Posts Tagged ‘mulberry’

Recently, I cut out an article about Dr. Seuss and his hometown of Springfield, Mass., for a visiting brother who had memorized Dr. Seuss’s first book at the age of 3. The book was And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Writes Christopher Klein in the Boston Sunday Globe travel section, “Whenever young Theodor Geisel [the birth name of Dr. Seuss] stepped out the front door of his pale gray boyhood home at 74 Fairfield St. a century ago, a vibrant urban cavalcade awaited. Streetcar bells clanged. The engines of locally built Stevens-Duryea automobiles and Indian motorcycles purred. Clydesdales clomped on cobblestones as they hauled wooden barrels of beer produced at the Geisel family brewery.

“During summer months, young Ted explored the vast natural spaces of nearby Forest Park, and he sled down its hills in wintertime. The boy’s creative mind concocted the extraordinary from everyday life. After visits to the park’s zoo with his mother, he doodled a wild menagerie of beasts with nonsensical names on his bedroom walls.

“The Springfield of Geisel’s youth was a dynamic boomtown; its population doubled between 1890 and 1910. The city’s factories roared as they manufactured everything from Smith & Wesson firearms to Milton Bradley board games, Rolls-Royces to Absorbine Jr. It was a magical time to grow up in Springfield.”

After leaving for Dartmouth College and years in the advertising business in New York, “a chance sidewalk encounter on Madison Avenue with a college friend who had started a job that very morning with Vanguard Press led to the 1937 publication of his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in which the magical imagination of a boy named Marco transforms a mundane horse-drawn wagon into a street pageant complete with a ruby-clad rajah atop an elephant pulling a big brass band.” More here on a charming tour of Springfield today.

I wonder if Mulberry streets in the old days — before the irrelevant street naming of massive developments — got their names because they had actual mulberry trees. I like picking mulberries, and Suzanne and John always liked them, too. Suzanne even lived on a Mulberry Street after college.

Photo: Christopher Klein
A Lorax statue in a Dr. Seuss sculpture garden, Springfield, Mass.

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