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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Home Town

Thomas McGovern, '32

The Magpie, June 1932, v. 33, n. 2, p. 31.

You visit the county you come from, your grandfather's town. Somehow you seem to belong here; here your clan is in strength. You walk around "our prosperous little city." The cops here nod good morning. They have to. Here a vote is a vote.

You stroll down and look at the Hudson. Old Dunderberg looms on the far side. Dunderberg, Rip van Winkle's mountain, where Hendrik Hudson's men play at bowls and brew Katskill thunder. No wonder the scouts of migration, landing in New York of the Forties, thought the city too crowded and wicked and settled in the township of Courtlandt, county Westchester.

You look at the railroad and think of the laborers of other days, section bosses, contractors, forgers of steel and of iron. You recall the half-mythical iron moulder, your great-uncle, who drew top wages, never wore a coat, and turned out stoves by the dozen. The foundry is gone now and with it has vanished great-uncle, toting his keg on his shoulder. Mayhap, he drinks now with the Dutchmen who haunt the hills of the River of Mountains.

Civil War Monument, Volunteer Fire Department. The whiskers of great-grandfather, immortalized in portrait, bedeck the walls of the Centennial Hose Company. Your clansman and guide still belongs to it. The volunteers hire a man to polish and drive the engine, but let there be a fire . . . They don't get old 'til they die, here.

Boors, uncultured peasants, petty bourgeoisie, are they?—rather makers of music, quiet poets, fools in their way as we all are, and people, my people.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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