Run Out of Town
"All right, kid, but don't let them hear you say that; they might run you out of town" is an interesting comment, if Cohan really made it to my grandfather. It appears that T. Harold's own father, George Morris, actually had been run out of town.
In 1879 George launched The Investigator, the first newspaper in Mamaroneck, N.Y., a settlement a few miles to the north of New Rochelle. He wrote in his first editorial:
For those whom we long had the pleasure of writing for, in New Rochelle, while connected with The Pioneer, we extend our ernest thanks for their kindness, and regret that some slips of the pen produced ill feelings which we trust are now at an end. All men are liable to err; why not then, youth? and though "what is writ, is writ," still there has been nothing done which a true man will not overlook and forever forget, and trusting it may be [indecipherable] of the subject, never to be referred to, more.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what George wrote in The Pioneer. But if an article in The Investigator about an unruly crowd attending a performance of Shakespeare by one "Count Joannes" and his consort is any indication, he pulled no punches.
We regret to animadvert upon the disturbance and disorderly conduct exhibited in the Town Hall of New Rochelle upon Thursday evening, the 16th.
The spectacle of a gentle and lady, so far as externals go, vociferating and gesticulating upon the platform to a crowd of noisy, ill bred men and boys was not at all calculated to exhibit favorably either the good manners or the sense of decency which is supposed to characterize a New Rochelle audience.
George's apology to the New Rochelle's burghers was no doubt sincere but, in the spirit of his Scottish forebears, it was practical, too. He'd already established in the editorial that in the "advertising columns ... will be found some of the cards of the representative men of Mamaroneck, Rye Neck, and New Rochelle."
But isn't this just some of like the Forbes I know and love deeply — this desire to "forever forget" an unfortunate incident, as if its memory could be obliterated and its repercussions could be stanched?
Slights — major and minor — often weren't talked about, bad blood roiled under the surface, and brothers and cousins went their separate ways. We've tried to reconcile somewhat in this generation, but it's like putting the genie back in the bottle.