Monday, February 6, 2012

Matrial* (for Material* or Martial*)

Arizona Donnie Clark was born in Ash Grove, Missouri, in 1873. Infamously known as "Ma Barker," she was the luckless mother of four crooked kids (Herman, Lloyd, Arthur, and Fred, aka the Barker-Karpis Gang). Like a good many mothers probably would, she did whatever she could, as Wikipedia puts it, "to protect her boys and to keep them out of jail." Although she herself was never accused of a crime, or otherwise hauled into court, her children were her trials. Herman committed suicide in 1927 after a lengthy shootout with police. By 1928, her other three sons were all in stir in either Kansas or Oklahoma. Their father, George Barker, had loyally stuck by his family, holding down various jobs throughout the years, but he finally left "Arrie" holding the bag full of his bad-seed boys. The common belief that "Ma Barker" was a criminal mastermind (found with a Tommy gun in her hands after being shot by federal agents, along with her son Fred, in 1935) is now considered to be a complete myth, promulgated by the FBI in order to justify the killing of a relatively innocent old woman. "Kate" Barker, of course, knew what her offspring were up to most of the time (although they would often "send her to the movies" during the commission of a crime), she was never much more than a mere accomplice, providing a certain sort of cover for them as their mother. OhioLINK is sheltering our typo of the day to the tune of 14 hits today, mostly for material*, with a couple for martial* thrown in there. Amazingly enough, we also found 1,184 cases in WorldCat. (I'm not really sure, but some of them might be Russian or Polish words, correctly spelled.)

(Kate Barker, ca. 1930, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

No comments: