Closing time one night at The Oyster Bar Joanie and I agreed to meet our friends Sam Northington and his wife Judy at the Eat-Rite diner. It was 1985 I think. By the time we left Joanie decided it was late and she was too tired to go.
Around in the morning we received a phone call from our friend Richard. Judy had been killed in the parking lot at the diner. We went to Sam’s house on Russell.
They had been sitting in their car with the windows rolled up eating burgers. A would be purse snatcher swung a brick that was attached to a rope through Judy’s window. The brick shattered her jaw and one of the shards severed an artery. Judy died instantly. The killer was caught because apparently he was already being sought for murdering a homeless man who was asleep in an alley.
Sam was inconsolable. In tears he kept asking what he was going to do without Judy in his life. Sam had just retired from a long, hard career at Mcdonnell Douglas. He was instrumental in the development of one of their fighter jets. I believe it was the F-14. He blamed the stress of this for his first heart attack. Sam would have a history of heart problems.
Joanie and I began to spend a lot of time with Sam.
Judy’s sister, whose name escapes me at the moment, married a man named Peter Morgan. He was part of the Morgan family who own the department store chain in
Sam talked us into visiting them in
They had a beautiful place on a lake. Their kids had their own island with a fort. The kids impressed us with their ability to ski barefoot. Peter decided we should take a trip to
The place in
The perimeter of the property was surrounded by a stone wall. I can’t remember if they were French or English but they had a cannon pointing out at the
There was a guest cabin at the water’s edge where Joanie and I stayed. It had a huge window that faced the water where I would swing from a hammock. Hammocks are my favorite sport.
Their attic was a museum filled with relics from the turn of the century. Someone in the family raided Egyptian tombs. There was a mummy’s head in a small glass case. Our hosts pointed out steam on the glass in front its nostrils. They gave me an old Egyptian knife I was to smuggle across the border and give to Sam as a gift. Apparently the Egyptian government wants all their artifacts back.
When we left they gave us a diamond tipped pen to sign one of the glass panes that surrounded their front door. There were hundreds of autographs on the window. They pointed out signatures from German guests they were harboring when World War I broke out.
I remember coming across the U.S.-Canadian border at
Years later when I got married and lost touch with my old friends I learned Sam had gone on a serious drinking binge. His heart was failing as he waited for a new one for transplant. During this time he married a Soulard friend of ours named Michelle.
After 2 years on a waiting list Sam finally got his heart. Shortly after this he slipped in his shower and died. The service was held in a church in Soulard. Danny Spell gave one of the most beautiful eulogies I’ve ever heard. I don’t know how he was even able to stand. He was so drunk.