From the further files of Tyler van Whoorst

Eddie and I were looking up some biographical material over the Memorial Day weekend, and discovered this interview on a reel-to-reel tape, in a box marked "Spindles and Needles:  x(?) for the (unintelligible) room."

Unless otherwise noted, speaker is Tyler van Whoorst himself. The interviewer is a female, though beyond this nothing is known, though it is obvious that the interview took place sometime in Tyler's waning months, As he did not long survive the Kennedy Assassination.


"I remember, as a boy... This was in, oh, the middle years of the last century. After your country's War Between the States.

"My father, he was a merchant. A butcher...

"He said to me... He read the paper, you know, and he said to me- ...he was reading a paper out of Liverpool or Copenhagen. I don't remember... he read them both. It had a hawk with olive greens on the banner... the, er... the crest...

"He said ...and this was my, well still is, you know, my earliest memory, and I wonder now if I actually remember it, or if it's a constructed memory. Because I would have been quite young. Three. Two maybe. Not four yet. Or maybe... When did your War end?"

{INTERVIEWER} Umm  (pause) ...1858? No, it was the 1860s. 64? I don't really know...

"Yes, well, at any rate, I was excruciatingly young, you know? How well I remember it seems to be a function of it's poetic precision, it 'rightness' [chuckles] ...yes, you're with me? The poetic *rightness* of the memory makes it stand out.

"It was so much something my father would say. His comments on the War, you see.

"'Well, yes,' he said. 'And there is the end of this great America we've heard them talk and talk about.'

"And I said, 'What? Why? Isn't the War over?'

"Oh yes, I forgot to mention, that he was reading about the Reconstruction plans. This was before Lincoln was shot, you see.

"You realize I've seen Lincoln, Cleveland and Kennedy shot dead? And that other one..."

[pause]

{INTERVIEWER}  The other one?

"Oh, someone else who was shot. Frederick... Ferdinand. Archduke Ferd- but that was hardly the same was it. I mean, one was more or less Baltic. Er, Balkan."

[pause]
"Yes..."

[pause]
"Yes, so my father..."

{INTERVIEWER} "Your father."

"I asked him how it was that it was the end of America. He said that it had gone in some dangerous directions and that it was forever weakened. I can hear him say it now: 'Dangerous directions'

"You see, he believed that to questions one's self to the extent that it cause an upheaval, a turmoil on the scale of the American Civil War (and of course he was using metaphor, of course)"

[chuckles]

"No, father was not one for self-reflection, self- examination. Or rather he would examine, but never take action. He beleived that to take action was working against divine will. Or some such."

"But you can see-"

[here the interview has been cut short and recorded over with a Lo-Fi recording of "Come and Kiss Me, Poonie Dear," the same as achieved some fame when recorded by the BowTies, a Harlem doo-wop group active in the late fifties. Whether this is actually a recording of said group has not been ascertained.]

Memphis Evans is a relentless archivist at heart.

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