Those niggling memories

In grade school, I remember reading a story.

I’m not sure why the title stayed in my mind.  Perhaps it was the words of the title that were a little bigger than the usual “Tom, Dick and Harry” story.

“CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CARLA”

After many decades the title is as fresh as ever.  However, the story is not.

So I headed out on a search for the story. 

I’m so thankful for the age of technology.  In a search engine I typed in the title of the story.  After scrolling through a number of irrelevant search items, I came to the words I was looking for.

The story was contained in a book called “All Sails Set.”  The description of the book mentioned that “All Sails Set” was a Grade Six reader written in 1948 and used throughout the 1950’s and into the 1960’s.  The content of the book was said to contain “higher moral values”.

Supposedly there are very few original copies available, although I would think with all the schools that used the reader, there would be more.  One enterprising book seller listed the volume at $5,000 for a pristine copy.

I was not about to pay $5,000.  All I wanted was the text to the story I had read as a kid. 

I checked out information on the publisher. 

Copp Clark is now a financial firm – their publishing now deals with their current concerns and they are no longer a general book publisher. 

In the midst of my search I did find that the old archives of Copp Clark  (when they were a general book publisher) are housed at McMaster University.  I contacted the archives and am now, hopefully, in the last part of my search.

Stay tuned.

9 thoughts on “Those niggling memories

  1. I loved that story. In a nutshell it was about seeing life from another person’s point of view…. Walking a mile in another’s moccasins. I remember the picture of Carla with her grandfather in his kitchen gnat accompanied the story. Like you I cannot remember the actual story just the moral lesson. ?

  2. I also am looking for the story content . As you have said , the story title is remarkably unforgettable . And would like to read again .. I am now 69 years of age . But I have thought about and said those words many times ” Circumstances alter Carla”

  3. My wife and I say the title often. I think the story was about a young girl who had to leave the city and go to the country . . . big change that she hated at first but over time came to love. I goggled it also and found your site.

  4. Interesting – that story has been on my mind forever and I am in my 70’s.
    I just read (book, also a movie) Brooklyn by C. Toibin.. and it made me think of Circumstances altar Carla. I know the title but could not remember the story. Finally I looked it up and here I am in the same boat with you all. it is hilarious!

  5. I think about that story from time to time. Carla loved to make pottery. But having to move to the country changed her life immensely (what she thought at first was for the worse). She missed her life in the city and her pottery lessons. BUT as many of us has learned ,what seemed like very difficult situations, turned out to teach us valuable life lessons. The elderly gentleman she met was a master Potter from Europe and was able to teach her superb techniques in pottery..
    Read that story in school 60 years ago . Not sure if I got the details right but remembered the moral lesson.

  6. I was thinking about this story today and I am 71……it left a lasting impression on me and I think probably gave me a huge gift to carry thought my life.
    I have ordered the whole book from Amazon……just a great time to refresh some good memories from my childhood on the Canadian Prairies.

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