The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on December 21, 1913 · Page 37
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 37

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Shreveport, Louisiana
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Sunday, December 21, 1913
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Page 37
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SUNDAY MAGAZINE, THE SHREVEPORTiTIMES TTieConey fCG$ Purinton Firsf Assistant to Sanfa Clam I m m m 11 x v f t 1 tt 1 ! . . -ii.-t , ij, v a v ) -m'. Up A gendarme stepped out of a sentry box and asked me for a permit -to-Date, With Our Kind of Scenic Railways and Shoot-the-Chutes--English Spoken Everywhere "Movies" in the City but No Night Life. w By Karl E. Kitchen. nriCN you land on the steel pier at Phaleron Bay it 1b hard to realize that you are not at Brighton Boach, New York, Instead of In ancient Greece. Bofore you are Immense bathhouses, rows of. modern buildings, which are unmistakably hotels, and, towering above all, a scenic railway and ghoot-the-chute3. Phaleron Is the Brighton Beach of Athens, and It is quite as American In appearance as our own beach. Its Luna Tark Is a very creditable Imitation of Drlghton Boach Park. There Is only one thing that brings the realization of being far-from America. On every side are soldiers dark men in brown uni- " ; V A soldier of the Evzon t Regiment. , . forms with red crosses on the white bandages : on their sleeves. , For the hotels at Phaleron have been 'turned into -military hospitals for convalescents, who spend a large share of their time In the bright sunshine oi the beach. But you feel at home among these soldiers. They speak Engllsh-the way you speak It Most of them have lived In America and not a few of them have waited on you in American restaurants. " Orte of them recognized me as one who had frequently dined at a certain New York restaurant -where he was employed. He hastened to me and vol unteered his services as a guide around Phaleron. He was recovering from a wound received in an encounter with a Turkish cruiser while on a Greek gunboat in the Dardanelles. In New York he was plain George, but he told me proudly that he was Lieut. Calogero-poulo on sick leave and chafing to rejoin his ship to fight the Turks. As I had no time for sightseeing, my guide escorted me to the station, where I took the train lor Athens. A more modern station could not be Imagined the tracks are depressed and every fifteen minutes an electric train comes to a stop before it. The cars are about identified with those In America and they whiz you to Omenta station in Athens In ten minutes. The men and women in tho cars who" are making the trip from the, Piraeus, the seaport of Athens look more like the people you see in large American cities than the people in any other section of Europe. Again the only thing that makes you realize that you are in Greece is the Greek letterings on the houses and fence boards that you pass. Address the man on your right or left and you find that he speaks English. He may speak it Imperfectly, but he understands you and answers you politely. Your first impression of Athens is that you are back ia America. There is a newsboy at the top of the station steps with the afternoon papers. There are several taxicabs and automo biles lined up along the curb. The auto mobiles especially have an American appearance. If it were, not for the scores of soldiers and the Greek names on the stores you would declare you were back home.'The girls who'pass while you are entering your tail' look as if they belonged in America. True, their skins are olive, and their eyes black, but their "style"is-unmistakably- of America., . . 1 ... A ride of five minutes In a taxi brings you to the Hotel de la Grand Bretagne, which shares with the Hotel d'Angle-terre,the honor of being - the best hostelry in Athens. It Is a typical French hotel of the better class and being located in the Place de la Constitution is the centre of Athens's gayety. Its charges are reckoned In francs Instead of drachmas, and in Its dining rooms you might be in Marseilles, so far as ocal color is concerned. However, your axi ride has cost you only one drachma (twenty cents) and across the square at the corner of the Rue du Stade is the Cafe Zacharatos, a typical Greek cafe of the better class. It was about half-past 5 in the afternoon when J entered the Cafe Zacha ratos. It was crowded - with well- dressed men and officers of the Evzon Regiment in purple uniforms with ,allet skirt effects, made even more pic turesque because of the white encased legs and slippers with rosettes on the toes. If you expect to see tho national cos tume of Greece in Athens you will be disappointed. Only one regiment in the entire army wears the foustanella, as the accordion pleated skirt effect is called. In fact, the skirted Greek Is almost as rare In Athens as he Is in America. As I did not order a drink immediately the waiter at my table brought me a New York newspaper. I noticed that nost of the men there were no women were reading and drinking coffee. Mixed drinks are unknown or at least never called for in the capital of Greece. Coffee Is the drink. Next in popularity is native wine, which Is almost always drunk With soda water. Then there is 'EVTO'TTIOV (native beer), which is sold everywhere, but seldom ordered except in the cheaper cafes. I ordered a cup of coffee. ' When my waiter returned with It he placed a plate of pastry on my table. "I thought you might like to try some Greek pastry," he said. . Coffee excellent Turkish coffee, by the way and the sticky pastry at the Cafe Zacharatos is one drachma (twenty cents American money). When I tipped my waiter an additional drachma he confided that he had worked at the Hotel Athens, opposite the Grand Central station, New York. A captain in the Greek army hearing me speak English with the waiter introduced himself and asked if he could he of service. I explained that I wanted as gay an evening as Athens could afford, "Dine at the Restaurant de la Cite, since you don't care about the hotels, hear the opera at the Thaatre de la Ville and see the Acropolis by moonlight." His advice was well intentioned. The Young College Girl Who Has the Interesting Work of Passing on the Merits of All the Dolls and Toys and Games Submitted at the Patent Office. AL P Towering above all is a scenic railway and shoot-the-chutes. dinner at the Restaurant de la Cite was good. Except for a plate of delicious ripe olives with shiny, black skins, honey from Mount Hymettos, sticky pastry and .juicy watermelons and grapes, the dinner was much the same as at a first-class American table d'hote. Excellent Turkish coffee that would cost BO cents a cup in America completed the meal for which the "prix fixe" was four drachmas (80 cents). And the 20-cent tip was such a surprise that it caused the waiter to break into English. . . Theatres in Athens begin promptly at 8 o'clock. I hurried to the Rue d' Athene to the Theatre de la Ville, or Municipal Theatre as we would call it. Tho bill was "Eva," a Franz Lehar operetta in French. Evidently Athenians understood French as well as English. The theatre was full officers and soldiers predominating. And when the alleged come-j dian in the play referred to King Con- LICE PUniNTON never took a de gree in chimney-sweeping; she holds no license in eleigh-drlvlng. Bhe will not carry around any package of presents Christmas morning, or squeeze any big bundles into tiny stockings. But all the same there is many a kid die who will have her to thank for a lovely surprise when he opens his eyes about 6 A. M. on the twenty-fifth of December and peers around to see what is hanging at the head of his bed. For Alice Purinton is chief assistant to Santa Claus, and it was Uncle Sam who got her the Job! Three years ago she came to the national capital with that ready-to-face-the-world but wish-I-was-at-home feeling of a girl facing her first position. In her native Nebraska she had been certified by the university to be master of several things which don't sound in the least like Christmas. Moreover, she had been declared by certain of the United States authorities to be a girl of many attainments. Then Uncle Sam took her into his Bureau of Standards, but somehow it didn't seem the right place for a pretty Nebraska girl, so last September he transferred her to his Patent Office. He had seen the bearing which certain of hi3 high-sounding things she had learned at college might have on the playthings of his nieces and nephews, TlLivo , IT T . 1 1 Alice Purinton, First Assistant . to Santa Claus. and had. In consequence, -made herTwhlch a boy loves to fiddle with and arbiter of the hundreds of games and mechanical toys which are to surprise' them in not very many days. Like the famous white-bearded old man for whom she la deputy In chief, the Nebraska girl has a distinct in clination to remain Invisible. Unlike him, however, she has been seen, and then she was indiscreet enough to be tray some secrets which should have been kept until Christmas morning. She told them to us, and we are going to tell them to you. Everybody knows what a Noah's Ark Is like a little wooden affair, half a ship and half a house, with a crowd of wooden animals which stand Inside until they are taken out, or outside until they are put in, and are generally not very exciting. But they are going to be. No longer will they nave to wait for Mr. or Mrs. Noah to push them out of the ark. They will do it of their own accord, and walk in again without help from anybody. ' If any kiddie gets one of the new theatres for a Christmas present he will Dot need to go to any "movie" shows, for he will have one of his own. The actors and actresses will not stand, fixed motionless to the stage; neither will they hang suspended wirewise ' from the ceiling, as formerly. No; they will act move about and "saw the air" with their arms In true actor fashion. There Is probably no little girl who has not at some time or other had a stantine I thought the audience would famy of dos s,tUng solemniy wrecu me meagre, u a i uriusu army had heard them it would have fled back to Adrianople. When the performance was over I walked down the Rue d'Eole and up the Rue d'Hermes to the Royal Palace I realized why my captain friend had advised me to visit the Acropolis by moonlight. There was no place else to go! So I walked along the Palace Gardens, past the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Jupiter Olympus to the foot of the Acropolis, which I started to climb. However, I did not get far. A gendarme stepped out of a sentry box and asked me for a permit. As 'I had neglected to apply for permission to visit the Acropolis after sundown, the pleasure of seeing Athens by moonlight was denied me. There was nothing to do but return to my hotel. For the "night life" of Athens this much can be said: There Isn't any. smilingly in a silent row waiting to be dressed or taught, as their owner might fancy. But suppose, some day, one of them should walk up to her little mother and say: "Ho, I won't wear a piece of your big sister's silk dress. It doesn't 6ult my coloring, and, besides, it Is old-fashioned." What would the little girl do? Perhaps at no very distant date this may happen, for Miss Purinton let slip the fact that this year there are going to be dolls who can not only walk but also talk. If by any chance Santa Claus should bring one of these up-to-date young ladies to any of his kiddies, she had better see that he brings her brother one of tho new motor-boats. These have all those real oil tanks and funny little screws and . other contrivances sometimes smash. Anyway, It will keep him busy, and he will not be so tempted to take his sister's doll to pieces to gee how the "talk Is made." ' ' ' L "All things patented," said Miss Pur inton, "must be now operative and useful." But fortunately for the kiddies, Miss Purinton's idea of usefulness is measured by the amount of pleasure and happiness they can derive from the toys and games. This year their name is legion. "I try to keep the number under me down to 200, but I have to hustle to do it," Santa Claus's assistant declared. ".There is no end to the designs. We have to pass upon plans for building blocks, street tumblers, aeroplanes, foot-racers. "One not conversant with the facts would be surprised to see the great variety of building blocks which come to the bureau, all showing some new mechanical device. There are plain blocks, blocks that fasten with bolts. blocks that move like living things." Little do boys and girls know how many ?rown-ups are working hard to please them! The Russians used to be the great manufacturers of craftsman toys the little jumping jacks, swimmers, expression dolls and the numer ous little tumbling and squeaking figures that crowd the sidewalks around the holiday Christmas season. Now the Americans themselves have entered the field, and Russia will soon be thrust Into the background. The number of applications for mechanical patents during the p'ast fiscal year shows an increase of 4,082 over the previous year. Within the past ten years there has been an increase of 40.72 per cent. . And a very large pro portion of these has been for toys and I games. And many a hard problem these same toys' and games give Miss Purinton and her assistants to solve. If, w-hen one doll rolls her eyes, she makes you say: "How cunning!" and when another rolls hers, you immediately say: "How funny!" and a third rolls hers and you ' exclaim: "How horrible!" there must be some difference between the various ways of rolling them, Isn't there? That Is what, the gtri toy expert from Nebraska thinks, but how are you going to patent this subtle difference? And It would not bo fair if some , one else comes along with the same roll and you give him a patent too. . And that is not the only trouble the dolls give. They seem to be very hard to put In their proper places. One of them says "Mamma," and makes It sound as if she was crying, and another says it and any one would think she was laughing, and a third says it and nobody knows exactly what she means, but whatever It is, it would make a cat laugh. And Santa Claus himself, for alls.; his extensive knowledge of toys, would be hard set to get a name for it Yes, the various squeaks and squawks, not to mention all the pretty little cooing and trilling sounds of the feminine section of the toy department in "Wash- lngton, present the most difficult of all problems to the first deputy of his Christmas Majesty. But she does not mind. She likes it. "Do I get much fun out of my work?" she said in answer to a question. "You bet I do. I have lots of fun studying the various designs, and trying to put myself in tho place of the person who thought them out. "Just imagine the mind that would turn out the three stages of the hog. Haven't you ever heard of It? You may see it any . day on the street. First comes a representation of the little pig, then comes the big pig. Then you are directed further, and you find yourself confronted by a mirror. The third stage is the person looking in yourself. I laughed so much when I first saw that "We have a number of new animal toys this year. The best, perhaps, is . the circus. It is complete ia every detail men and women, clowns and tumblers, but all the performing animals are the best part of it There is no end to the fun which may be had out of this. "But perhaps the most ingenious of ail is the travelling staircase. Nearly every little boy and girl has seen one of these in the big stores with all the customers being carried up. Here there are no men and women, but animalsa different one on each step. So this toy provides a whole menagerie, iu addition to the travelling staircase. "Thl3 year, too, we have numbers of climbing figures, men and animals. But ,: it would be impossible to describe the differences between them all, and, betides, it wouldn't be fair, for they are all brand-new, and it would only spoil the surprise on Christmas morning." "Have you ever seen any toys doing the turkey trot or the tango?" Miss Purinton was asked. "No, it is too early yet, but I am sure when these movements are a bit older there will be tango and turkey trot dances in wood and iron. "There is one very clever toy," she went' on, "which shows extremely skilled workmanship. And that is a wrestling toy. It Is most ingenious. Really, any sort of .human action is imitated by toys nowadays, and they ' are all so interesting." I ies, an ner work Is interesting to this representative of the white-haired, rosy-cheeked old man whose coming so many little boys and girls are at present eagerly awaiting. For she is as young ia heart as the boys and girls for whose pleasure she is caring daily. For all her master's degree and her deep knowledge of such profound things as physics, Alice Purinton is no pedant. With her expert knowledge of tie difficult side of her work she unites a kid's enjoyment of, Its lighter side. And what better qualification could be had for the post of Lord Lieutenant to the century-old king of the kids? - :

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