The Tale Spinner

Vol. XXIII, No. 18

May 6, 2017


  • In this Heroic Story, a resident of a small town writes about "Belle"
  • Betty Audet and Jean Sterling comment on items in the last issue
  • Stan French is celebrating a birthday on May 11
  • Tom Telfer reflects on how our tools have changed
  • Marilyn Magid forwards an article about the end of an era
  • Barbara Wear compares her body to a worn-out car
  • Irene Harvalias sends a story about two clever nuns
  • Shirley Conlon forwards a story about a complicated will
  • Sites are suggested by Judith English, Tom Telfer, and Zvonko Springer

"Luella" sent this account to HeroicStories:


We live in a very small town, populated by a lot of elderly widows - the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else and there are very few secrets. When a comparatively young woman and her husband moved to town, they were of considerable interest to everyone because they were so very different from the life-long citizens.   Bob was very outgoing and gregarious, but his wife, Belle, was more reserved. We learned she'd been medically retired from her job, but she never chose to discuss the problem. She did join a church and some local civic organizations, and was faithful and energetic in attendance and participation. She also turned out to be a bit of a con-woman - but in a special, wonderful way.

Belle identified several elderly women who needed occasional help in their homes, shopping, or driving to doctor's appointments, and made herself available. She recognized the pride that kept them from accepting charity, and would take only a minimal amount of money from them. Then she would take whatever money she had made during the month and go to City Hall, swear the city clerk to secrecy, and ask to have the money applied to the water/sewage account of a senior citizen who was in financial straits.

I accidently found out that Belle's retirement pay was the only money she and Bob had coming in and their budget left little room for luxuries. She was in near-constant pain because of the injury that forced her into retirement, but very rarely did anyone see any evidence of it. They could have used the few dollars Belle earned helping others, but she chose not to keep it. And she didn't want recognition for the good that she had done.

Belle showed me that you need not be rich to share, nor do you need to inflict your problems on anyone else. Despite her limitations, she is a warm, caring, giving woman with the ability to love. She seems to me to be a hero in action, and I'd love to tell others what she is doing but it might embarrass her. She must remain unsung and unrecognized, so please don't reveal my location - "Belle" is still "doing her thing"!

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Betty Audet comments on the story about the note to a teacher which had a profound effect: "Recognition for what you have done is great. I have kept a wonderful one for Maurice from a priest who was leaving the parish and wanted to thank him for all the help and inspiration he had been to him.

"I also have one written on a small piece of hotel paper which my sister brought to me after she had met a former pupil of mine  on a tour, who said she still appreciated the view of history I had given her."

Jean Sterling writes about cell phones: "I got a cell phone in case I need to call a tow truck. Inland Florida is not exactly heavily populated, and we drive to see our son in Gainesville regularly. The cell phone comes in handy when I pick up people at the airport. It came in real handy after Hurricane Matthew when we had no landline service, but surprisingly the cell phone worked just fine. I got a voice mail message from John's sister, and we were able to call her and let her know that we hadn't blown away. The kids make fun of me because I have a flip phone, but hey, it works - and it's cheap - and the minutes roll over."  

She comments on Tom Telfer's article about train travel: "I went to an aunt's funeral via train, and it was great. I had to go first class on the way up, which was nice but quite pricey. I came back in coach, which was fine, and roomier than an airplane. I remember I had dinner with a couple from New Jersey in the dining car. He was wondering if Miami had changed since he did his basic training there for WW2. Wow!  Has it ever! I sometimes wonder if he suffered culture shock when he got off the train, though I tried to warn him." 


Thanks to Kate Brookfield, I know that Stan French is celebrating a birthday next Thursday. I know you all join me in wishing him many happy returns of his special day.

Stan was one of my first subscribers. He used to print out the early newsletters. He also introduced me to the group Best Years, with whom I enjoyed several lunches in Ontario in my travelling days.

All our good wishes for a happy day, Stan, and a healthy year ahead!

Tom Telfer writes about


Having retired 25 years ago, it is interesting to look back at our primitive equipment.

To make a copy, we used a hectograph. Using a metal cookie sheet filled a jell -ike material, we were ready to work our "magic." A pencil with purple lead was used to make notes on our paper. That sheet was placed on the jell and smoothed over with our hand. Once it was peeled away, a blank sheet was applied to the jell. That sheet revealed a copy our notes. A lady who taught in a one-room school, told me that she needed eight hectographs, one for each grade.

Later came the ditto machine, with a hand crank, followed by the gestetner. Tubes of black ink had to be carefully applied. Now we marvel at the photocopier that will print on both sides in colour.

We also learned to use the 16 mm movie projector and the overhead projector. Today, every classroom has a white board that can be used with a computer.

Teacher colleges have extensive courses on all the bells and whistles. It's enough to make your head spin.

Marilyn Magid forwards this story of


The young guns may not understand the meaning of this, but you should. The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, MO, has closed its doors forever. The contents of the museum were sold at a public auction. Roy Rogers told his son, if the museum ever operates at a loss, close it, and sell the contents. He complied.

Here is a partial listing of some of the items that were sold at auction. Roy's 1964 Bonneville sold for $254,500. It was estimated to sell between 100 and 150 thousand dollars. His script book from the January 14,1953, episode of "This Is Your Life" sold for $10,000 (Est. $800-$1,000). A collection of signed baseballs (Pete Rose, Duke Snyder, and other greats) sold for $3,750. A collection of signed bats (Yogi Berra, Enos Slaughter, Bob Feller, and others) sold for $2,750.

Trigger's saddle and bridle sold for $386,500. One of many of Roy's shirts sold for $16,250, and one of his many cowboy hats sold for $17,500. One set of boot spurs sold for $10,625. (He never used a set of spurs on Trigger.) A life-size shooting gallery sold for $27,500.

Various chandeliers sold from $6,875 to $20,000, very unique and artistic in their western style. A signed photograph by Don Larsen taken during his perfect game in the world series against the Dodgers on Oct. 8, 1953, along with a signed baseball to Roy from Don, sold for $2,500.

Two fabulous limited edition BB guns in their original boxes with numerous photos of Roy, Dale, Gabby, and Pat sold for $3,750. A collection of memorabilia from his shows entertaining the troops in Vietnam sold for $938. I never knew he was there. His flight jacket sold for $7,500.

His set of dinnerware plates and silverware sold for $11,875. The Bible they used at the dinner table every night sold for $8,750. One of several of his guitars sold for $27,500. Nellybelle sold for $116,500.

A fabulous painting of Roy, Dale, Pat, Buttermilk, Trigger, and Bullet sold for $10,625. One of several sets of movie posters sold for $18,750. A black and white photograph of Gene Autry with a touching inscription From Gene to Roy sold for $17,500. A Republic Productions poster bearing many autographs of the people who played in Roy's movies sold for $11,875.

Dale's horse, Buttermilk (whose history is very interesting) sold below the pre-sale estimate for $25,000. (Est. $30-$40 K). Bullet sold for $35,000 (Est. $10-$15 K). He was their real pet. Dale's parade saddle, estimated to sell between $20-$30 K, sold for $104,500. One of many pairs of Roy's boots sold for $21,250. Trigger sold for $266,500.

Do you remember the 1938 movie "The Adventures of Robin Hood," With Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland? Well, Olivia rode Trigger in that movie. Trigger was bred on a farm co-owned by Bing Crosby. Roy bought Trigger on a time payment plan for $2,500. Roy and Trigger made 188 movies together. Trigger even outdid Bob Hope by winning an Oscar in the movie "Son of Paleface" in 1953.

It is extremely sad to see this era lost forever. Despite the fact that Gene and Roy's movies, as well as those of other great characters, can be bought or rented for viewing, today's kids would rather spend their time playing video games. Today it takes a very special pair of parents to raise their kids with the right values and morals.

These were the great heroes of our childhood, and they did teach us right from wrong, and how to have and show respect for each other and the animals that share this earth. You and I were born at the right time. We were able to grow up with these great people. even if we never met them. In their own way they taught us patriotism and honor. We learned that lying and cheating were bad, and that sex wasn't as important as love. We learned how to suffer through disappointment and failure and work through it. Our lives were drug free.

So it's good-bye to Roy and Dale, Gene and Hoppy, the Lone Ranger, and Tonto. Farewell to Sky King and Superman and Sgt. Friday. Thanks to Capt. Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, and Capt. Noah, and all those people whose lives touched ours, and made them better. It was a great ride through childhood.


Barbara Wear says the truth does hurt:


If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull, but that's not the worst of it.

My headlights are out of focus, and it's especially hard to see things up close. My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather, but that's not the worst of it.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently. But here's the worst of it - almost every time I sneeze, cough, or sputter ... either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires!

I know you are laughing because I know I am.


Irene Harvalias shares the tale of


There were two nuns, one known as Sister Mathematical (SM), and the other one as Sister Logical (SL).

It is getting dark and they are still far away from the convent. 

SM: Have you noticed that a man has been following us for the past 38½ minutes? I wonder what he wants.

SL: It's logical. He wants to violate us.

SM: Oh, no! At this rate he will reach us in 15 minutes at the most! What can we do? 

SL: The only logical thing to do, of course, is to walk faster. 

A little while later....

SM: It's not working. 

SL: Of course it's not working. The man did the only logical thing. He started to walk faster, too.

SM: So what shall we do? At this rate he will reach us in one minute. 

SL: The only logical thing we can do is split up. You go that way and I'll go this way. He cannot follow us both.

So the man decided to follow Sister Logical. 

Sister Mathematical arrives at the convent and is worried about what has happened to Sister Logical.

Then Sister Logical arrives.

SM: Sister Logical! Thank God you are here! Tell me what happened! 

SL: The only logical thing happened. The man couldn't follow us both, so he followed me.

SM: Yes, yes! But what happened then? 

SL: The only logical thing happened. I started to run as fast as I could and he started to run as fast as he could. 

SM: And?

SL: The only logical thing happened. He reached me.

SM: Oh, dear! What did you do?

SL : I lifted my dress up. 

SM: Oh, Sister! What did the man do?

SL: He pulled down his pants. 

SM: Oh, no! What happened then?

SL: Isn't it logical, Sister? A nun with her dress up can run faster than a man with his pants down.

And the moral of the story is: Logic beats math anytime, and math cannot survive without logic.

Shirley Conlon sends this story about


Doug Smith is on his deathbed and knows the end is near. His nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons are with him.

He asks for two witnesses to be present and a camcorder to be in place to record his last wishes, and when all is ready, he begins to speak:

"My son, Bernie, I want you to take the Mayfair houses.

"My daughter Sybil, you take the apartments over in the east end.

"My son, Jamie, I want you to take the offices over in the City Centre. 

"Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the banks of the river.

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings, and as Doug slips away, the nurse says, "Mrs. Smith, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property.”

The wife replies bitterly, "He had a paper route.” 


Judith English sends the URL for a site which offers 10 YouTube interactive games for you to try:

Just one of the many videos at the link

Tom Telfer forwards this link to a video of a stuck baby elephant being helped by his aunt:

Tom and Zvonko Springer both send the URL for the Sokolov Troupe from Moscow defying gravity with their amazing teeterboard act:

From the GoodNewsNetwork, here is the story of a previously-suicidal man who runs a marathon with the man who talked him down from the bridge:

This is a quiz for Baby Boomers, but even people in the generation before them will know many of the answers. I got 12 out of 16 correct. See how you do with this:

Here is some amusing advice for people over 60:

Is this the car of the future? Elon Musk drops a bomb on the auto industry and big oil:

In this report by the BBC News, experts are excited by a "brain wonder-drug" which may stop neurodegenerative brain diseases, including dementia:

This site describes a new device powered by sunlight that can pull water out of thin air, even in the driest parts of the globe:


"Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief."  

Marcus Tullius Cicero - Orator and Statesman (106 - 43 BC) 


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