Jewish World Review April 20, 2004 / 30 Nissan, 5764

Jeff Elder

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RFK wrote his own eulogy; Hardy Boys books; more | Q: The eulogy Edward Kennedy delivered at his brother Robert's funeral was one of the most moving speeches I've ever heard. Who wrote it? — Jayne Cannon, Charlotte, N.C.

A: Robert F. Kennedy did, Jayne.

Edward Kennedy made an inspired decision: He let his fallen brother speak for himself.

"What he leaves us is what he said, what he did and what he stood for," Edward Kennedy said on June 8, 1968.

He then quoted at length from Robert Kennedy's 1966 "Day of Affirmation" speech in South Africa, which protested brutal tactics by the apartheid government, and sought to heal racial discord everywhere.

"There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation," Edward Kennedy read, quoting his brother's speech.

"These are differing evils, but they are common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellows.

"But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

"Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts, brothers and countrymen once again."

Then Edward Kennedy spoke in his own words about his brother:

"This is the way he lived. My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. To be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

You can read the entire eulogy - or hear Edward Kennedy deliver it - at Search for "eulogy."

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Q: Who wrote the Hardy Boys books? — Mary Stough

A: Mary, the real Hardy Boys mystery is not "The Secret of the Old Mill," or "While the Clock Ticked," or even "How Much Hair Spray Did Shaun Cassidy Use?"

The real mystery is: Who wrote some of the most popular children's books of all time and why was this person not credited?

Hardy Boys books list Franklin W. Dixon as the author. Well, picture Franklin W. Dixon - silver-templed, smoking-jacketed, pipe-gripping - in your mind. That's the only place he's ever existed.

Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930) created Joe and Frank Hardy - along with Tom Swift, the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. Through his Stratemeyer Syndicate, he hired authors to write books about these characters based on his outlines. He paid the writers little and part of the arrangement was that they not reveal they were the authors.

If the writers were just hacks looking for a quick buck, this situation would not seem quite so unfair. But into Stratemeyer's sweatshop stumbled Leslie McFarlane, a newspaper reporter with dreams of being a "real writer." (Is there any other kind?)

McFarlane wrote the first 11 Hardy Boys books and 21 overall from 1927 to 1947. And he didn't just crank them out. "Mr. McFarlane breathed originality into the Stratemeyer plots, loading on playful detail," wrote The New York Times.

McFarlane kept Stratemeyer's secret - even from those close to him. His son, Brian, who went on to be a hockey commentator in Canada, didn't learn until he was 10 that his father was the author of the Hardy Boys. He said it was like learning his dad was Santa Claus.

Having signed away all rights to the books, McFarlane never shared in the wild financial success of the series. For decades more than a million copies of the books sold every year.

The last Hardy Boys book contracted to McFarlane was 1947's "The Phantom Freighter." For years fans of the series considered this book the last, heroic work of a man who labored in the shadows without getting due credit. It has recently been revealed that the assignment for the book arrived in the mail while McFarlane was gone on a fishing trip. The book was actually written by another Franklin W. Dixon: McFarlane's wife, Amy. SOURCE: "The Secret of the Hardy Boys" by Marilyn Greenwald, Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

— — —


On baseball trivia:

1. What did Humphrey Bogart say was "better than steak at the Ritz"?

2. What position does Geena Davis play in the movie "A League of Their Own"?

3. What was the nickname of hard-hitting but diminutive Astros outfielder Jimmy Wynn?

4. What Negro League catcher is sometimes called "The Black Babe Ruth"?

5. Who is the only player to hit 50 home runs in a season without striking out 50 times?

— — —


1. A hot dog at the ballpark

2. Catcher

3. "The Toy Cannon"

4. Josh Gibson

5. Johnny Mize in 1947

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Jeff Elder is a columnist for The Charlotte Observer. Comment or try to stump him by clicking here. If you send him a great question, he'll send you a Glad You Asked T-shirt.


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