Was there a time in American history imbued with more vitality than
the Gold Rush Days? Nay nay sweet boids of yute. Listen to what them
thar days produced. First and foremost…gold…with which such a
shameless company like Tyler-Adam Corp. can not only make you
beautiful stuff today to adorn your napes and fingers and wrists with, but
can also take every available moment as a well deserved opportunity for
self-promotion. And all this without even a blush. Can you believe it? And
of course, the gold rush days produced great and famous men, like Levi
Strauss for example, about whom I wrote an article not too long ago.
So then…who else did the gold rush days produce? C’mon Benjamin.
Quit the suspense crap and let us know. Whaddya say pal? What I say is
this: All in good time my friends. All in good time. Heh heh. Dontcha all
just love suspense?
In 1868 our hero wrote a four thousand word short story about life
amongst the miners and the camps where they lived and played and died when
they weren’t prospecting. It was this story that brought our writer fame
and allowed his name to become a household word for thirty four years. For
those of you who say: Yeah…but what’s this got to do with jewelry, or
gems, or anything like that? To you I say: Hmmmph! We’ve had this
discussion before. My view is this. If it has the word “gold” in it, then
it’s fair game for Tidbits. For that matter, Amethyst would work too. As
would Topaz and Garnet and Tourmaline. But I digress.
He was born in 1836 in Albany. His family called him Frank, though
that was not his name. As a young adult, he was a schoolteacher for a
while. But that didn’t work out. So he tried his luck working placer
mines, but that was brief. Prospectin’ is a tough life and for tough men.
So our writer tried working as a messenger on a Wells Fargo stage. And it
was this meager and compressed exposure to the ‘hard’ life that gave our
friend the experiences he used in his tales.
He wrote poetry and short prose and by 1857 his pieces began to appear in
the San Francisco weeklies. While writing, he now began to work as a
typesetter, and a fill-in editor, and a compositor for various
periodicals. In between, he kept writing and submitting, and getting
published. But he was without recognition. A minor talent…at best.
Still, there came a point when the humor he brought to his writing gained
recognition, and he slowly began to become a regular and even gleaned a
column of his own in one of the literary magazines.
But he kept writing his short stories, and getting published, and
never achieving fame. Till one day…he wrote about a woman called
Cherokee Sal. She was pregnant and about to give birth…a novelty in the
mining camps. And it was this theme, and the rich characters in the story,
that brought our writer his great fame. The title of the story, written by
a man called Frank by his family, was: The Luck of Roaring Camp. And his
name was: Bret Harte…who came to write a collection of these stories
about the gold rush days entitled: Tales of the Gold Rush.
And so…for those of you who think gold only brought about monetary
standards, and materials for jewelers to create wondrous works to
beautify the already beautiful…I present you with a tangential side
effect. The birth of a wonderful and sensitive American writer.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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