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How Parker Pens pavilion @ 1965 Worlds Fair made a friend for life
Posted 11 March 2009 - 05:24
My good friend Susan recently visited israel to attend a convention and at the tail end stayed with us. She's not a pen buff at all, they are implements to write stuff with and words to paper have been and integral part of her professional career. I had some pens transshipped to her which she gladly brought over and naturally we got down to pen talk.
Susan told me how the Parker Pen Co. pavilion at the 1960 World Fair literally "penned" her up with a life long transatlantic pen-friend. Here's the story and the certificate. I asked her to write it down in order to share with pen and letter writing aficionados.
How many of you have had similar relationships as a result of the of Parker pen initiative or the pavilion itself.
PENtiful greetings by the WWW but also via pen and ink to paper, our metier ;-) Dov
How the Parker Pen Company Gave Me a Life-Gift
It was before the Vietnam War escalated, before Robert Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King’s assassinations. It wasn’t exactly a time of innocence, since our young, dynamic, inspirational president, John F. Kennedy, had been gunned down in Dallas less than two years before.
It was October 16, 1965. I was 10 years old. Living in the Washington, D.C. area and having a father involved in politics, I was more aware of historical events swirling around me than most pre-teens.
My mother, who had attended in World’s Fair in 1939, insisted that my sister, then 12, and I have a similar experience. After incessant nagging, my father finally agreed to take the family to New York for the first time (we were a family that didn’t “do” vacations together). We went the last weekend the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York was open. Crowded? You bet. Other hen-pecked dads were keeping peace in the household by acquiescing to the wishes of their spouses.
For my 10-year-old self, it was an explosive preview of the then-predicted world of the future, when I would be an adult and living on my own. I was amazed by a machine that “cooked eggs in 10 seconds!.” It was one of the first versions of microwave ovens. It heated up already-cooked scrambled eggs. I was enthralled. There also were “speaker-phones” that allowed callers to talk and see each other – which didn’t make it in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s, but sort of evolved into the webcams of today. The three-wheeled GM cars of the future, the hydroponically-grown vegetables, the wonderful Belgian waffles – waffles with strawberries and whipped cream – that were developed for the fair and have continued to be served by establishments dedicated to sugar aficionados everywhere.
But the most lasting legacy of that day is still part of my life.
The Parker Pen Pavillion had a rudimentary computer system that matched young people up with “penfriends.” I wrote my name, country, and language on a form, along with three numbered selections of interests. Literature, cats, and scouting were numbers 149, 005, and 223. I was hooked up by number with Bettina Mary Sowden of Stone House, Burton, Wirral, Cheshire, England, U.K.
Wow! An English penpal! England was where the Beatles came from, and even at age 10, I was an obsessed fan.
We started writing, exchanging school pictures. “Stone House” was her only street address; everyone knew where it was in her small village. She had blond “plaits.” I figured out what that meant when I saw her braids. We sent blue aerograms and sometimes cards which could contain photos, sharing family information, school activities, and general news.
It was magical receiving Tina’s communications, a voice from another part of the world, but a girl like me doing the same things that all girls do.
In our adulthood – which involved marriages, loss of parents, job troubles, and divorces – we have evolved into writing once a year at holiday times. We always talked about getting together before we got too old (though I wonder now what that means?!).
In 1994, we made the promise come true. My then-husband and I and Tina and her then-significant other met in a town near Liverpool close to her home. It was a joyous reunion of paper-friends who had never met in person. I loved her accent – something that certainly is not communicable on paper. We were both in our 40s and thrilled to find out the many many odd things we had in common – interests like old cemeteries, current health issues, attachments to animals, career parallels, and a love of history.
That visit was a turning point – nearly 30 years after our first connection, thanks to Parker Pens. I wonder how many people maintained connections with their matched-up penfriends – much less became continuing presences in their respective lives.
Tina and I still write and share life experiences. She split up with her long-time companion of 14 years at almost the same time I divorced my husband of 20 years. We talk about having another face-to-face visit sometime soon.
The friendship that Tina and I have is such a gift in my life. It opened up an unexpected connection of two girls living lives on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean going through the same experiences of adolescence, young adulthood, marriage, disappointment and betrayal, reconstructing life in mid-years, and trying to find meaning in it all.
We have been friends for almost 45 years. Without Parker Pens, it never would have happened. My friendship with Tina has been such a gift in my life. Our matching interest was cats. Now she cherishes her dogs. I still revere my cats. Both are wonderful four-legged companions. The human connections are even more precious.
Posted 11 March 2009 - 14:46
Posted 11 March 2009 - 15:01
Posted 11 March 2009 - 16:23
Posted 11 March 2009 - 16:35
Posted 11 March 2009 - 23:35
Edited by DovR, 11 March 2009 - 23:38.
Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:17
Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:15
Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:42
Actually I think I will move the tread to the Parker forum where it is probably more relevent.
the NY world's Fair was 35 years ago, I was a 13 year old in Pretoria South Africa, Barmitzvah that year and we used to say: "Today I am a fountain
pen ;-) How I wish I still had the parker 51, 45 and couple of 21's received. In fact a "good" f/p invariably a parker 51 was pretty mandatory to the "barmie" boy back then.
The fair "spearheaded" the computer age and it's an interesting read: http://www.westland..../technology.htm
in addition wiki has good info some of which I used. http://en.wikipedia....rk_World's_Fair
a fascinating piece from the NY64 site http://nywf64.com/building20.shtml that shows start to finish
from from the observation tower view from above
and the view as one entered, quite impressive and epcot is somewhat reminiscent:
and the Parker Pen Pavilion, where susan met tina by virtue of parker's matching pen pal "computer" is now in the Ozarks
At Parker Pen, a computer would make a match to a world-wide International penpal.
The Parker Pen pavilion became offices for the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
the view of the site, photos by Max Mordecai deceased
the other pavilions had similar fates:
ike its predecessor, the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair lost money. It was unable to repay its financial backers their investment and it became embroiled in legal disputes with its creditors until 1970, when the books were finally closed and the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation was dissolved. Most of the pavilions constructed for the Fair were demolished within six months following the Fair's close. While only a handful of pavilions survived, some of them traveled great distances and found reuse following the Fair:
* The Austria pavilion became a ski lodge in western New York.
* The Wisconsin pavilion's front tee-pee-like portion became a radio station in Neillsville, Wisconsin. The pavilion's large rear structure that formed a squat-looking "H" (if seen from above) is the combined kitchen, dining hall, and recreation hall of Camp Ramah in upstate Lakewood, Pennsylvania.
* The US Royal Tire-shaped Ferris wheel was relocated to become a road sign along Interstate 94 in the Metro Detroit Downriver community of Allen Park, MI.
* The Pavilion of Spain relocated to St. Louis, Missouri and is now a part of a Hilton Hotel.
* The Parker Pen pavilion became offices for the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
* The Johnson Wax disc-shaped theater was reworked and became part of the S.C. Johnson Wax complex in Racine, Wisconsin designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
* The stained glass windows from the Vatican pavilion were built into Saint Mary's Church in Groton, Connecticut.
* The Christian Science pavilion became a church in Poway, California. The structure was demolished in 2006.
* The Mormon pavilion became a church in Plainview, New York, dedicated December 2, 1967 and still in use.
* A large oil painting of a woman, painted in 1964 by Roy Lichtenstein and titled "New York World's Fair," is in the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
* The Carillon from the Coca-Cola Pavilion was moved to Stone Mountain Park, near Atlanta, Georgia.
* As noted, the Disney-created attraction "it's a small world" was transferred to Disneyland, along with the "Carousel of Progress" and the first Abraham Lincoln audio-animatronic figure for the original "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" Show. Scenes from the Ford Magic Skyway were used in the Disneyland Railroad's Primeval World Diorama and the attraction's actual ride system was improved upon and used for Tomorrowland's PeopleMover.
* Some of the light fixtures that lined the walkways can be found still functioning at Penn Hills Resort in the Poconos, Analomink, PA, the Orange County Fairgrounds in Middletown, NY and Canobie Lake Park in Salem, NH.
New York City was left with a much improved Flushing Meadows Park following the Fair, taking possession of the Park from the Fair Corporation in June, 1967. It is heavily used for both walking and recreation. The paths and their names remain almost unchanged from the days of the Fair.
At the center of the park stands the symbol of "Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe" – the Fair's Unisphere symbol, depicting our earth of "The Space Age." (The Unisphere later was made famous again in 1997 when it was featured in the film Men in Black.) The Unisphere has become a symbol of Queens, and has appeared on the cover of the county's phone books. Today, with the fountains dry (except during the US Open), it is a popular skateboarding site. The city also received a multi-million dollar Science Museum and Space Park exhibiting the rockets and vehicles used in America's early space exploration projects.
Both the New York State pavilion and the Federal pavilion were retained for future use. No reuse was ever found for the Federal pavilion and it became severely deteriorated and vandalized before being demolished in 1977. The New York State pavilion also found no residual use other than as TV and movie sets, such as an episode of McCloud; for The Wiz; and part of the setting (and the plot) for Men in Black. In the decades after the Fair closed it remains an abandoned and badly neglected relic of the Fair, with its roof gone the once bright floors and walls are almost faded away. In 1994 the Queens Theatre took over the circular Circarama adjacent to the towers and continues to operate there, using the ruined state pavilion as a storage depot.
The Space Park deteriorated due to neglect, but the surviving rockets were restored and placed back on display in 2004. It is presently open again as part of the New York Hall of Science, a portion of which is a remnant of the Fair. The Fair's Heliport has found reuse as a banquet / catering facility called "Terrace on the Park."
In 1978, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, as it is now called, became the home of the United States Tennis Association and the US Open tennis tournament is played there annually. The former Singer Bowl, later renamed Louis Armstrong Stadium, was the tournament's primary venue until the larger Arthur Ashe Stadium was built on the site of the former Federal Pavilion and opened in August 1997. Collectively, the complex is called the USTA National Tennis Center.
The R36 cars built for the IRT 7 subway route that served the 1964 fair ran the route for over 39 years afterwards, with some cars lasting into 2003. Some of them still survive today in work use or storage.
The former New York City building is home to the Queens Museum of Art and continues to display the multi-million dollar model of the city of New York. This historic structure also (as of 2007) has an excellent display of memorabilia from the two Fairs. The section where the early United Nations General Assembly met had now reverted back to its historic role as an ice skating rink.
Shea Stadium, while not part of the Fair grounds proper, was opened at the same time as the fair and was listed in the fair's maps. It was the home of the New York Mets baseball team until 2008. It was demolished and the space used for parking for the adjacent new stadium (Citi Field) in 2009.
Commemorative postage stamps were produced for the Fair, souvenir medals were issued, and a lot of memorabilia remains in private hands. There is significant interest in collecting these pieces. Items of all types, many quite inexpensive, frequently appear in sales.
In 1995, PBS produced The 1964 World's Fair, a 52-minute documentary about the Fair, narrated by Judd Hirsch. 
Also, parts of Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida may have been inspired by the 1964 New York World's Fair. The entrance to the park has a globe that resembles the Unisphere with "Universal Studios" on it, and an area of the park called "World Expo" that features worldly music and flags of many nations. In 1999, the World Expo area expanded and opened the Men In Black: Alien Attack attraction with recreations of New York observatory towers in front of the building. The attraction itself is based on a fictional World's Fair pavilion, you enter as a tourist but soon you ride an elevator to the facility and learn that you are trying out to be a part of the Men In Black.
Walt Disney moved most of his attractions from the Fair to Disneyland. Today, "it's a small world" is still active, while Mr. Lincoln is currently on hiatus. Parts of Ford's Magic Skyway are installed along the Disneyland Railroad, while the Carousel of Progress still spins at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a Small World is an attraction at all five Disney Magic Kingdom-style parks, and it's theme song is among the most popular on the planet. Disney used the technologies from the fair to create arguably his greatest attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Epcot Center's original attractions borrowed heavily from the audio-animatronic advances of the Fair and its general ideals.
from the fair's operating manual:
INVITATION by letter and through representatives of the Fair Corporation.
By the Mayor of the City of New York, with the cooperation of the Department of State, and by the international visiting teams acting on behalf of the Fair Corporation and working through the United States embassies in the countries involved. The teams are comprised of outstanding men and women in business, government or letters.
International participants are encouraged to appoint a representative from their Consular Office in New York or Embassy in Washington to act for their government in selecting the exhibit site and in negotiating an agreement of participation.
Who else has memories from the 1964 world's fair ?
Posted 13 March 2009 - 12:51
Who else has memories from the 1964 world's fair ?
Though I am a couple of years younger than the author, I was there (I was 7 in 1964).
I pass the tire mentioned above (located along I -94 on the south side not far from Ford's Rouge Manufacturing Complex) very frequently as I live in Metro Detroit area. It is reputedly made of genuine rubber , though I have never tested it. It has been updated a couple of times to reflect the mainstream marketing of radial tires in the 70's and a more modernized raised letters and tread some time in the late 90's. It once had a nail in it!
See more here: World's Largest Tire
A 2006 Photo
And here in 1964
My only vivid memory is being in some pavilion fishing for catfish in a large above-ground pool. Scared me silly. My cousin had to catch one for me. But he was a Maine fisherman so he knew his stuff.
Unfortunately, I don't recall seeing the Parker Pen Pavilion, or much else for that matter. Dad was never big on crowds and lines. Neither was I at 7 (I guess). Would've been a nice keepsake to get an imprinted jotter at that time.
When on long trips and bored, I have daydreamed of many things throughout my life as we all do. One of these dreams almost always includes a time machine; what I'd do & where I'd go. Both the 1939 and 1964 NY World's fair are always at the top of my itinerary. A favorite current activity is to find these places in modern day and check it out. One day I'll do that in NY. Sure would've liked to see that Periphere and Trylon (spike) from 1939.