Daily Archives: July 12, 2014


I am always happy when facts enter the scene, even when they prove one of my latest flights of fancy to have been in error. In a recent post, BEWARE OF THE REPEATER PENCIL, I had suggested that Lester Young, as original in linguistic coinage as he was in music, had invented the quirky term “repeater pencil.”

The Dutch cultural historian L. Robert Haacksaeuw has proven this whimsy of mine false by finding real evidence.  Thus!

REPEATER PENCILI wouldn’t want a writing instrument with the power of a machine gun, and I can imagine Lester reading this 1946 advertisement — so soon after his dishonorable discharge from an Army that treated him cruelly — with horror. Who knew a company could sell mechanical pencils by first comparing them to an instrument of death and then offering a placid morning image of coffee with sugar.

Lester, it is too late for us to apologize for what some people did to you, but we are so sorrowful for their acts.  Had you been surrounded by love, perhaps you would not have felt you had to run from a hateful society of people who did not understand nor value you.  Thank you for so generously continuing to give us your own irreplaceable beauties.

May the world be kinder to all people — kinder than it was to Lester Willis Young.

May your happiness increase!