Feature Article, from the Evening Press

Creative Writer Flies a Kite on "Washday"; Proves Her Spirit is Independent and Free (c. 1957)

If lights burn all night at 23 Teaberry Ln., it's a sure sign that Lee Garb is hitting the typewriter again.

Now associate editor of the Bucks County Traveler, she has written for newspapers, magazines and radio. Essays, poems, features news stories and fiction have eased or sweated their way out of her type writer.

"Writing is as necessary to me as breathing," she claims. The only time her enjoyment in tackling all kinds of writing failed her was when she was doing a bowling news script for radio. "When I got hives every time the script was due, I decided to leave sports alone."

"I fell into writing," she said. I painted and dabbled in many other media of expression. But never thought of the lengthy letters I wrote or the personal diaries that I kept as being writing. To me writing was something that people did after studying journalism."

Self-Trained Writer

Her own work is the best proof that training in journalism is not essential. She trained herself in the years of letter writing, of talking out her feelings in her diaries and in the volunteer "straight" work for civic organizations in terms of radio

scripts, press releases and public relations. As she says, "For years and years I wrote like fury without knowing I was doing it."

Now that she is writing professionally she is her own hardest task master. "I have trouble sitting down and scheduling my work," she admitted. "Once I start a piece I have to sit down and type steadily until the first draft is done." The method has some draw backs but has saved her from the curse of most writers. The driving desire to write the great American novel has passed her up because, "I'm not that good a sitter."

Her honesty compels her to strive, if not for perfection, at least for the very best she can do under the circumstances. "I have always made a hobby of words," she said^ "The changes in meanings and nuances of commonplace little words are fascinating. I am convinced that there is one perfect word for every shade of meaning." An example of her respect for words came when she was fired from one job following continuing policy disagreements. She was told that she could say she resigned if she preferred. But not Lee Garb. "I was fired," she insists, "for refusing to back down on what I stood for."

This free and independent spirit once led her to fly a kite on wash day to the horror of several good ladies committed to the theory that it is both immoral and un-American not to wash on Monday.

As associate editor of the Bucks County Traveler she has an opportunity to tell people all over the country about Levittown. "As an old Bucks County resident and a new Levittowner, I want to do everything I can to bring the two groups together," she said.

Her enthusiasm for the new community and its people shines through her articles. "Levittown creates a situation which can bring out the best in people," she maintains. "No one remembers the skeletons in his neighbor's closet; people are inhibited by their traditional surroundings but are accepted at face value. They can do their own thinking and develop their own possibilities."

She has a strong sense of moral responsibility for what she writes. "I want to make people think, to help them solve their problems," she said, "not just to fill time or escape what is happening."

Writing takes up much of her time and when she is working there may not be a visible "do not

disturb" sign in sight, but the words are understood by her family. "Actually, I prefer working late at night," she claims. "Then the television is off and everyone is asleep. I can have complete peace... it's quiet.

The family includes her husband and two sons, one 16 and one nine, as well as 2 dogs and 4 cats. She says her only complaint with her Levittown house-no storage space-is shared by the cats. "The mother brought a little kitten in and looked all over for a place to put it," she reports. "Finally she gave up in disgust and dumped it on the living room floor."

What does it take to be a writer? Aside from the need to read and read and read some more and have a facility with words, she has no advice.

The Garbs believe, and have taught their children to believe, in individual conscience and individual responsibility. "I have never presumed to give advice to anyone." she said.

"Except possibly to join the Levittown Civic Association! It is the only collective voice the people in Levittown have." Coming from a rugged individualist, that's a strong plea.