Poet, change your tune!

As I’ve mentioned before, the Toronto Daily Star used to publish a poem a day on its editorial page as the lead entry in its “A Little Of Everything” section. (Most of the rest of A Little Of Everything seems to have been the Daily Star’s editorial stuff sounding off on current events or attempting to tell jokes.) Here’s the poem from the May 19 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I’m not any judge of poetry, but I enjoyed this one more than most that I have seen: this poet appears to have a sense of humour.

A search in the Toronto city directories revealed that “Karl Andrews” was almost certainly a pen name – there’s nobody with that name in either the 1938 or the 1939 city directory. The 1938 directory lists Mrs. Elizabeth Board living at 263 Rhodes Avenue, and the 1939 directory lists Thomas Leanon as the owner and resident there. Cross-checking revealed that Mr. Leanon worked as a car washer, which might be the sort of job that a poet might take when not writing poetry; you never know. But my best guess is that Mrs. Board wrote the poem and used a male pseudonym.

Searching in earlier years revealed that Mrs. Board had relatively recently become widowed:

  • The 1936 directory lists James Board as working as a labourer and living at 116 Broadview Avenue.
  • In the 1937 directory, Mrs. Elizabeth Board is listed as the widow of James and living at 261 Rhodes Avenue as a boarder.
  • In 1938, she appears to have moved next door and become a boarder of Mr. Leanon – he is listed as the owner at 263 Rhodes in 1937 and 1939, but is not listed in 1938 (he probably wasn’t home when the city directory person came around to enumerate).
  • In 1939, she had moved again, to 44 Lewis Street.

Moving forward five years: the 1944 directory still lists Thomas Leanon as a car washer and living at 263 Rhodes. Mrs. Board is still listed also – she is living at 348 Ontario Street. I didn’t trace them after that.

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