The ceremony was held at a private residence on the north side of Baltimore, Maryland (right), on August 19th. On the evening before the ceremony, I scoped out the location of the ceremony and found that parking was going to be a problem. However, courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service, valet parking was provided.
The stage was located on the one side of the house with approximately 150 seats set. Like many ceremonies, the chairs were quickly filled.
Numerous people were then asked to give remarks on Ogden Nash. The speeches were well-prepared and everyone read a Nash poem or their own rendition in his style.
Pop entertainer William Suretté (right) graced the audience with the poem "Kindly Unhitch that Star Buddy." Following Suretté, Ethel Ennis (below, left) performed an excellent rendition of the song "Speak Low."
Baltimore Colts Hero and Sports Commentator Tom Matte (right) spoke highly of Ogden Nash as he wrote poems about each of the players on the Colts. Very fitting, Mr. Matte recited the poem that Nash wrote about him.
Going on he asked "What’s the difference between Al Gore and Osama Bin Laden? … Well, only one is wanted."
Education in America seems to be a high priority, yet isn’t it strange that parents ask "is our children learning?" then commenting "Well, is they?" Continuing on, Russell quoted a comical poem, "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin." He ended with a poem he wrote in the Nash style which concluded dramatically with "Get on with it, unveil the stamp!"
And on it went. Daughter Linell Nash-Smith (left) selected two poems, one most fitting for the ceremony. "September is Summer Too" or as she jokingly renamed it "It’s never too late to be miserable" which referred to the current outside temperature of 90 degrees. Ogden Nash’s nephew and two granddaughters followed her with the readings of a couple more Nash poems.
At this point Secretary to the Board of Governors for the US Postal Service William T. Johnstone made the official dedication of the Ogden Nash stamp. The most intriguing of his comments seemed to be away from his scripted speech. He commented that the postage stamp features six poems which possibly makes it the smallest published collection of poetry. I’m sure it is and it also has the largest printing. Mr. Johnstone then invited all of the ceremony participants to join him on stage to unveil the stamp (right).
Last, remarks by Official Biographer Douglas Parker and Consultant on Stamp Development Dr. George Crandell concluded the speakers for the ceremony. Postmaster Mack returned to the stage to conclude the ceremony after one hour and fifteen minutes since it started. All of the ceremony participants were kind enough to stay and sign ceremony programs for those who requested it.
To add to what was an already spectacular ceremony, a local caterer served sandwiches, salads, snacks and most important bottled water and iced tea. A note to the US Postal Service for future ceremonies…this is how ceremonies are supposed to run.Jay Bigalke
©2002 Text and Photos