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Mushroom Lovers, Unite!


Mushroom caves of Zanzibar

M.L.,U! *

Uncle Ben's Bread

When we were young we looked forward to visits from Uncle Ben, my grandfather's brother, who would come visit a few times a year from his home in north Jersey. Uncle Ben and Aunt Natalie were nice enough, but it wasn't as much the visits we enjoyed as the accompanying loaves of what we called "Uncle Ben's bread", a heavy rye bread from Zwerdlings, a bakery in Newark.

Dad, an electrical engineer, always had an active and unusual imagination. He decided to share Uncle Ben's bread with his coworkers - but rather than simply saying "Here is a great bread, try some?", he would work up whole scenarios where people would buy shares in expeditions, a series of updates would appear on the bulletin board, and in the end the expedition would always seem to come back with a loaf of bread for each shareholder. The first time was of course a surprise, but afterwards coworkers looked forward to the story leading up to the end almost as much as they did the bread itself.

There was an expedition to Tibet to find the elusive yeti, which failed to bring back a yeti but did manage to harvest "petrified footprints"; selling building lots in Long Island Sound; and the trip to Zanzibar to bring back the fabled mushrooms. I also recall a couple of trips back from Newark pulling a U-Haul trailer filled with Uncle Ben's bread.

He did this a few times while working at Remington Rand Univac in Norwalk,and they were picked up by Uncle Peter, who had similar tastes, combined with the skill to use pictures rather than mere text, and expanded on them at Pitney Bowes. Their output appeared to be lost to posterity - until recently Uncle Peter discovered the complete story of the Great Mushroom Hunt from 1971, and passed them on to me. On these pages I too pass them on, to the world this time (or at least as much of it as visits this page). See the outline, or view all the reports in order.

* Mushroom Lovers, Unite!

(I only typed in the handwritten text, the typed text was recognized by http://www.newocr.com)

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