Did you know that Dr. Seuss was born in New Hampshire? To be clear, I’m not saying that the man who became Dr. Seuss was born here, just that he assumed that famous name while he was here.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was in fact born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2,1904, but it was while he was a student at Dartmouth College that he first obtained his “nom de plume.” He had been dismissed from the campus humor magazine after being caught drinking by the dean (horrors!) while still an undergraduate, so he was forced to disguise his identity if he wanted to keep drawing funny pictures and getting them published. Good thing he did, or the world of children’s literature would be a much less curious place.
Geisel’s place in history is pretty secure since his books have been translated into just about every major language but Klingon (and if I’m wrong about that, some helpful Trekkies will no doubt let me know). Here in the Granite State, the primary monument to his life is the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College (take that, nameless Dartmouth dean from long ago).
I think we should go a little further. We should give the author of “The Cat in the Hat” and the creator of “The Grinch” his own official day. I know the Governor and Executive Council have important stuff to do, but I propose we lay claim to this bit of cultural history and name March 2 as Dr. Seuss Cartooning Day in the Granite State.
I can picture a day with parades on every Mulberry Street in the state (we’ve got them in Claremont, Concord and Nashua), photo contests for cats in hats (which would be pure internet gold) and Grinch look-alike contests (perhaps limited to members of the state Legislature). Local chefs could compete for the best recipes using locally sourced eggs and ham — colored green, of course.
I may just be silly, but I guess that I have my reasons.
One is that I’m a huge fan of cartoon art. It was my first great childhood ambition to create a Peanuts-style comic strip and thereby become rich and famous (my second childhood ambition was to edit a magazine — really). Mostly though, I just wanted to take a moment to thank a couple of cartoonists who have faithfully illuminated stories that appear in this magazine.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure to work with some greats artists and illustrators over my quarter century here, but two names should be familiar to regular readers since they have been on our contributor list for more than a decade. Peter Noonan, who illustrates our Politics page has been around so long that you might think we’ve used a variety of artists, when in fact it was just him trying out different styles. He’s now a dad, and if you look closely you can see his greatest work of art, his new daughter, appearing as a cameo in some of his cartoons (including this month’s).
Brad Fitzpatrick has been boosting the humor quotient on our last page (formerly “Last Laugh,” now “Ayuh”) for just as long. Somewhere along the line he moved from NH to Maine, but we still consider him our own.
Both have done some feature illustration for us over the years and we’ve been blessed to tap into a number of other brilliant artists as well, but because of the sheer volume of work submitted by Noonan and Fitzpatrick, I want to single them out as parade marshals for the first official Dr. Seuss Cartooning Day Parade on Concord’s Mulberry Street on March 2, 2019.
That should give the Governor and Executive Council plenty of time to work out all the other details.