Ar yu awer of the werk of melvil dui?

It is a coincidence that I ran across this memo I wrote in January 1979 in which I tried to simplify memo writing for the staff of the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee. Some thought, I guess, that writing a memo gave real status to the writer so our mailboxes would be full every day. The line about “radios with legs”came from a guy in communications who said radios (walkie-talkies) were missing from his supply room ... the radios just walked out. Archie Swinyer brought the memo to Jack Wilkins who was in the hospital at the time and Archie said he was laughing so hard they had to bring him more oxygen. This copy of the memo was mailed to me back then with the “Howard”! written in the corner like he was the only person who discovered that I was Horsley Lipshot.

Melville Dewey (his birth name) came to Lake Placid in 1895 as New York State Librarian and bought a house on Mirror Lake. When his wealthy friends came, by the hundreds, and discovered the beautiful Adirondacks it gave rise to the Lake Placid Club which grew to 10,000 acres.

Mr. Dewey was born in Adams Center, New York on December 10, 1851 and died Dec. 25, 1931 in Lake Placid, Florida, a community he founded.

Eventually there were five farms, 58 huge summer cottages, a chapel with an end stained glass window signed by Louis Tiffany; a theater, riding stable, golf courses, ski hill, ski jumps, tennis courts and on and on.

The location of the Olympic ski jumps today was the original site of a 70 meter wood ski jump built by the “Club”. A ski jump competition was held there in 1921 with 4,000 spectators in attendance; this was three years before the first Olympic Winter Games were held in Chamonix, France in 1924. The spectators must have all come by train because highways and byways were not cleared of snow like today. His story is the founding of winter sports in the United States and bringing the 1932 Olympic Winter Games to Lake Placid, the first ever held in North America.

Spelling Reform Association

“im not reeli kwalifyd tu anser yur kwestion”

Mr. Dewey created the Dewey Decimal System for libraries when he was a 21-year-old student at Amherst College in Massachusetts. But another big venture on his part was to simply the spelling of the English language.

I have bits and pieces of letters written to someone named Tillman from Ottawa, Canada looking to help the Dewey spelling changes or find out more about him. The wording looks about what my column would look like with my typing skills, if I did not make corrections two or three times before sending it to my wonderful Enterprise News Editor Brittany Proulx. The following is one such exchange:

“Deer Mr. Tillman: In our telephone conversation of april 26/82 yu kyndli oferd tu send me th adres of the Simplifyd Speling Sosyeti. I wu apresiate eni other referens on the subject of simpler speling wich yu may no of particular if located in the Ottawa region. Cud yu tel me wot fonetic grammar & alphabet yu propose. Du yu limit yur self tu 26 leters? M. Faber, Ottawa 1025 Richmond #1108.”

“Deer M Tilman: I saw yu on CBC’s Take30 tuday, and I was very interested in wot yu had tu say. I wonder if yu ar awer of the werk of Melvin Dewey [see, this let-her righter kant spel his first name corwreckly] did tuwords simplifyd speling on lnaguag English. He was th founder of the dewey desimal system used in libraries, and a brilliant man and also fonder of the Lake Placid Club in New York State and it has folen on hard times. His son, GodfreeDewey died several years ago. Marilily Hart Shouldice 138 Withrowav, Otttawa.”

“Deer Mr. Tillman: I enjoyed yur tok with Nadine on Take 30. I went thru skule, Teechers Treining Kolej. Tuk korespondens corses, and spent a lot of summers studiing. Then I tot skule for 33 yeers. 16 yeers teaching junior hiskule English. Some years I rose tu grade 10 and sank one yeer tu grade 6 English. I have bin condidered intelijent or id never hav kept my job. But—I stil cant spel. Im one of those peepol hu go for the dictionary befor I rite an important leter … Yu didn’t dwel on dobol leters or the pesky C. Theez ar my worst enimies. Wy hav a leter lyk C wich has no sound of its own? I eether takes th S or K sound. I say throw out th C. Olso C gives me one of my biggest hedakes …” [This callum is giving me one big hedake so that’sit]

Now — You Know What? – My Great-Uncle Tommy Keegan worked on one of the farms at the Club in the 1920s and I was the last General Manager of the Club in the 1980s.