O B Joyful

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O B Joyful

Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 23 Oct 1961 (aged 89)
Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 75002423 · View Source
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O B Joyful was born Albert Franklin Tyler in 1872. His father was from Vermont and his mother from Cumberland, Maine. A local eccentric and humorist, he spent six decades of his life in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. He was a familiar figure as he made his rounds with a horse and wagon (and later in an old Model T that had been stripped to the chasis) selling vegetables, fish, cider, vinegar and homemade ice cream. His long hair was often pinned back with a metal spike or chicken bone to hold it in place. He was known to go shoeless and use a length of rope as a belt. He loved children and often handed out home-grown peanuts and other small trinkets to them. O B Joyful was often rumored to have attended Harvard University, though there are no records to confirm his doing so. This heavily bearded vegetarian and homespun philosopher never touched tea, coffee, sugar, salt, tobacco, alcohol, or milk. His printed business cards stated his name and the fee of one dollar for giving advice. Twice married, he had three children with wife Susan M. (Aldinger) Tyler: Lucy, Archibald and Harry Vincent. It was Harry who was originally nicknamed "Oh Be Joyful", which was soon after to be adopted by his father. The children were raised on a strict diet of oats, fruit, raw vegetables, and milk. During World War II, O B Joyful was the first man to register for the draft in Lanesborough, Massachusetts. He stated his hope that he "might be helpful somewhere in the war effort." At the time he was seventy years old. During the war, he had his own victory garden and gave his surplus to the town. Living a life of remarkable health, he spent his later years reading at the Berkshire Athenaeum and playing checkers at the Pittsfield, Massachusetts YMCA. He passed away in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1961. He was eighty-nine years old. O B Joyful remains today a legendary figure in the history of Western Massachusetts.

"I have traveled all over this country from Alaska to the far south, from San Francisco to New York. In my travels I always learn something new. I always remembered whatever pertained to nature and have come to the conclusion that human beings do not think enough. For instance, I do not think it is right to kill one of God's creatures so that we may live. I know there is something better than that. If you and I stood before a large orange tree and I said to you: 'Pick an orange to eat,' you of course would look for the largest and best orange on the tree. That little story shows in a way I think I am picking the best in life when I say: Live close to nature."

O B Joyful

The Relative Beauty of Man and Woman
by O B Joyful:

"I have been asked to come here before this assemblage of college graduates, learned people, bond holders and the sheriff, who is concealed somewhere in this building, to take up a knotty question. I know that the men will dislike me and I shall be hated by the women. But the truth is mighty and must prevail. And my maiden name is Truth. The subject is 'Are Women Handsomer Than Men?' I want you to take a good look at me and then ask such a foolish question. Yet it is a vital question agitating many minds and must be sifted at once. Are women more beautiful than men? Do men stand admiring themselves and combing their hair for hours, rubbing rouge on their faces, salve on their lips, penciling their eyebrows, blackening their eyelashes, do they? I've seen them black each others eyes, but that was done when they did not expect it. Do men lace themselves so tight that they can't sit down? They get tight, I admit, but that is not caused by lacing. It is caused by a fullness that has been accumulated in several places. You ask: 'Is man more beautiful than woman?' Go to the menagerie and look around you. The lioness is a very plain looking animal. Look at the lion. A noble-looking fellow with a mane and a superior look on his face. Take a look at the peacock's wife--just a plain ordinary looking affair but, he, the gentlemen, the peacock. Isn't he a beauty? Isn't he a dream? Talk of loveliness. Then look at the bird of paradise--gorgeous plumage and lovely feathers on his head. He's a He too. His wife looks like thirty cents. Then look at the majestic rooster in the barnyard. What a display of beautiful manhood and elegance. What does the hen look like? She's a sight. She's going around in a wrapper, scratching here and there and talking and back biting her neighbors. She looks up to her husband as a superior being and she knows he is. She's thankful she's alive, for she's too homely to die. Look at the gentleman ostrich. See him strutting around eating nails, horseshoes, scrap iron. There is a vision of manly beauty. And his wife, a little sawed-off, measly-looking bird with hardly enough feathers to make a bustle. Nothing can be more handsome than a beautiful man. Are you looking at me? I have taken the animals and birds as an illustration and a proof. Now we come to the next generation of animals--man. Nobody wants to decend from the monkeys, but sometimes we can't help that which our ancestors do or were. I am not here to back into my family tree and find out who cut up monkey shines in it. We hear the gobbling of this one or that one, saying that woman, the beautiful creature, chooses her mate. And that often, she marries a homely man. In olden times a man stole his wife. He'd rush right in and grab whoever he could and away he went. Nowadays he wishes someone would rush in and steal her from him, but no one will. There are places where times have not improved. I said primitive man stole his wife. Later on, he bought her. He gave horses, sheep or furs to her parents and thus bought her. Of course, he was buncoed; just as he is nowadays. She didn't care about his looks, so long as he had money, but was soft and easy; in fact what we call nowadays 'a good thing.' In the present century woman often buys a husband. All she gets in return is a title--a broken-down , moth-eaten, bargain-counter duke, or an earl. That proves that man is still the handsomest creature, or why would they go across the ocean after him and give him all that good American money--just to get his name? There is no doubt that woman is very beautiful, artificially, or accidentally. And woman are called the fair sex because they are always fair in dealing with men, if the men are out of their reach. Their fancy colored silks, satins, false hair, manufactured cheeks and peroxide of hydrogen blonde tresses, of course give them additional charm but WE do not need these deceptions to increase out beauty. We do not sail under false colors. You see us just as we are. Our beauty speaks for itself. And WE are the real butter and not the oleo margarine. Are women handsomer than men? Ask the question of one another and look around you upon the natural beauty of the speaker and the gentlemen here assembled. An old English law states that any woman with false hair, false color on cheeks, defective eyesight--or in any way passing herself off as a beauty and natural-looking woman and luring a poor man into marriage --why, it was a crime and the marriage was null and void. A fine law, a good law, but if that were in force in Pittsfield today what a lot of old maids would be looking for work."

Speech by O B Joyful delivered at the Majestic Theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts before an audience exceeding twenty-five hundred on December 15, 1922. It was followed by more than five minutes of enthusiastic applause.

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