So good ole Stubby Currence was mentioned in the New York Times a little while back in an opinion piece by Erin McKean titled “The Wise Words of Maya Angelou. Or Someone, Anyway.”
The author, the chief executive and founder of the online dictionary Wordnik.com, was writing about a new Maya Angelou postage stamp which attributes this quote to Angelou:
A bird doesn’t sing because he has an answer, it sings because he has a song.
But it was in fact written by children’s book writer Joan Walsh Anglund.
McKean goes to to use Stubby as another example of possible misattribution for the master Mark Twain:
A favorite Twainism-that-isn’t is “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work,” which might be the work of a 1930s newspaper columnist named Stubby Currence, but is more likely a variation of an older, anonymous joke.
Quite the mystery! I guess only Stubby would know for sure. And keeping company with the New York Times, Mark Twain and Maya Angelou sounds about right for Stubby.
Wishing all dads a very Happy Father’s Day. I’m missing The Dad a lot today, but he’s always in my heart.
I wanted to let you know I’ve started to curate more Stubby information on Pinterest. The pins include news articles and full columns of Stubby’s writings as they existed in print.
Follow the Stubby Currence Project on Pinterest here. Enjoy!
Forty years ago today, Stubby published this column in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Maybe the copy editor was off that day? Nonetheless, a favorite for the family…
December 30, 1973. Click to zoom in.
Christmastime is a great reminder that family is what’s important in life. We’re feeling that more than ever with The Dad‘s passing this year.
So remember: Hug ’em all tight! And cheers to “booze and whoopee” for 2014!
The Dad once told me about a cold day in April when he was leaving Bluefield. It was 1981 – the day after his father Stubby’s funeral. He pulled the car into a gas station to fill up before driving his family back 400 miles back to Cincinnati, and he came face-to-face with his pop. Stubby’s photo glanced up at him from the trash can. It was his obituary on the front page of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
He said grief came over him in that moment. It brought it home that Stubby was literally and figuratively yesterday’s news. A family lost its patriarch. A town lost a significant champion. But sons lost their father. A wife lost her partner. Co-workers lost a friend.
Unfortunately, the grief is back. We recently lost The Dad. Like many deaths, it was a long time coming but too sudden, too soon. The Dad loved to tell stories about the sports scene he grew up in. He loved reminiscing about the neighborhood baseball games in which he played while living on Pen Mar. He was devoted to the 1959 Bluefield Beavers Football State Champs until the very end. He put West Virginia Mountaineers stickers on anything that wouldn’t move.
Even though we don’t have The Dad anymore doesn’t mean his story are done being told, or our stories here are over. Even though the newsprint has long been recycled, the memories are old and dusty, and those we have loved may have gone on, we still have their stories to tell.
And Dad, I’ll miss you.
In 1949, Stubby attended the 75th Anniversary of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville in 1949. As Eric Crawford writes
The Kentucky Derby has always been a writer’s event. At the Derby, bloodlines come first, but story lines are a close second. Great writers, some of the best, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Hunter Thompson, took their turns penning descriptions of the great spectacle.
Let’s not get too carried away here comparing Stubby to these literary giants. But the ole man did attend and got him some killer sway.
A pair of Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Glasses
Yeah, mint julep!
and a cool souvenir book
They even personalized it for the ole Stubs!
And we’ll end with sage advice from Stubby himself from his Press Box column, May 3, 1936 …
Above is The Press Box graphic from 1934. I hope to share more graphics from The Press Box column as it changed throughout the years.
But I liked the following was a tidbit in the December 30, 1934, Press Box column from The Bluefield Daily Telegraph:
“Correct this sentence: “Son,” said the newspaperman and father. “I hope you will choose an easy job like sport writing.”
I think we might have a double entrendre on our hands, especially with the teasers that follow:
Whether it was sport writing or sports writing, Stubby made good sports out of all.
Oh, those cold winter nights of West Virginia of today and days past…
While staying warm, I found this reference to Stubby attending a Davis & Elkins basketball game in a Bluefield Daily Telegraph “Press Box” column from January 24, 1936:
This D & B crowd is no bunch of pansies. Especially those three husky members of the outfit who so generously pushed my marooned car out of the snow in front of that Fairmont road house the night after the ball game in which they were crowned state champs at the state tourney last season. I’ll love them for that, if for nothing else. But I hate to think to what might have happened to me that night had l gone to Wesleyan and not to D & B back in the days of my callow youth. And I love ’em for that, too.
Stay warm, kids!