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and they turned their attention to the drama

      In the first place there were four little girls and they lived next door to each other. That is, their respective families lived next door to each other, and the children roamed about the country-side, or conferred solemnly in the Barn to discuss their various plans of action.
      On a certain rainy afternoon the four assembled in the Barn, discontent write large on every face, and general irritablity in the atmosphere. The youngest had on a pair of boy’s rubber boots, new and shiny and was greatly pleased with herself. Of course it added to the general feeling of annoyance to see her stalking about enjoying herself, while they, bootless, had nothing to amuse them.
      “Let’s read some more,” suggested the Oldest, and was greeted with a groan, for they had read all morning.
      “And if you say dolls I’ll shriek!” said the One with Pigtails. Then the Youngest had an inspiration. After gazing fondly at her boots she exclaimed, “Let’s be boys! Girls can’t do anything anyway. We can play ball, and have huge muscles, and fight, not pinch or slap, but really hit, and not have anything to do with silly girls!” And here the Youngest arose, strode over to her sister, slapped her on the back, with “Come on out, old chap! My name’s Tommy! What’s yours?”
      “I’m Jimmy!” her sister replied, returning the blow.
      “Cut it out and come along!”
      Now of course it rather confused and enraged their parents to be obliged to address their small daughters as Dick, or James, or else be greeted with stony silence. And in order to preserve a strictly masculine appearance the children even went to the extreme of chopping the skirt guards off their invaluable bicycles, which served the purpose of coaches and fours or prancing steeds. And every few days a wrestling match was held on the lawn. Two struggling forms could be seen, surrounded by a circle consisting of two excited brothers who were betting violently on the outcome. Active climbing and hanging from trees was considered excellent for developing the muscles. They saved their money to get a punching bag. The children were always saving their money for something, which, as they grew older, changed accordingly. Tommy always had more money than any one elese. His bank was always crammed with “I. O. U.’s” from his brethren, for Tommy had a good business head, and did not waste his substance.
      But an ordinary boy’s life was soon found lacking in the romantic element, so with one accord they proceeded to investigate the mysteries of the Black Cat. Father entering the Barn suddenly, was greeted by strange sights and smells. Three witches were grimly stirring cauldrons or arranging rows of bottles (phials, one called them) while an unhappy looking magician stood stiffly in the middle of the floor.
      “What’s the matter with Tommy?” asked Father. “Is he being a pillar of salt?”
      The muttering and puttering of the witches continued. Finally one of them vouchsafed the reply that the magician had been turned to stone by one of their number. Jimmy, a disreputable hag, was trying to concoct a magic which would counteract the spell. Just then Jimmy flew up on a broom-stick, and threw a white powder all over Tommy, which bore a strange resemblance to the tennis court lime. Tommy relaxed from his position and stalked off to mumbling to himself and glaring back at the vengeful witch. Mother would often come upon witches in the kitchen, cooking ungodly stews of mosquito-netting and nails. Books were found lying about containing weird formulae: “Mosquito-netting and rusty nails boiled together make a substance that will put anybody to sleep for a thousand years.” “Three drops of olive oil mixed with lime turn a magician to stone,” etc.
      But as all this was rather hard on the clothes — even of witches — Mother put an end to the puttering, and they turned their attention to the drama...

Mary Gail Clark, “Happy Hearts and Happy Faces, Happy Play in Grass Places” in Loose Leaves, The Vassar Miscellany 41:9 (July 1912) : 787-789 (NYPL copy)
same (at hathitrust)


  1. ca 1924, Mary Gail Clark ’14 is giving piano lessons and is music critic of the Buffalo Times.

  2. Buffalo Seminary Alumnae (February 3, 2016) —
    ... Mary Gail Clark in 1910 wrote both words and music for SEM’s alma mater (proper title “To Alma Mater”). “To Alma Mater” was originally written as the Senior Song for 1910, but Miss Angell liked it so much that she proclaimed it to be SEM’s actual alma mater. Mary Clark was the daughter of SEM’s music teacher, Seth Clark, organist and choir master at Trinity Episcopal Church. An accomplished student, Mary was in the Glee Club, on the basketball team, and Editor-in-Chief of the “Seminaria.” Her life after SEM was as a professional musician. Prior to World War Two she married Alden Gomez, an atomic physicist. The war took them to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where Alden was assigned to the top-secret Manhattan Project. Following the war, they stayed in Oak Ridge and Mary took up painting in place of music. A friend wrote of Mary in her last days as “happy in Alden’s companionship, happy in her painting and completely absorbed in it.” Mary Gail Clark Gomez died in 1987.

    Alden B. Gomez was not a physicist, but rather a government (civil service) attorney, who was in private practice in Buffalo, New York, before working in the Tools Division, War Production Board, and later in the Atomic Energy Commission.
    sources —
    various, including Bradley Stoughton, History of the Tools Division, War Production Board (1949) : 42

  3. The Art Center’s Permanent Collection is composed of a wide variety of works representing both international and regional artists. Many benefactors have contributed work over the years, enabling the Art Center to acquire an excellent, world-class collection.
          The core of the museum’s collection is the Mary and Alden Gomez Collection, the main body of which are Abstract Expressionism works. Because our city and the abstract expressionistic movement were born out of the cultural, political, and societal upheaval of the World War eras, this group of works is very important to our history, our mission, and our hearts. Science and technological advances of this era, many conceived of and achieved first in Oak Ridge, challenged artists to find new ways of expressing themselves. The result was expressive creation without representational images...
    May 27 through July 11, 2020
    Selections from the Permanent Collection, Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Art Center

30 May 2022