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Short Takes

Young Poet's Career Takes Off

May 08, 1988|DICK RORABACK

Remember the name. Joanna Goslicka. You'll be hearing it again.

Joanna writes. Short stories and poetry. She has just had a poem published--"Wings of Steel," a day in the life of an aircraft carrier. The poem is in "Rainbow Collection: Stories and Poetry by Young People," a product of Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.

The sun's "warm rays," Joanna writes, "filter the clouds, uncovering the shadows on the rough sea / . . . suddenly the light glints off a gray metal giant. . . ." Aircraft soar, seek, return to the carrier, lyrically traced by the young poet.

Joanna, of Santa Monica, is 13, an eighth-grader at Marymount Junior High School. "I love to read," she says, "and to write--poetry from time to time, and short stories. Usually in the summer. Fiction or fantasy.

"I saw the movie 'Top Gun' and ever since then I've been intensely interested in aircraft, combat jets. I did research and had a sudden inspiration to write a poem. I'm seriously considering going into the Navy or Air Force, possibly as a flier--but not as a career. Just to get enough money for college.

"I've considered being a full-time writer, but I realize you might not always be successful, so I think I'll have another job, a steady income, just in case. No, not journalism. I want my writing to be freer."

Remember: Joanna Goslicka.

Buffalo Typist Among the Elite

Phil Mansfield of Glendale knows a thing or two about typewriters. Been in the business 53 years. Salesman in Buffalo, N.Y., then in San Bernardino and Hollywood.

"In 1942, they stopped making 'em," Mansfield says. "The war, you know. I threatened to join a defense plant, but my boss at Royal made me a typewriter mechanic instead. Best thing ever to happen to me."

Mansfield opened Phil's Typewriter Inc. (still at Beverly Boulevard and Reno Street in Los Angeles), semi-retired a few years ago, but still can tap out 60 to 70 words per minute. Which brings us to his phone call.

"That story The Times did (last week) on Betty Baird, who types 166 words per minute? That's pretty fast all right, but I remember back in '35, in Buffalo, there was a girl named Hortense Stollnitz who did 155. What's more, she did it on an old manual R-model Remington, the one where you returned the carriage--manually of course--right-handed.

"Now, that was fast, probably faster, all things considered, than Betty Baird. Just thought I'd call and clue you in."

How does Mansfield, at 76, maintain his speed? "You have to keep in practice. Me, I write to my mother every week; always have." Mansfield's mother is 106.

Woman Shakes Neighbors Into Action

Call her the doyenne of 3rd Avenue. Call her the grande dame of Koreatown. Call her anything. Just call her. And when you do, you'd better be prepared to volunteer.

Peach Manion does not take no for an answer. She'll bully you if need be. And need was. All Peach has done is organize an entire neighborhood for earthquake preparedness.

The neighborhood is bounded by 8th Street and Pico Boulevard, Western Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, and it has changed since Peach settled in 47 years ago. "I've watched four generations of kids grow up here," says Peach, and she's grown to love them all. "After the last earthquake was over, I went out in the street and saw all these young Korean women and their children running around, scared to death. I wanted to shout, 'Get the hell back in the house.' Then I realized they hadn't a clue."

Peach began organizing her turf through 20 Neighborhood Watch captains, then set up a meeting with the cooperation of the local police and fire departments. To publicize the meeting, "I walked streets, rang doorbells, contacted the local media (both Korean and Latino), the schools. . . ."

The turnout was splendid, Peach reports: "All colors, all nationalities. I'd have cried but it would've spoiled my makeup. We had a wonderful speaker, along with translators." The watch captains are now going to take first-aid and preparedness courses, pass along their knowledge, "learn to help one another; we're all in it together."

"Why me?" Peach asks rhetorically. "Well, I've been here the longest. Besides, I'm awful bossy."

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