A bad experience with a British tabloid

Published 9:55 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

By Frank Roberts

I spent about half a century as a writer, graduating from typewriter to electric typewriter to the newfangled computer.

I wrote for newspapers, magazines such as Country Weekly, Grit and many others including The National Tattler. I never tried to pass fiction off as non-fiction and, I feel that is the case with the great majority of writers.

Email newsletter signup

When I was about 14, I did got a lesson in deceit. In my growing up years, during World War II, I was quite an Anglophile and I used to get the British magazine “Picture Post,” a “Life”-like publication.

I got the idea to send them a duo article. Part One was called, “What I Like About England,” and Part Two, “What I Like About the United States.” Each article concerned complaints about the other country.

A few months later, the magazine arrived, and excitement abounded in my naive little mind. I anxiously opened it up, and there it was — partially — a whole page advertised as a contribution from a young American lad writing about our country’s problems.

No matter how often I turned the pages, I never found what I wrote about the Brit negativity.

To put it politely, I was ticked. When I got into the “writin’ racket,” I promised myself I would not be a deceitful cat.


Other illuminating stuff: Canadians consume more donuts per capita than we do. Why? I dough-nut know.

Also from the Bad Joke Department: What’s black and white, and red all over? A blushing panda.


A while back, I wrote about the Jesus Trail. Here is a weird addendum: There is a Japanese Jesus Trail based on the so-called “legend” that Jesus escaped Jerusalem and made his way through Russia and Siberia to Aomori in northern Japan, where he became a rice farmer, married, had a family and died peacefully at the age of 114.

Pass me a grain of salt.


Finally, a couple Nashville love stories. The great balladeer, Eddy Arnold, once saw a cute brunette in the audience, supposedly an Olivia de Havilland lookalike. They chatted, got hitched and stayed together for life.

Gene Austin, famed for singing such songs as “My Blue Heaven” and “Ramona,” was married five times. Later, he said, “I only made one mistake, and that was getting rid of my first wife.”

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.