Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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When I come across pithy or insightful comments to blog posts, I often clip and save them in a file. Here are three that I particularly liked. Unfortunately, I don't always remember to save the source. The first one, I believe, came from Ruth Anne. The second may have also been written by Ruth Anne. The last one came from Sippican:

1. "If you can support yourself, you only have to stay with a man for the right reasons: you love him, you promised you would stay before GOd, you love the children you brought into the world together and don't want to traumatize them by getting a divorce, he makes you laugh, he doesn't yell at you when you buy another computer or nullify his vote in every single election."

2. "This trend will probably exhaust itself, perhaps is in its death throes already, when in desperate loneliness and despair, men and women return to the timeless truths of honor, duty, commitment, companionship that make for a deep and lasting relationship that transcends mere 'love' which is just a another word for what is in reality simply shallow sexual gratification."

3. "-Very hot pan or wok
-1/2 stick butter
-same amount olive oil
-haze forms
-thin sliced onion 2 min
-tbspn minced garlic minimum 2 min
-1.5 lb shrimp
-med heat 2-3 min
-juice 2 lemons into pan
-2tbspn basil
-another minute, a little pepper
-dump on 1 pound linguine"

I could be wrong; the first two may have been written by Karen.

amba (Annie Gottlieb)

The first one must have been written by Ruth Anne -- it doesn't have Karen's idiosyncratic, Emily Dickinson-like punctuation. The second doesn't sound like one of "us," but like a formal quote from some print source -- famous person or current pundit. The third . . . mmmmmmmm . . . way to a woman's heart . . .

Very clearly, a large segment of society is addicted to the drug-like first stage of love, which, to be fair, is not just a sexual but an emotional and even (in a shallow old-hippie sense) "spiritual" rush. Nature designed this only as a mechanism to get two individuals past their respective immune-system-like rejection of an "other" so that they can form a companionate bond and get some history and habit with each other (and if the sexual-romantic aspect is intense, it can be turned up again periodically to spot-weld the old bond). Once the bond is formed, the initial rush has served its purpose and can subside. But at that point, many of us pick up and go chasing after it again.

There is a whole range of other pleasures, far more subtle to savor and nonaddictive but habit-forming in the good sense, beyond the "withdrawal symptoms" of the ebbing of infatuation, when the other person's otherness begins to rub and irritate you. Actually the otherness, the irritant, is also a polishing agent and a close-up lesson in how no two beings are alike.


So well put, Annie... I am clipping, filing, AND saving the source.

Romantic love is what brought me together with my (now former) wife 26 years ago. It also led to the birth of our daughter several years later. From Dr. Helen Fisher, whom you quote above:

You see someone, you click, and you're euphoric. And in response, your ventral tegmental area uses chemical messengers such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin to send signals racing to a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens with the good news, telling it to start craving.

Wow. Describes the state of my ventral tegmental area at that time to a "T."

But it was at the moment of our daughter's birth that, for me, the second phenomenon Fisher describes really kicked in, although, in my case, "the other person" wasn't the Oh Baby, Baby. It was the baby:

"The other person becomes a goal in your life," Brown says. He or she becomes a goal you might die without and would pack up and move across the country for. That one person begins to stand out as the one and only.

The baby has grown up and thrives. The Oh Baby, Baby left to be with her next Baby Baby. And a pair of Carolina wrens (who mate for life I'm told) 4 weeks ago built their nest on the back porch of my empty nest. (Two hatchlings so far.)

No craving in my nucleus accumbens. Just profound contentment.

amba (Annie Gottlieb)

It's so funny to be talking (as you do in jest, but some people probably do in all seriousness) about "my nucleus accumbens" or "my serotonin level" the way maybe people used to talk about "my ego," "my subconscious," "my id." None of us have ever seen any of these things, so for all practical purposes they're as mythic as humours, or centaurs. Only now the myth has scientific prestige and juju.

amba (Annie Gottlieb)

That's a lovely post, Meade. We're on that back porch with you, rocking, sipping, laughing, being quiet. You convey the sense that, as fast as time goes, there's all the time in the world.


Wren babies update:

Two more hatched over night to complete the clutch of four.

I'm off to work, leaving Huck, the 80 year-old (in people years) yellow Lab to nap on the porch and guard our new friends from menacing cats and coons.

Annie, with you and J rocking with me (in spirit) on the back porch, and all these new guests, H's and my empty nest has turned into one happenin' B&B. Thanks.


If one views love as nothing more than chemicals firing in the brain is it any wonder that the love disappears? I don't know which is the greater enemy of romantic love: the "sexual revolution" or the reductive view of Man as machine. (The two phenomena are in fact inter-related.)

"'It's temporary insanity,' says Helen Fisher, an evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers University."

Like so much else, the modern understanding of romantic love and courtship (what's left of that understanding, anyway) took form during the Middle Ages. It was then when the Provencal and dolce stil nuovo poets first gave expression to many of the forms that we now call "love." Then also romantic love was seen as mental illness -- lovers were seen as having literally gone mad. This is no doubt the origin of the phrase "madly in love." (In the Middle Ages Chretien de Troyes wrote a fascinating story that depicts Lancelot as literally insane because he had fallen in love with Guinevere.)

The pre-eminent dolce stil nuovo poet, Dante, wrote about romantic love -- of Beatrice in particular -- to express the love of God. He does so in one of the greatest poems of all time:

"Tanto gentil e tanto onesta pare
la donna mia quand'ella altrui saluta,
ch'ogne lingua deven tremando muta,
e li occhi no l'ardiscon di guardare.

Ella si va, sentendosi laudare,
benignamente d'umilta' vestuta;
e par che sia una cosa venuta
da cielo in terra a miracol mostrare.

Mostrasi si' piacente a chi la mira,
che da' per li occhi una dolcezza al core,
che 'ntender non la puo' chi no la prova;

e par che de la sua labbia si mova
uno spirito soave pien d'amore,
che va dicendo a l'anima: Sospira."

(Sorry for not providing a translation -- I spent a minute poking around for one on the Internet but didn't turn up anything decent; but a little more looking probably would.)

Ruth Anne

I didn't write either of those quotes. I'm 98% certain of that.

Love is not chemicals. Love is a choice. A self-donating, soul-completing, life-affirming, sacrifical-satisfactional choice.


Begging your pardon for the misattributions, Ruth Anne.

I see now I'm going to have to do a better job of filing and labeling the pithy insightful quotes I snag. Like your last three sentences above: beautifully concisely pro-life, pro-love, and truly pro-choice... on a lofty digital pedestal labeled "Profound - RAA," right next to "Hard-won Wisdom - AG," over by "Recipes Not by Martha Stewart - SPPCN."

Ruth Anne

I'll say it again. If I weren't so married, you would be sooooo my type.


Dang! 5 "o's!" This pedestal approach just might be working!

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