Monday, September 21, 2009

A Mystery

Here's a real mystery for you and if anyone has a clue, please go ahead and guess because I don't know the answer yet.

Today Claire took an old book down off the shelf and opened it. As she did so, a stack of small papers fell out so, after looking them over, she called me to find out who they belonged to. I hadn't a clue. I don't even know where we got the book from!

The book is a hardback published in 1952 and called "Switzerland, Life and Activity" and, apart from the dust jacket, it is in very good condition. Inside is a sticker that reads, "To [blank] with the compliments of SWITZERLAND Cheese Association, 105 Hudson St., New York 13, N.Y. and SWISS CHEESE UNION Bern, Switzerland."

Inside were the following papers:

1. A 4-page, blue "Standard Bond Report" issued by Standard & Poor's Corportation, Publishers apparently concerning the activities of the New York Central R. R., dated Wednesday, October 26, 1955.

2. A large unused postcard picturing a colourized photograph of the Ladies Cocktail Lounge, New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, New York.

3. An old, folded, opened and empty envelope addressed to "Chef Marcel, New York Athletic Club" with a hand-written notation "clé automobile".

4. An old newspaper clipping (no dateline) as below:

5. An old hand-written recipe which reads "Marinade for Pork Pickles" (recipe available on request).

6. An old, used postcard with a picture of "Avenida Mariano Arosemena, Belle Vista, Panama, R. de P." The card is addressed to Mr. M. Martel, Chef de Cuisine, De Witt Clinton Hotel, Albany, N.Y., U.S and has a postal stamp from ANCON CANAL ZONE dated March 29, 1941.

The message is in French, and reads,

Comment va mon vieux!
Voici déjà trois semaines que je suis ici.
Le changement n'est pas si formidable, mais il fait assez, comme à Albany au mois de Juillet.

T'écrirai plus longuement avant peu.
Cordialement, et mes amitiés à la famille

7. A yellowed page out of the N.Y. Herald Tribune, 1956 obviously torn out to show the four-column article entitled, Artful Dinner Honors Culinary Man of Year — a certain "Frenchman" M. Joseph Castaybert.

8.A clean buff-coloured letter-card with nothing written on it but the seal of the "New York Athletic Club of the City of New York.

9. A tattered envelope containing check stubs from the "Union Dime Savings Bank".

What on earth can we make of such a fantastic muddle of detailed paperwork? Who is / was Marcel Martel? How did his book get in our library? Answers or guesses welcome below!


  1. Daddy, you have a way of making things be so funny !


    PS : Does Grandma have anything to do with this story ?

  2. Hehe glad you enjoyed the mystery but no, I'm quite sure Grandma never worked as a Chef in the New York hotel in 1941. Quite sure.

    Next guess?

  3. What a treasure chest!! I'd have fun with that... It's certainly not from our side of the family that I know of.