The moving finger writes, and having writ,Omar Khayyam
Moves on: nor all your piety not wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.
Publication of The Tattler has ended, having completed its 20th annual cycle in what had become the expected four-page newsletter that awakened our senses to the narrow, expanding, interesting, fascinating, uplifting, and wonderful world around us. Could the editor, “The Fly on the Wall”, have imagined that the one-page newsletter originally created by accident would grow into a regularly produced periodical that many awaited its publication on the first of the months of January through May and September through December. With few exceptions, The Tattler appeared without fail for twenty years like the steady rhythm of a metronome. I am saddened to say this time there will be no return from the traditional summer break, the moving finger is no longer writing The Tattler.
Effectively, the first issue of The Tattler was written to advise club members of the September 13, 2001, meeting location. It was mailed prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon here in the DMV. Harold Bradford, former social studies teacher at Burke, had moved his family to Washington, DC years earlier and had become a club member. He was so impressed with the meeting notice that he encouraged the individual who prepared it to convert it into a newsletter. Thus, The Tattler was born and thereafter was published for 20 years.
A review of the approximately 180 Tattler issues, one would NOT find the editor’s personal opinions, instead, he covered humankind to give the reader glimpses of extraordinary people doing ordinary things, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. One of those people was George R. Carruthers, who had a quiet and unassuming demeanor but a scientific genius. Where else would one read about a Charleston mother who spends “Sunday cooking a pot roast with rice, corn on the cob and string beans”? Need I mention Amanda Gorman?
Through assiduous study and research, he would find articles and obituaries to tell stories that would become learning lessons for the reader. He wanted to share with them something they did not already know. This was particularly the case with his articles about those who had passed away.
Some may wonder, “Why would it not continue to be published?” The Tattler has always been the production of one individual who embraced the effort as a labor of love and a particularly generous contribution to The Charleston Club. Everything associated with the
production of the newsletter was done by one person. The typing, masthead creation, selection of articles, article layout, selection of photographs to enliven articles – all of which,
and more, were performed exclusively by one person and he made it fit perfectly on four pages.
This was quite an effort for one person to perform diligently for 20 years. “The Fly on the Wall” finally surrendered to fatigue after completing the May 1, 2021, issue. For those who
may have noticed, the editor used his nom de plume, “The Fly on the Wall”, as always, when he signed off with the years in parentheses (2001 – 2021).
His name has never appeared as editor of The Tattler, he has never taken credit for having written The Tattler and he desired that there not be any announcement that he is no longer producing The Tattler. In fact, when it comes to public recognition, it is as if he has an allergic reaction that causes discomfort. He would say, “It was never done for recognition.”
For the first time, to my knowledge, his name will officially be associated with The Tattler. It is Lanard Geddings to whom we collectively owe a debt of gratitude for producing 20 years of The Tattler. He is an unparalleled supporter of The Charleston Club and an unfailing loyalist of Charleston, its residents, and its history. A sincere thank you from all members of The Club. Though you did not want it said what is written herein, no amount of your piety or wit shall lure it back to cancel half a Line of it.