LMAO. Definitely took me by surprise - and definitely glad I had set down my coffee cup when I watched it!
Wanna hear a joke?
What is the best cemetery to pee in? The Cemetery Urine, of course!
HA! The Cemetery Urine...the cemetery yer in. Get it?
Ok, that was bad...so oh-so-bad that when I made it up, it produced groans from my co-worker friends...thankfully not from the interred inhabitants of the cemetery we were in, Cemetery Urine, because that would have been oh-so-much-worse.
During this summer of Covid, my co-worker and I had taken to having a beer or two in the employee parking lot every Saturday after work as a way to celebrate making it through another week of complete and utter chaos; we'd sit on folding lawn chairs by our cars, and safely hidden behind a line of tall pines, watch people milling around the garden center, like zombies, long after we were closed for the day. After one of our longtime co-workers (20 years I worked with him) completely bailed on us after working only day during the pandemic, and short-staffed and overwhelmed, we anxiously awaited the return from Arizona of our other co-worker...but when he did return in late June, he was told he waited too long, came back too late, and was not needed this season. The three of us were crushed, bitter, and could not understand at all why the boss had made this ridiculous decision - we not only desperately needed his help and years of experience, we were all very close, as close as siblings, and I always referred to the both of them as the brothers I never asked for (and sometimes never wanted!). He immediately put his house up for sale; it sold within 48 hours, but closing was not scheduled until early September.
We of course, immediately invited him to our weekly Saturday After Work Social Distancing Beers, but because of the circumstances, he was not comfortable coming to the nursery. We started meeting at a nearby park - which was really just a hill with a few trees, some historical markers, surrounded by cornfields. Beer makes you pee; there's no way around it. The guys could just go behind a tree, but I had to walk down the hill to the edge of a cornfield where there was a cluster of prickly spruce trees which I could back into, baring my naked @ss, unseen, to pee. We started calling our weekly gathering place Pee Hill, and for nearly a month we never saw any evidence that anyone else visited the tiny park - until one day, we saw a couple of disposable masks and used condoms carelessly tossed in a bush where we parked. At least whoever tossed them there was being safe...in more ways than one.
The following Saturday we were later than the usual late because the customers would not stop coming in; our now former co-worker knew not to arrive at Pee Hill at least a half hour after closing because we never get off on time on Saturdays, but we were especially late this Saturday. When we finally got off work, we had a text from him saying that Pee Hill was already occupied, quite possibly from whoever left the discarded items in the bush the previous week; there was a car there, but no visible people.
"Let's meet at the cemetery", I texted him...and thus the Cemetery Urine joke was born (the cemetery was actually a much easier and more discreet place in which to relieve oneself than Pee Hill; it's surrounded by thick woods, not open cornfields.)
We parked our cars in the small parking area - there was only three parking spots, and not to be disrespectful, carried our chairs to an empty field save for one large tree, and far away from any of the gravestones. The field and woods were deeded to the cemetery in the previous owner's will so that the land could not be developed; it's part of the cemetery, but not part of the actual graveyard. We sat, spread out by 12 feet, under the shade of the tree, which would become our weekly meeting place for the next two months.
The Cemetery Urine is a small cemetery; in comparison, it has 1,600 grave-sites, while the cemetery in town here, is the resting place of 10,400 dead souls. Also unlike the cemetery here, it is not what I’d call a beautiful place - there are no rolling hills, winding roads, manicured lawns, large trees except for the one we sat under and those in the surrounding woods, and a sign of cemetery rules states plantings of any kind are prohibited (oddly, on the list of things prohibited, there is no mention of alcohol).
Now a cemetery might seem like a weird place to meet with friends to relax, but for us, it was a natural. My former co-worker and I both love cemeteries; he frequently texts me photos of headstones he finds interesting (the latest being of a person named Short Long, buried in Tucson). There is a word for people like us – taphophiles are people who are interested in cemeteries; a tombstone tourist. The other in our group, not so much – although he did as a kid growing up England’s countryside, play in the neighboring cemetery with his sister, taking a few flowers from bouquets left on graves, and placing them on graves that had none, so those not visited had flowers at their headstones.
The first time we met there, walking from where we parked our cars to the tree, I studied the graves we passed, like I always do when I visit cemeteries. One stuck with me – Daughter Permilla. It was one of those headstones in a family plot, where the main headstone has the family name, and the stones in line around it have the names of mother, father, and children. I don’t remember the family name or the date on Daughter Permilla’s headstone, but it stuck with me because of the unusual name.
When I got home, I drilled…and like Stepper would Christmas shop in July, I shopped for my favorite holiday in July also.
31 Days of Halloween Random Word Drill: Permilla Cemetery Tree.
While drilling, I found only two sites mentioning the same story; it’s not a particularly remarkable story – or even a scary one as Halloween stories go, but some very weird coincidences between what I found on the internet and what I found in the cemetery we were in made me pursue it.
In Arcade, New York, there is a local legend surrounding a couple of graves in the local cemetery - they are referred to as the Witches Graves.
The Witches Graves stand together under a tree, and are far removed from any of the other graves in the cemetery. Looking at the photos of the graves – their placement under the tree with the view of the cemetery in the distance as a backdrop - looks exactly like where we sat, drinking our beer under the tree in the Cemetery Urine; the similarity of the setting is uncanny. www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=d3c34232-8a0f-4bb5-a31d-67ea8139353f
The inscriptions on the graves are as follows:
Permilla A. Rodgers Nov. 3rd 18?? Age 24 yrs
Mary Ann Rogers, Wife of Chancy Rogers Died Sept. 8, 1863 53 yrs.
The legend of the Witches Graves in Arcade Rural Cemetery most likely grew out of where the graves stand far away from any of the other graves. Though not a lot is known about the women who are buried off by themselves in a remote corner at very boundary of the cemetery, they are assumed to be mother and daughter. Legend has it that Permilla and Mary Ann Rogers were accused of being witches, and were hanged on the tree under which their graves now stand. Those who visit the graves report feeling odd sensations, chills, hearing strange noises, and experiencing a general sense of uneasiness. Candles and other offerings are often left at the Witches Graves, especially on Halloween night.
That’s it – the entire legend of the Witches Graves, and as often happens with local legends, it’s got a lot of holes. Probably the most glaring hole to me, is that people were not executed for witchcraft in the U.S. during the mid-1800s. The last person to be hanged as a witch in the U.S. was in the late 1600s.
It’s not true either, that not a lot is known about Permilla and Mary Ann Rogers; there is quite a lot of information about them on the Arcade Rural Cemetery’s website…or at least enough information to know for certain they weren’t hanged for witchcraft.
Whereas the Cemetery Urine is a cemetery in a rural area, the Arcade Rural Cemetery is a rural cemetery in the true sense of the word: a rural cemetery (also called garden cemeteries) is a cemetery outside of urban areas that was especially designed as a park, and meant to be visited as such. Families picnicked in them, took carriage rides through them, and suitors courted their love interests in them. The Rural Cemetery movement started in the mid-1800s around the time Permilla A. Rogers was supposedly hanged as a witch and buried under the tree.
Only daughter of Mary Ann and Chauncey F. Rogers, Permilla was born Nov. 27, 1842, and died Nov 4, 1857; she was not 24 years old as the Witches’ Graves legend goes; she was only 14 years old (14 yrs, 11 months, and 7 days to be exact). The cemetery website even gives the name of the preacher who performed the sermon, the verse chosen, and that she was buried in a cherry coffin…and the cause of death: disease.
Mary Ann Rogers was the daughter of Christopher and Bakerman, wife of Chauncey F. Rogers. She also died from disease (the cemetery website does not identify which disease due to privacy concerns).
But why are mother and daughter buried alone and so far away from the other graves? It’s because they are interred in Arcade Rural Cemetery’s Potter’s Field. Potter’s Fields are pauper’s graves or common graves – graves for unclaimed bodies, or indigent people.
This raises more questions….why are Permilla and Mary Ann in a potter’s field? Arcade Rural Cemetery has no records of a Chauncey F. Rogers. Did Chauncey Rogers die prior to them both, leaving Mary Ann husbandless with a young child to try to support on her own? Or did Mary Ann leave him, escaping with their daughter, because he was perhaps an abusive husband and father? And if mother and daughter were too poor have a grave in the cemetery proper, why was Permilla buried in a cherry coffin instead of a pine box which is typical of a pauper’s grave; cherry is one of the most expensive woods there is. Maybe Mary Ann, devastated by her young daughter’s death, spent the last of her meager savings on an elaborate coffin in which to bury her child.
The only certainty is that neither Permilla or Mary Ann Rogers were hanged; they both died of disease, 6 years apart. The Witches’ Grave legend has been debunked, and all it took was one website, and not even the full two minutes of a 2-minute drill.
Maybe the biggest question of all is why did I spend so much time writing about a mundane story such as this? As I mentioned earlier, the site of the Witches’ Graves looks exactly like where we sat to have our beers in the Cemetery Urine. I love cemeteries, I love history, and I love the history of cemeteries. I also love a mystery, good or otherwise….I even love finding a mystery where this is none. Ooooo….this almost sounds like a story for one of those “ABC After School Specials” I used to watch as a kid. “The Mystery of the Witches’ Graves” - a little bit Nancy Drew, a little bit Scooby-Doo.
There is perhaps a little bit more to it though…
Since seeing the “Daughter Permilla” grave on our first visit to the cemetery, never did I again find it, even though we walked the same row of graves to get to our tree for nearly two months of Saturdays ; not even after searching for it, up and down bordering rows. Every single time we were there though, at the very end of that same row in which I swear I saw Permilla’s grave, was a family plot with the last name of “Rogers”. Maybe I was meant to find it; maybe some distant relative of Permilla Rogers reached out to me, and wanted me to set the record straight and clear her reputation. HA! Not that I believe that, though it is kind of a fun little thought, especially this time of year.
Not really spooky - just a bunch of interesting coincidences really. It, of course, could be made spookier though.
Yeah, it's way late to be responding to this, but I've been giving it some thought lately - not a whole lot of thought, but more than just a passing idea: I'm going to have all this time on my hands this winter, and wondering if I can somehow turn the whole thing into a story revolving around kids - preteens, I'm thinking - and the idea that coincidences can be twisted to fit almost any narrative. The idea probably came to me because I'm rereading a coming-of-age novel I first read more than 25 years ago, parts of which have stuck with me since, and I consider it one of my all-time favorite books: "Boy's Life" by Robert McCammon. www.amazon.com/Boys-Life-Robert-McCammon/dp/0671743058
That book, Permilla Rogers, and our cemetery randonauting adventures (out of the six times we went randonauting, three adventures took place in cemeteries, one being a totally random destination, and the other two by design), and believe it or not, JT the Foodie YouTube guy, have started swirling in my head, kinda forming into a basis for a story.
By far the freakiest number of coincidences happened on randonauting adventure that led us downtown, with the coincidences we found specifically pertaining to our family; no one else would have seen what we saw and have been able to relate it to what we were looking to find, but it fit so perfectly it was almost scary. The cemetery adventures though, could be woven into the story.
Cemetery Randonauting Adventure #1: my co-worker and I after work one Saturday in early October went to the Cemetery Urine, where we had planned to go. Though our destination was pre-planned, in order to keep it totally random, our coordinates and "intent" (what we were looking to find) was given to us by our other co-worker - the college freshman - who was invited, but declined because "it wouldn't be any fun unless we did it at night". The intent she came up with was "distressed books", and the coordinates led us to a spot where we could see 4-5 headstones that were similar in design - a pedestal made to look like a podium with an open book laying on top. All of the headstones were from the late 1800s/early 1900s, and were very worn with age with the writing almost illegible - distressed you could say. We'd covered quite a bit of the cemetery to get to the coordinates, and quite a bit afterward, while finishing our beers; there were no other graves like this with "distressed books". One in particular we focused on was this one: www.findagrave.com/memorial/27255570/elisha-weed
The headstone was husband and wife, Elisha and Myra Jane Weed, (you cannot make this stuff up). Myra, of course is an anagram of Mary. Mary Jane...Weed. And why do people smoke it? To de-stress.
Cemetery Randonauting Adventure #2: BP and I were randomly sent to the cemetery here in town, which was a coincidence within itself, because our predetermined intent, chosen by BP, was "Wise Witch"; what better place to find something witchy in October than a cemetery. Our coordinates took us to the grave of Mary Cordelia Malbone. "Cordelia" to anyone who's watched American Horror Story as BP and I have, knows is the reigning Coven Supreme, the matriarch of the coven - the wise witch. We looked up "Witch Malbone" on BP's phone, and the search brought up Mabon instead - a Wiccan harvest festival. We decided though, that settling on a fictional character, Cordelia, was kinda cheating, so we kept looking. Near Cordelia's resting place was the headstone of Cornelius L. Webster, another witchy sounding name. Cornelius died in 1926 - "26" was the last set of coordinates that brought us to this location in the cemetery so it was "obvious" to us that this was a connection. Next to his grave was one of those metal markers stuck in the ground which I always assumed were military markers; I'm sure some of them are, but Cornelius's had a bunch of weird symbols on it, one being an eye with rays coming out of it - the "all seeing eye", which we found again using BP's iPhone, was a symbol of the Odd Fellows, that secret society that was formed to right the inequalities they saw in the world. Might not be witchy, but certainly wise.
Cemetery Randonauting Adventure #3: our final cemetery adventure was, of course, Halloween evening; it was LX, the Boyfriend, and I who drove to the cemetery to save time, with the intent of finding a "festive blue moon", the actual full blue moon in the sky excluded. Once we reached our coordinates, we were standing right in front of our "festive" thing - a headstone decorated with colorful little scarecrows on stakes and other Halloween decorations. Our "moon" was just a few headstones away - another Odd Fellows marker, this one with a big "R" for Rebekah, the female side of the secret society, and a crescent moon with seven stars. The marker was steel-gray, or if you will, slate-blue - our blue moon. The actual blue in our "festive blue moon" intent though, became more clear as we headed back to the car. We'd spent quite a lot of time in the cemetery, first getting to our coordinate, and afterward just exploring. It was almost dark when we decided it was time to leave - dark enough that all these tiny solar powered lights that people put on the graves of their loved ones, were glowing, which was very eerie looking. When the car was in sight, we could see the headlights of another car behind it - a police officer - a "man in blue" was running my plates! "Uhm...is there a problem, Officer?" "Just wondering what someone would be doing in the cemetery after dark on Halloween", he said. "Kinda seemed like a safe, social-distancing thing to do on Halloween", I replied, which although it musta sounded weird to him, he accepted as a reasonable good enough explanation, which was good enough for us!
Where does JT the YouTube guy fit into any of this? It's his, and tons of other people who used the Randonautica app, who either think there something to the app itself that needs to be debunked, that it's magic, evil, or believe that the app is somehow controlling the outcome of what they find. We never used the app. It was down the first time we set out on a randonauting adventure, being upgraded from its Beta version, and to my understanding the new version wasn't available until Halloween. Instead of using Randonautica, we chose a series of random numbers, a series of "left" or "right" directions, and a final number to give us our ending coordinate - such as turn left at the 4th street, turn left at the 6th street, turn right at the 10th street, and so on and so on; the final set of directions was the number of steps to take from our last turn, that would the spot to look for our intent. So there, JT, the app is now "debunked" - a person can find anything that fits their narrative, if that's what they set out to do, with or without the use of an app.
Which is kind of what happened to Permilla and Mary Ann Rogers with the Witches' Grave legend, isn't it? People saw something, thought it was odd, and made up a story that fit a narrative of a possible explanation, until the narrative became accepted as true. Permilla and Mary Ann have been dead for over 150 years, and something like randonauting is all fun and games, but when facts are twisted to fit a narrative, things can get quite dangerous when it involves the lives of real people.
And sorry for the ramble - I'm just kind of working out possibilities for tying a bunch of random stuff that's swirling in my head into one cohesive story idea.
It's February - Black History Month. First up at bat...
"In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing." ~ Henry Louis "Hammering Hank" Aaron
A little over a week ago, when I read that Hank Aaron died on January 22nd at age 86, it brought back all kinds of childhood memories of the 70s, when we were kids. I am not, and never was a baseball fan - but Dad was. Sometimes I remember him watching games if they were at night on television, but most often I remember him listening to the games on the radio on the weekends, either while he was tinkering around in the garage, or relaxing on the back porch. He'd take us to Tiger Stadium on "hat day" or "bat day" when they'd hand out baseball hats or little wooden bats to the kids in attendance. And I remember names from those days - Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Mickey Mantle, Mickey Stanley, Reggie Jackson...and of course, Hank Aaron.
Throughout his life and career, Aaron overcame poverty, racism and segregation, and faced each obstacle with what those who knew him both personally and professional call his "trademark grace and resolve". When it became apparent he was on track to break Babe Ruth's home run record, he received hate mail, and he and his family endured death and kidnapping threats. He had to leave through the back door of baseball parks, and have police escorts with him at all times - all because a black man threatened a white man's legacy in a game.
He did eventually surpass Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974, and during his major league career played in 25 All-Star Games, and collected 3,771 hits.
"I wait for roles — first, to be written for a woman, then, to be written for a black woman. And then I have the audacity to be selective about the kinds of roles I play. I’ve really got three strikes against me. So, aren’t you amazed I’m still here?” ~ Cicely Tyson, in an interview in 1977.
Wow, that was 24 years ago Ms. Tyson said that, when she was 73-years old. And she was still acting in 2020! Sadly, Cicely Tyson, after a career spanning more than seven decades during which she was known for her portrayal of strong African-American women, passed away last week on January 28th. She was 96.
"I made an emotional decision that when I returned from the Army, that most of the rest of my life would be spent trying to make where I live, and the bigger world, a place where all people could have peace and justice." ~ Timuel Black
Chicagoan Timuel Black wears many hats - he is a WWII veteran, an iconic civil rights activist, an educator (high school teacher and college professor), historian, author, and community leader. He is also a living archive - in December, he celebrated his 102nd birthday! How fitting is it for a man who made his living as an historian would live to see so much history.
"If you have never been deprived of your liberty, as I was, you cannot realize the power of that hope of freedom, which was to me indeed, an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast." ~ Henry "Box" Brown (1815 – 1897)
Henry Brown was born a slave who at age 33, escaped to freedom by arranging to have himself mailed in a wooden crate from Virginia to abolitionists in Philadelphia. After his successful escape, Brown became a noted abolitionist speaker, and because he was well-known as a public figure, (and an escaped slave), he fled to England when the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was passed a year after his escape, and lived there for 25 years before returning the to States.
Not only was his escape by mailing himself in a box remarkable, the arrival of the crate in which he traveled (although the "Fragile" and "This End Up" markings on the crate were largely ignored), at the time was celebrated as a "modern postal miracle". The crate's successful delivery involved traveling by wagon, railroad, steamboat, wagon again, railroad, ferry, railroad, and finally delivery wagon, taking only a mere 27 hours to reach its destination.
"One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know and read of the miseries which affect the world." ~ Lorraine Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965)
Lorraine Hansberry was an American playwright, author, and activist. Her play, "A Raisin in the Sun", was the first play written by a Black female to be performed on Broadway. She died of cancer very young, at age 34.
"Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!" ~ William Harvey Carney (February 29, 1840 – December 9, 1908)
William Harvey Carney was born a slave in Virginia, and by most accounts, escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, just a few months after joining the Union Army, Carney was shot twice in battle, and severely wounded. Despite his serious injuries and blood loss, after the color guard was killed, Carney retrieved the U.S. flag and crawled across the battlefield with the flag held high, back to his unit, the 54th Infantry, where he handed the flag to a regiment office, gasping "Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!"
He received Medal of Honor in 1890, and "Boys, The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground" was a song in the 1901 Broadway Musical "Shoo Fly Regiment".
Finally! After nearly 120 years, all traces of this product's racist stereotype on its packages are coming to an end. Although, the company has tried to update the image over the last couple of decades with a new hairstyle, pearls and a facelift, it was announced yesterday "Aunt Jemima" is finally retired. PepsiCo is rebranding the product as "Pearl Milling Company".
I know I posted this video from the Jim Crow Museum before, but it's worth watching again to understand why the product name change is long, long overdue.
Singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, producer, model, humanitarian, with a gorgeous smile so warm it could melt the ice and snow on this cold February day. What else can you say about Dana Elaine Owens except that she is the Queen: Queen Latifah.
I can't even pick just a favorite quote or two from her, so here is a gob of them:
"The only way you can succeed is to override the obstacles in your path." ~ Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (January 18, 1856 – August 4, 1931)
Daniel Hale Williams was a pioneer in the medicine field. A Black doctor during a time when Black people were barred from admittance to hospitals and Black doctors were refused staff positions due to their skin color, in 1891 Williams opened Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the nation's first medical facility with a nursing and intern program that had a racially integrated staff.
He was also the second surgeon in the U.S. to successfully perform open-heart surgery.
"I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential." ~ Naomi Wadler
A few days ago marked the third anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. A month after the shooting, the student led March For Our Lives rally took place in D.C. to advocate for greater gun control laws; sister marches took place around the world. I will always remember watching this young woman's speech...no, this 11-year old child's speech. How sad it is that any child had then and still has reason to tackle the issue of gun violence.
No quotes from today's featured Black American; he is a quiet reluctant hero. Using quick thinking, he is credited with diverting a group of the Capitol rioters away from the open door of the Senate Chamber as it was being evacuated by basically using himself as bait.
"If not for the quick, decisive, and heroic actions from Officer Goodman, the tragedy of last week's insurrection could have multiplied in magnitude to levels never before seen in American history. With this prestigious award, we can show our gratitude to Officer Goodman for saving countless lives and defending our democracy" ~ Representative Emanuel Cleaver
U.S. Army Iraqi War veteran, Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman received the Congressional Gold Medal for his heroic actions in the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6th, 2021.
"The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose." ~ Chadwick Boseman (Nov, 1976 – Aug, 2020)
Chadwick Boseman was an American actor and playwright, known for his portrayal of historic figures (Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall) and the Marvel Comics character Black Panther. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, Boseman kept his condition private, supporting cancer charities and giving to organizations supporting disadvantage children. He continued to act until his death in August of this past year, his final film, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", released posthumously.
Hazel Dorothy Scott (June 11, 1920 – October 2, 1981), a critically acclaimed jazz and classical pianist, singer, and actor, used her influence to improve the representation of Black Americans in film. Yet most people don't know her name. Here's why:
Here it is - the last day of February already, and of course I've got all these amazing people doing amazing things that I didn't get around to posting for Black History Month.
Here's Amanda Gorman, the 22-year old Harvard Grad, the first National Youth Poet Laureate (April 2017), who's overcome an auditory processing disorder and speech impediment, whose poetry focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization.
Tell the truth, Stepper - do you have a "Christmas countdown" calendar or an app (probably one the plays Christmas music every time you open it) that tells you this? Or do you do it "old school", taking some kind of perverse pleasure in having to do the math yourself?
And you've probably got your shopping started already!
Actually I had plans for all these Christmas gift craft projects to do at the beginning of this year. HA! I probably won't even get them started before I go back to work - no, I know I won't get them started before then. Called the boss lady this weekend just to yik-yak, and after about a half hour of yik-yakking, she says her husband, the boss man, wanted to talk to me. He asked me to start work this coming Monday.
<looks at calendar, since this is the thread for it>
Cr@p! It's still winter! It's a whole month earlier than I was expecting to go back!
Not really looking forward to this; the retail end of the business (the boss lady's side of the business where I work)isn't even opened yet, so this is going to be all outside labor, which means the crews have probably dwindled yet again as they did last year due to Covid.
I haven’t really looked into the story much, yet. I’ve only seen/read a couple of news stories. What little I gathered, is that some of the images were supposedly racist. I don’t recall seeing/reading anything about the text. And not having read the books in many years, I’d rather see it with my own eyes and make up my own mind. If it is only the artwork, then new illustrations could get the books back out in print once again. If the books were making good money, and they aren’t printed with new artwork, then that would be telling as well.
I remember reading a few years ago that Dr. Seuss got his start doing political cartoons, and cartoon advertisements that were in fact, very racist toward the Black, Jewish, Japanese, and Arab peoples. (One in which he depicts Black people in black face caricature being sold in a department store, complete with the N-word is seen here: www.snopes.com/fact-check/dr-seuss-racist-cartoons/ )
The cartoons were done in the late 1920s-1940s. He later acknowledged the racism depicted in those types of cartoons and apologized in a way by saying something like 'things were a certain way back then' and he was ashamed of them. Supposedly he wrote "Horton Hears a Who" and "Sneetches on Beaches" as sort of an atonement.
I paid some attention to the story of the books that are being discontinued because it kept popping up in news feeds a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to stop publishing six books because they contained the same of sort imagery as in the cartoons that depicted other races as caricatures. They weren't popular titles; I don't remember any of them from when the girls were little, and only vaguely remember the title "And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street" from when I was a kid.
Of the six books, one was originally published in 1937, one in 1947, three in the 50s, and one in 1976. 'Things were a certain way back then' to paraphrase Seuss. Some things don't age well. The books were written in a time that spanned segregation and Jim Crow Laws, the Japanese interment camps, when Black people did not have full voting rights, before the Civil Rights Act passed in the late 50s, and the Voting Rights Bill in 1965. It's been nearly 85 years since the first book in question was written, and 45 years since the last book in question was written - you'd hope we've progressed some since then.
Dr. Seuss published over 60 children's books. Six of them (termed C-list books - low on their selling list) being discontinued because their illustrations express outdated views that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong" (in the words of Dr. Seuss Enterprises) should not have been a controversial decision at all...
...other then the fact it's being portrayed in some quarters as another example of "cancel culture"