Saturday, March 15, 2008


The television show Dragnet opened with the LAPD badge. When I was a kid my dad would always point to one of the windows of the court house on it. “I used to live right there,” he’d say. He was referring to the jail.

He told me he was arrested for serving a minor. I have since learned he may have been incarcerated for stealing groceries from the back of someone’s car. He was young and starving in L.A. He actually tended bar as a minor but no one suspected.

Coincidentally my mother spent a good deal of her childhood in L.A. but this was before they met.

When my father would come home to visit his parents it would be at the motel in Hardy, Arkansas. I’m pretty sure that’s where my parents met.

My mother doesn’t want me telling this story but I think it’s incredibly romantic.

My dad picked up some kind of genital critters from a girl on the beach in L.A. He brought them back and ended up giving them to my mom.

Hardy is a very small town. In fact it’s still dry. My mother’s folks still have to drive to Missouri to buy alcohol.

They couldn’t go to a doctor because it would cause a scandal. They ended up buying some kind of pet product and applying it to each other. It must have worked.

When my folks got married they wanted a small civil ceremony but all the relatives insisted on a church wedding. One was quickly thrown together.

They had to drive to St. Louis to get the best man, my dad’s friend John Chapman. I remember this name but I haven’t seen him since I was very young.

My cousin Joe sent an 8mm clip he digitized of the wedding. It gives me chills to see my parents when they were still in love.

They moved to St. Louis.

I remember waiting for the train at Union Station with my dad to go down to Hardy. This was before Amtrak and the trains were completely different back then. There were even bald porters in white coats. Picture the Uncle Ben image on a rice box.

I loved it down there. My grandfather had a kennel filled with beagles on the side of the motel. Every morning he’d go into the woods with a pack of dogs to hunt. I think the noise of the happy dogs scared away anything he might have shot because I don’t remember him coming home with anything.

The room my father and I stayed in had a large plastic cow just behind the door. It used to terrify me and still creeps into my dreams.

The collage shows my brother Patrick and me in the grass in front of the motel – my dad on the streets of Hardy (A giant among men) – my folks in January of 1958, my birthday – a matchbook provided by my cousins Joe and Mike.


Anonymous said...

Well, sometimes your info puzzles me!

Crabs are not incredibly romantic! I was totally unexposed to that type of thing. Cure was not for animals, but for humans. I had to go to our little local drugstore and ask pharmacist what to buy. Needless to say, I was too embarrassed to ever trade there again!

???You recall going to Hardy with your father, but only time your father went we all three went together. You and I went together a couple of times.

Somewhere I have picture of me posing by the UDELL MOTEL sign 2 or 3 years before I met your father.

Yes, we met when Jerry came to Hardy to stay for awhile. Probably right after his L.A. trouble.

On our first date he told me he liked jazz. Brightly, I asked, "Oh, you mean like Dave Brubeck, Bix Biederbeck and those guys?

Bix was his hero.

He asked me to marry him that night. I stalled for a couple more dates!

Your Mom

Doggie said...

Dad and I went there together once. Just the 2 of us. I thought the story was you were too embarrassed to go to a human pharmacy.

Doggie said...

Maybe dad told me the pet meds story. I'm pretty sure I didn't pull it out of my butt.