JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.COM
"Where we celebrate the child in us all"
HAPPY REMEMBRANCES of JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
U.S. CAPITAL SUBURB HONORS HOME VISITED BY RILEY
Riley stays when the poet went to Washington DC to visit his friend President Benjamin Harrison have become a talking point at Falls Church, Virginia and the "Hoosier Poet" is included in a new town brochure describing its Victorian past. The home, "Cherry Hill" at 312 Park Avenue, was owned by Riley's uncle, Judge Joseph Riley. The "Judge" Riley was the incorporator of the town and set up its public school system. Our poet stayed there when he was summoned for "readings" of his poetry in the Washington DC area or for "state" entertainments. The home is now a museum.
WONDER OF GOBLINS IN MOVIE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES
James Whitcomb Riley's poetry has fueled a whole realm of children fantasy. Some have feared it as being "too scary" for modern kids, as when Little Orphant Annie tells kids if they don't say prayers before bed, or if they mock old folks or orphans, or display bad manners, the Goblins will "get you" if you don't watch out. Today's parents of course don't follow the old time Hoosier tradition of having children say prayers before bed and the like. However, a new movie, the Spiderwick Chronicles seems to pick up on Riley's "Goblins" mythology. Now we know what Riley's goblins look like (although when Riley started the goblin prototype he spelled the creatures "Gobble-uns!")
RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY VISIT INDY
Every child knows that Raggedy Ann and Andy are really alive somewhere. On Saturday Feb. 9, 2008, many children found out where. The red haired bro and sis were at the Indianapolis Historical Society! The visit was brief before they disappeared back into their doll forms to cuddle with the millions of children they love.
The occasion was the 9th Annual Raggedy Ann and Andy Celebration at the epicenter of Indiana history. Many of the children in attendance brought their Raggedy Anns and Andys with them. Others dressed the part. But all – and even the many Gran Grans and Papas that brought them – entered a fascinating world of wonder.
Where else these days could a child have their fortune told by a Gypsy looking into a faulty crystal ball that couldn’t get the future right or even "see" a child’s name. Or what about a balloon artist whose elephants look like Dachshunds? The games were wooden pin tumbles, pitching cucumber slices, fishing for a catch supplied by a volunteer lady hiding in the pond, "Granny’s Apple Throw," and many others. Raggedy Ann and Andy made sure every player was a winner. Not a child left without a harmonica, a paddle with a ball, a ball and jacks and other kid reality.
As a special treat, Patty Hall, California author of several Raggedy and Ann and Andy children's books was on hand to autograph books and dolls some of which had been autographed by many many hands in many many generations. Ms Hall, sporting R.A.’s pigtails, is also a biographer of Johnny Gruell, the originator of the doll.
The famous genre of dolls derive from characters in the poetry of James Whitcomb Riley, Little Orphant Annie and the Raggedy Man.
MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF RILEY’S HOSPITAL
One of the brightest spots in the State of Indiana has always been the hospital for children at Indianapolis built as a memorial to James Whitcomb Riley, beloved Hoosier poet. It seems entirely fitting that the man who understood so well the hearts and lives of little children and wrote such beautiful poems about them, should have such a memorial. The photo below shows a visit to the Riley Memorial Hospital by two radio stars Mac and Bob in 1931. The children pictured are all handicapped patients from the time. The visit of the blind recording artists coincided with their visit to the Indiana State Fair of that year.
We repeat a greeting to our "Hoosier Poet" from a birthday proclamation from an Indiana Governor: