Friday, March 4, 2016

Wolfgang Hampel, Betty MacDonald and a very exciting time

Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Wolfgang Hampel - and Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter team and Martine, Lisa, Greta, Mats, Pieter and other members are very busy at the current time.

Do you know the reason why?

They are working very hard on Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter March.

New Betty MacDonald info, essays and stories are waiting for you.

We already mentioned new photos for example of Betty MacDonald's unique grandmother Gammy.

March will be very exciting because of several Betty MacDonald fan club contests.

The most important one is Betty MacDonald fan club birthday card contest. 

Send a birthday with your thoughts of Betty MacDonald and her books to us and might be our Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner.

Deadline:   March 15, 2016

You can win a first edition of Betty MacDonald's golden egg with a very cute dedication for one of her fans.

Very rare and really a wonderful copy!

Don't miss it, please.

We are going to celebrate 70th anniversary of Betty MacDonald's golden The Egg and I in Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter March.

We asked  in which languages The Egg and I has been translated?

That's your chance. Don't miss it, please.

You can win our new Betty MacDonald documentary.

The Egg and I belongs to the most successful books ever.

First published by the J. B. Lippincott Company on October 3, 1945, The Egg and I received laudatory reviews and soon appeared on the best-seller list. 

The book was a blockbuster success as a novel, being reprinted on a nearly monthly basis for the next two years.

On September 12, 1946, the specially-bound one-millionth copy of the book was presented to MacDonald by Washington Governor Monrad Wallgren at a luncheon in Seattle.

Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter March includes the names of our former Betty MacDonald fan club contest winners, the correct answers and many more info.

Anita, I'm one of your many fans. 

Many greetings to Eartha Kitt II. You are a dream team. Thank you so much for sharing the photo of you and Eartha in your living-room. It's so cute.

I admire your Betty MacDonald Fan Club story about Betty MacDonald, Robert Heskett, Donald MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde R. Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea Darsie Bard Goldsmith, Alison Bard Burnett, Jerry Keil, Joan MacDonald Keil, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Perry Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Ma and Pa Kettle and many others.
It's the best Betty MacDonald fan club story ever beside Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and his magical Betty MacDonald Interviews.

Björn: I have a surprise. My parents visited the Northwest in the sixties. Both are huge Betty MacDonald Fans and they went to Vashon of course and they met ........
Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Cleve Bard and Mary Alice Bard. We have many photos of the family and my father filmed them with his camera. So you can see and hear the Bard family. I'm going to present this at the next Betty MacDonald Fan Club Meeting. 

Mary Bard Jensen is very funny, indeed but you'll enjoy Clyde Jensen, Cleve and Mary Alice Bard as well. A wonderful family!

Björn, we can't wait to see the Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde R. Jensen, Cleve Bard and Mary Alice Bard interviews filmed by your father. Did Mary Bard Jensen share any info about the story of Sandra, which Betty MacDonald mentioned in her book Anybody can do anything?

We would like to learn more about Mary Bard's book published in the thirties. We know so much more about it after reading Anita's Top Betty MacDonald Fan Club story. Anita also tells the exciting story of Dorita Hess. Betty MacDonald describes this rather strange lady in Anybody can do anything. Did Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde R. Jensen, Cleve Bard and Mary Alice Bard mention her in the interviews?

Björn, excuse my many questions, please but it's so great to have the opportunity to see all the members of the Bard family. I'm overwhelmed. It's such a great feeling.
I hope we'll be able to see these interviews and the filmed Betty MacDonald interview at the next Betty MacDonald Fan Club meeting.

Jens: Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I bet there will be many more fans in the future.
Isn' t this amazing? Wolfgang Hampel and Alison Bard Burnett are born humorists. Both delight their fans from all over the world.

I'd love to have a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his very funny poems and stories. What about a book? We adore Wolfgang Hampel's high humor and wit in Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and his wonderful Betty MacDonald interviews.

Jens, it doesn't amaze me at all. 

As you wrote Alison Bard Burnett and Wolfgang Hampel are born humorists. I heard many more Alison Bard Burnett interviews by Wolfgang Hampel will be published in the future. Come on, please. Do it! This couple is so funny. I can listen to them a million times without getting tired. Pure Bard and Hampel magic.

Wonderful story tellers, world painters, great entertainers. Alison Bard Burnett and Wolfgang Hampel share it with Betty MacDonald Fans from all over the world. 

By the way I don't like poems so much but Wolfgang Hampel's satirical poems are as witty and charming as his Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald Interviews. Wolfgang Hampel's very funny stories about everyday life make us laugh aloud.

I heard one of the next Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter stories are about our beloved Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.

My family and I are crazy about Mr. Tigerli - our unique trouble shooter!

Our unique Betty MacDonald fan club honor members are outstanding artists and writers. 

Let's go to the bookstore and enjoy a new breakfast with Brad and Nick.

I'm crazy about Jamie-Lee and her outstanding song 'Ghost'.

What about moving to very beautiful Vashon Island? 



Vita Magica
Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

we share a very special gift by beloved and very popular Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honor member Letizia Mancino.

We know you'll enjoy it as much as we do.

Thanks a Million, dear Letizia Mancino.

You are an outstanding writer and artist.

We are so proud and happy to have you with us.

Letizia writes: One should not underestimate Wolfgang Hampel’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty MacDonald’s friends.

We agree. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang Hampel for doing this. You founded Betty MacDonald Fan Club with four members.

Now we have members in 40 countries around the world. A dream came true.

Mary Holmes did an excellent job in translating this great story. 

Thank you so much dear Mary Holmes. 

We are really very grateful.

All the best to Letizia, Wolfgang and Mary and to all Betty MacDonald Fan Club fans from all over the world!


Following in Betty’s footsteps in Seattle:

or some small talk with Betty

Copyright 2011/2015 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
translated by Mary Holmes

We were going to Canada in the summer. “When we are in Edmonton”, I said to Christoph Cremer, “let’s make a quick trip to Seattle”. And that’s how it happened. At Edmonton Airport we climbed into a plane and two hours later we landed in the city where Betty had lived. I was so happy to be in Seattle at last and to be able to trace Betty’s tracks!

Wolfgang Hampel had told Betty’s friends about our arrival.
They were happy to plan a small marathon through the town and it’s surroundings with us. We only had a few days free. One should not underestimate Wolfgang’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty’s friends, even though it was holiday time. E-mails flew backwards and forwards between Heidelberg and Seattle, and soon a well prepared itinerary was ready for us. Shortly before my departure Wolfgang handed me several parcels, presents for Betty MacDonald's friends. I rushed to pack the heavy gifts in my luggage but because of the extra weight had to throw out a pair of pajamas!

After we had landed we took a taxi to the Hotel in downtown Seattle. I was so curious to see everything. I turned my head in all directions like one of the hungry hens from Betty’s farm searching for food! Fortunately it was quite a short journey otherwise I would have lost my head like a loose screw!
Our hotel room was on the 22nd floor and looked directly out onto the 16-lane highway. There might have been even more than 16 but it made me too giddy to count! It was like a glimpse of hell! “And is this Seattle?” I asked myself. I was horrified! The cars racing by were enough to drive one mad. The traffic roared by day and night.
We immediately contacted Betty MacDonald's friends and let them know we had arrived and they confirmed the times when we should see them.

On the next morning I planned my first excursion tracing Betty’s tracks. I spread out the map of Seattle. “Oh dear” I realized “the Olympic Peninsula is much too far away for me to get there.”
Betty nodded to me! “Very difficult, Letizia, without a car.”

“But I so much wanted to see your chicken farm”

“My chickens are no longer there and you can admire the mountains from a distance”

But I wanted to go there. I left the hotel and walked to the waterfront where the State Ferry terminal is. Mamma mia, the streets in Seattle are so steep! I couldn’t prevent my feet from running down the hill. Why hadn’t I asked for brakes to be fixed on my shoes? I looked at the drivers. How incredibly good they must be to accelerate away from the red traffic lights. The people were walking uphill towards me as briskly as agile salmon. Good heavens, these Americans! I tried to keep my balance. The force of gravity is relentless. I grasped hold of objects where I could and staggered down.
In Canada a friend had warned me that in Seattle I would see a lot of people with crutches.

Betty laughed. “ It’s not surprising, Letizia, walking salmon don’t fall directly into the soft mouth of a bear!”
“ Betty, stop making these gruesome remarks. We are not in Firlands!”

I went further. Like a small deranged ant at the foot of a palace monster I came to a tunnel. The noise was unbearable. On the motorway, “The Alaskan Way Viaduct”, cars, busses and trucks were driving at the speed of light right over my head. They puffed out their poisonous gas into the open balconies and cultivated terraces of the luxurious sky- scrapers without a thought in the world. America! You are crazy!
“Betty, are all people in Seattle deaf? Or is it perhaps a privilege for wealthy people to be able to enjoy having cars so near to their eyes and noses to save them from boredom?”

“When the fog democratically allows everything to disappear into nothing, it makes a bit of a change, Letizia”

“ Your irony is incorrigible, Betty, but tell me, Seattle is meant to be a beautiful city, But where?”

I had at last reached the State Ferry terminal.

“No Madam, the ferry for Vashon Island doesn’t start from here,” one of the men in the ticket office tells me. ”Take a buss and go to the ferry terminal in West Seattle.”
Betty explained to me “The island lies in Puget Sound and not in Elliott Bay! It is opposite the airport. You must have seen it when you were landing!”
“Betty, when I am landing I shut my eyes and pray!”

It’s time for lunch. The weather is beautiful and warm. Who said to me that it always rains here?
“Sure to be some envious man who wanted to frighten you away from coming to Seattle. The city is really beautiful, you’ll see. Stay by the waterfront, choose the best restaurant with a view of Elliott Bay and enjoy it.”
“Thank you Betty!”

I find a table on the terrace of “Elliott’s Oyster House”. The view of the island is wonderful. It lies quietly in the sun like a green fleecy cushion on the blue water.
Betty plays with my words:
“Vashon Island is a big cushion, even bigger than Bainbridge which you see in front of your eyes, Letizia. The islands look similar. They have well kept houses and beautiful gardens”.

I relax during this introduction, “Bainbridge” you are Vashon Island, and order a mineral water.

“At one time the hotel belonging to the parents of Monica Sone stood on the waterfront.”
“Oh, of your friend Kimi!” Unfortunately I forget to ask Betty exactly where it was.

My mind wanders and I think of my mountain hike back to the hotel! “Why is there no donkey for tourists?” Betty laughs:

“I’m sure you can walk back to the hotel. “Letizia can do everything.””

“Yes, Betty, I am my own donkey!”

But I don’t remember that San Francisco is so steep. It doesn’t matter, I sit and wait. The waiter comes and brings me the menu. I almost fall off my chair!
“ What, you have geoduck on the menu! I have to try it” (I confess I hate the look of geoduck meat. Betty’s recipe with the pieces made me feel quite sick – I must try Betty’s favourite dish!)
“Proof that you love me!” said Betty enthusiastically “ Isn’t the way to the heart through the stomach?”

I order the geoduck. The waiter looks at me. He would have liked to recommend oysters.
“Geoduck no good for you!”
Had he perhaps read my deepest thoughts? Fate! Then no geoduck. “No good for me.”

“Neither geoduck nor tuberculosis in Seattle” whispered Betty in my ear!
“Oh Betty, my best friend, you take such good care of me!”

I order salmon with salad.

“Which salmon? Those that swim in water or those that run through Seattle?”

“Betty, I believe you want me to have a taste of your black humour.”

“Enjoy it then, Letizia.”

During lunch we talked about tuberculosis, and that quite spoilt our appetite.

“Have you read my book “The Plague and I”?”

“Oh Betty, I’ve started to read it twice but both times I felt so sad I had to stop again!”

“But why?” asked Betty “Nearly everybody has tuberculosis! I recovered very quickly and put on 20 pounds! There was no talk of me wasting away! What did you think of my jokes in the book?”

“Those would have been a good reason for choosing another sanitorium. I would have been afraid of becoming a victim of your humour! You would have certainly given me a nickname! You always thought up such amusing names!” Betty laughed.

“You’re right. I would have called you “Roman nose”. I would have said to Urbi and Orbi “ Early this morning “Roman nose” was brought here. She speaks broken English, doesn’t eat geoduck but she does love cats.”

“Oh Betty, I would have felt so ashamed to cough. To cough in your presence, how embarrassing! You would have talked about how I coughed, how many coughs!”

“It depends on that “how”, Letizia!”

“Please, leave Goethe quotations out of it. You have certainly learnt from the Indians how to differentiate between noises. It’s incredible how you can distinguish between so many sorts of cough! At least 10!”

“So few?”

”And also your descriptions of the patients and the nurses were pitiless. An artistic revenge! The smallest pimple on their face didn’t escape your notice! Amazing.”

“ I was also pitiless to myself. Don’t forget my irony against myself!”

Betty was silent. She was thinking about Kimi, the “Princess” from Japan! No, she had only written good things about her best friend, Monica Sone, in her book “The Plague and I”. A deep friendship had started in the hospital. The pearl that developed from the illness.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Betty, that an unknown seed can make its way into a mollusk in the sea and develop into a beautiful jewel?” Betty is paying attention.

“Betty, the friendship between you and Monica reminds me of Goethe’s poem “Gingo-Biloba”. You must know it?” Betty nods and I begin to recite it:

The leaf of this Eastern tree
Which has been entrusted to my garden
Offers a feast of secret significance,
For the edification of the initiate.

Is it one living thing.
That has become divided within itself?
Are these two who have chosen each other,
So that we know them as one?

The friendship with Monica is like the wonderful gingo-biloba leaf, the tree from the east. Betty was touched. There was a deep feeling of trust between us.
“Our friendship never broke up, partly because she was in distress, endangered by the deadly illness. We understood and supplemented each other. We were like one lung with two lobes, one from the east and one from the west!”
“A beautiful picture, Betty. You were like two red gingo-biloba leaves!”

Betty was sad and said ” Monica, although Japanese, before she really knew me felt she was also an American. But she was interned in America, Letizia, during the second world war. Isn’t that terrible?”

“Betty, I never knew her personally. I have only seen her on a video, but what dignity in her face, and she speaks and moves so gracefully!”

“Fate could not change her”

“Yes, Betty, like the gingo-biloba tree in Hiroshima. It was the only tree that blossomed again after the atom bomb!”

The bill came and I paid at once. In America one is urged away from the table when one has finished eating. If one wants to go on chatting one has to order something else.
“That’s why all those people gossiping at the tables are so fat!” Betty remarks. “Haven’t you seen how many massively obese people walk around in the streets of America. Like dustbins that have never been emptied!” With this typically unsentimental remark Betty ended our conversation.

Ciao! I so enjoyed the talk; the humour, the irony and the empathy. I waved to her and now I too felt like moving! I take a lovely walk along the waterfront.

Now I am back in Heidelberg and when I think about how Betty’s “Princessin” left this world on September 5th and that in August I was speaking about her with Betty in Seattle I feel very sad. The readers who knew her well (we feel that every author and hero of a book is nearer to us than our fleeting neighbours next door) yes we, who thought of her as immortal, cannot believe that even she would die after 92 years. How unforeseen and unexpected that her death should come four days after her birthday on September 1th. On September 5th I was on my way to Turkey, once again in seventh heaven, looking back on the unforgettable days in Seattle. I was flying from west to east towards the rising sun.

Refugee crisis: European leaders demand urgent support for Greece

Athens asks EU for €480m in emergency funds as Brussels prepares for two key summits and aid agencies condemn ‘unconscionable’ response to influx

EU countries need to ‘wake up’ over refugee crisis, says UNHCR – video
Aid agencies and NGOs have said Europe’s “unconscionable” response to the refugee crisis is courting humanitarian disaster, as Brussels scrambled to prepare emergency summits and desperate scenes unfolded across the continent, from Greece’s border with Macedonia to a makeshift camp outside Calais.
With the EU entering what many see as a make-or-break phase in tackling the crisis, the bloc’s most senior leaders called for urgent action to support Greece as at least 8,500 refugees and migrants remained trapped without permanent shelter on the country’s closed northern border with Macedonia.
Frontex, the EU’s border control agency, said 30 times as many migrants entered Europe in January and February as in the same two months of last year, and the UN’s refugee agency announced that 131,724 people had crossed the Mediterranean – the vast majority of them reaching Greece – so far in 2016, almost as many as made the journey in the first six months of 2015.
The UNHCR said the continent stood “on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis”, with governments “not working together despite agreements … and country after country imposing new border restrictions”.
In a scathing statement, Human Rights Watch condemned the EU’s “utter failure to respond collectively and compassionately to refugee flows”.
Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Europe must deal decisively with “the difficult situation” in Greece, while the European council president, Donald Tusk, demanded support for Athens. Readiness to stand by Greece was “a test of our Europeanness”, Tusk said.
“The number of migrants arriving in Greece is on the rise not because they want to make Greece their home, but because they are hoping they will move on from Greece to other European countries,” he said as he embarked on a round of shuttle diplomacy before an emergency meeting with Turkey on Monday and a summit of EU leaders on 18 March.
Facing an average of 2,000-3,000 new refugee arrivals from Turkey each day, Greece said on Tuesday that the influx threatened to overwhelm its already overstretched resources and asked the EU for €480m (£375m) in emergency funds to help it shelter up to 100,000 refugees if needed.
“We cannot bear the strain of all the refugees coming here,” said Olga Gerovassili, a spokeswoman for the Greek government. “These are temporary measures, there needs to be a permanent solution on where refugees will be relocated.”
In a fresh blow to free movement in the EU, Belgium announced it had turned back more than 600 migrants at the French border since the government had reinstated border controls owing to fears about the destruction of parts of the Calais camp, which houses up to 3,500 refugees and migrants eager to reach Britain and mostly unwilling to move into alternative accommodation elsewhere in France.
Greece was now home to at least 24,000 refugees and migrants needing accommodation, nearly one-third of them blocked on the border with Macedonia, said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards. The Idomeni crossing remained closed on Tuesday after hundreds of migrants tried to force their way through on Monday, prompting police to fire stun grenades and teargas.
Charities at the border estimated that at least 2,000 more people had arrived in Idomeni on Tuesday. “They are coming by foot and as far as they can by bus and by taxi,” said Caroline Haga, of the International Red Cross Federation. “They are determined to leave. They absolutely do not want to stay in Greece.”
Syrians stranded at the frontier for the past week painted a picture of desperation. Amer Alabboush, 24, a chemical engineer from Homs, who reached Greece via Lesbos with three of his friends last week, said conditions at impromptu tent cities now spread out around the area had deteriorated dramatically.
“For the past week I have been sleeping outdoors because there are no tents available and I can tell you I am not the only one,” he said. “The situation is very bad, very difficult and it is getting worse. Me and my friends have been here for exactly seven days. Every day we have one sandwich. Nothing else. We are hungry.”