Henry Losier's Notebook:
Poems and Maxims

edited by
Paul Vincent Spade

Henry Anderson Losier was my great grandfather (on my paternal grandmother's side). According to records kept in a family Bible by his wife, Mary Jane (née Huff), he was born February 13, 1859, and died in August, 1948. He lived most of his life in Van Buren, Indiana, in Grant County, near Marion. I am told I met the man, but I don't remember since I was only about four when he died.

Henry Losier was a thoughtful gent, in a homespun kind of way. When he died he left a little notebook, a "Royal Composition Book" with lined pages, of the kind students used to use for homework assignments. It even has a place on the cover for the student's name and grade, and on the back is printed the music (in four-part harmony) to "America," all four stanzas. The notebook contains verses, maxims, and anything else Mr. Losier decided to put down in it. Crammed between the pages are loose scraps of paper containing more of the same. The entries that are dated range from 1925 to 1943.

Mary Jane and Henry A. Losier

Many of the things Henry Losier wrote in his notebook are wise, some are moving, others are corny or whimsical, some are downright hilarious, and some are frankly abrasive to today's sensibilities. Mr. Losier was not a man without his own opinions. He had little use for women's suffrage or for "flappers," for example, and he thought prohibition was not an altogether bad idea. He was devoted to his wife, and plainly thought of her as the stronger half of that union. When she died in 1946, they had been married for over sixty-two years. He owned a dog named Mr. Fur Growler, and a much older one named Jack, and was obviously quite fond of them both. He was a man who could probably dimly remember the last days of the Civil War, and yet lived long enough to hear about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He liked to read, and read widely. It is not surprising, therefore, to find in some of his writings a sense of loss at how things had changed during his lifetime, both in Van Buren and in the world at large. At the time of the earliest dated entry in his notebook, Henry Losier was already sixty-six years old, and we find him often pondering his own mortality. But there is nothing morbid about it, just realistic. He seems to have been quite content with life, without being fooled by it. What more can you ask?

I here present some selections from Henry Losier's notebook. Some of his entries are numbered in sequence, and I have included many (not all) of them here. But many more are just written down wherever there was a blank space. His spelling was erratic, but I have preserved as much of it as I could for the sake of authenticity, or something. In a few cases I have inserted a missing letter or two where I had reason to think it was omitted only inadvertently. I have spared you the difficulties of Mr. Losier's own capitalization and punctuation. Sometimes I have had to conjecture a word or two.

The opinions expressed below are not necessarily those of the editor or the management.

My object is to relate the following stories with a little rattle box in them.

Dialogue with a Robin
No — 1

A fine cock robin sat on the garden gate.
Says he, Mr. Losier, your cherries are late.
I said Mr. Robin, what is that to you?
He answered he would like to sample a fiew.
I told cock robin the trees were all dead,
But he would not bleive a word that I said.
Then up in the tree he quickly took flight.
Then he answered me back, Mr. Losier your right.
Then he asked in a whisper how the strawberies looked.
I said, none of your buisness, you dirty old crook.
They are like a fiew people whoo allways did feel
The world owed them a living, which they decided to steal.
I say Mr. Robin, your a dirty dead beat,
While he was preening his feathers, saying don't I look sweet?
Fine feathers, fine clothes, are to cut a big swell,
But they have sent manny robins and people to H--ll.
Robins may bee usefull as manny have said,
But the robin for me is the roben that's dead.

The mind of one man is not broad enough to record all the facts in the past, present, and future. Neither is his eyes strong enough to look the sun in the face at a distance of one hundred yards or less. Neither is his armes long enough to slap the moon on the back to wake it up in case it should goe to sleep and refuse to reflect the light from the sun. Yet some men's egotism know no bounds.

But you probaly have met him.

We Dont Know
No — 2

Man is like a plant that begins to grow,
But we cannot reap untill we sow.
The crop we sow we will reap the same,
So we have no reason to complain.
But life is short, with manny a test,
But it wont bee long till we take a rest.
Mamma is looking a little old.
I am to, so I've been told.
But we have bin around for quite a spell.
Where we goe next no man can tell.
We have some good people but not quite all,
And the best of them might take a fall.
For their was Adam, a handmade guye,
But he could not resist sour applle pie.
Poore old Adam could not live alone,
So he took Miss Eave, his own rib bone.
I doe not know how it came about,
But we are told they were both kicked out.

Some people, iff you would squeeze the ego out of them, that which you would have left would bee less than zero.

Iff you have never looked in life's mirror, perhapes you have no idea how beautifull your friends realy are.

Life is a devil of a rough little game, but it is soon over.

May 25, '25
No — 3

When I awakened up this morning,
The grass was nice and white.
Plenty ice was in the chicken trough,
And it hapened all last night.

My mouth had began to watter
For the apple and the pear.
But I am sure when we goe to gather them,
their won't bee anny their.

I allmost lost my courage
When I looked out on the frost.
It was a little out of season,
But we had played the game and lost.

The wheat and oats are ruined,
The corn went up the flue.
It is tough on Paul and Peter,
And the farmers are a little blue.

But doe not get discouraged,
For they say it does not pay.
We will bee in clover to our eyes
Wehn we hall the hogs away.

By then it will bee tax time,
And wont we all feel proud?
We have made the doe, but it will have to goe
To pay the other crowd.

We have a barrell of courage,
But not quite that much cash.
Just wait till I get an office,
Then see me cut a dash.

Now friends do not get angry.
For it would not never doe.
I am just talking through my hat,
I am only one of you.

Some people immagen they have an over supply of inteligence. But in fact it is just an over supply of cheap air and egotisim.

When I have work to doe,
Then work is my choice.
When I have nothing to doe,
Then rest is my choice.
     — Mostly reading.

One Pleased Man

I am pleased that I was borend, whether I desired it or not.
I am pleased that I was permeted to grow up to manhoot and live my mathrel [= material?] life, whether I desired it or not.
Now I am pleased I am going to leave this world, whether I desire it or not
But thank you Mr. world, I am pleased I met you.

Some high nosed people might doe well to stop long enough to feel of their little finger, then revise their invintory.

When we smile, a smile comes back into our heart. When we frown, a frown comes back into our gall.

Punk [= Bunk?]
No — 4

The bone dry law is a very good thing,
But it has not got the jenuine ring.
The platform is good, but a little bit weak.
For the old dry bone has got a bad leak.

Iff we can vote temperence we can vote other laws
Without false teeth or soft pussy paws.
Kick out the wet Congress and keep him at home.
Put in a real Congress that know a dry bone.

I say stop this bunco, and cut out the strife.
When they catch a bootleger, send him straight up for life.
And as for the moonshiner, the same goes for all.
Send them to Michigan City to talk oil with Fall.

     [A reference to Albert B. Fall, U.S. Senator from New Mexico, then Secretary of the Interior under Warren G. Harding, and a major player in the Teapot Dome Scandal. — ed.]

Womman's mind is like a day in April. Bright in patches, but a little tricky.

When a man grows old, the floar of his brain box becomes coroded and gets litered up, and he cannot allways dig up what he is looking for.

On the River Bank at New Hollen [?]
No — 6

You speak of your minows
Your fish and your whale.
But listen, I will tell you
A little fish tale.
I am shure 't'was the largest
You most ever seen.
It was four times as long
As a flyuing mashine.
It made a hole in the watter
That a train could pass through.
To give its dimentions
You would think it not true.
It drank dry a river
That was twenty feet deep,
Then laid on the bottom
Went soundly to sleep.
Then gave a big kick
And opened one eye,
As iff for to say
I am a little bit dry.
Then it opened its mouth
And the watter did spray,
And the last thing I see
That fish swam away.

May bee the world is worse than it has been accused of beeing. Iff so, someone is conceiling something.

The woman's sufrage act was like populating the globe with mythical yahoos.

Iff every boddy was as good as their associates think they should bee, it would not bee a bad place to live.

From the Cradle to the Grave
No — 7

When we were young and full of spring
Like new buds on the tree.
We were kissed by every thing
While seeking lite [= life?] and liberty.

But winter past to balmy spring.
Our hearts grow light and gay,
While roses bloom with sweet perfume,
Saying life had come to stay.

We saw the forest chang to fields
With grains both broad and tall.
And we were getting that good feel
For the harvest in the fall.

But now the fire is burning low.
The sparks are dying down.
It won't bee long till we will goe.
They will hall us out of town.

Then and Now
No — 8

The old time chicken were real true blue.
They nearly all were right.
The later hatch care not what they doe.
They shurely are a fright.

They bob their skirts and bob their hair,
And bare their bosom to.
And paint their face and rouge their lips,
Then try to flirt with you.

They say that we are old fashion,
But we try to bee a man.
But just the same, their case is plain,
They aren't worth a dam.

I realy think it is a shame
The way the young folks doe.
Its not their fault, we are to blame,
Including me and you.

A fortune bequathed to a son manny times costes him nothing. And he usualy values it at cost.

Iff some people's brain was as broad and active as their mouth, we would have manny gient intellects.

Home Grown Verse
No — 9

The world is so big and buisy
It keeps us in a stew.
We hardly get a glimpes of it
As we are passing through.

But some are picking off the plum,
At least it has been said.
The laboring man classed as a bum
Iff he is alive or dead.

This mater of centrilation [= centralization?]
Is getting a little strong.
It is shure to cause damnation,
And it won't take very long.

Iff good old Abe was here today,
I'm shure hed shake his head.
The way that things are carried on,
I am realy glad he's dead.

He's sound a sleep from wordly wrongs.
I am shure his sole's at rest.
I would not bring him back to earth
Iff I could by my request.

In the past woman have been one of the greatest factors in promoting civilisation and hapiness. But at present they are one of the greatest factors in breaking down civilation and promoting crime.

Read Freud —
But doe it cautiousley and carefulley.
          — Get That —

Matrymonial Journey
No — 10

Maggie and I haven't been married long,
It is scarcly fifty years.
But I have found her mast and rudder so strong,
I have nothing now to fear.
Her compass have guided us through manny a fog
With her engins at full exhaust.
And iff you examine our seagoing log,
You will find we never was lost.
Although sometimes the billows would rool [= roll],
Jigs staid close at his post.
I can still see Maggie at the wheel,
For she allways could do the most.
I allways tryed to doe my best
To keep down anny row,
But never surprised for Maggie was wise
And allways showed me how.
But our good old ship is about all in,
Her engins have begin to groan.
But we have done our best,
You may doe the rest,
And call us on the long distance fone.

The Old Chincapin Tree

Say, doe you remember when you and me
Played togather under the chincapin tree?
Iff I was a boy as I used to bee,
I would like to play more under the chincapin tree.
It has been many years, but I can still see
All the kids playing under the chincapin tree.
Their [= there're] years on our head, and I use glasses to see.
But I would like to goe back to the chincapin tree.
Now the kids are all gray, as well as you and me.
But we shurley had fun at the chincapin tree.
We would gather the acorns. They were sweet as could bee.
And their we would roast them at the chincapin tree.
And now iff it suits you as well as it would me,
We will take another hike to the chincapin tree.
And now in the morning as soon as I can see,
I am going to plant me a chincapin tree.
And about twenty hundred and twenty three,
The kids can have fun under our Chincapin tree.
Iff I could plant honor in the hearts of the free,
I would set a fiew plants under our chincapin tree.

Some people are nothing more than an air pocket. The space they take up in the universe is their total unit without even a splash of inteilgence or energy.

Some people are like some dogs. Pat them on the head a little and speak a fiew nice words and they think you are an angel.

The mass of this country's so called prosperity is borrowed prosperity with a substancial interest plus. And iff we are not carefull, we will loose our prosperity. Allso our civilisation.

The Old Hen
No — 12

I love to hear an old hen sing
And cackel a little too.
It's the shurest sine of anny thing
They are goind to lay a fiew.

The old girl cackels loud and long,
But her eggs we doe admire.
And friskey fries in summer time
We seldom ever tire.

A nice dressed hen at Xmas time,
With sage and Oysters too.
Iff it was not for the chicken patch,
I don't know what weed doe.

The roosters all doe their part,
But seldom ever set.
They crow and fight and strut about,
But haven't laid anny yet.

I would rather bee a nice white hen
And serve my master well,
Than to bee an old fool rooster
Just trying to cut a swell.

Now my friend let's doe our part,
For you know it's the onley pay.
And let each one clense his heart,
For we have not long to stay.

When Father Opened His Shugar Camp No — 14

We have opened up the shugar camp.
The sap is dripping fast.
And bees and birds reminding me
Of a verry happy past.

We were hitching up old Billy
To hall the necter in.
He was prancing like a filley,
But the boil will soon begin.

The kettles now are all on hook,
The fire is burning bright.
The sap is taking on a look,
And we will have a time tonight.

I see the neighbors gather in,
And they have kiddies to.
They smoke and chew while yarnes they spin,
But the kids are in a stew.

But now the sap is getting red,
And kids with straw and cup
They venture in, but scorch their head
To dip a little up.

Then kids they sip and chatter,
And the houres were growing late.
But the cyrup getting thicker
And most ready for their plate.

And now we swing the kettle off,
The crock's all ready greased.
And the kids filled up up on shugar,
And we all went home well pleased.

     It is not the man that makes the most noise that says the mostes.
The answer is:

     His mouth is filled with wordes better than his head is filled with braines. Iff we would talk less and lisen more, we would know more. Time, observation, extensive reading and hard study is the foundation of knowledge.

Past, Present and Future No — 15

I love to hear you children laugh.
You seem so little and gay.
And I am feeling pretty well,
On my sixty eight birth day.

I haven't steped far out in space.
As manny men have done.
To set a guide post or leave a trace.
So I lost and they have wone.

But time is fleet, it's but a span.
It's just a little while.
But it is said we are once a man,
And twice a little child.

But now you listen to what I say.
Just keep your concience clear,
And you will find in after day
You haven't naught to fear.

A Mystery
No — 17

So Frank and I were buissy
Gasing up into the sky.
The air was filled with Feathers,
But we did not know just why.

We pondered quite a little bit,
And then we onley guessed.
They were fixtures from a cyclone
That had hapened in the west.

But Bob he spie a redhead [= woodpecker?]
High on a trolley pole.
He was handing out them feathers
From his last year's hatching hole.

So we should bee very carefull
In desiding the unknown.
For the redhead's no relation
To anny old cyclone.

Doe your duty as you see it.

Never doe annything that you are ashamed of. Then you will not have to be ashamed of what you have done.

The most of the million airs become such through the ignorance of the masses as much as their own keen forsight.

Mr. Skunk
No — 19

One night Mr. Skunk steped out for a walk.
Mrs. Skunk went along for a nice friendly talk.
They tramped through the meadow, picked up a few mice.
Mr. Skunk said to Mrs., You don't smell very nice.

Mrs. Skunk got offended and hiked back for home.
So that left the Mr. completeetly alone.
He headed for Losiers to try for a hen.
And realy right their his trouble begin.

He steped in a steel trap and over he fell.
He rooled and he tumbled and Lord such a smell.
He was very foolish to take such a chance.
Now the flapper wear his hide with her high watter pants.

Robins in the Blackberry Patch

The robins are so thick in our blackberry patch.
They build nests in your pockets, then try for a hatch.
They are four or five hundred and all work on tower [?].
They work day and night, and not by the hour.

Some carry the mortor, some carry the sticks,
And some at the pit where their mortor they mix.
I order them out about three times a day.
I am now eating garlic to stink them away.

My wife she is angry, she says I smell bad.
I am having more trouble than ever I had.
They break down the bushes, besides what they eat.
But I notice quite a fiew getting briers in their feet.

Now ever thing's lovely since mamma's got sweet.
And as for that garlic no more will I eat.
Now mamma she says I can doe as I please.
Just now I am living on limbarger cheese.

The Young Flapper

As I was walking down the street,
I met a flapper not dressed compleet.
I tiped my hat, she said hellow.
I soon observed she wasn't slow.

Her breast was bear, her skirt was high.
Her face looked like cranberry pie.
I said, My child, you look a fright.
She powdered her nose and said, Not quite.

Shy tryed to look like Baby Beef.
When she explained I had relief.
She did admit she was on a lark,
And was Noah's pall [= pal] when he built his ark.

Manny times she changed her name since then,
But was on the look for other men.
In Noah's time she had forgot her name,
But rembered that was an awfull rain.

She had had husbands by the score,
And yet she thinks she needes one more.
But all you girls that cannot see
Will shurley come to misery.

Now you girls take my advice,
Bee shure and treete your mamma nice.
Take her advice, don't be to gay.
Then life will bee a summer day.

The faults we think we see in others manny times are not a corect diagnosis. Our own faults may bee an obstruction to our clear view.

Christian is a fine word, but a scarce artical. I fear too manny professors are nothing more than a big shadow club.

I, H. A. Losier, would like to vouch for the truthfullness that Mr. Fer [= Fur] Growler did compose and in his own hand writing did write the following virses.

                      — Now this is Mr. Growler talking.

I like old Granma's cooking, and I like old Grandpa's gab.
And Jack and I are loafing, and for me it's not so bad.
I am not cold or hungry, and people treat me nice.
And when the assesser pulls out my tag, Grampa puts down the price.
I did think I would goe to war, but the way this wether feels,
I desided it was to far to come home for my meals.
Now I have decided to stay at hom and help take care of Jack,
For iff I did goe to war, they might not let me come back.
I think I have manny friends, and my enemyes are fiew,
And I think the reasons are the kind things that we doe.
But when Granpa comes to die, and maybee Granny to,
I know I cannot help but cry, and I won't know what to doe.

                      P.S. Now roole me in your arms love and blow the candle out.

                                                                  Mr. Fer Growler.

Jack is a tough little cuss, but as cute as a sqirle.
He is rough in a scrap but is sweete with his girl.
He has traveld a lot and killed manny a rat,
And playes plenty rough when he tackels a cat.
He has ben in the hospital, he has crawled in big holes,
But half of his troubles has never bin told.
But as years come on, and his teath all gone, he never think to slack.
He takes them all, both big and small, he's still the old sporting Jack.

But iff Growler lives to long and wears his bunglo [= bungalow, doghouse] out,
Then he is to get Jack's bunglo, for Jack won't be about.
Jack says he is getting old, and [getting (written but erased)] stiff and num,
And is saying goodby to cake and pie, and Growler his good old chum.

Just A Sketch of Our Family Experience

Mr. Growler took I and mom out for a spin.
I douged [= doubted?] it then iff we would ever get back in.
We had not gon far till our first bad luck.
The old care [= car] wheal droped in a deep chuck.

Mom started to tumble, my chances were slim.
Then Mom yelled, Here dad, hold me in.
I grabed her by the leg and pulled her up
. By that time the old car was out of the rut.

We sputtered along till it got on our harts
That mom had lost some of her spair parts.
In our snorting around one wheele throwed a rim.
Growler stayed with the wheel and we all stuck in.

Then we started back, one wheel on its peges [= pegs, spokes],
And found teeth and glasses and two wooden legs.
We put back the rim on the old carr's pegs.
Mom put back teeth and glasses and the two wooden legs.

Now mom is happy and spry as a buck
With the two wooden legs and Growler's old truck.

Mr. Fur Growler
in 1944.

No man is quite shure he has a real friend individully or nationally or internationaly, without he ownes a dog.

The thought is borned of a crank, developed by cience and compiled to manhood and usefullness. So we depend on progress and invention from the crank.

Iff you cant bee sociable from anny cause, and speak well of your fellow man, just bee quiet.

A Polish translation of this page may be found at http://www.onlinecarparts.co.uk/science/?p=863 , courtesy of Marina Stepanenko.

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