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THE NEW PALS CLUB WEB-LOG

THE NEW PALS CLUB WEB-LOG
improbable-looking limestone karsts in Guilin

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The star in the wind

FOR THE MOTHER
OF KATHRYN BARBARA

There’s a Star in the wind, and the wind winds high,
Blowing alight thru fog, thru night.
Thru cold, thru cold and the bitter alone…
There high in the wind rides a Star, my own…
And the Star is a word…of white, of white…
And the star in the wind is a Word.

Porkypine 1953
.

Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo and all it contained, married for the second time in 1951, to Stephanie Waggony, and on October 31 of 1952, they had their first child, Kathryn Barbara Kelly, who died shortly after. No date is known, but Kelly refers to her in the December 8, 1952 daily strip, and he worked about three weeks ahead of publication:


And again in the December 25, 1952 strip, as Porkypine shares that slice of cake with a sad Pogo:



I don’t have the reprints for the dailies (and Kelly tended to leave these strips out of the collections), but one of my sources says he returned every Halloween to the bug with the cake, looking for a child trying to have a birthday.

A commenter at one of the blogs where I found these strips quoted from the October 31, 1955 strip, where the cake bug says,

"I'se lookin' for somebody what tryin' hard to be a year old... Not everybody makes it. I got a cake here for he who do."

UPDATE: A kind soul sent me five more strips, bringing us to 1957, after which I believe he said the references stop.

1953:





1954:




1955:





1956:




1957:



(End Update. Back to original post.)

Anyway, it's Mother's Day, and that put me in mind of the poem, first spoken in the strip by Porkypine in 1953, and which stands as the dedication to UNCLE POGO'S SO-SO STORIES (1953). Till today, I didn't know about the annual cake strips.
Hug somebody.
.

2 comments:

Paul Berge said...

Fantagraphics Books has so far published four volumes of every daily and Sunday Pogo (up through 1956), and yes, the bug paddles by with Kathryn's birthday cake every October 31 without fail.

Kip W [Muffaroo] said...

I'm not in a position to buy the books these days. I have the first ten volumes of the previous Fantagraphics traversal, and that brings me up to the two I ran here. (It's a coincidence: they aren't my scans.) If anyone out there could send scans or photos of any of those strips, I'd like to see them.

Thanks for the confirmation! I didn't know about the cake strips until I was already writing this.