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Picture of a young Dick Chodkowski holding his winning picture of Santa Claus made by using only numbersDick Chodkowski was born in Hartford, Conneticut. He exhibited an aptitude for illustration early in life and made the local papers when he took school honors by drawing Santa Claus completely out of numbers and mathmatical symbols.(His mother saved the clipping, as you can see. Truth be told, she saved the actually drawing, too.)

When he was 13 his family moved to Southern California where he continued to demonstrate his talents in school art classes. Upon graduation from High School, he entered the highly respected L.A. Art Center. When his funds ran out, two years later, he went to work for the Post Office with the intention of earning enough money to continue his Art Center studies. But then Uncle Sam called him to serve (in those days men were drafted). After his two years active duty, he returned to Los Angeles, working full-time at the Post Office and attending night classes at the Art Center Dick never graduated from the Art Center. Instead - one of his teachers, who was an art director at the Broadway Department Stores, recognized Dick’s ability and got him a position with the Department Store Giant.

Two years later, Dick was brought into the Carson-Roberts Oglivy & Mather Advertising firm. He stayed with the firm as an Art Director/Group Head for 12 years - leaving to become the Creative Director and Partner at the advertising agency of Haller-Schwarz.

During his 20 plus years in advertising, Chodkowski has worked on an impressive array of accounts including national advertising campaigns for Post Cereals, Del Monte, Baskin-Robins and Mattel. He developed the creative marketing strategy that fast food represented a primary form of family entertainment. From that cncept, Dick created the original Funburger and Fun Meal concept that launched a turnabout success for the Burger Chef Division of General Foods.

Dick subsequently created literally dozens of Burger Chef & Jeff Fun Meal Packages as well as a host of zany characters and commercials. In other work for General Foods, Dick developed the popular Kool-Aid Comics and the “Make some fun. Make some Kool-Aid” campaign.

For Ralston-Purina, Dick created the highly successful Cookie Crisp pre-sweetened cereal -- from the concept to the name, the irrepressible animated Cookie Wizard himself, the packaging, and of course, the television introduction.

Dick’s work has won many professional awards, and has been featured in Communications Arts magazine.

Dick has also authored/illustrated, co-authored or illustrated seven published books, including his two children’s picture books: Snakes Alive, It’s Reptile Clive and Camp Catastrophe.

During the mid-1980s, Dick created “Because I Care” greeting cards, a line of 24 cards which used humor to encourage the use of condoms. This was innovative at the time, sold all over the world and even got a mention on the Tonight Show by the legendary Johnny Carson.

That experience lead Chodkowski to sell greeting cards to other card companies which eventually lead to a contract with Recycled Paper Greetings of Chicago in 1990. Since then he has had 100s of Greeting Cards in the marketplace.

In 1991 Chodkowski made a radical move from Los Angles to Middlebury, Vermont where he could have both a design studio and an antiquarian book store, turning his second passion for collecting books into a business of buying and selling them. Thus Monroe Street Books was born in 1991 and is currently the biggest used/antiquarian book store in the state.