The Tale of Cornelius P. McStone

The unlikely story of a septuagenarian zinester

by Kelly Anderson

Terry McAdorey always wanted to be a bum. As a boy, he idolized the hobos he met during the Depression that would wind up eating sandwiches on his parents’ stoop in Niagara Falls. He would sit with them and listen, wide-eyed, as they recounted adventures that seemed as unlikely as they were maddeningly exciting. To his boyhood self, they were the ultimate story-tellers. Now 78-years-old and long since retired from his job as a real estate agent, McAdorey’s finally channeling his long neglected dream of becoming a drifter raconteur.
Cornelius P. McStone — McAdorey’s alter ego — was born eight years ago when McStone wrote an indignantly hilarious letter responding to a note his daughter received from a neighbour requesting she cut down a tree. All his life he’d used birthday cards to his family and letters to his children (addressed from Santa Claus, God or their dead grandmother) as his medium. But after reading the gag letter, his daughter insisted that he should be compiling his writing and graffiti-style art into zines. Of course, she had to explain what a zine was first.
Since his first zine, As I Sat On My Dead Grandmother’s Knee (reviewed in issue 26 of Broken Pencil as “positive proof that you don’t have to get all boring and stuffy as you age”), McAdorey has published three others on his own — This Little Piggy Went to Hogtown, No Time to Waste and The Amazing Adventures of Arlington Lyndon Milkowski McPie — and one in collaboration with his eight-year-old grandson Arlyn, Amazing Adventures of Silver Eagle (pictured above). (“He has about a 70 year start on me as a [zinester],” says McAdorey about his grandson, with whom he shared a table at Canzine last year.)
McAdorey’s zines are filled with the kinds of poems that make you wince as much as smile. Consider the classic “A Gentleman of Independent Means” from No Time to Waste: “If you hear rumours/like that all I ever do is hang downtown/farting through polyester and/
swapping lies with other downtown bums/they’re not really true/I never wear polyester.”
A piece from the same zine, entitled “Where Is Murray Westgate,” takes a different tone, commenting on the fleeting nature of time and mortality. In the long poem, the zinester lists long-forgotten musicians, broadcasters, writers, jazz clubs and pubs whose fading legacies belie the mark they once left on Canada. “I bet if I asked 100 people nobody would know who Murray Westgate was. He was on Hockey Night in Canada,” he says. “And it goes the same for so many of the people in that poem. I wasn’t trying to name drop, but [just communicate] the idea that so many of these people were huge when they were here and now they’re gone. Just enjoy yourself because you might be gone.”
Harkening back to his one-time dream of being a Depression-era drifter, he’s presently working on a new character: a street person who’s had a long and varied life. His next work will likely be more of a short novella than a zine, says McAdorey, who thinks the work will have “so many pages I won’t know how to staple them!”
In retirement, McAdorey claims to have finally fulfilled his unlikely boyhood ambition. “Basically I am a bum. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be, but you can’t raise a family and be a street person.”

Kelly Anderson gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council’s Writers’ Reserve Program.


25 Responses to “The Tale of Cornelius P. McStone”

  1. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I am hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the future too. In fact your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog going now. Actually blogging is spreading its wings and growing fast. Your write up is a great example.

  2. Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  3. write poems says:

    I wish to show my love for your kind-heartedness for men and women that require assistance with this important subject matter. Your very own commitment to passing the message up and down appeared to be pretty interesting and have regularly allowed girls much like me to realize their ambitions. Your amazing interesting publication entails a great deal to me and additionally to my office colleagues. Thank you; from each one of us.

  4. I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The website style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  5. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  6. I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  7. whoah this weblog is great i really like studying your posts. Stay up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are searching round for this info, you can help them greatly.

  8. Hi webmaster, commenters and all people else !!! The blog was absolutely unbelievable! A lot of nice info and inspiration, each of which we all need!b Preserve ’em coming… you all do such an ideal job at such Concepts… can’t let you know how much I, for one recognize all you do!

  9. we are fans says:

    It can be perfect time and energy to have the plans money for hard times in fact it is a chance to be at liberty. Ive ought to see this post and when I possibly could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice. You could write next articles mentioning this short article. I wish to read all the more reasons for it!

  10. I want to express my love for your generosity giving support to people that actually need assistance with this one issue. Your personal commitment to passing the solution all around appears to be definitely practical and has consistently empowered those just like me to realize their goals. Your new insightful publication signifies much to me and additionally to my peers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

  11. Fawn Cofield says:

    Good info and right to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

  12. i like your blog post a great deal. The composition is fairly practical. I believe I am going to make use of it to your remainder of individual living. This is highly recommended valuable content with a specific forte. My business is happy to consult it. With thanks in your valuable time in producing and add relevant content us about this. I really hope you some of the best in your years to come.

  13. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  14. It’s in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  15. My husband and i ended up being very joyous that John managed to complete his basic research via the ideas he came across through the web page. It is now and again perplexing to simply choose to be making a gift of secrets and techniques which many people could have been making money from. Therefore we understand we have got you to thank for that. These illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward website navigation, the relationships you give support to engender – it is most excellent, and it’s leading our son in addition to the family understand the content is fun, which is certainly unbelievably mandatory. Many thanks for the whole thing!

  16. Thanks for your write-up. Another factor is that being photographer will involve not only problems in catching award-winning photographs but in addition hardships in acquiring the best digital camera suited to your requirements and most especially problems in maintaining the grade of your camera. That is very real and visible for those photographers that are directly into capturing this nature’s exciting scenes — the mountains, the actual forests, the particular wild or the seas. Going to these daring places undoubtedly requires a digital camera that can meet the wild’s unpleasant environments.

  17. I have observed that of all varieties of insurance, health care insurance is the most questionable because of the struggle between the insurance company’s duty to remain making money and the buyer’s need to have insurance. Insurance companies’ revenue on wellbeing plans are very low, as a result some companies struggle to generate income. Thanks for the tips you write about through this blog.

  18. jon says:

    One other thing is that an online business administration diploma is designed for people to be able to efficiently proceed to bachelor’s degree programs. The Ninety credit education meets the lower bachelor diploma requirements and once you earn your current associate of arts in BA online, you should have access to the modern technologies in this field. Some reasons why students need to get their associate degree in business is because they can be interested in this area and want to obtain the general schooling necessary just before jumping right into a bachelor education program. Thanks for the tips you provide as part of your blog.

Posts Remaining