There was a short interview with me in City Pages this week, and they asked for some childhood influences. One of them:
Another thing was the Scholastic New Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia, which my parents bought from an honest-to-god traveling door-to-door salesman in the early 1980s; he was the last of his kind, I’m sure. Those kept me occupied for hours.
Prompting this email from my mom:
You are absolutely right. A door-to-door guy came by the house on Erin Way and instilled in us (with a little arm-twisting) the necessity of having a set of encyclopedias for bettering the minds of our young sons. So we got our little coupon book and made payments on them for about two years. They were well worth it. They kept you busy for hours plus influenced your already artistic self. And Nate liked reading them as well. I remember spending many summers of my youth with my old Collier Encyclopedias, so it wasn’t really a hard sell for me. I’ve still got them.
Another thing that you may not remember: ever since you were very little, 18 months or so, you were a very busy little guy. So when we had to wait in an office or for an appointment, or even at home, I would keep you busy by showing you how to draw letters and then simple drawings. Of course, you had to have the aptitude to be satisfied doing that.
On the subject of encyclopedias, you will find this excerpt on Wikipedia under “List_of_things_that_made_Andy_mist_up_at_his_desk_at_work.”