Meer sham pipe

In the 1930s, the Toronto Daily Star used to include a column on its editorial page titled “A Little Of Everything”. This column always started with a poem. As you might expect, these poems varied widely in quality from actually quite good to trite doggerel.

I’ve included the poem from the February 22 1933 edition because it included drawings and because the name and address of the poet was provided at the bottom.

But here’s the catch: when I looked up 628 Crawford Street in the Toronto city directories, no one named Ralph Gordon lived there. The 1932, 1933, and 1934 directories all listed Fred W. Utley at that address. There was a Ralph W. Gordon in the 1933 directory, with his listing in bold face even, but he was at the Canadian Bank of Commerce and lived at 45 St. Clair Avenue West.

I have no idea what is going on – did Mr. Utley use a pen name when creating this poem and diagram? The 1933 directory listed no occupation for him, but the 1929 directory listed him as an elocutionist. So I guess he was interested in words and how they sound, which might mean that he wrote this. But I wonder whether Mr. Gordon read the Star, and whether he was surprised to see his name in the paper when he was on his way to work at the bank.

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