When children's book author Jean Merrill died this past August, at 89, the New York Times obit mentioned Occupy Wall Street.
Strange? Not if you've read Merrill's 1964 (but much-reprinted) YA novel, The Pushcart War, in which fiercely independent street peddlers join forces to wage nonlethal but effective guerrilla warfare against the bullying agents (i.e, trucks) of the established social and economic forces which threaten their livelihood. The pushcart warriors, who shoot pins from peashooters into truck tires — Frank the Flower, General Anna, Morris the Florist, and Maxie Hammerman — are truly memorable literary characters. Frank the Flower, in particular, not only because of his floral hat (shown above), but because of the courage he displays once he's arrested; he falsely confesses that he shot all 18,991 of the trucks...
Merrill — who also wrote such terrific books as Henry, The Hand-Painted Mouse (1951), The Woover (1952), and The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars (1967), died of cancer at her home in Randolph, Vermont on August 2. Her memorial service, which is on October 7 in Chelsea, Vermont, is not a public event — but I wanted to pass along a wonderful quote from the memorial invitation, which a friend of mine received. The invite reads: "Please bring a pot luck contribution, a song, a poem, a remembrance to share. Wear your Frank the Flower hat and bring your peashooter!"
La luta continua!
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