Grace Hampton of Burbank has been trying to find a strain of Pacific Giant delphiniums -- the Elaine variety. Not one of the mail-order houses that she has contacted carries seeds in the Elaine strain. Now she wonders whether any home gardeners might be able to germinate a local source. Can you help Hampton with this seedy request, or will the strain of her search wilt her giant desire for splendor in the grass?
Donald Yvaska has been trying to find script numerals for his residential street address, which happens to be 1192; even his parents, who live in the Northeast, have been unable to locate a source. Can you help by addressing this problem, or will Yvaska be convinced that we are doing a number on him?
Arleen Perelman of Tarzana would like to locate a half-inch-wide gold finger ring with vertical lines engraved all around and a pattern of maple leaves engraved over the lines. She says she met a lady who claims that these rings were made by a relative in New York, but Perelman is more interested in a local source. Can you help before she is ready to leave for Canada to continue her search, or should Perelman just keep running around in circles down here?
Reader-to-Reader Help Line: Julia at (714) 581-2653 desperately needs a gas gauge and temperature gauge for a 1963 Dodge Valiant; please make a valiant attempt to help Julia before her temper--and temperature--hit the boiling point. . . . Joan at (714) 472-0444 would like to get hold of a ceramic coffee keep-warm pot made by the Jewel Tea people many years ago and no longer available anyplace; it is off-white with some brown flowers as decoration. Helping to keep Joan's coffee warm would not only make her day, but also her evening. . . . M.R. at (619) 244-3324 is looking for three Ludwig Bemelman books that are no longer in print: "Madeline," "Madeline & the Gypsies" and "Madeline in London." Please help, so that M.R. won't need to have a "mad on" over our failure to line up these books.
Note: The Reader-to-Reader Help Line is only for one-time items and for products that are no longer available in stores. And you must give us written permission to publish your telephone number, so that other readers may contact you directly.
This may come as a pleasant shock to Diana Hammer of San Clemente and Mel Schaeffer of Diamond Bar, both of whom were looking (along with some others) for Shocking perfume, but the product is available. Billy Little, who first wanted a whiff of it (and even got a phone call from a lady in Seattle after we published her request), says to contact Schiaparelli Parfums, Pret a Porter, 21 Place Vendome, Paris (1er), France and ask for a price list. Little says the perfume has until recently been available in Cancun also.
For Dixie Chaney of Little Rock, who wanted something that would stretch the 100%-cotton hat her husband wears when playing golf, we may have been stretching things too far. We have no hat stretcher for her, only a few pot-headed suggestions. William J. Thomas of Los Angeles and a reader in Frazier Park both suggest placing the hat, right after it has been washed, over the bottom of a fitting saucepan or cooking pot; a similar idea comes from Eileen Geist of Sylmar, who uses a canister-style Tupperware bowl instead.
Evelyn Zwerg of Sherman Oaks, who was trying to locate some calcium carbide powder (Bangsite) for use in a toy cannon, should keep her powder dry; we have several sources. Carol Klein of Lakewood says the product (No. 134) is available from Dixie Gun Works Inc., Union City, Tenn. 38261. And Mary Schmidt of Santa Ana writes that calcium carbide, which she says is more like gravel than powder, is used by cavers and gave the following mail order caving-supply houses: Caves Unlimited, 4956 Asbury Circle, Dubuque, Iowa 52001; Bob & Bob, P. O. Box 441, Lewisburg, W. Va. 24901; Speleo Sports Ltd., Star Route Box 57A, Tijeras, N.M. 87059, and Speleo-shoppe, P. O. Box 297-NC, Fairdale, Ky. 40118. We also heard from a reader who is willing to part with four tubes of never-opened Bangsite. If Zwerg--or anyone else--is interested, a stamped, self-addressed envelope will really go over with a bang.
Herb Hain cannot answer mail personally but will, space permitting, respond in this column to readers who have--or need--helpful information. Write (do not telephone) to You Can Help!, You section, the Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.