imagine my surprise when over               Oklahoma City, will be the "Canadianaires" of Windsor,
towards the tailend of the book I found that Thoreau           Canada. These boys tell me that in addition to their
whipped up the following paragraph about rabbits and           Scotch getup, kilts, etc., they propose to wear a brace of
partridges:                                                    six-shooters, cowboy boots and spurs, so they may live
                                                               up to their well earned reputation as the fearless, hard-
   "Our woods teem with them both, and around                  hitting Scotch cowboys of the Canadian range.
   every swamp may be seen the partridge and rabbit
   walk, beset with twig fences and horsehair snares,          All this is going to be great fun and I am looking forward
   which some cowboy tends."                                   to seeing all you boys in June.

So far as I know, I am the only scholar or student of          Hoping you are the same.
philosophy to discover that the earliest mention of
"cowboys" in all recorded literature refers to the old                                                             O. C.
cowhands of Connecticut. When one thinks of cowboys
nowadays, one naturally concludes that the breed is
native to Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and
points West. I am glad to be able to clear up this
important question, but I do not want all the credit for the
research. I feel that some approbation should go to my
alma mater for the inspiration and encouragement it has
given me to delve into the early literary and cowboy
history of our country.

All this cowboy business is interesting in connection
with our Convention in June. Oklahoma City is in the
heart of the present cowboy country, now that Thoreau's
Connecticut cowboys are practically extinct. There will
be colorful cowboy quartets from all over the West
competing at Oklahoma City. Besides being the largest
and best attended Convention which the Society has yet




                                                                                                                      23
                                                   September, 1948

Brethren, I am renouncing my doctorate! It doesn't seem         would get together by correspondence, pick out a few
the degree carried with it the respect and dignity the boys     classical operatic numbers, rehearse them separately
at Wyoming University guaranteed. I don't think it is           during the year, then get together at Buffalo for a warm-
worth the trouble and work I went to in getting it. I have      up and give us this stunt on the Jamboree. Now don't
been reading a lot of rather unexciting literature lately,      start accusing me of getting away from "barbershop". I
trying to live up to the standard of Doctors generally, but     like any kind of singing if done by barbershoppers, and
I believe it is wasted effort. I waded through 15 or 20         they are the guys that can do it.
volumes of Thoreau and other philosophers and had
purchased Gibbons' "Decline of the Roman Empire" just                                    * * *
before the Oklahoma City Convention.               Reaching
Oklahoma City late one afternoon, I entered the lobby of        Betty Anne is always steering me into these kid quartets
the hotel, looking as dignified as possible, expecting my       at the Convention and one of the most enjoyable
fellow Doctors from Wyoming to be there to greet me.            experiences I had at Oklahoma City was getting together
On the contrary, I ran into Sandy Brown, who                    with Ernie Dick's son and his Sigma Nu quartet from the
disrespectfully shouted, "Well, Owen, you old bum!"             University of Oklahoma. We found a dark corner under
Progressing a little farther into the lobby Jean Boardman       a stairway and I taught the boys the chords in "Johnny
chirped out, "If it isn't the old chord thief hisself!" And     Doughboy". (I'm the only one who knows them right.
that's the way it went for two or three days. I have never      Remind me sometime and I'll show 'em to you.) It was
seen such lack of respect for culture in all my life and I      gratifying to see so many good kid quartets in the
figure I will just renounce the glitter and glamour of the      contest. It made me think of my own great success many
world and settle down again to being a barbershopper.           years ago with my school quartet "The Super Colossal
                                                                Symphonic Four". Singing under windows of the girls'
                          * * *                                 dormitory, however, had some rather sad results. We
                                                                had dead and crippled coeds scattered all over the
While every event on the Convention program was                 campus there one fall and winter on account of tumbling
interesting and entertaining, the "Jamboree" and Sunday         out of windows and finally had to discontinue serenading
morning "Breakfast" were the high lights in my opinion.         altogether.
I heard more favorable comment on this part of the
program than any other. I hope that at all Parades and                                   * * *
District Contests these Breakfasts will replace
Afterglows. I have never attended an Afterglow that             I read in a district bulletin the other day, where a Chorus
amounted to a row of pins. I became sold on the                 Contest had been put on. Some ten or fifteen choruses
Breakfast idea after attending one at Toronto last fall.        participated, prizes were given and an entirely new kind
This affair was even bigger and more spectacular than           of Society activity initiated. I am very much interested
the one at the National Convention at Oklahoma City.            in this. Sometime ago I mentioned in this Column that
Let's have more of these Breakfasts!                            the time was coming when it would be necessary to have
                                                                a "Barber Shop Harmony Festival Week", instead of our
Even though it is burlesqued, I am always impressed             usual two days' Convention and Contests. With interest
with this operatic stuff that some of the quartets indulge      in choruses continuing to develop, we should make
in occasionally. At the next Convention I wish the              provision for more activity of this kind at our annual
Atomic Bums, Westinghouse Boys, the Newton, Kansas,             Conventions. So, begin thinking of an annual meeting
Keynoters and Songfellows and any other quartets that           of 6 or 7 days' duration to provide outlet for all phases
sing this type of numbers, would get together in a chorus,      of harmony singing. It will not be long coming. With a
wash their necks and ears, take a hot bath, put on white        full week of harmony of various kinds, the devotee of
ties and tails, and in all seriousness and dignity, present a   any variety could come and go as he pleased. Of course,
few good classical numbers, just to show the world that         most of us would have to take in the whole "shootin'
barbershoppers can do these things even better than the         match".
Metropolitan Opera outfit. I heard a group on the air the
other day sing "Beyond the Blue Horizon". It was                                         * * *
strictly a glee club arrangement, but it was so pretty, and
I thought how much better my proposed chorus could              Hoping you are the same, I am
have done the number. Nobody ever pays any attention
to my suggestions, but in this case I wish these quartets                                                            O. C.


24
                                                  December, 1948

The Gay Nineties period slopped over into the early            picnic put on by the barbershop Brethren and Sistern
1900's just far enough to impress me favorably with that       somewhere in Indiana, as I remember, where
era of friendliness. Until the advent of the automobile,       barbershoppers and their families from all over the state,
American life revolved about the small towns and farms.        gathered in a park for an all day basket dinner, picnic and
I remember with a glow of contentment my boyhood at            song fest.       The whole family participated in the
the old home town of Bluejacket, Indian Territory. I           festivities just as we used to do back at Bluejacket on the
recall the barber shop quartet sessions at Jim Davis'          4th of July. It occurred to me this was getting back to
tonsorial parlor, the rehearsal there of the Bluejacket        the way of life as it was practiced during pioneer days.
Silver Cornet Band, and discussions of the prowess of
our ball nine and various other village topics. We were        Just this last weekend my family and I attended such an
not bothered with Communism or radicalism in any               event at the Texas State Fair at Dallas. Barbershoppers
manner and the threat of wars and solution of world            and their families, from all over Texas, converged on
problems did not concern us. Of course, Eugene V.              Dallas on Sunday, October 17, took in the Fair and in the
Debs, we thought, was quite a hazard and in the                afternoon met together to become acquainted, visit and
Cherokee Nation we were all enthusiastic followers of          listen to barbershop singing. Afterwards a basket dinner
William Jennings Bryan and believers in his theory of          was enjoyed by everyone.
the free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. In those
days folks borrowed coffee and sugar from each other           We haven't heard so much about the Texas Brothers.
and went on neighbors' notes as a matter of course. It         They were a little late in getting started in barbershop
was not necessary to raise huge budgets for the                activities, but you can rest assured they have some fine
Community Chest or hire myriads of social workers at           quartets and some splendid choruses. While they are
public expense to take care of the poor and unfortunate.       terribly good, those of you who know anything about
The neighbors got their heads together in cases of this        Texas, will understand they are not nearly so good as
kind and reluctantly approached the widows and orphans         they say they are. In fact, they are only about as good as
with offers of help. This all had to be done tactfully to      the rest of us. The Wichita Falls Chorus came over in
avoid offending the pride of these people. It was              busses and I can vouch for the fact that if they had
considered to be perfectly all right to work and support       competed at the Indianapolis Chorus Contest, they would
yourself, if at all possible. Instead of "One third of our     have been high in the scoring. There were 8 or 10
population is underprivileged, undernourished and illy         mighty fine quartets that performed and these boys and
housed" to quote the element that now would divide and         the audience enjoyed it just like they do everywhere else
confuse us, and who of course do not approve of the            in the United States and Canada.
barber shop quartet movement, all of us were
underprivileged. But we were too busy keeping the              So it occurs to me that in these days of changing social
wolf from the door to do any "belly-aching."                   and political ideologies, the barbershop quartet
                                                               movement may be the leaven in the small remaining loaf
I recall folks used to sit up with those who were sick, and    of good sense and conservatism that may start the
when deaths occurred, they didn't send flowers, but came       pendulum swinging in this country towards a more stable
personally to mourn with the family and help do the            way of thinking. There is nothing wrong with our form
cooking and housework. All this reminds me that the            of government that the old fashioned Gay Nineties idea
center of this fine, neighborly community life was the         of pride, thrift, honesty, energy and neighborliness will
barber shop quartet. This one institution is the trademark     not cure.
by which most of us remember the Gay Nineties phase of
our national history.                                          Hoping you are the same,

People these days are no different than those in the time                                                           O. C.
of our fathers'. If these reformers and do-gooders would
just let us alone and permit us to be sociable, have our
picnics and sing our songs, most of us would be happier.
When I visited Indianapolis a few weeks ago to attend
the Chorus Contest, one of the Brothers told me of a




                                                                                                                      25
                                                     March, 1949

Before I get into the profound paragraphs to follow, let       fooling around with that tune, also try "Sing Me To
me thank all of you Brothers and Sisters for your              Sleep." This number is sung very successfully by the
greetings at Christmas-time. I am sorry I can't otherwise      Flying L Ranch Quartet of Tulsa and it has so many
acknowledge receipt of these nice remembrances, but I          possibilities for different treatment and arrangement that
want you to know how glad I am that you have not               I would like to hear other quartets do it. The last phrase
forgotten me.                                                  in the chorus affords several different tricks of harmony,
                                                               by changing the lead slightly and singing the last few
                          * * *                                notes straight across, or by letting the bass or baritone
                                                               carry the melody. It ends up terribly low if sung as
Since I had very little to do with the preparation of the      written, but you can raise her up an octave and cure that.
Ten Year History of our Society, I think it is not
immodest of me to say that it is well done and                                          * * *
interesting. It will be of even more interest to you than it
was to me. The Brothers who spent so much time in              So now a few of you boys work these two numbers over
getting this book in shape, have performed a worthwhile        and let's have the "Red Rose" and "Sing Me To Sleep"
service for you. Every member of the Society should            specialists congregate in my room in Buffalo and have a
buy a copy and familiarize himself with the story of the       "Jam Session." No quartet will be permitted to get in on
organization. After finishing with the History, a nice         this unless it has something worked out to show us.
thing to do will be to give it to your local Library. There    Carroll, Bill, Tom and Peters ought to be able to have an
is much information in it that may be of reference value       arrangement for us. They have lots of time to practice
to those interested in the musical history of our              there in the office.
organization.
                                                                                        * * *
                          * * *
                                                               I have been furnished with a report of the Contest Rules
The other night I heard George Burns sing the chorus of        Committee and am amazed at the time and effort which
"Red Rose Rag" to Gracie. He did it just to show her           these busy men have put in trying to formulate rules that
how good he used to be in his vaudeville act. This tune        will insure orderly and satisfactory procedure. I think I
reminded me of "Oceana Roll' which has been messed up          agree pretty well with all the report. Hoping you are the
so sweetly by the Misfits for the past few years. I am         same, I am
wondering if any of the Brothers have tried "Red Rose
Rag." I hope three or four quartets look it over and will                                                          O. C.
prepare to sing it for me in Buffalo in June. While




                                                       June, 1949

Of all the various, miscellaneous and sundry sexes, the        them. I work and slave to make ends meet, hold my nose
female or feminine persuasion has always ranked high           to the grindstone continually to keep the coyote out of
among my favorite genders. But despite this biased             the chicken coop and all I have to show for it is my room
attitude in the girls' favor, I don't seem to have much        and board. Then there is Fanny. She has been running
influence with the breed and am continually in hot water       things in our home for around fifteen years—helped us
as a result of my willingness to help them or give them        raise our kid.
advice.
                                                               She bullyrags and browbeats me something awful. She
History shows that all great men have been bothered            was born Fanny O'Hare and is no bigger than a minute—
from time to time with "woman trouble" and I guess I           probably no larger than about 45 seconds. But what
can't hope to be an exception. The two women in my             Fanny lacks in size she makes up in nationality. I try to
immediate family run me ragged in making a living for          humor her, but she won't feed me fried eggs and sausage,




26
flapjacks or flannel cakes for breakfast, and substitutes    affairs independently. Let's keep our promotion and
fruit juice, oatmeal, and other baby food like that. And     publicity separate, and each stand on our own feet.
for dinner she never lets me eat any fat meat, chicken
dressing, gravy, corn beef and cabbage or any other          When the Adelines get over their growing pains they
vittles that is fit to eat.                                  should be able to perfect an efficient, smooth running
                                                             organization, just as other women's clubs, the Business
Now when Frank Rice, Bill Downing and Fred Graves            and Professional Women, and National Secretaries
(the less important three-fourths of the Okie Four) come     Association, have done. Helen Seevers, the President, is
over to our house, they sing her an Irish song and she       a business woman and executive, with lots of
stirs up chili, hot tamales, ravioli, cake, coffee with      organizational experience; has surrounded herself with
whipped cream and other good food, and dishes it out to      women of similar ability, and my guess is that in another
them as long as they can stand up. It is a little            year or two their conventions and parades will be
discouraging to be subjected to this discrimination,         something to be proud of; that is, if they leave the men
segregation and general exploitation, by the women folk      out of it.
in your own household.
                                                             About the only criticism I heard of our own affairs (I get
You would think all this is enough "woman trouble" for       this from Bulletins, letters, etc., I don't get around much)
any one man, but the Sweet Adeline gals from time to         is that some quartets, and other participants, in their
time also take potshots at me. Two or three of the sistern   eagerness to get a laugh, resort to too "corny" and
have reminded me that many chapters of the SPEBSQSA          suggestive lines and antics. Everyone appearing on our
are actively discriminating against the Adelines. One of     programs, of course, should be extremely careful not to
the sisters said recently, "Do you know that 29 chapters     offend against good taste. Very few people will criticize
have actually barred the Sweet Adelines?" I asked her        a program for being too wholesome. I prophesy that
just what she meant by that, and she said, "Why Nells        when the women begin putting on parades, there will be
Bells, they have just simply hauled off and barred           little or no criticism of their efforts from this angle.
them—actually rendered them null and void with no
further force and effect!" And she added, "You are to                                  * * *
blame for it!" She continued, "And a lot of the
SPEBSQSA brethren are talking about your attitude!"          I want to keep reminding you that a few years hence, it
                                                             will be necessary to have a "Harmony Festival Week" to
She didn't say whether the brothers were critical or         take care of our Int'l. Convention, quartet contest, chorus
complimentary in their remarks.                              contests and other activities connected with the
                                                             SPEBSQSA. As I recall, there is held, on Chautauqua
Well, this was all news to me, as generally I have always    Lake up North, a two or three weeks session where
been in favor of women, in a mild sort of way. I have        people gather from all over the United States, to hear the
repeatedly stated that our slogan "Keep America              Swiss Bell Ringers and other attractions, some staying
Singing" includes everybody, even the women. I like          only a day or two, others remaining for the entire
any kind of singing done by a group that knows its stuff.    session. My "Harmony Festival Week" idea will
That is why I have little sympathy with the old "die hard"   compare to this, except it will be more enjoyable. It will
barbershoppers who occasionally say, "It's nice, but it      give time for choruses to put on their contests and the
ain't barbershop". Well if it's cleverly done, I like it     Society to wind up the week in a blaze of glory with its
anyway.                                                      Convention and Int'l. Quartet Contest.

The girls are developing some good quartets and the time                               * * *
they spend rehearsing and working out chords, you must
admit, keeps them out of pool halls, beauty parlors and      By the way, my family and I expect to leave Tulsa about
other questionable joints. I have advised the Sweet          May 27 on a leisurely tour through Birmingham, Atlanta,
Adeline sistern from the very start that, at conventions,    Asheville, Richmond, Alexandria, Washington, and on
contests, parades, and entertainments, no man should be      up through western Pennsylvania to Buffalo. We expect
permitted to appear on their program for any purpose         to buy our gasoline only in barbershop towns and if any
whatever, either as MC's, song leaders, or judges. I have    of the brothers drop down to the filling station I will
further suggested that if it is desirable to have a          show them those two pretty chords in "Johnny
welcoming address by the Mayor, he should be required        Doughboy" while we are getting our windshield wiped. I
to designate some woman to speak for him.                    have been reading a book describing General Lafayette's
                                                             triumphal tour of this country, as a guest of the United
And it is reasonable and necessary, I believe, to wear the   States in 1824.
shoe on the other foot too, and run our own SPEBSQSA


                                                                                                                     27
He visited many of the towns through which we will            station when we drive up. We are eager to see all of you
pass. We hardly expect such great crowds to welcome us        again and to participate in the reunion of the most
as turned out for the General, but we know the singing        amiable group of friends that ever gathered at a
will be a darn sight better than any the General listened     convention.
to, if a few of the brothers are hanging around the filling
                                                              Hoping you are the same.

                                                                                                                     O. C.


                                                 September, 1949

I suppose most of the famous columnists who write for         numbers. One of the chorus men told me of a pastor,
the Harmonizer will have something to say about the           whose choir had taken its usual vacation during the
Buffalo Convention. Like the rest, I enjoyed myself to        summer, asking the local barbershop chorus to substitute
the fullest and was amazed, as I am at each succeeding        for the regular choir. The novelty of the idea and
Convention, at the improvement in quartets and                resulting news in newspapers filled the church to
choruses. I talked to many chorus directors. Since this is    overflowing, whereas in the summer months the pastor
a very important phase of Society activities, in my           had previously preached to only a handful. Since its
opinion, I was interested in the ideas and plans of these     organization our Society has been helping various
men.                                                          enterprises without hope of reward. The enjoyment of
                                                              singing and the satisfaction in being of service to the
For a long time I have had an idea that while emphasis        community has been sufficient compensation. Now the
should be laid upon barbershop harmony in choruses,           opportunity to help churches by showing up the
each group should have in its repertoire a few selections     vacationing choir, should appeal to our choruses
of a more or less classical nature. Have you heard Bob        everywhere. The typical quartet is never embarrassed by
Ising's Louisville gang sing the "Summer Time" thing?         announcing to anyone who will listen, "Let us show you
That's not barbershop, it's a simple piece, not difficult     a chord." So the chorus might just as well say to the
like our stuff, but it simply "curls your hair." These        preacher, "Doc, let us fill up that vacant choir loft for you
numbers should be performed occasionally just to show         this summer and show you how sacred music really
the audience that barbershoppers "came up the hard            should be sung." Then why should we confine it to
way"; that is, they mastered these high-brow pieces and       summer? Why not move in every once in awhile on a
this type music preliminary to graduating into                Sunday morning or evening service in winter time, too.
barbershop choruses. I think we ought to give our             And why not visit around among all the churches in
audiences a taste of typical glee club, classical or          town—Jewish, Catholic and all of them—if we can
operatic music just to show them that barbershoppers can      invite ourselves successfully. We've got some old
sing anything, and sing it well. Too, it will help those      sinners in our outfit like me and Frank Thorne, who
men who have spent a lifetime singing this so-called          ought to go to church once in awhile anyway. Wish you
"longhair" type music to realize that their time has not      boys would write me pro and con about this suggestion.
been entirely wasted.         By applying themselves          What's wrong with it? Have you ever done it?
assiduously they can still hope to progress upward and
maybe get into one of our choruses and have some fun          In my column which appeared just before my family and
yet before they die.                                          I started to Buffalo, I made a facetious remark about
                                                              expecting some of the Brothers to meet us at the filling
The chorus directors I talked to seemed agreeable to this     station, as we passed through their towns. Much to my
idea. Some, in fact, had already put it into practice. One    surprise the column reached the Brothers at Jamestown
man told me he had worked out "Stout Hearted Men"             and Geneva, New York in time for them to write me at
which he used as an introductory number, being sung as        Tulsa, inviting me and my women to visit them. The
the chorus marched on stage. Another said he was              entertainment which these folks provided was the
working with an arrangement for male voices of the            highlight of our trip. On our way to these two beautiful
"Hallelujah Chorus."                                          cities, we passed through and spent several days in
                                                              Virginia. For the benefit of Betty Anne we visited some
This immediately brought to my mind the service which         of the Civil War memorials and refought many of the
our choruses could be to churches at Easter time by           battles of the Rebellion. Since many of our forebears
singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" or other similar              were supporters of the "Lost Cause," our young daughter


28
became pretty much worked up and concerned about our         Then John Hanson told me his chorus had been working
side losing the last fight and the war. When Mrs. Cash       on "Sing Me To Sleep," that it was a stem-winder for
remarked to Betty that she was overwhelmed with the          chorus work and the next time I was available I could
hospitality and friendship of the folks at Jamestown and     hear it as only the "world's greatest barbershop chorus"
Geneva, Betty said, "Don't let that fool you. It's just a    can sing it. John may have been bragging a little, but
Yankee trick. They are just trying to make up for            when we have our National Chorus Contest sometime,
whipping the living daylights out of us in '64." Well,       we will see how good his outfit is. By the way, let's get
whatever the reason was, it was mighty nice of "you all"     the champion chorus of each district established and then
up North to receive us so cordially.                         bring them all together around January or February, 1950
                                                             and settle this argument.
The brothers seem to be paying a little more attention to
my suggestions than they used to do. I suggested in a        There have been so many explanations, claims and
column sometime ago that I would like to hear some           stories about the origin of "Sweet Roses of Morn" that I
quartet at Buffalo sing "Red Rose Rag" and "Sing Me To       want to give you the real low-down on this tune in my
Sleep." One of the quartets in the preliminaries sang        next column. I have waited a long time to do this so
"Red Rose Rag" very well and later some of the Brothers      everybody could get their necks stuck out. Now I expect
from down around Poland, Ohio cornered me and                to chop them right off, by giving you the correct story of
Brother McConnico of Tulsa, dragged us into an open          the song's origin, authenticated by affidavits and pictures
stairway and showed us a very fine arrangement of the        if necessary. I have known about how this piece came
"Red Rose Rag." These boys also ripped off one that          about ever since my visit to Shreveport, Louisiana back
thrilled both of us (we have never heard it before) called   in 1938 or 1939. There certainly will be some red faces
"Be Waiting At The Station," or something like that.         when I tell my story.
George O'Brien ought to have that one in the Society
collection and some of you quartets would do well to         Hoping you are the same,
steal it.                                                                                                         O. C.



                                                 December, 1949

My Father told me, when I was a boy, that a little           I imagine most everyone misunderstood what I was
education came in mighty handy sometimes, but that it        driving at. I am always bored with this glee club type of
could be overdone. I remembered that bit of wisdom for       singing myself. But I still think that choruses, by
a long time. But after I got to be a Doctor at the           showing the people a little of this in comparison with
University of Wyoming, I guess I sort of lost my head        barbershop harmony, will do a great deal to raise the
and got a little stuck-up. I began to read Thoreau, Plato,   prestige of barbershoppers and help folks generally to
Aristotle and other philosophers, and started to meditate    appreciate our type of harmony.
on the so-called better things. Naturally my cultural
thinking drifted around to music.                            If our choruses do very much singing in churches, and
                                                             there is more of it being done every day, they necessarily
Then in my last column I suggested our choruses should       must sing something on the order of the Hallelujah
have a few numbers in their repertoire of the glee club      chorus and other religious music. It would hardly be
and classical style to show audiences occasionally that      appropriate on those occasions to sing "Coney Island
barbershoppers could sing anything and sing it well. I       Babe", unless, of course, it were sung in Latin.
was even foolish enough to invite the brethren to write
me about this idea. Well, they did, and one guy out of       Brother Hank Hedges of Chicago, while marooned on a
the thirty or forty thousand barbershoppers agreed with      South Sea Island during the war, was about the only
me. Now that all the precincts have been heard from and      person on Bora Bora speaking English. He tells about
the ballots counted, I think I detect a slight odor of       teaching a quartet of natives to sing "Sweet Adeline" or
dissatisfaction about the whole business and a definite      some Irish barbershop number in American. The French
reluctance to do any demonstrating to audiences of this      priest, being unable to understand English, thought it was
type of choral singing. So now you boys just go ahead        a beautiful number, and had the quartet sing it one
and sing anything you want to.                               Sunday in Church. Hank says it was a great success and
                                                             many people hit the sawdust trail as a result. So we
                  Nobody Understood                          might sing some of our stuff in Latin and get by pretty
                                                             well in church.


                                                                                                                    29
            Wants to Refine Westinghouse                       couldn't meet all of the brothers or remember all their
                                                               names, but John Whalen, Hal Foye, Wes Enman, Joe
For a long time I have wanted the Westinghouse Quartet         Lopez, Bob Friend, (the fellow who sells baked beans),
to scrub up, slick back their hair, put on tails, white ties   as I remember, and a guy by the name of Emerson, as
and gloves, be serious for a few minutes, and sing the         well as many others gave me a big thrill with their
"Rigoletto" piece and "Oo-la-mobil-ay" as they are             enthusiasm for the work we are engaged in.
written in French or Italian. I'll wager they, as well as
other quartets who sing these numbers, can do them just        Hal Staab was attending a Bankers Convention at
as well as these fellows from the Metropolitan Opera           Swampscott, came over to the meeting, and invited Wes
Company. If that sort of a number done seriously is            Enman and me and our women over for dinner the next
sandwiched in with good barbershop harmony, any                night. We accepted and hobnobbed with these bankers a
audience will get a different idea of our organization, the    while in the afternoon, and in the evening listened to a
type of men in it and music we indulge in. Of course, the      fine glee club which entertained the convention. It was a
average chorus first must be sold on the idea. The men         rather sad occasion. The singers didn't seem any too
should realize that going through the torture of learning      happy in their work. The boys sang ‘The Boy with the
one or two numbers as examples for display and                 Little Red Drum" and various other typical glee club
comparison is worth the agony if, by doing this, the           numbers. The four or five hundred in the audience were
popularity of our Society is enhanced.                         mighty polite. At the proper time they dutifully
                                                               applauded in a very restrained, courteous manner. The
I heard a male chorus the other night on the radio sing        rambunctious, vociferous, enthusiasm that always greets
"Abide with Me", and although the tenors had the lead, it      a barbershop chorus rendition was entirely lacking. It
was mighty pretty. I wondered just how lovely this             was all very embarrassing to us. The Glee Club finally
number would be if Thorne, Diekema, Embury, Palmer             wound up with the "Lost Chord." When they had
or the other experts would arrange it right, and our           finished old Hal said "Boy, if they had only used Cy
choruses put in all their chords, echoes, improvisations,      Perkins arrangement, what they could have done with
phrasing, etc. If we are to Keep America Singing, it           that number." Wes said "Hal, what are these bums paid
seems we should use our talents to improve and perfect         for this stuff." Hal wasn't sure, and Wes said, "Next year
other forms of vocal music. Nobody has attempted to            when the bankers come over here, see if you can't get the
make it better in our generation. These classical and glee     Boston Chorus invited, so we can wake up these galoots.
club singers are in a rut, don't have any fun, and have        We will do it for nothing."
been following a set pattern for years. There is nothing
wrong with this type of vocalizing that a little barbershop    I had promised to give you the lowdown on the origin of
treatment will not cure. Like Dr. Spaeth, I really am a        "Sweet Roses of Morn" in my column this month. I have
patron of the Opera. I listen every Saturday night to the      been checking into my source material, and it may have
"Oak Ridge Quartet" and the "Old Hickory Singers' on           been "Bright Was the Night" I had in mind. Maybe it
"The Grand Old Opry" program broadcast from                    was two other songs. I'll get to that investigation later. I
Nashville.                                                     am sorry I mentioned it in the first place.

             Glee Gone — Bankers Bored                         Hoping you are the same, I am

I was in Boston a few weeks ago, and I wish I had the                                                                O. C.
space to describe the fine reception and entertainment
furnished me by the New England brethren. Of course, I




                                                  September, 1950

In one of the popular magazines there has been appearing       us literary people.     I have ducked my last two
for a month or two a series of articles about Ernie Pyle,      assignments in the Harmonizer and each time the dead
the famous war correspondent and columnist. It is              line passed I was exhausted but relieved. This is a much
disclosed in these stories that Ernie so thoroughly            truer explanation of my failure to write my piece than
disliked writing a column and meeting a dead line that         that offered by the editors in the last issue of the
when required to do so he almost always took to his bed        Harmonizer.
in fright. There seems to be a strange similarity among


30
I recall at one of the earlier Conventions someone             the last is yanked back up rather abruptly to the level of
introduced himself to me and mentioned reading my              the first "eye". I spoke to Phil Embury about this and
column. More recently, after I had missed the last two         after I had explained to him what "staccato" meant, and
issues of our magazine, someone told me in a roundabout        he understood what I was bellyaching about, he said that
way that an Illinois Brother had intimated             that    since he was on the Int'l Board this year, he would put a
somebody else had noticed the absence of my column. I          stop to the practice. In every case of this annoying (to
never could find out whether he was disappointed or            me) habit, I believe a single sustained chord is much to
pleased about it. No one else seemed to notice its             be preferred.
absence. I can't understand this indifference to talent. If
Spaeth, O'Brien, Boardman, Martin, et al, should miss          As an expert on many subjects, I think I can give quartets
their stint in the Harmonizer, the magazine would likely       aspiring to be champions some advice concerning
suspend publication.      Not a soul at the Omaha              selection of songs. If the Okie Four were competing
Convention made reference to the column, but my                again I would insist that it select three pairs of contest
enjoyment of that affair has inspired me to make this          numbers that had not been used in other contests. One of
effort at cooking up something for this issue. A great         each pair would be a fairly lively tune, like "The Old
many things impressed me about the Omaha meeting.              Piano Roll Blues" and the other a sweet type of song.
                                                               Fred Gregory, of Indiana, and I have been kicking
For one thing, this was the first Convention I remember        "Georgia Moon" around for the past Convention or two
where the decision of the judges in selecting the              and we think it might have possibilities. Then there are
champion quartet was not criticized by anyone. At most         such songs as "Sunshine of Your Smile", "Garden of
all the other contests the competition was so close that       Roses", with possibilities for a bass lead in the chorus,
naturally there would be some dissatisfaction with the         "In The Garden of Tomorrow", and other old ballads of
outcome. The Buffalo Bills were just simply "on the            this character.     And what's wrong with "Johnny
beam" and from their first appearance in the                   Doughboy" with the two sweet, though difficult, chords I
preliminaries, there was no stopping them.          This       ribbed up (with very little help from Dwight Olds and
circumstance should give encouragement to every future         Bill Anderson of Houston). In other words, the pattern
contesting quartet. It proves too that the judging panel,      set by the Buffalo Bills in trotting out new old numbers,
although it gave the Okie Four* a dirty deal at Grand          is a good one. The song they wound up with in the
Rapids, is, after all, doing about as good a job as any        finals, "Roses of Picardy" is one that we used to bounce
human organization can do.                                     around in the first World War. It was really too tough
                                                               for us Buck Privates but when given the business by a
One of the visiting Brethren called my attention to            bunch of experts it seems as easy as pie.
something I want to pass on as it may help some of the
quartets on their way up. This Brother had a "Geiger           Then a lot of old timers, when worked over by a good
counter" with him and noted that a member of one               quartet are simply superb. Have you heard The
quartet bobbed up and down, or "squatted", as the              Chordettes recording of "Carry Me Back to Old
Brother put it, 27 times in one song. The complaining          Virginny"? There is a tune, like "Silver Threads Among
Brother insisted this was entirely too many "squats" per       the Gold" that used to simply nauseate me when some
song. I was so absorbed in the chords I didn't notice it       bird would start it in the kitchen while we were frying
until it was called to my attention, but thereafter I did      hamburgers. But the way The Chordettes do it makes
note that this was about the only gesture some of the          one wonder if something couldn't be done with "Mandy
quartets made use of. To us sensitive artists, appropriate     Lee" and "Coney Island Baby". I heard Meredith
gestures, use of hands, animated facial expressions, etc.,     Wilson's "Singing People" work over "My Wild Irish
give emphasis to a pleasing rendition of a song. Even          Rose" the other night with a lot of new stuff in it, and it
the entrance and exit of a quartet on and from the stage is    brought tears to these bifocally enslaved old eyes of
important. For instance, did you observe Art Patterson         mine.
as he lead the Four Chorders from the stage at the
conclusion of each appearance? Even my Betty Anne              Hoping you are the same, I am
agrees that he has finesse in this particular maneuver and
that it adds to the attractiveness of the quartet. Of course                                                        OCC
I could show him a thing or two about his baritone.
                                                               *The Okie Four, built around the inimitable baritone of
I also noticed a few quartets continue, as they did in the     the Founder, was an integral part of all Society
early days of the Society, to split or break off a chord in    conventions during the early years. Why it never
three staccato tones like "There's a tear in your eye—         attained international champion status is still a mystery
eye—eye." The last two "eyes" are short and snappy             to the Okie Four . . . Eds
with the middle one dropped about an eighth of an inch;


                                                                                                                      31
                                                  December, 1950
Dear Editors:

I am right in a middle of a long-planned vacation and         quartet. I heartily recommend an excursion into the old
have been spending some of it out on the farm, building       Harmonizers sometime when sitting around the
a trench silo, cleaning out fence rows and repairing          fireplace on a cold evening.
fences. The deadline for my column has come upon me
unawares and I don't see how I can do justice to it at this   Some fella up North came up with a good idea not long
late hour. Besides, I have a lame back.                       ago when he suggested sending sick or ailin' Brethren a
                                                              copy of "Keep America Singing" instead of flowers.
I did notice one or two things in the September               Any red-blooded barbershopper would a lot rather have a
Harmonizer, that is, after reading my own column a            copy of the Society's History than a bunch of posies,
time or two, that I want to mention. I was tickled to find    especially the ones who can read. Every chapter ought to
some of the Brethren criticizing Bro. Geoffrey O'Hara         have 10, or 20 copies on hand for that purpose.
for his remark that us barbershoppers should forget all
about arrangements, notes and stuff and just throw our        And don't forget to tell the boys any time they're coming
heads back and "beller". I doubt if old Geoff meant it        to Tulsa to just bring along their 10 or 20 copies of the
just that way.                                                history and I'll be glad to autograph them, but the real
                                                              reason is I want them to autograph mine. Some day I
But it hasn't been long since I suggested our choruses        expect, my autograph will be worth as much as a genuine
should learn a few more or less classical pieces, just to     "G. Washington" or "A. Lincoln"—well half as much
show audiences occasionally that barbershoppers are not       anyway, and I may collect an autograph that my
low brow, but can sing anything and sing it well. Many        grandchildren will treasure.
of the Brethren disagreed with my suggestion rather
violently and now they disagree also with Bro. O'Hara's       During recent weeks a number of the Brethren from over
ideas. All of which proves, I guess, there is a middle        the country have come in to visit me while passing
course which most of the Brethren believe should be           through Tulsa. I wish more of the fellows when in the
followed by all the faithful.                                 vicinity of Tulsa, would drop in for a chat. I am in Room
                                                              1142, Stanolind Building, so won't you just come on up,
The pictures on page 8 of that issue of the newly elected     kick the door open and come in. I always have a good
Int'l B'd Members sure made me stop and think. Each of        supply of Star Navy chewing tobacco on hand and am
those fellows actually represents more members than we        never busy.
had in the whole Society as late as 1942. Time was,
back in '38 and '39 when a guy almost automatically           Recently, Brother Jones, President of the Manhattan
became a VP in the Society if he could point to one other     Chapter, was here; then Bro. Ems from Florida dropped
member in his area besides himself. Probably neither of       in. A few days before, a Brother from Peoria, Illinois
'em had paid any dues. And now we're going to have an         came up and about the same time old Bert Phelps, of
Int'l B'd Mid-winter Meeting in San Francisco. For            Kansas City, came through and asked me to show him a
years, Bing Crosby was our only card holder out there         baritone note or two. I'm always glad to bust one or two,
and he ain't such a hot baritone, at least not as good as     anytime.
some I could name if modesty wasn't one of my vices.
                                                              I have got to get back to the farm, although I am sore all
         Recommends Keeping Harmonizers                       over from totin' fence posts.

I wonder how many of the Brethren have a complete set         Hoping you are the same, I am
of Harmonizers from the very beginning. Maybe it
would be a good idea if all the members who have a                                                                 O.C.
complete set would drop me a postcard so I'll know how
many people can refer back to a certain article if I make
reference to it in my column. I was going through some
of the old numbers and reread some of the excellent
articles like the one old Welsh Pierce wrote several years
back about the proper way to act when listening to a




32
                                               March, 1951

I haven't organized any clubs recently and I suppose    and wore out several of these records when I was a
it is about time I was getting another one started.     kid. Well, the Gamboliers sing this number better
Three or four years ago old Brother Frank Thorne        than the two opera stars. If you remember the piece,
and I were talking about the unprecedented growth of    the bass (alto in the duet) shows off to beat all "git
the Society and I asked him what he thought it would    out". The bass singer of the Gamboliers, throws out
be like in 1977, when we were in our 85th year. We      his chest and struts his stuff in this number and the
promised each other we would meet at the 1977           boys charge him $1 each time they sing it, which
Convention and survey the situation. I mentioned        goes into the "kitty" for something or other. Old Joe
this to Carroll Adams one time, as he also was born     Stern ribbed up the other arrangement for the boys—
in 1892. He promised to hobble in to the 1977           "The Rosary." This really is about the finest quartet
Convention and help Frank and me up the steps of        number I have heard for many a day.
the hotel. I recently wrote old Sandy Brown of New
York, inviting him to join us on our 85th natal         I noticed a picture in the last Harmonizer of the
anniversary. He is making his plans well in advance     Jamestown Symphonic Four. I heard these boys two
to be with us. So, with this nucleus we are inviting    summers ago while in Jamestown, and they are a
all of you brethren who were born in 1892 to join the   unique aggregation. I suppose they have been on a
"85 Club" and start building up your wardrobe and       lot of Parades in the East. Certainly they would be a
making plans for the celebration in 1977. Since the     hit on anybody's show. When they first came out on
Decrepits and all those other outlaw organizations      the stage when I heard them, I was sure I wasn't
have their dinners and get-togethers at the annual      going to like them, because one of the brethren had a
Conventions, I suppose Frank, Sandy and Carroll,        musical saw in his hand. If there is anything that is
since they have nothing else much to do, and since I    corny in my estimation, it is a musical saw. But in
am busy, will cook up a meeting at the Toledo           this aggregation, in combination with the other
Convention for our new club.                            instruments, this saw was "tops." The weird barber
                                                        shop harmony these fellows put together with their
Of course, if you don't figure on living to be 85, or   assortment of instruments is certainly worth listening
being around in 1977, there really is not much use in   to.
your joining us. If you do plan on celebrating your
85th year at the Convention in 1977, write to any of    I noticed something in the Harmonizer about the
the three brethren mentioned above and get your         Muskegon Jam Session at which some Englishmen
name in the pot. Has any city asked for the 1977        were present. This reminded me that the Canadian
Convention? I hope they hurry up and get that detail    boys and their friends in the States, should get
settled. How about Tulsa for that year?                 something started towards organizing chapters in
                                                        England. I wonder why Roy Frisby, and these other
Not long ago I went up to Springfield, Missouri to      fellows who have been traipsing around over England
present the Charter to the new chapter and take in      recently didn't do a little organizing. Certainly some
their show. They have a live bunch of addicts in that   effort should be made to get a chapter or two started
city and two or three good quartets. Their chorus was   in the British Isles.
especially good. The Kansas City brethren came
down in busses and contributed a great deal to the      Well, this isn't much of a Column but it will have to
festivities. The Gamboliers sang two numbers for me     do until next time, as my hands are full of splinters
that I liked very much. I don't know whether any of     from fixing fence at the farm and I can't write very
you brethren are old enough to remember a Gold Seal     good.
record of 40 or 50 years ago, by Madame Homer and
Alma Gluck, called "Whispering Hope". My mother         Hoping you are the same, I am
thought this was about the slickest thing ever done                                                      O.C.




                                                                                                          33
                                                      June, 1951

I always put off this column until the last minute and then   Honey and I never cease to marvel at the continual
get nervous and tired and bellyache about the chore.          growth of the Society. What pleases him most is seeing
Betty Anne was home the other day and I was                   so many of the younger generation taking to old-
complaining, and she said, "Why don't you let me write it     fashioned barbershop harmony.          Being a college
for you?" I took her up on the deal, so from here on it's     freshman, I, too, am tremendously interested in the
Betty's. Take it away.                         O. C.          youngsters in the organization. As I've said many times,
                                                              I'd rather listen to four good-looking young men sing
"Honey" (my dad) has been so busy fixing fences and           than four middle aged men with receding hairlines—or
cleaning up our farm that he asked me to write his            should I bring that up. (You should not . . . Eds.)
column for this Harmonizer.           With my literary
experience on a high school newspaper, I expect to            Not long ago the Oklahoma City Chapter held its annual
receive a token for my work. This is another way of           Parade and presented a group of high school boys—"The
getting a "buck" or two out of my "old man."                  Leopard City Four", and that quartet was really swell.
                                                              These younger fellows are really catching up with you
Having been brought up in the barbershop harmony              older barbershoppers. I'll never forget listening to the
atmosphere, I feel I know as much about the Society as        Chamberlin Brothers in the lobby of the hotel at Omaha
Honey does—maybe a little more. You know this                 last year. One couldn't ask for any better singing. Like
younger generation thinks it's pretty smart. But being        Honey, I have one qualification for a quartet—that they
away at the University of Oklahoma it's a little difficult    "pitch 'em high and sing 'em loud." That's the kind of
for me to attend Parades as I used to do. I did take time     harmony that makes chills run up and down one's spine.
off to attend the Parades at Oklahoma City and Wichita
and, boy, they were fine. Honey never fails to send me        Ever since that Sunday morning last June when our car
all data concerning events in the Society and informs me      drove out of Omaha after that marvelous barbershop
on all the new quartets he's heard and liked.                 breakfast, Honey and I have been talking and planning
                                                              about the Toledo Convention. We had no sooner gotten
Last year while a senior in high school I organized my        out of the city before I began calculating when school
own barbershop trio. We never could find a bass.              would be out the following June and when we would
                                                              arrive at Toledo. Every year the Conventions get better
I was determined that if we ever got a fourth, she would      and the competition gets a little harder. As a result, all
have to sing like Janet Ertel, bass of the Chordettes, but    forty of the quartets are really tops, the cream of the
no one could meet these qualifications. Surprising as it      crop. I'd be a nervous wreck if I had to judge. Just
was to Honey, we got to be pretty good. We sang on            amateur judging from the audience is hard enough.
several radio programs in Tulsa and also on television.
That's when I began to tell Honey a thing or two about        While browsing through some of the old Harmonizers
barbershopping. The girls and I worked up a new               when I was home recently, I was surprised that I knew so
arrangement on "Whispering." The second time through          many people and quartets in the Society. I brought the
we had the lowest part sing a solo (using her baritone        fact to Honey's attention and we sat for a couple of hours
melody) with the other girl and me humming.                   reminiscing about all the nice, sweet people we know
                                                              throughout the country because of the Society. I feel that
It was very effective and never failed to bring tears to      many of you are my uncles and aunts because I've grown
Honey's eyes. You fellows ought to try that trick more        up among all of Honey's barbershop friends.
often, having the bass or baritone sing the words with the
remaining parts being hummed.               (As an old        For instance, there is "Uncle" Al Learned, Editor of the
barbershopper, it's my duty to tip off all you youngsters     Geneva, New York daily paper. He is going to give me a
to novel ideas.)                                              job as reporter (if I major in Journalism) or get himself
                                                              elected to the School Board (if I major in Education) and
Another one of my father's favorite numbers we did was        hire me as a teacher. If I flunk out in college, "Uncle"
"Just a Little Fond Affection." I'd sure like to have some    Jim Knipe will give me a job as "printer's devil", I hope,
quartet work up an arrangement of that song, and sing it      in his print shop. So you see I don't have to worry about
for Honey and me at Toledo. If there is not time for this,    a job when I get out of college (either through the front
before the Convention, I'll show any quartet our              or back door). It's such a nice feeling to know that in
arrangement when I arrive at the Commodore Perry. I           almost every part of the U. S. and Canada we have real
know all the parts except the bass.                           friends, and no matter where we go we'll run into some


34
fellow barbershoppers. There sure is a bunch of               So until June I'll concentrate on my studies and be
wonderful people in this organization.                        looking forward to seeing all of you in Toledo. I'm all
                                                              excited about it.
Honey mentioned in his March column the "85 Club" he
was organizing. I'm planning to be right there with him       Hoping you are the same, I am
in 1977. Gee—I'll be ancient by then—45. Unless I tie
into my history, English, zoology and education                                                              Betty Anne
assignments, I'll still be in Oklahoma University in 1977.




                                                 September, 1951

Well, I have been putting off this Column as long as          The Kentucky delegation, as usual, made quite an
possible, and since I haven't Betty Anne to write it for      impression on me. I got a chuckle when these Brethren
me, I am just sitting here wondering what to talk about.      tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, confidential
It has been quite a letdown since the Convention to get       like, "Save your Confederate money, its value is
back on the job and get my mind on business again. So         increasing! It is now worth almost as much as United
many things happened at Toledo that impressed me, and         States currency. The South will rise again!" These boys,
I will remember them for a long time.                         dressed as Kentucky colonels, were pretty cute and in my
                                                              mind's eye, I could almost see the Old Kentucky Home
The Cash family got into the hotel early Wednesday            and tall frosty glasses with springs of mint here and there
morning before the festivities started on Friday. I saw a     where they'd do the most good.
Brother already tagged, sitting in the lobby and went
over and got acquainted with him. He had come all the         I mentioned to Mark Bowsher of Washington, D. C., a
way from the northwest coast. We sat there watching the       year or more ago, about the possibilities of "Sing Me To
early birds arrive and this Brother said to me, "This is my   Sleep." Mark made an arrangement of this song and the
first Barbershop Convention. I wanted to get here early       Navy boys, after many attempts, finally caught up with
and I have been amazed, watching these boys come in           me on the street late Saturday night and sang it. It is a
and greet their friends. I have never seen such a display     pretty arrangement. Ed Place told me he was having
of fellowship and affection. This is nothing like any         "Georgia Moon" arranged and would have it ready for
other Convention I have ever attended."                       singing purposes before long. Fred Gregory and I have
                                                              been kicking this tune around for some time and we
Just then some of the Brothers came over and told us          think it is a good quartet number. You boys ought to
about a Canadian Barbershopper; they said he must be          look it over, and "Sing Me To Sleep," too. Then there is
the champion addict, who had driven four or five              Betty Anne's tune, "Just a Little Fond Affection" that
thousand miles from Northwest Canada in an Austin car,        Deac Martin has arranged, which will bear inspection.
all by himself. Shortly thereafter the big delegation of
Californians began to show up, having come 2700 or            The most important affair I participated in happened
2800 miles. I hope somebody got a picture of the              Friday morning. Buzz Haeger, the "triple threat" from
Canadian Barbershopper and his Austin and that it will        Illinois (lead-tenor-baritone); Carleton Scott, that lusty,
appear with proper story in the current or some future        boisterous, positive tenor from Michigan; Carl Jones,
Harmonizer.                                                   Indiana's most famous bass, and I, the World's Greatest
                                                              Barber Shop Baritone, were polishing off the two chords
One night at Toledo I had a conversation with a               in "Johnny Doughboy" and the first six or seven fine
Canadian Brother and we agreed that it was a shame that       chords in "I Wish You Were Jealous." We attracted such
the American Barbershoppers didn't know the words to          a crowd that we were forced to desist and let the Hotel
"God Save the King." I confessed to him I knew not a          Lobby clear out a little. Then we fell to discussing the
single word of the song. So let's have the words printed      "All-American Quartet" mentioned in Charley Ward's
in the Harmonizer and make an effort to memorize the          "Share the Wealth" column page 36, June Harmonizer.
one verse which we always sing in connection with "My
Country 'tis of Thee." I notice these Canadians know the      You will recall Charley suggested annually picking an
words to our song all right.                                  All-American Quartet by giving each chapter one vote,




                                                                                                                     35
etc. Charley said two fellows from the Southtown               Conventions, Parades, District Meetings, etc., have heard
Chapter (who apparently were newcomers to the                  and observed practically all the singers and know the
business and woefully inexperienced) had suggested             qualifications necessary to consider in making up an All-
such an All-American Quartet composed of Herman                American Quartet from past, present and future barber
Struble, tenor; Max Cripe, lead; Huck Sinclair, baritone;      shop artists. Our unanimous decision was as follows:
and Art Gracey, bass.                                          BUZZ HAEGER, Lead, CARLETON SCOTT, Tenor, O.
                                                               C. CASH, Baritone, and CARL JONES, Bass.
Well, Buzz, Carleton, Carl and I had quite a laugh over
this selection, but finally conceded that the members of       We figured this would end the All-American Quartet
this suggested All-American Quartet meant well, and            selections and make it unnecessary to conduct the annual
always did the best they could. Our objection to them          election suggested by Charley. And, too, after all is said
was that they lacked experience and were too slow and          and done, there is always more said than done. Still and
timid in their attacks and too fast and furious on their       all, it might be just as well to go ahead with the election
releases, besides not being very good in other respects.       to confirm our judgment and make it official.

After carefully considering all the outstanding quartets       Hoping you are the same, I am
and quartet singers in the Society, we finally came to a
decision as to our selection. Certainly no one will                                                                   O. C.
question our experience, ability and judgment in this
matter. All of us have been regular attendants at




                                                     March, 1952

The other day I met Dr. E. H. Eckel on the street here in      Probably only a few of you brothers have seen the
Tulsa. Dr. Eckel is Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church,        method in operation, which I invented and perfected and
an ardent barbershopper and one of the most enthusiastic       have used for many years with such astounding success.
and efficient Presidents we have had in the Tulsa              The idea is to flip the fly rod in such a manner that a big
Chapter. The good Doctor addressed me, as he always            loop is started in the fly line at the tip of the rod, which
does, and as is eminently proper, "Good morning,               rolls out gracefully to the end of the line, carries the
Venerable Founder." Then he said, "I missed your               weight of the loop away from the rod and beyond the
Column in the last Harmonizer." So far as I know he is         obstructed fly and thus jerks the fly out on the farther
the only one of our fifty or sixty thousand readers who        side of the obstruction. This saves a lot of time, but
noticed the absence of my effort in the last issue. I was      unfortunately only a few have been able to master the
so thankful that I had one fan left that I determined to       trick and thus enjoy its advantages. I developed the art
write a column for this issue even though I could think of     to such an extent that in really difficult situations, in
nothing of interest to say.                                    order to dislodge the fly, I sometimes roll a series of
                                                               loops, one right after the other, with a small loop inside a
I don't know what bass and fly fishing have to do with         larger loop. Occasionally I have as many as five or six
barbershop harmony, but I am going to write about it           loops rolling one right after the other down the fly line,
anyway. Of course, when four guys go out fly fishing,          perpendicular to the water, with an equal number of
it's pretty nice to sit around the camp fire at night and do   loops sandwiched in between, rolling horizontally to the
a little harmonizing. Many years ago I developed such a        water. It has not been easy to perfect this system, but it
fondness for fly fishing that I now look with scorn upon       is such a pleasure to enjoy an art of this type, at which I
any other type of angling. Bass fishing with casting rod       am so adept, that I often deliberately foul up a fly just for
and plug is just about on a par with dynamiting, in my         the enjoyment of retrieving it. Invention of this process
opinion. Just like baritone singing. I got to be mighty        gave me almost as much satisfaction as originating and
good at fly casting. In fact, I invented the system, which     perfecting the baritone part in quartet singing.
only a few expert fly fishermen have learned, which
system is employed to quickly dislodge a fly caught on a       The sportiest type of game fish we have in the Southwest
lily pad, a rock or submerged limb, without having to          is the bass. Of course we enjoy hooking on a fly rod
wade or row the boat over to unhook it.                        these big black perch, yellow bellied perch, and pop-
                                                               eyed perch, but the object of most fly fishing expeditions



36
is bass, in this country. We have the little brown bass,      the going price for a good bass, and told him to go to the
the white bass, the small-mouthed bass, and the loud-         lobby and yell out, "Is there a bass in the house? The
mouthed bass. The loud-mouthed bass, in this area,            boys in Room 424 want a ‘barbershop' bass to fill out a
sometimes reach a weight of 11 or 12 pounds. To hook          quartet." (The "barbershop bass" is of the loud-mouthed
one of these specimens on a light fly rod is almost as        species and sometimes reaches a weight of 300 pounds
much of a thrill as learning my system of dislodging the      or more.)
fly from a reed or lily pad.
                                                              Judge Shook stayed in the room to take any possible
One of the most enjoyable and unusual bass deals I have       telephone calls and I followed the boy down to the lobby
ever been mixed up in, was one that Judge Edgar Shook         to see that he didn't embezzle our money and double
of Kansas City, and I got into at Jefferson City, Missouri,   cross us. Within a few minutes three strangers came
back around 1940.          Judge Shook is an old-time         busting into the room, each apologizing that he was not
barbershopper who invented most of the chords in              really a bass, but would try to fit in. It turned out they
"You're as Welcome as the Flowers in May," while              were all thin tenors, but since Judge Shook was quite
attending the University of Missouri. He and I were in        versatile, he acted like a bass and we spent a very
Jefferson City at the Missouri Hotel this particular week-    enjoyable evening. One of the guys who showed up was
end trying a lawsuit—which we won, of course. On              a fellow Judge Shook had sung with at Missouri
reaching the hotel we picked up an acquaintance of the        University twenty or twenty-five years before and had
Judge's in the lobby and went up to our room and shortly      not seen since, which just goes to show something or
developed a barbershop trio. We needed a bass. As it          other.
happened there was a State Highway Commission road
"letting" the following day at the State Capitol, and the     Now you fellows probably won't think much of this
lobby of the hotel was full of road construction people,      column, but Doc Eckel will like it and after all I must
engineers, etc., all big, husky fellows, with hair on their   cater to my public. After reading this over it does seem a
chests, dressed in khaki, with laced boots, all fine,         trifle juvenile.
upstanding specimens of men, and Judge Shook and I
figured that surely there must be a bass in the crowd.        Hoping you are the same, I am
How to contact the bass was the problem. Finally I
suggested we have a bellboy just haul off and page a                                                               O. C.
bass. We called the boy to the room, gave him a quarter,
since we didn't want to be cheap and were willing to pay




                                                      June, 1952

I must tell you about my operation sometime, but I am         I have a Philosophy quiz coming up this week and
just out of the hospital and don't feel quite up to it yet.   should be hitting the books, but Honey's "hollerin'" for
However, I have asked Betty Anne to fix up something          help on his Column, so here I go again.
for this issue. I don't know how good a job she will do,
as she is very absorbed in a radio program which she and      Last year at this time Honey was building fences on the
another co-ed, Joanne Youngblood of St. Louis, are            farm. This time his excuse is his recent operation. But
producing on radio station KNOR, Norman, Oklahoma.            gall bladder or no gall bladder, the Cash family will be at
There just seems to be no end of talent in the Cash           Kansas City promptly at noon, June 12. Last year when
family. Betty Anne has a newspaper picture to prove           we arrived at the Convention, the Mid-States were
that she is a "disc jockey," but she will no doubt "raise a   waiting in front of the hotel, grabbed our luggage, ripped
ruckus" on seeing it in the Harmonizer, as her hair           off a tune, and "bell-hopped" for us. Of course they
wasn't fixed just right.                                      insisted on the usual tips, and this incident made mother
                                                              more determined than ever to complete her book, "Do
So now Betty, you take over . . .                             Men Ever Grow Up?" We expect the same service this
                                                              year from some quartet when we arrive at Kansas City.
                         * * *                                (We are liberal tippers.)




                                                                                                                     37
Since I saw you all last I've been very busy at the         parents met Allen and his parents and headed for the
University of Oklahoma. In addition to my studies,          nearest church.      Oddly enough the church was
and various school activities, I found time to organize a   decorated for a wedding to be held later that day. Patsy
girls' barbershop quartet. We didn't last long, however,    and the other bride-to-be, after becoming acquainted,
because we were practicing at times when we should          discovered they both were from Oklahoma. The bride
have been studying for quizzes. My grades began to          insisted that Patsy and Allen use her decorations and
reflect my love for barbershop harmony, and mother          minister for their wedding.
became a little disturbed. (Honey didn't care.) About
this time, a sorority sister and I started our own disc     No organist could be found, so Mrs. Hare, mother of
jockey program on the Norman radio station and I was        the groom, played the wedding march. There was no
right back in the same predicament—crowded for time.        soloist available, and Patsy simply decided that "The
As a result, I haven't been able to attend many parades     Four Gobs" would furnish the music. At the proper
this year. I did get to the Enid, Wichita and Oklahoma      time the groom, best man and the other two members
City parades and enjoyed them all. I had to miss the        of the quartet who were serving as ushers, sang, in true
Tulsa show because Honey was in the hospital.               barbershop style, "I Love You Truly" and "Heart of My
                                                            Heart." Then the bridegroom stepped out of the
Many of the younger quartets I know have joined the         quartet, followed by the best man, and the ceremony
service, and although they are scattered all over the       proceeded.
world, I've managed to keep in contact with some of
them. The Four Nubbins from Spencer, Iowa, have             Of course the ceremony almost didn't begin in the first
temporarily disbanded because, I believe, all of them       place. The minister, groom and best man were
are in the service. The last I heard, Harold Krile, bass,   accidentally locked in the church study just as Allen's
was somewhere in the North Atlantic, aboard the USS         mother began to play the wedding march. She played
Edisto. The tenor and bass of the Silver Linings of         the thing through once and nothing happened. Then
Wellington, Ohio, are both in the Air Force. Raymond        she played it through again and still nothing happened.
McQuate is stationed at Westover Field, Mass. Don           After repeating the wedding march a third time a
Rigo is located at Edmond, Oklahoma, only thirty            frightening silence developed. The stillness was
miles from my school.                                       broken by a faint knocking on the locked door and the
                                                            groom, best man and minister were released, the
I haven't heard recently from the Four Chorders, but I      wedding march repeated and the ceremony began.
hope they are still together and that we will hear them
in competition in Kansas City. I wonder what's              Just thinking about the quartets in the service and
happened to the Phone Booth Four, The Leopard City          recounting the experiences of these barbershoppers,
Four, and the other younger quartets I have met at          further convinces me that the young people of the
various Parades.                                            Society should get together at an annual luncheon
                                                            during the Convention and become better acquainted.
I do hear regularly from the Gobs of Harmony—which          The Directors and Officers of the Society have their
was not disorganized because of the service. These          luncheons, as do the Decrepits and Decrepettes. We
boys sang together in school at Bartlesville, Oklahoma,     young folks might as well have such an affair of our
enlisted as a body in the Navy and have remained            own. We're missing out on a lot of fun. If you are
together throughout their term of service. At the           interested in such an annual meeting, look me up at
moment the Gobs are aboard the USS Taussig                  Kansas City and we'll make plans to do something
somewhere off Korea.                                        along these lines at the next Convention.

I became acquainted with this quartet through a             I'm eager to see all of you again and as old Honey
classmate, Patsy Maylen, who is now married to one of       would say, Hoping you are the same, I am,
the boys.
                                                                                                    BETTY ANNE
The quartet is composed of Galen McClain, Larry
Haugan, and Allen and Richard Hare, brothers. Last
spring the Gobs were assigned overseas duty and Patsy
rushed to San Diego where she married Allen Hare.

The time was too short for elaborate wedding
preparations. So on reaching San Diego, Patsy and her




38
                                                     September, 1952

Of the four or five thousand brethren I talked to during          On the fifth day after the operation the doctors came into
the Convention at Kansas City recently, only one                  my room, and it is about this visit that I kept trying to tell
manifested any interest whatever in my operation. This            everybody at Kansas City. Well, these doctors were
guy, it developed, expected to have his gall bladder              tearing off bandages and tape, here and there, yanking
vulcanized soon and all he wanted to know about my                out stitches, pulling out drain pipes and things, and
operation was, "Did it hurt?" This brother came up to me          amidst what appeared to be a carefree, relaxing and
within a few minutes after I got to the Convention and I          enjoyable interlude, casually began talking about their
was encouraged to think that I was going to have a great          skill in the culinary field, favorite recipes, etc. Dr.
time. I immediately launched into the details concerning          Wallace, whose wife had just returned home from an
my experience in the hospital, but the brother interrupted        operation, was bragging about the way he fixed up pork
quickly to get down to the basic question, "Did it hurt?"         chops and cream gravy during her absence. Apparently
Then he vanished and I did not see him again. I cornered          he had prepared that dish three times a day for the entire
Brother Davis of New York the last day of the                     period his wife was in the hospital. The other doctors
Convention, and began to lead up to the subject when he           didn't seem to be much impressed with the cooking skill
suddenly said, "pardon me, but I see my son, he's hungry          of this doctor, although they did comment favorably on
. . . got to feed him," and dashed off. The boy didn't look       the polka dot apron he used in this pork chop affair. All
hungry to me. Then there was Prof. Stirling Wilson, my            this was rather uninteresting to me and at the first
fellow columnist. Now us columnists usually get                   opportunity when these doctors had to stop to take a
together and talk shop at these Conventions, but all these        breath, I cut in to tell them about a dish I had invented,
boys except Prof. Wilson seemed to avoid me. I had                cooked, and served for years with great success. When
several conversations with the Professor and every time I         the Okie Four was the rage of barbershopping in this
brought up the subject of my operation he steered the             country, we trained on this food. I want to pass this
conversation around to the general excellence of his              recipe on to you brethren as it is particularly suitable for
column.                                                           late snacks at quartet rehearsals. I call it "The Gall
                                                                  Bladder Special or The Doctor's Delight." This quartet
Now I have been listening to details of operations from           of doctors of mine seemed to think it was a great
guys for thirty or forty years and my inability to tell           concoction and one that men could stir up better than
anyone about my own operation has so discouraged me               women. All except Dr. Steel, who is a woman, and you
that I sometimes wish I had never had it performed.               know how women are, said they were going right home
Nevertheless I am going to discuss it interestingly in this       and try it out.
column and I know at least one person, the proof reader,
will have to read it.                                             Here is the recipe:

I entered the hospital on the Saturday afternoon of our           Melt a walnut sized chunk of butter in the frying pan.
annual Parade. Early Sunday morning good old Joe                  Take 4 tomales and mash them up in the butter. Pour 1/3
Stern and the Gamboliers of Kansas City showed up                 of a can of chili (with or without beans) in the pan and
outside my hospital room and began a serenade. At the             mix with the tamales until good and hot. Add 2
moment the four doctors who were concerned in my                  tablespoons of chopped onions and green peppers which
operation (Dr. Hotz, Dr. Pratt, Dr. Wallace and Dr.               have been precooked; then break 4 eggs into the mixture,
Steel—a quartet, you will observe) were making their              stir, scramble, or mix up until the eggs are done. (Don't
last preoperative examination, laying out the work,               cook eggs too hard, that's bad for your stomach.) Season
looking over the territory, preparing blueprints, and             well with chili pepper, horse-radish, pepper sauce,
making final plans.           The Gamboliers, although            ketchup, and any other condiments you have handy.
interrupting this preoperative exploration, made a                This makes four servings—just enough for the quartet.
tremendous hit with my surgical foursome, as well as the
hospital staff, and all the patients in this large institution.   After eating this dish along about midnight and
The public address system was turned on so that all of            rehearsing another song or two, you will observe that
the patients nurses and doctors could hear the concert.           you haven't had enough and are still hungry. But don't
                                                                  be a chump, you must remember there are 8 more
The operation went off nicely the next morning and I got          tamales in the can you have just opened, and 2/3 of the
along fine, thanks to the skill and attention given me by         can of chili left. Also there are 8 eggs left in the
my doctor quartet.                                                refrigerator out of the dozen your wife bought to make
                                                                  that cake. Well, just go ahead and double the recipe, fix


                                                                                                                            39
up another batch of the mixture and serve it for dessert.     instance have I ever found one with the slightest
After that you rip off another tune or two, go on home        indication of gall bladder trouble."
and lie down to a peaceful, restful, dreamless sleep.
                                                              As a midnight rehearsal snack you will find no finer dish
After I had outlined this recipe to my doctor quartet, Dr.    to give you that verve and dash so necessary for the
Hotz asked me how long I had been eating this                 ambitious quartet. I heartily recommend it to you, and
appetizing dish. I told him I invented it early in life and   that's about all I remember about my operation, except it
that my fondness for the dish may have had something to       wasn't as painful as my tonsillectomy. I'll tell you about
do with the poor condition of my gall bladder. Dr. Pratt      that some time, and don't cook the eggs too hard, just
was quick to say, "Oh, no! No, if you could have held         kinder soft scrambled.
out a year or two longer this diet probably would have
dissolved all those stones in your gall bladder." Then he     Hoping you are the same, I am,
continued, with the full approval of the other three
doctors in this conference, "I say this because I have                                                              O. C.
operated on thousands of Mexicans and in not a single




                                                  December, 1952

We are going into the fifteenth year of the life of our       timid and conservative besides being backward. Without
Society. I can hardly realize that such a long period has     waiting for an invitation or any encouragement, the
elapsed since a few of us first got together in Tulsa, and    quartet launched into "Roll Away Jordan" and simply
in a spirit of fun and good-fellowship formed the             laid us in the aisles. It was the first organized quartet we
SPEBSQSA. In the coming year, which marks a decade            had heard and it sounded mighty satisfying.
and a half of enjoyment and pleasure through our
organization, it seems particularly appropriate that we       Since then Hank has sung in a number of quartets and his
embark on some project of extreme importance to               present outfit is the "Boresome Foursome", consisting of,
celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of our Society. I think   besides himself, Ernie Dick, Clarence Sloan and Britt
I know just exactly what that project should be.              Stegall. These boys sing a song "My Cutie is due at Two
                                                              to Two Today" which is about the niftiest thing I have
Many of you boys know old Hank Wright of Oklahoma             ever heard any quartet do. Old Britt puts the stinger on
City. Well, old Hank and I were sitting in the lobby of       the end of it and this arrangement should be recorded and
the Muelebach Hotel during the Kansas City Convention         put in the archives of the Society so it will not be lost to
when along came old King Cole and gave us a sales talk        posterity.
on his building fund idea. Now while these two brethren
are considerably my senior (and both look much older)         "Now back to my news, please", as Gabriel Heatter
yet after all they are comparatively young men. You will      would say. Well, after old King had gone his way, Hank
understand I use the term "old" as one of affection and       and I sat there in the Muehlebach lobby discussing the
endearment.                                                   early days of the Society and the prospect of eventually
                                                              having a national shrine in the shape of our own
Before I get into the main subject of this column, I think    permanent headquarters building. We could hardly
I ought to tell you something about Old Hank. He read         realize that such a project was so near a reality, but as we
something about our first meeting here in Tulsa in April      discussed it after being inspired by Brother Cole's
1938, and without contacting any of us, drove over to         enthusiasm, we came to the conclusion that raising the
Arkansas City, Kansas, the day of our second meeting,         money would be quickly and easily accomplished if
picked up his old High School quartet, consisting of Ed       every chapter absorbed just a little of the fervor and
Reed, Ray and Rex Garris, and hauled them down to             ardor for the project displayed by Brother Cole and many
Tulsa, rehearsing on the way. This quartet had not been       other brethren in the Society. I said to old Hank, "Why
together for twenty or twenty-five years. When these          can't the Oklahoma City and Tulsa chapters interest all
boys entered the room Brother Puny Blevens was                the chapters in Oklahoma in putting on a special building
directing about 100 fellows in gang singing. When the         fund parade at Oklahoma City some Saturday night, then
song was finished, Hank yelled out, "Quiet, you bums,         bring the talent and show over to Tulsa for a Sunday
we want to sing a song." We were all shocked at this          matinee.
language, as at that time the bunch was quite refined,


40
We could thus put on two shows with two ‘sellouts' with       If Oklahoma can raise from $5,000 to $10,000 quickly
a minimum of expense." Old Hank was striving to break         on shows at Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Enid, many of the
in on the conversation, but I shut him up and continued.      northern and eastern states should be able to do much
"With all profits going to the building fund I am sure the    better, and during the fifteenth year in the life of our
quartets would participate for their actual expenses.         Society we can easily have this building fund deal
These two shows could easily clear, for the building          buttoned up.
fund, from Six to Ten Thousand Dollars." I couldn't
restrain old Hank any further and he broke in with,           Most of our parades have been put on in the past largely
"Nell's Bells, Cash, we can do all that in our chapter. We    for the benefit of charity. I know the various clubs
don't need the help of you Tulsa boys, and I doubt if you     which have been the beneficiaries of our entertainments
all would be much help anyway. You boys just see now          will be eager and willing to cooperate with us in just one
much you can clear with your show and then we will top        special show to raise funds for our international
it in our chapter."                                           headquarters. I am just a little afraid our Canadian
                                                              brethren will beat us to the punch and set a pattern that
Now I suppose Hank returned home without ever                 will embarrass some of us south of the border. Since
thinking again about this conversation. I might not have      Oklahoma led off in the revival of barbershop harmony, I
remembered it myself if I had not recently received copy      am hoping we will be the first to put on a building fund
of a letter Brother Cole wrote to various chapter officers    show.
throughout the United States suggesting as a part of his
plan this very idea. So if Brother Cole thinks the special    It was only after several years had passed since the
building fund parade show plan is the answer to the           Society was born that I began to figure the movement
problem, then Hank and I were on the right track.             was a permanently growing and expanding one. When
                                                              Brother Cole started the building fund thing, I doubted it
I am convinced that if the Tulsa, Oklahoma City and           would succeed. But now he has convinced me that the
Enid chapters will get busy on this plan, and neither         idea is perfectly feasible, easily attainable and will do
Hank nor I have contacted anyone about it, Oklahoma           more than anything else to insure the permanency of our
can raise a minimum of $10,000 for this fund.                 Society. I am now just as enthusiastic about the building
Especially is this not too optimistic if the Enid Chapter     fund program as King Cole.
will also put on a show, since that is about the livest
chapter in Oklahoma.                                          Hoping you are the same, I am,

This plan for raising our building fund is the most                                                         O. C. Cash
painless, the quickest and most feasible one I can think
of. Let's get it going and relieve old King of his worries.




                                                     March, 1953

I suppose I should tell you about my second operation in      Mississippi in September, where she enrolled for her
1952. Shortly after the Kansas City Convention I had          junior year in "Ole Miss." We spent two or three days in
another major operation—a kidney stone cut out. The           Oxford, but it didn't occur to me to inquire if there were
doctors tell me I am a regular "stone factory." You will      any barbershoppers in town. I forgot to look over the list
observe, if you remember my telling you about the             of chapters or I would have known that there is a good
gallstone operation last February, that I had two fairly      chapter there, headed up by Dr. Bickerstaff of the "Ole
serious operations within less than six months. I don't       Miss" faculty. The immediate past President of the
know of a single tenor or lead singer who could have          chapter is Dr. Spragens, also of the faculty. These
stood such a series of operations. I doubt if there are       brethren run the Mathematics Department and
many bass singers who could have survived. Baritones,         Chancellor Williams of the University tells me that when
though, are a hardy breed. Don't forget to remind me to       a vacancy occurs in the Department, Dr. Bickerstaff and
tell you all the details when I see you in Detroit in June.   Dr. Spragens don't interview applicants, they just
                                                              "conduct an audition."
I don't know of anything really worthwhile to write about
this time, except attending the Memphis Parade in             Well, when Betty Anne lined up for registration, some of
October. We took Betty Anne down to the University of         the faculty barbershoppers happened to look over her


                                                                                                                    41
application, and noticed the name of her parents. They         Recently I heard President Ed Smith conduct a panel at
are rather strict at "Ole Miss" and it is impossible for the   Fort Worth, Texas, on barbershop harmony. This was
student to avoid disclosing the names of his or her papa       the first clinic of this sort I had ever attended. I was
and mama. Betty Anne was called out of line and                impressed with the scholarly and scientific approach Ed
summoned to Dr. Bickerstaff's office where he, Dr.             and others employed in considering the various aspects
Spragens and another singing Doctor were waiting. She          of the subject. After talking to the Doctors at "Ole Miss"
came into the office expecting to be summarily                 recently, I decided that President Smith and others
dismissed from the University, but one of the                  qualified as he is, should appear on the Artist Series,
harmonizing brethren said, "Well, Betty Anne, let's rip        which these colleges conduct during the school year. At
open a chord and put it back together again."                  these affairs, as you know, scientists, newspaper men,
                                                               musicians, etc., appear for the enlightenment and
The upshot of all this was that Betty Anne, her sorority       amusement of faculty and students. If we could get some
sister, Pat Sage, Dr. Bickerstaff and Dr. Spragens, ribbed     of the experts in our Society to lecture at these college
up a barber shop quartet which they called "The                affairs throughout the country and have one of our
Teacher's Pets."      They have been filling various           ranking quartets present to demonstrate our type of
engagements with great success and appeared on the             music, I know, as you do, that such an illustrated lecture
Oxford Barber Shop Parade program in November. The             would be talked about for many weeks on the campus. I
sad part about the whole business is that Betty Anne           am really serious about this and I believe the
didn't have gumption enough to take a mess of courses in       International Board should consider it. If you don't think
math. She might have raised her "F minus" average              it will go over, just take it up with the brethren at "Ole
some if she had used better judgment in the selection of       Miss."
her professors. As it is she hasn't an instructor who can
carry a tune.                                                  Now all this "Ole Miss" stuff brings me back to the
                                                               Memphis Parade. When the Brethren of the Oxford,
When we went down to "Ole Miss" to pick up our                 Mississippi Chapter discovered I had slipped in and out
youngster at Christmas-time, Dr. Bickerstaff, Dr.              of town without looking them up in September, they
Spragens and two or three other Doctors, including             arranged a little get-together for all of us at the Memphis
Chancellor Williams, invited Betty Anne and me over to         Parade in October. The Cash family met there, got
the Faculty Club for coffee and cookies. You probably          acquainted with the Oxford folks and took in this fine
wouldn't guess it, but right off the bat, we did a little      show. This was an ideal Parade. The program was fine
harmonizing. Betty Anne and I showed the Doctors the           and dignified. The large auditorium was filled to the
two chords in "Johnny Doughboy" that I invented (with          roof with the most appreciative audience I have seen.
just a little help from Bill Anderson of Houston and Dr.       Undoubtedly the reason for these successful
Dwight Olds of the University of Houston.) We                  performances at Memphis is that the Brethren have built
anticipated the Doctors would have a little difficulty in      a reputation over the years, for dignity and quality in
getting the hang of it. But on the first go-round these        their programs.
Doctors—Spragens on the bass and Bickerstaff on the
tenor—hit these chords right on the nose. They had their       They have a guy over at Memphis by the name of
pencils out and spotted up the chords quickly. When I          George Evans, who MC'd the show and also sang in
explained that no one had gone any further than the first      practically all the quartets appearing on the program. He
two chords, one of them said, "Why ain't some bums put         is a witty showman and a fairly good baritone singer,
this thing together from start to finish?"          These      too. He used to live down here in Tulsa, but I never
mathematician Doctors, like engineers, don't have much         liked him any too well then, because in those days I was
respect for English courses. I explained to them that the      singing practically all the baritone we needed in
verse is pretty and these two beautiful chords I invented      Oklahoma, and I didn't crave any of his help.
recur several times in the chorus. So now I expect the
University of Mississippi to come up with a quartet            Hoping you are the same, I am
singing, for the first time, "Johnny Doughboy" in its
entirety.                                                                                                     O. C. Cash

Since I received my doctorate at the University of
Wyoming, and became so closely associated with the
faculty of that institution, and have had such an
agreeable introduction to the faculty of "Ole Miss" I have
about concluded that colleges, and a college education,
probably are worthwhile after all.



42
                                                       June, 1953

Not long ago I was nosing around in my garage and              Marietta, Carbondale, Illinois and Robert Church,
found     two    filing    cases   containing    Society       Emmettsburg, Iowa.
correspondence from April 11, 1938 (founding date) to
December 31, 1941. It was extremely interesting to me          Shortly thereafter I had a letter from another Iowan, R. J.
to review, for the first time in fifteen years, early          Heinen of Halbur. I seem to remember faintly running
correspondence in connection with the Society, and to re-      into this Brother at ten or twelve National Conventions
read those first letters which came from harmonizers           since then, but I wonder what has become of the other
from all sections of the United States. I began to             "Brethren" above named. During the next week of two
wonder, as I looked over these names, what had become          there were many others who wrote me and I will mention
of some of these fellows during the past decade and a          some of them in subsequent columns.
half. Of course many who manifested early interest in
the organization have been active through the years and        Early in the deal, as you probably suspected, old Huck
are well known to all of us.                                   Sinclair began to overload my mail with
                                                               communications, asking dates of meetings in Tulsa,
It occurred to me that it might be of interest to base a few   where the next chapter was to be set up and so on. I
articles on the men and events identified with the early       recall the first informal meeting in St. Louis of a few
life of our Society. It will be impossible, of course, to      Brethren who came down to the hotel for a get together
cover this adequately in one column. After I have              with me. I wired Huck as I left Tulsa for St. Louis; he
finished examination of these files, they will be sent to      caught a train at 4:00 p.m. from Chicago; ran down to St.
headquarters and thus will complete the record of the          Louis, sang with us, got his picture in the paper and
Society from beginning to the present.                         returned at 11:30 the same night to Chicago.

The original meeting of our group in Tulsa, as almost          Incidentally, Bud Neal, the lead singer in Huck's kid
everyone knows, was on April 11, 1938. The second              quartet at Topeka, Kansas, was one of the charter
meeting, I find from a notice in the file, was on May 2,       members of the Tulsa Chapter. It was Bud who taught
1938; the third, on May 31. I recall the third meeting         us "After Dark" as it was sung by his and Huck's outfit in
very vividly, because a traffic jam developed at Sixth         Topeka in (I think) the early 1880's. I remember the
and Main, Tulsa, the location of the Alvin Hotel, on the       night Bud broke us in on it. As a lead singer, as usual, he
second floor of which our meeting was held. The                didn't know much about the other parts and nothing at all
windows of the lodge hall were raised because of the hot       about the bass. He just simply said it was "a crazy bass
weather, and the gang singing attracted a large crowd to       part." I suppose every barbershopper in the country has
the sidewalk below. After a while automobile traffic was       sung this song until he is tired of it, but what a calamity
slowed down to a standstill. The jam and confusion were        it would have been if old Bud had not thought about it
terrific. This commotion caught the attention of a             that night in 1938 when a bunch of us had gotten
passing reporter for the Tulsa World, who investigated         together here in Tulsa for a little harmony lesson.
the trouble, called his office for a photographer, all of
which resulted in a front page feature story in the Sunday     The old files disclose that on May 23, 1938, just before
World the following day. This was the first publicity of       our third meeting in Tulsa, I sent a letter to all the
consequence in connection with the Society and the             Brethren in Tulsa who had attended the first two
Tulsa World story was widely copied by the AP and UP           meetings, asking for titles and words of barbershop tunes
throughout the country.                                        for inclusion in a song book I proposed to publish. With
                                                               that letter I enclosed a list of 84 titles which I had
Immediately after this story was published inquiries           previously accumulated and for which I had the words.
began to roll in. My files are not complete at this point,     The response to this letter was enthusiastic and about
because the avalanche of mail made it difficult for me to      June 1, 1938, my old barbershopper and fishing friend,
keep up with it, and I often just replied in longhand on       Jim Cockrell, who owns a big printing establishment in
the backs of letters and returned them quickly to the          Tulsa, helped me get the book assembled and ready for
writer. However, I do find some letters dated the first        printing. Shortly after this O. P. Erickson, who was an
week in June, 1938, and the earliest (June 4) seems to be      early national officer, reviewed the song book, added a
from Chester Letts of Denver. This communication was           number of songs, dolled the book up in a plastic binding,
followed within a day or two by letters from V. K.             and we had two or three thousand new books printed.
McCaughtry, Youngstown; Lowell Lawrence, Kansas                Then we were reminded very forcibly that we had
City; Thomas E. McConnell, Lakewood, Ohio; E. L.               violated all the copyright laws of the United States and


                                                                                                                      43
were subject to a minimum of damages of $150 per song,              "My quartet has absolutely the sweetest
times the number of books printed and distributed. I                arrangement you ever heard for ‘By the Light
recall, with amusement now, Opie's coming into my                   of the Silvery Moon.' If you get something
office one morning, pretty much excited, with a bunch of            started in Warsaw I will send you recording of
figures showing that he and I were liable for the total             it and two or three others."
amount of $1,218,650. After going over the figures
again, Opie discovered an error, made a few quick              I must confess this statement may have been a slight
calculations, and said: "Cash, I am short just an even         exaggeration, as the repertoire of the "Okie Four" at that
million—the total should be $2,218,605".                       time probably did not include "two or three others" and
                                                               maybe not even "By the Light etc." It has been a source
Many of you fellows have copies of this original book,         of satisfaction to me to observe in the few years that our
some copies of which had been distributed before we            membership generally has become more truthful and
were warned of the copyright infringement. But Opie            calm in their representations than I was in the initial
and I decided the safest thing to do was to destroy all        promotion of our Society.
remaining copies of the book.
                                                               About a week later I had another letter from old Phil, and
I was amused, too, in going through this old                   after disposing of some more or less important matters,
correspondence—and here I jump forward a little over a         he said:
year—to find the first letter I received from a "lantern
maker" of Warsaw, New York. That letter is as follows:              "This new found hobby has really taken hold,
                                                                    and when I go in for something there is
     "Mr. O. C. Cash                                                nothing half way about it."
     Tulsa, Oklahoma
                                                               In observing his enthusiasm and hard work for the
     "Dear Mr. Cash:                                           Society over the past fifteen years, I would venture the
                                                               opinion that the above comment was certainly a typical
     "It was about the middle of last year, as I recall,       barbershopper's understatement.
     that I read a most interesting article in a Chicago
     newspaper about the Society for the Encouraging           One of my earliest correspondents, of course, was good
     and Preservation of Barber Shop Quartet Singing.          old Deac Martin. It has been like a breath of spring to
     I jotted down your name at the time and have              read his letters again. He kept me down to date on the
     intended writing you for information about this           trials and tribulations of the Cleveland organization and
     great Society.                                            in one of his letters he said, with an apparent sigh of
                                                               relief:
     "Altho kindred spirits are hard to find,
     harmonizing is a sort of hobby with me. Does the               "We have found a young man here in
     Society issue good ‘barbershop' arrangements for               Cleveland who is a go-getter, to take over the
     the old time songs? For example ‘By the Light of               duties of Secretary. His name is Jim Knipe.
     the Silvery Moon' is one I have tried to get, but              We are on our way!"
     it's apparently out of print.
                                                               Within a week I began my correspondence with Jim. He
     "When is the next Convention? Many thanks for             had hundreds of questions to ask, many of which I could
     such information as you can give me.                      not answer, but we got together and figured out the
                                                               answers. You know as well as I, how well and faithfully
                                             Sincerely,        this "young man Jim Knipe" has served the Society in the
                                          Phil Embury"         thirteen or fourteen years since then.

You will observe this letter was written early in 1940 and     Then I ran into a letter from Brother Doc Nelson,
apparently Brother Embury had known about the Society          enclosing a penciled arrangement of "I Had a Dream,
for six months or more. Why he fooled around all that          Love." I suppose this is the correct title, although most
time, in getting the dope on it, is more than I have been      of us have sung it as "I Had a Dream, Dear." Old Doc
able to understand, as he seems to have been mildly            told me:
interested in the Society ever since. In my reply to Phil
the very day his letter arrived, among other things, I said.




44
     "When you meet the Southernaires in Tulsa                I hope that after the voice of the World's Greatest Barber
     this Sunday, have them sing ‘That's How the              Shop Baritone is stilled that Betty Anne will carry on for
     First Song Was Born.' Boy, that song is                  her "pappy" and that you will be as sweet and lovely to
     jammed with lovely chords!"                              her in the years to come as you have been in the past.

As you know, Doc is one of the comparatively few              The principal reason I mention Betty Anne's marriage, is
oldtimers in the Society who attended the first contest in    that as a result I have an extra set of tickets in the Cash
Tulsa in June 1939. I did not hear the song Doc               group, to the festivities in Detroit—the seat being in Box
mentioned, forgot about it, but I wonder if it was really     J, Left, of the Masonic Auditorium. I am sending this set
as good as Doc imagined. In those early days almost any       of tickets to King Cole, suggesting that he sell it to the
song with a crooked chord or two in it seemed mighty          highest bidder and place the proceeds in the Building
sweet to us.                                                  Fund. Now the ticket is worth only $7.50. But I propose
                                                              to throw in with it, as a prize, a complete course of
Well, these are just a few reminiscences of the early life    lessons in plain and fancy baritone singing.             At
of our Society which I hope to enlarge upon in future         intermissions we will pick up a tenor, lead and bass, and
columns. I hope it will be of as much interest to you as it   the purchaser of this set of tickets will be given
has been to me, to review the early development and           instruction that conservatively is worth at least $100. I
growth of our organization. Now to another subject. I         suggest you wire or telephone Brother Cole immediately
have been rather immodest and boring sometimes, no            if you want to avail yourself of the opportunity of
doubt, in mentioning my family in previous columns,           improving your baritone technique and the condition of
and particularly my young daughter, Betty Anne. On            the Building Fund.
two occasions when I was in the hospital or ill at home,
Betty Anne has written the column for me. She has been        Mrs. Cash and I expect to leave for the Convention
attending our International Conventions regularly ever        Wednesday morning, June 10, via Santa Fe, arriving
since she was in pigtails. You folks have been                Chicago 9:00 p.m.; leaving there via New York Central
exceptionally nice to her and the rest of our clan, but       at 11:59 p.m. for Detroit. I give you these details because
especially to Betty Anne. She will not be able to attend      I hope at least two of the Brothers will find it convenient
the Detroit Convention this June.                             to board our train somewhere en route and join me and
                                                              the porter in a little close harmony.
She was married on April 2 to Eugene A. Oathout, a fine
young fellow who graduates from the University of Iowa        I am aglow with anticipation at the prospect of seeing
in June. Both Gene and Betty Anne will be in the midst        you all again in June.
of "finals" during the week of June 11-14, and soon
thereafter will leave for an airbase where Gene will begin    Hoping you are the same.
his two-year stint in the air corps. Betty Anne is so fond
of all the barbershop brethren and "sistern" and is such                                                           O. C.
an enthusiastic barbershopper herself, that I am sure she
will regularly attend future International Conventions.




                                                                                                                       45
                                            “Apostle of Harmony”

                                              Owen Clifton (O.C.) Cash
                                            February 13, 1892–August 15, 1953


A man who symbolized an important phase of an era is            brought thousands of members into the Society to whom
gone. The era was the 1890s and 1900s into the first            Cash is merely an honored name. Widespread retelling
World War; the phase was informal harmony singing of            of the events leading to the formation of SPEBSQSA and
popular music. That music is important today because it         its early struggles inevitably results in misinformation
reveals musical customs of an earlier era while its lyrics      and some inaccuracies. The Society is fortunate that the
carry much of the thought and many events of those              march of events of those days is recorded in "Keep
more tranquil days. Also by that time informal harmony          America Singing", the book which covers highlights of
singing had evolved into a distinct American pattern that       the first 10 years, and that every word was approved by
was basically the same wherever four or more men able           Owen Cash with a brief "That's how it was" notation.
or willing to carry four parts got together.
                                                                Past President Hal Staab (also deceased) led the drive to
Owen Clifton Cash was molded by those times and by              get those early years of the Society down on paper as the
the life in the small towns in the Southwest where he           participants had lived them.
spent his most impressionable years. Longing to restore
the popular songs and singing customs of his youth and
early manhood, songs and customs which were nearing                                     The Man
the vanishing point in 1938, that year he headed a local
movement in Tulsa to attempt to revive them. Within ten         The book of the Society's ten years does not include
years he saw the results of that localized intent impressed     biographical facts about the founder, therefore, it is well
indelibly across great cities as well as small towns of two     to set down salient ones concerning the man and his
nations in a different atomic age. The singing patterns         early environment as well as some of his interests apart
were preserved along with the songs.                            from the now famous harmony avocation.

The Harmonizer of December, 1943 was dedicated to               When Owen was about age six his Baptist-minister
O. C. Cash by a foreword which said in part:                    father took the family from northern Missouri, where the
                                                                boy had been born February 13, 1892, near the tiny
   "Only rarely does America produce a son with the             hamlet of Keytesville in Chariton County, on a wagon
   ability to open the nation's eyes to what it has             trek over the dirt roads and trails to the Southwest. After
   been missing in simple and wholesome pleasure                a trip comparable with crossing Africa by motor car
   that is easily attainable. Less often does such a            today they arrived in Catale in the Coo-Wee-Scoo-Wee
   one have the generosity to share his vision                  District, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, to become a
   beyond his immediate environs; the conviction,               part of Oklahoma later. They set up housekeeping in a
   courage, and tact to win others to his thinking;             log house rented from an old Cherokee. Subsequently
   and the patience backed by driving force to attain           they lived in Vinita and in Blue Jacket where young
   an objective which holds no pot o' gold reward . .           Cash played in the Silver Cornet Band and began to get
   . Cash has done more than spread wholesome                   the feeling of baritone harmony. He graduated from
   enjoyment to the early 1940s; he has furnished               Bacone College, Bacone, Okla. and was admitted to the
   the means to preserve a period rich in American              Bar in that state in June, 1916. Next year he enrolled in
   traditions . . . It is conceivable that his Society          the U. S. Army but was still waiting to go overseas when
   may in the future be the connecting link between             the First World War ended in 1919. Two years later he
   whatever generation is current, the one preceding            joined a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of
   it, and the one to follow, as oldsters and                   Indiana as assistant tax commissioner, and in 1930
   youngsters group in harmony".                                became tax commissioner of Stanolind, a Standard Oil
                                                                pipe line subsidiary.
Fifteen years and an International status, as compared
with the ambitious "national" hopes in 1943, have




 46
His profession as a tax lawyer led naturally into        nationwide. Before the first Convention-Contest in
activities in the National Tax Association, the Oil      Tulsa, June 1939, he solemnly informed news
Industries Information Committee, and the Mid-           reporters that Herbert Hoover, Alfred Landon, "Al"
Continent Oil and Gas Association, while his public      Smith, and James Farley, top names in the news of
service duties included work in the Tulsa Chamber of     the day, would be "invited to Tulsa" to sing in a
Commerce and the Oklahoma Public Expenditures            quartet.
Council. More personally his affiliations included
the Presbyterian Church, the Sons of the American        At New Year, 1942, many Society members received
Revolution, and the Tulsa Farm Club. The Cash            a certificate from Cash raising them to the status of
ranch near Talala, Okla. is today a well run producing   "Ex-Okies" since they had "harmonized successfully .
farm property. The owner's weekend home is replete       . . with the famous Okie Four—World's foremost
with mementos, photographs, sketches, and souvenirs      exponents of barbershop harmony" with which
of 15 years in SPEBSQSA.                                 quartet he sang an enthusiastic baritone.

The background, the activities, and accomplishments      His humor was gentle, frequently keyed to some
just outlined give a picture of a man who attained       element of self-depreciation, hardly every conceived
much comfort and strength through his sense of           in terms which might embarrass anyone or make the
material order, intellectual order, and moral order.     butt of the humor uncomfortable. These excerpts
He was a prudent man.                                    from The Founder's Column in the Harmonizer are
                                                         typical:
His wife Corinne, his daughter Betty Anne (Mrs.
Eugene A. Oathout), and his sister, Miss Idress Cash     After the Grand Rapids Convention-Contest, 1942,
who took the long rough trail with small Owen to the     the Column carried the complaint that the judges
Cherokee Nation so long ago are justifiably proud of     were "deef". "The Okies sang in the first preliminary
the one who earned the title of Good Citizen before      and from all unbiased reports went over big with the
the outside world knew him as the "Apostle of            audience, but just to show you how incompetent and
Harmony".                                                prejudiced the judges were, one of them came
                                                         rushing over and said the Okies have the honor of
Owen Cash's prudence was something that friends          being the first quartet eliminated. I can't understand
and associates took for granted. In consequence in       it, until I found out one was a lantern maker (past
countless places he will be remembered more for his      pres. Embury).       The continual hammering and
humanness and his sense of humor. At its finest that     picking away on them tin lanterns has made him deef
Cash humor is preserved in the name of our Society       as a board. Then there was Reagan who was an
and in the title with which he endowed himself. The      electrician by trade (Maurice Reagan is a great
invitation to the original meeting at the Tulsa Club,    authority on electronics)."
April 11, 1938, was signed by Rupert I. Hall, "Royal
Keeper of the Minor Keys" and by O. C. Cash,             Writing of a get-together in Detroit, "Huck Sinclair
"Third Assistant Temporary Vice Chairman" of "The        and me was setting around, listening to all them
Society for Preservation and Propagation of Barber       sweet chords and wiping our eyes and Huck said
Shop Quartet Singing in the United States". Shortly      between sniffles ‘Cash, I never knowed I had so
after, Propagation was changed to Encouragement          many friends or could sing so good'".
and he took in all of America. Still later he headed
his own title with "Founder and Permanent . . .". The    He wrote to an out-of-town banker who had inquired
combination of the grandiose applied to such a hobby     about membership in the Society, "There is nothing
and the obvious tongue-in-cheek dig at the spreading     that so quickly and effectively restores the
alphabetical agencies of the New Deal smacks of          respectability of a banker as joining up with
Mark Twain with overtones of Will Rogers, all three      SPEBSQSA. Because of the warm hearts and
of them sons of the mid-states.                          generous souls of our club the rules have been
                                                         amended to allow bankers to join . . ."
During the Society's first year he announced
intentions to petition WPA (an emergency agency)         In 1945 commenting upon the Sweet Adeline
for $9,999,999.99 to survey the male vocal range,        organization Cash said in part: "It is a shame this had




                                                                                                            47
to come up just when we were getting along so                He listened to the plans of the Committee on Long
peacefully. I am bewildered, confused, and all messed        Range Planning as expressed at the first meeting of the
up besides . . . hoping you are the same".                   House of Delegates in Detroit, June, 1953, when Dean
                                                             Snyder, Committee chairman, said to the House in part:
Some of his early columns were treasures of                  "‘The old order passeth, giving way to the new' . . . It is
Americana. The May 1945 Harmonizer narrates in               evidence both of our vigor and our maturity that we
detail how they left Missouri and landed in the              could make this significant change so smoothly . . ."
Cherokee Nation, the need for schooling for the              He cited the many activities now possible to give
children and how his preacher-father picked out a            outlets for the energy and interests of every member,
tramp who had been kicked off a Frisco freight train         including opportunities for craftsmanship in the
and got him to teach school (where he did a perfect job      technically musical phases of barbershop harmony. In
of moral as well as formal education of the little pupils)   closing he quoted Alfred Noyes: "‘If I looked farther
until the U. S. Marshal walked into the school house         ahead, it was because I stood on giant shoulders'. Here
one day, "Pearl handled six shooters dangling from his       in the presence of our founder, our past presidents, and
wide cartridge belt" and took the teacher away to finish     other ‘statesmen' of our Society, these words have
his penitentiary sentence back East. It is Cash              special significance".
narration at its best, bright-hued with local coloring and
brimming over with smiles.                                   Afterward, when asked what he thought of the plans
                                                             for the future, the founder said: "They're sound; we'll
                                                             keep on having good leaders"; this from one who in
          Owen Cash and the Society 1953                     earlier years had felt, with many other seniors, that note
                                                             singing was beneath the contempt of a "true
What was Cash's attitude toward the way the Society          barbershopper", but who now endorsed the
was handled after he turned the reins over to                technicalities of music as one of the things helpful to
succeeding Boards and administrators, and based upon         the Society's advancement thus far, and necessary for
the actions of those administrators, what did he think of    the future.
the organization's future?
                                                             The man who symbolized an important phase of an era
He followed with keen interest the many intricate            is gone. But for his particular fitness to be the nucleus
phases of expansion throughout Canada as well as the         in the Society's tentative stage of development, that
States. In general he had nothing but praise for the         phase of the 1890s and 1900s might not have been
administration of the international organization, the        projected into this age to give untold pleasure to
districts, and the chapters, though in the late '40s he      participants and those who love to hear harmony.
expressed some concern over the possibility that the         Fifteen years of the Society constitute a proving period
influx of younger members, reared in a different school      of sufficient time under varied conditions in urban and
of harmony ("and life"), might "wean the Society away        rural areas to demonstrate that popular songs sung in
from barbershop", particularly because of the intense        the traditional barbershop pattern are still important in
competition in contests "where they've got to throw the      the atomic age.
book at the judges".
                                                             The man who was the symbol of the preservation and
He said: "It that were ever to occur, the Society might      encouragement of such singing had faith that its
not last long because it would dump overboard the very       traditions will be passed along by a generation twice
thing that made it", and has kept it unique and apart        removed from his own, though just as actively
from other singing organizations, meaning its                interested and even more proficient within this Society.
distinctive style of harmony with an appeal to all sorts,    "They won't let the Society drop what we stand for" he
degrees, and ages of music appreciation.                     said.

But in 1953 he said he had ceased to worry "too much"                                                            D. M.
on that point which would reduce SPEBSQSA to the
level of comparison with other musical groups,                                  ---The Harmonizer, September, 1953
professional and amateur. "We've got some good
heads; they won't let the Society drop what we stand
for".




48
                                                                                          INDEX


All-American Quartet ............................................................36                   Four men in a quartet........................................................... 2, 3
Bankers ....................................................................................7         Hell Fired Kate ........................................................................ 4
Blind “empires” and “deef” judges..........................................3                          High school quartets .................................................. 20, 34, 38
Bluejacket Boosters .................................................................3                Honorary degree ...................................................22-24, 29, 42
Bluejacket Silver Cornet Band.........................................18, 25                          Honorary title................................................................... 14, 15
Building Fund for SPEBSQSA headquarters.............40, 41, 45                                        Keep America Singing
Business and Society membership...................................13, 14                                     (Ten-year SPEBSQSA history)............................. 26, 32
Cash (Oathout), Betty Anne                                                                            Microphone technique ............................................................. 1
          (O.C.’s daughter)................. 5, 18-20, 24, 26, 29, 34-35,                             Non-barbershop singing .............................................24, 27-30
........................................................................ 37-38, 41-42, 45             Okie Four..................................................................... 3, 31, 44
Cash, _______ (O.C.’s father) ............................6, 8-10, 14, 29                             Old gang .................................................................................. 1
Cash, _______ (O.C.’s mother) ...........................................8, 9                         “Pitch ‘em high and sing ‘em loud”............................. 1, 20, 34
Cash, Corinne (O.C.’s wife) ...................... 5, 13, 14, 19, 26, 29                              Quartet costumes ..................................................................... 1
Cash, Idress (O.C.’s sister) ..................................................8, 9                   Quartet photographs, request for ............................................. 6
Chapter bulletins ....................................................................17              Quartet recordings, request for ................................................ 6
Childhood ........................................... 1-6, 8-12, 14, 15, 18, 25                       Rosters ................................................................................... 14
Chorus contest............................................................20, 24, 27                  Saving Harmonizer back issues............................................. 32
Chorus development ..............................................................28                   Sellers, Ike ....................................................................7, 10-12
Choruses at conventions ...................................... 20, 24, 27, 28                         Song selection........................................................................ 31
Church choirs...................................................................28, 29                SPEBSQSA
College panel on barbershop harmony.............................41, 42                                       Early days ........................................................19, 43-45
College quartets ...............................................................24, 34                       Expansion into Canada ............................................... 19
Conventions                                                                                                  Expansion into England .............................................. 33
          Buffalo, 1949 .........................................................27-29                       Expansion into Mexico ............................................... 19
          Chicago, 1943 ...............................................................1              Stage presence gestures ......................................................... 31
          Detroit, 1944 ..............................................................4,5             Sunday morning breakfasts.................................................... 24
          Detroit, 1953 ...................................................41, 42, 45                 Super-Colossal Symphonic Four ..................................... 20, 24
          Grand Rapids, 1942.............................................1, 3, 31                     Sweet Adelines, Inc.
          Kansas City, 1952 .................................................37- 41                          Constitution........................................................... 12, 13
          Milwaukee, 1947.........................................................19                         Origin.....................................................................11-13
          Oklahoma City, 1948 ......................................20, 23, 24                               Relations with SPEBSQSA......................................... 27
          Omaha, 1950 .........................................................31, 34                 Tastefulness ........................................................................... 27
          Toledo, 1951 ...............................................................35              Temporary Chairman....................................................... 14, 15
Conventions, proposal to expand ...............................20, 24, 27                             Vocal expression ................................................................... 31
“85 Club” .........................................................................33, 35             Wiley, Jim...........................................................................7-10
Favorite recipe .................................................................39, 40               Women at contests................................................................... 4
Fellowship................................................................................6           Women’s barbershop society ................................................ 11
First barbershop singing experience ....................................8, 9                          Women’s quartets ...................................................... 18, 27, 38
Fly fishing........................................................................36, 37




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