A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 26, 2008
“God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment…” (Mary Lasswell)

The author Mary Lasswell (1905-1994) grew up in Brownsville. In her book I’ll Take Texas (1958), she wrote a sentiment that is widely quoted: “I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth by a really top hand.”


Wikipedia: Mary Lasswell Smith
Mary Lasswell Smith (February 8, 1905 - July 19, 1994) was an American author of humorous novels about life in Southern California, Texas, Mexico, and Newark, New Jersey under the name Mary Lasswell.

Her first book, Suds in Your Eye (1942) published by Houghton Mifflin, was described as “a crazy, funny story” about three impoverished but high-spirited and beer-loving elderly women. “The book was unlike most of the novels coming out of Southern California at the time”, wrote Beatrice Sherman in The New York Times Book Review on December 13, 1942. This book was adapted into a Broadway Play by Jack Kirkland in 1944.

Suds in Your Eye was followed by five other books about the same three women: Mrs. Feeley, Mrs. Rasmussen, and Miss Tinkham, plus their handyman, only known as “Old-Timer”. These included High Time (1944), One on the House (1949), Wait for the Wagon (1951), Tooner Schooner (1953), and Let’s Go for Broke (1962), all with illustrations by famed The New Yorker artist George Price. Their home base for most of the series was called “Noah’s Ark”, and was a junkyard in San Diego, but the third and fourth books were set during travels. These books consistently featured certain themes: the main characters faced financial disaster, usually were forced to take innovative measures to ensure a homeplace, rescued other people with problems, and acted as matchmakers.

Among Lasswell’s other books were Mrs. Rasmussen’s Book of One-Arm Cookery (1946), I’ll Take Texas (1958), and Tio Pepe (1968). Lasswell was also an editorial writer for the Houston Chronicle in the 1960’s.

Lasswell was born in Glasgow, Scotland of American parents on February 8, 1905, and grew up in Brownsville, Texas. She was married to Dr. Dudley Winn Smith, a surgeon.

She died at the Solvang Lutheran Home in Solvang, California of Alzheimer’s disease.

OLCL WorldCat record
I’ll Take Texas
by Mary Lasswell
Type: Book; English
Publisher: Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1958.

Texas: The Big Picture
I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth by a really top hand.—Mary Lasswell, author, 1958.

Google Books
The Super-Americans:
A picture of life in the United States, as brought into focus, bigger than life, in the land of the millionaires—Texas

by John Bainbridge
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1961
Pg. 10:
...Mrs. Lasswell, who returned to Texas after a long time spent in other parts of the country, writes in one of her less rhapsodic passages, “I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth by a really top hand.”

Google Books
1001 Greatest Things Ever Said about Texas
by Donna Ingham
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot
2006
Pg. 15:
I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth by a really top hand.
-- Mary Lasswell

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, June 26, 2008 • Permalink