Homeward Angle: ONE FROM THE HEART--TO "CAROL & CORKIE" WHEREVER THEY MAY BE...

Time passes too quickly. More than 60 years ago, I rushed home from another tedious yet edgy school day, quite impatient with our West Ward School's patrol boys (crossing "guards") always impeding my progress. So impatient to rip off their plastic yellow banner-straps strung across their little, puffed up chests!

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Your 15 minute show, "Carol & Corkie" sponsored by Ft. Wayne's Perfection Biscuit Company, broadcast over our black and white television in the most consequential corner of the living room, would commence momentarily. I hastily tossed aside my winter "wrap" and pried off my boots, hurling all those spirit-defying garments into a heap at the front door, day after day -- and plopped down inches away from the screen. Beautiful you, and your personally crafted, elfin, hand puppet Corkie nodding his head to every word uttered, appeared after a pregnant pause as the Zenith warmed up sufficiently and morphed into rather blurry images of my two favorite people. Corkie's mitten-like hands flailed about while his pointy cap nestled atop his teensy, bobbing papier-mâché noggin! You beamed that signature "Miss Indiana/First Runner-up to Miss America" smile and spoke softly to your diminutive friend who effortlessly, all by his imaginary self, appeared to be holding up your mammoth, blank, artist's tablet of page upon page. You lovingly gazed directly into the eyes of all the weary school-kids, just like myself, whose tiny noses we all had squished practically flat onto the convex monitor/"boob tube" smack-dab in front of our eager faces.

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One magic, unforgettable afternoon, my scrawled eager letter to you got read aloud. My submitted initials magically transformed from "S. D." into an oversized, hilarious circus clown as you quickly guided a squeaky, over-sized implement much like a Magic Marker up, down, and across an ephemeral sheet of paper. In real time, I learned from our next door neighbor Mrs. Mary Hill, who taught English and Speech at our local high school, that you and she were Indiana University classmates and that you had studied Art. Once, my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Olive Sheehan, shared with me your photograph as she opened one of her 1950 college textbooks to the frontispiece. There you stood, clasping several notebooks while on your way to a college class -- dark hair (like mine), not blonde like all of the movie and television starlets! Mesmerized was I! Not only did I adore your televised image, effervescent personality and clever illustrations accomplished in a heartbeat, but I also fraternized with folks who actually knew you when!

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Years later, I encountered you in the furniture department at the downtown Ft. Wayne, Indiana, L. S. Ayres Store, and I gushed out my admiration for you as if we'd returned to that glorious 1953-56 time period! I, continually star-struck throughout the ensuing years, introduced you, the famous TV starlet, to my young husband Don and our little boy named Roy who loved to draw and to write stories. I surmised that you, still gorgeous and kind and ebullient, may have been employed there as an interior designer. We continue to reminisce about that moment at our house. Our friendship with "Chuck" Chapman is our only connection to the glory days of early local telecasts emanating from Ft. Wayne. His dad Reid managed the WANE (Channel 15) television station, and we inquired about you over dinner recently. Chuck promised to ask another Allen County TV personality Dick Florea to help solve the mystery of the whereabouts of WKJG's "Carol & Corkie" soon, when both gentlemen would be attending downtown's Wayne Street historic (1831) First Presbyterian Church some Sunday morning. I sincerely hope that you are well and happy because your influence on so many of us children rates as profound.

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Recently, my son encouraged me, a quintessential senior citizen, to record my thoughts and memories of growing up in my hometown of Columbia City here in Indiana and to recount adventures of traipsing all about beloved buildings (most of which have been razed), to revisit past town events, to recall wonderful folks who impacted my life, and to share stories highlighting my very special parents (his grandparents). Like a good girl I gladly have done so, voluntarily contributing over 90 essays/columns to my local newspaper -- which I have enjoyed almost since its inception via John and Hester Adams -- as well as to a terrific online news service blog entitled "Talk of the Town" (established by Jennifer Zartman Romano - www.talkofthetownwc.com) which features positive news daily. Now that these tales have found their way into two books, "Secrets of an Old Type Writer -- Stories from a Sweet and Sassy Small-town Girl" and "More Secrets of an Old Type Writer: Misunderstood Gargoyles & Overrated Angels", I feel some satisfaction and relief that the narrative is completed, and I look forward to the release of our son's volume of film critiques, "Reel Roy Reviews" (www.reelroyreviews.com), on February 28th, 20014. A TRILOGY! To be continued…courtesy of Roy's enthusiastic dispersal of encyclopedic knowledge… [Check out this wonderful coverage from wonderful Colin McCallister and the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel!]

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After "one season following another" clicking plastic keys of a now wheezing computer to revel in nostalgia on a page or two , I need to return numerous, scattered, precious, shared, vintage photographs (which I have archaeoLOGICally excavated from tattered scrapbooks, musty trunks and bureau drawers) to their original locations; to extend appreciation to sweet supporters who have taken the time to suggest "keep 'em coming"; to file away immense towers of generated paperwork; and to live life in the present because the world moves on, and "Big wheels are turnin' ". (A prescient line of dialogue spoken by actor Tom Hanks in the Academy Award nominated film "Captain Phillips".)

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My best wishes to both "Carol and Corkie" who inhabit my heart to this very moment. Please accept overdue gratitude for your inspirational alchemy, igniting a miraculous mix of creativity, compassion, and fun within the flourishing souls of Northern Indiana girls and boys in those Fabulous Fifties! Hopefully we "boomers" passed that infectious spirit onto others along our various paths…

Your fan,
Susie, both then… and now
www.susieduncansexton.com

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Notes about the image at the beginning of piece…

The original picture is absolutely huge...Mark Espich reduced this for me...and I am thrilled as this artwork had deteriorated along the various folds. Here is some information that I found in a book Roy had sent to me just recently...the only info I could locate about Carol Popp, the performer/artist/television personality ...

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"A...fondly remembered WKJG team hosted 'Carol and Corkie'. Carol Popp, a former Miss Indiana, was the human half of this duo; Corkie was a hand puppet with a head modified from a doll representing Bob Clampett's famous Beany (of '... and Cecil' fame.) Carol and her snub-nosed sidekick actually made their TV debut in Indianapolis during her college days, but brought their gentle rapport to Fort Wayne and WKJG (note: Channel 33 first Ft. Wayne station established in November of 1953) from 1953 to 1956, sponsored by Sunbeam Bread and the Perfection Biscuit Company."

- from "Hi There, Boys and Girls! America's Local Children's TV Programs" by Tim Hollis

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thanks for these comments!

Barb Nicholson: Ah-ha! "This got my memory going. My show was 'Milky the Clown' sponsored by Twin Pines Dairy Co. and it came on every Saturday afternoon. The magic words to all of his tricks were 'Twin Pines' and I remember saying it out loud so the trick would work. Of course, I also remember the older brothers teasing and laughing at me for being so gullible. What memories! Thanks to your mom for jarring them out of my cobwebs!!"

barb made me smile…how neat is this? she is an angel…just think we were rewarding ourselves, for attending public schools all day long…at the same time! with the boob tube blaring and the cookie jar raided! and these folks are angels too...

Alice Rivera: "Susie has such a pure soul. She is a living angel, and Roy is her little angel."

Mary Shaull: "Enjoyed another Angle column, Susie! I live your life through your memories, - so like mine. Roy, the book I ordered from Amazon arrived yesterday. I have only had time to read a few reviews, but have so loved them!!! I find myself SMILING through each one! I don't ussually do that when I read reviews. I plan to read some to David, so we can both enjoy your amazing talents and Oh-So-Clever word usages. It's like talking with you - listening to you. YOU are there! I know another book must be in the works, so write on!"

Helen Cochrane: "Roy, your writing reminds me of the influence of Edna, and, Susie, I love reading what you write!"

Mary Maday: "Wonderful, Susie. Thank you for sharing."

Kathy Bostwick: "Thank you for sharing this!"

Valerie Parent: "Precious childhood memories! ♥ I look forward to reading these."

Beth Kennedy: "wonderful post, susie. you are a lively bunch!"

Scottie Belt: "Wonderful ....Love you, Susie Sexton!!"

Pat Evanatz-Mossburg: "All of you are simply fabulous!!"

________________________

Secrets of an Old Typewriter Stories from a Smart and Sassy Small Town Girl by Susie Duncan Sexton

More Secrets of an Old Typewriter Misunderstood Gargoyles and Overrated Angels by Susie Duncan Sexton

Read about movies and nostalgia, animal issues and sociopolitical concerns all discussed in my book Secrets of an Old Typewriter and its new follow-up Misunderstood Gargoyles and Overrated Angels - print and ebook versions of both are available (click the title to order from publisher Open Books' website). Also available in both formats at Amazon.com, or download from iTunes

Meet other like-minded souls at my facebook fan page

Visit my author website at www.susieduncansexton.com

Join a great group of animal advocates Squawk Back: Helping animals when others can't ... Or Won't

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message 1: by Beth (new)

Beth Kennedy wonderful post susie. you are a lively bunch )


message 2: by Roy (new)

Roy Sexton Beth wrote: "wonderful post susie. you are a lively bunch )"

we love Beth!


message 3: by Susie (new)

Susie Sexton did you notice I was once a cowGAL? shame on me...I now want to save all the cows of the world and bring them to my back yard as pets! we were brainwashed in the fifties, to say the least...so upset that my hardee's coffee cup today is a camouflage effect (spell-check) with "sportsmen" chasing animals around the circumference of the cup...weapons in hand...I am a conscientious objector NOW...gotta teach kids that animals IS beautiful...all of them! carol and corkie taught me that ANIMALS IS BEAUTIFUL! :) thanks, beth!!!!!


message 4: by Beth (new)

Beth Kennedy yes, that is so wild. one of my grand daughters, who is 3 is a cowgirl as well, loves horses wants to own one. my daughter's house is filled with animals of all kinds, dog, cat, fish, blue lobster, birds, frog, and whoever they may have taken in today. and outside are the wild turkeys, herons, deer and all sorts of crazy creatures. good thing they live a bit out in the country. and they love the animals and know they are part of the family too ) as i may have mentioned, i would love to adopt a pygmy goat one day, to live in and enjoy my postage stamp sized front yard ) (ps - that cup sounds scary, who approved something like that, i wonder?)


message 5: by Susie (new)

Susie Sexton probably the Koch brothers? (the COKE brothers?) or Monsanto? they will be supplying all fast food restaurants with fun propaganda items...the propagandist happy meals? no wonder I love you...you and yours are ANIMAL PEOPLE!!!! did you catch my post of some family living with a major huge horse in their gorgeous home? I have dreamed that we owned a pet horse in the house (sounds like a dr. seuss title)... wouldn't that be totally wild and fun? some people have all the luck!


message 6: by Beth (new)

Beth Kennedy yeh, they are kind of like the evil robber barons in the old stories. i love your 'coke' brothers pun. so, in a child's happy meal, do they get a wad counterfeit cash with their faces on it? yes, i loved the horse in the house post and i know that paul mcartney and linda had one that lived in their cottage with them.


message 7: by Susie (new)

Susie Sexton I loved her...I loved his second wife, too (although paul didn't?) (I accidentally mistype KOCH as KOCK all the time when I am being deadly serious about bashing those guys...a Freudian slip I suppose? shhhhh?) no doubt, your supposition about the funny money is something the KOCHS have just not thought of yet...but they will!


message 8: by Roy (new)

Roy Sexton Beth wrote: "yeh, they are kind of like the evil robber barons in the old stories. i love your 'coke' brothers pun. so, in a child's happy meal, do they get a wad counterfeit cash with their faces on it? yes, i..."

you both are such fun! this exchange made me smile - the "koch brothers happy meal!"


message 9: by Kat (new)

Kat Miss Susie-- you have a wonderful post and I'm so very happy to be reading what you write. Thank your stand on Animal Rights and helping me to be a better person. You hang in there my friend cause you will be doing it again tomorrow. Love you Kat


message 10: by Susie (new)

Susie Sexton thanks, kat! your words always thrill me...what terrific support! I thrive on support like yours!


message 11: by Kat (new)

Kat found me a place to live and I'll move there. LOL


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