Monday, April 2, 2012

Bright--with hope

Album

Around the same time my father took ill, a friend had contacted the Danbury paper “The News-Times” relating my plight, contacted me and did this article.

The News-Times

Danbury, Connecticut Section B

Sunday May 24, 1987

Father Fights for Children He Gave up

By Trink Guarino

News-Times staff

DANBURY- Michael Evans wants his children back.

Believing he could turn to the Sate Department of Children and Youth Services for help when he needed it. Evans a year and a half ago voluntarily relinquished custody of his son and daughter untill he could provide then a proper home.

Now he is caught in a maze of paperwork, psychological evaluations, social worker reports and red tape. He is trying to persuade the State to give back his children before it’s social workers recommend that custody be granted to their maternal grandparents in California.

His story focuses attention on a complex system designed to protect children from abusive, neglecful parents. Evans raises qusestions about the inner workings of a system that can permanently seperates parents and children.As part of a policy to protect the confidentiality of cases, DCYS will neither confirm or deny that Evans’ children are in State custody.

Rosemary Savino, a spokesman for the department, said Evans has every right to file for revocation of DCYS custody , and it is his right to talk about his children to whom ever he wishes. We do not have that right.

The State prefers to return children to their parents whenever possible and as soon as possible, particulary at a time when there is a critical shortage of foster homes. In Evans’ case , the two hoals are in conflict say his lawyer Heidi Winslow. “In it’s unseemly haste to resolve this situation and open foster beds, the State is considering a situation that would remove the children from their father permanently,” she says.

Evans and his attorney say that delays and snafus have made it difficult for Evans to prove his parenting skills before the State relinquishes responsibility for his children. Winslow is primed for a State recommendation that custody go to the maternal grandparents who live in California with the children’s mother. “Then we go to court and fight,” she says. “In the meantime we wait and hope that nike can meet their requirements in time.”

The State has set a target dat of July 1987 to make a decision about Evans’ children, Winslow says. “At that time they could recommend adoption, a return to the parents or that custody go to the maternal grand parents. If Mike’s evaluations don’t meet the social worker’s standards, the children will in all probability go to the grandparents.”

Meanwhile Evans, who has gotten himself a job as a car salesman in Carmel, N.Y. is trying to meet these standards, he says but he is frustrated at every turn by the system itself.

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he says, his voice carefully deviod of emotion. “No matter how hard I try, no matter how any requirements I satisfy, there is no way to satisfy the State. And I miss my children.”

Evans struggle with the DCYS bureaucracy began in December 1985, when in desperation he turned to the State for help. At the time , his children were living on Golden Hill Road with his wife of eight years. Eric was 8. Brittany was two years old. Evans who was seperated from her, asked DCYS to investigate his childrens situation. “I had already figured out they were living in squalor in a ramshackle house,” Evans says. But he was in no condition to take care of children at the time, he says. I was working odd jobs, living with two guys in Bethel. I had no home of my own, no financial stability,” he says.

DCYS investigated the case and quicky took the children from their mother and placed them in temporary foster care, Evans says. Six months later, in August 1986, the State filed for temporary custody. “I didn’t fight it,” he says, because I knew I wasn’t set up to take care of two very young children.”

DCYS temporarily placed the children in tow different foster homes in Bethel. At the same time, at DCYS’ recommendation, he began receiving therapy for his own involvement with drugs and alcohol.

Evans, 36, also set about pulling his life together so that he would be prepared to meet a target date of december 1986 when his children would be returned. “I got myself a steady job. I rented a three-bedroom apartment in Pawling and filled with toys for the kids, and I’m still living there alone. The State gave me a lot of good ideas about how to be a better parent, “ he says. “But now it’s time for them to let the chidren come back to me.”

In November 1986 the children were moved to a foster home in Prospect where they would be together. But the move made it more difficult for their father to visit. It also triggered a series of DCYS decisions rescinding and then returning Evans’ rights to visit his children.

With each decision, there were visits from social workers, psychological evaluations, interviews and appointments. Evans began keeping a log of his contacts with DCYS.

According to one of his entries, Brittany had developed “health problems, tummy aches,” and a question was raised by DCYS concerning the cause. As a result, Evans was allowed to continue his visiting his son but his visits with his daughter were cut back, pending a review by social worker Aleta Markham, he says. For the next four weeks, Markham was unable to keep her appointments with Evans and he did not see his daughter for five weeks. Markham said she could not comment on the case.

An independent child psychologist has been called in to evaluate Evans’s parenting skills with the children. There have been several delays in the process because she is coming into the case cold., and went on vacation shortly after being assigned to the case. Psychological evaluations od Evans have recommended that he spend additional time with his children befor they move in with him to pave the way for the adjustment. “The reports State that Evans is too much of a friend and not enough of an authority figure for his children,” Winslow says. Evans also tends to be ‘ overly dramatic,’ partly due to a show business upbringing,” Winslow says.

The evaluations leave Evans with a “deck stacked against him,” Winslow says. “When you’ve got psychologists (involved) we need to do a few more things before mike is ready. It’s tough to go in and persuade the court to revoke State custody.”

At present, Evans is still trying to work with the sate system. He is scheduled to return to court as soon as the State make it’s recommendation, expected some time this summer.

“I can only hope that the State recommends that I get custody,” he says. If they don’t, I’ll have to find another way to fight. I’m not going to give up.”







Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Cab Man


My usual shift for driving was 7 at night to 7 in the morning; I enjoyed the diversity of people, some so willing to share personal snapshots of their lives. I enjoyed the conversation, the ‘counseling,’ the celebrities, loved the adventure. I’d tell many riders, if I got an opening, who MY mother and father were (as if they would know who they were. If they didn’t, all I’d have to declare… “Why she was in Phantom of the Opera” and “His most notable role was in London in South Pacific opposite Mary Martin,” I lived for this meager scrap of a fleeting self-worth. Would slyly set it up, bursting forth… with any opening I got. Aaah, the warm fuzzies.

Like the sleek, perverse filter that denial is, it propped my puppet- head up high. All an angst-ridden fog can remember. Maybe why I have worked so hard on this whole thing (‘Wilburs’ Working Fresh’). It’s become like an ‘opus’…. Inexplicable drives over the last seven years… urged on by ‘Signs’ and yes …the paranormal. Describe and illuminate I’ll try. Burning and lifting the anxious, chronic din once and for all.

There was Martha Ray, picking her up at her Beverly Hills house; I was excited. Here was an assured tossed bone of esteem, knowing that she worked with Susanna, doing a WW II USO tour together. Martha was in a rush, and irritated about something, her assistant was along, giving each other grief.

A pause in the squabble is when I made my move for instant recognition.

Martha smiled, said some kind things about Susanna, and muttered modest surprise at my driving a cab.

A familiar mutter for me (even today, with my singing, my play with voices and with; “oh Michael, you missed your calling…I hear it all the time, a nice compliment but it hurts all the time) now that I think of it…I’d been grumbling and muttering and fuming with ‘why’ for years. The antithesis of never-ending epiphany, leaden-like. Perhaps was a good excuse for the never-ending anesthetic.

Years later in some memorabilia that I was sifting through, I came across an article on Ray and as a footnote it mentioned that “her cab driver recently was Susanna Foster’s son.” I was immortalized.

David Ogden Stiers who played Col. Winchester on TV Mash became a regular call, took a liking to me. Would call for me at the end of his daily taping when in town. It didn’t matter where I was, it could have been anywhere in the LA basin. When I got the call, “Hey Mike, Mr. Stiers is calling for you..” I’d be gone, pedal to the metal, through hill, plain and mountain crevice to force my, albeit transitory, ‘rightful’ place (The Artist Shadow). I’d drive on to the Twentieth Century lot and wait for him by his trailer. He was particular, only one route allowed to his home in downtown L.A. (Silver Lake), and only at a certain speed. He liked his pot, his special pot. Would relish it on our long, slow drives home. Enjoyed sharing with me and getting my opinion on its pungency. Once invited me in, to share more. Was proud of his state of the art stereo and that his home was Walt Disney’s first in L.A.

Charles Nelson Reilly became a good one for some instant strokes. It was 1980 and he was a popular TV personality i.e. ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,’ a regular on the ‘The Match Game’ with Gene Rayburn et al.

I was called to a hilltop Benedict Canyon home, knocked on the door, Mr. Reilly answered, recognized him, was there to take his housekeeper to the airport, invited in to help with her luggage. There wasn’t any time to waste, I had no choice, had to straight away exclaim… “Do you remember…?” He was very gracious and seemed sincerely impressed, knowing them right away, “Your mother and father were wonderful artists, I’ve seen your father perform and remember your mother well in ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ they were both superb…thoroughbreds!” Wow! What a rush! I didn’t know at the time that I’d be back in the near future to test how deep this admiration really was.

Cab driving took me to some dark places, literally and figuratively, as well.

Taxi’s in L.A. were pretty much ‘radio driven’, that is 95% of our pick-ups were fed by the dispatcher via the cb radio that was under the seat. The dispatcher would call out the location and whoever was in the vicinity and quickest on the mic key would usually get the call, but if you had something ‘going’ with the dispatcher then you could be favored. One dispatcher, was gay and made no secret that he liked me and favor he did with profitable runs, I’d fool and play with him on the radio, he’d easily crack-up and gush…rewarding me with a fat ride. Luckily he got fired so I never had to officially reject him. But who’s to say I would have rejected him… in my chronic state of get over.

Vast stretches of Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards were especially loaded with young male prostitutes, their tricks and the simple lonely gay guy looking for that one nighter. Many of the tricks were older guys looking for young boys, some barely teenagers…these were my child hood predators, I hated them. My brother was a constant living reminder; he lived with one in Glendale, ‘Chuck’, in his fifties a spineless creep who’d provide the roof and pills for Philip. But Chuck was a movie fan and adored Susanna…she learned to like him too.

There were several gay clubs that we’d get calls from with names like ‘The Man Hole’, ‘Basic Plumbing’. I’d get a kick out of picking up fairs at these places, like a fantasy cartoon world, the leather, the showboating,. The darker side was ever more deliberate, and palpable. The pretentiousness and in your face S & M, B & D vulgarity was hard to take. The AIDS onslaught was just around the corner. My dichotomy was the very real moments that I was attracted and disgusted with it. Brief landings to this world I made. Rampant impulse of instant gratification with the grinding, conundrum of identity…a bumbling, whirling, self-obsessed, escape artist in more ways than one.
Driving taxi was often like the Wild, Wild West. I loved it. My street adrenaline would pump; I was comfortable on the street, “Come on, fuck with me!” was my street doctrine. “I don’t know karate but I know crazy!” Crazy was effortless.

One late rainy night, a guy flagged me down in Century City. Hops in and says he’s going to Santa Monica, “just drive,” he orders. I begin to drive. Not feeling real comfortable with his commands, I told him that it was policy that if he wanted me to “just drive” he would have to provide a fifty-dollar cash deposit…. upfront.

He sat to the edge of his seat, with his hands out of sight ignoring my request with a snarl…asking how I thought a “racing bolt of hot lead would feel tearing into my underbelly. Describing its entry and exit points and how my death would be swift. He had a vivid descriptive going. As street wise as I thought I was. I was terrified and began to envision my life racing before my eyes.

He went on like this, hunched over as if holding a gun to my lower intestine. And (pardon another cliché) I was sweating bullets. Certainly wasn’t convinced but I began to sense one more frustrated L.A. thespian getting his drunken rocks off.

I carried a 4-inch buck knife in a holster looped to my belt. I had to call this guy’s bluff, had to do something. I slowly took the knife out of its leather case and opened it, said a foxhole prayer and jerked the cab suddenly to the side of the street, wrenching the car to a screeching stop knocking him as violently around as I could. Jumped out, opened his passenger door and stuck the knife up to his throat. He’s startled, and coils to a freeze while showing me his palms, saying in a high-pitched plead, “Hey man, I’m just fooling around!” … “Just playing with you, man!” I was furious, letting him know what an asshole he was. I was ready to let him walk when he appealed to have dinner and drinks on him, he seemed sincere enough. So I took him up on it. Spotted a restaurant across the street. We had dinner and drinks, ended up tipping me a $100. I left him behind sucking on another cocktail.

I crowed about this one too:

Picked up a very drunk, very fat cowboy with the hat and boots at a club on Sunset Strip. He gets in the cab and says the same thing “just drive.” I say “Sir, it’s the policy of the…” He throws a $100 bill in the front seat before I could finish my sentence. We drive for 10 or fifteen minutes when he directs me to a house up in the hills. As we wind our way up the canyon, he’s obviously bleary-eyed and top heavy, can’t settle on the address we’re looking for while flopping from one side of the seat to the other. He finally spots his place, we pull up, he looks at the meter and slurs in a twang “What’s that say?” I told him $11. I begin to give him his change when he says, “Keep it!” I thank him while he huffs, puffs and mumbles his way out the door. I notice his wallet on the seat…mums the word. I hurriedly drive down the hill and snatch it up. It had fifteen crisp $100 bills in it. I hit the mother lode. But did have a conscious, put his wallet in the mailbox minus the cash. I sang my own praises about that one…. big time.

Suddenly the need to party was forefront, which would necessitate that status-magnet drug of the era…. cocaine. Oh, and I needed a new leather jacket too, which would complete the image.

The Starwood Ballroom was a popular showcase club of the late seventies, early eighties. A host of hopeful, drugged-out, talented, arrogant, talent-less, overly confident, desperate bands played there. Van Halen one of the premier rock bands of the time (some would argue of all time) was discovered there. If you were playing the Starwood it was certain (or hoped) a record company executive was there to see you.

A few days after my $1500 windfall, the purchase of my new$350 leather jacket and the procurement of several packets of cocaine, Stan K. from Brass Knuckles called, said he had two tickets for the VIP section at the Starwood, did I want to go?

The place was packed; we were shown to VIP.

Soon after sitting…as a goof… I let it leak that Stan and I were from Capitol Records, were there to check out the bands in the showcase.

It was funny, surprised and amazed me how easy to fool they were. Before long we were the king bees, the hum of the VIP; “Mike Evans from Capitol Records…is here!!” I could have said “I’m Captain Kangaroo from Buffoon Records,” the reaction would have been the same.

Before long we were back stage mingling with the wanna be’s and their kiss-up managers. Everybody had cocaine and they all wanted to turn us on and they did. Free cocaine and a goof, it didn’t get any better than this. I loved the Act, and the Get Over (the cheap facade of make-believe was effortless). A Hieniken and a Marlboro topped it all off.

Not very long after our goof, several days later ....a guy flagged me down in Van Nuys......after driving him to where he wanted to go...he takes out his wallet....with the 70's style Velcro busting wallet, he suddenly bolts into the Van Nuys alleyways and courtyards. In a mad rush to catch the creep, I tried jumping the a cinder block wall he flew over. but I fell on my ass, he flew, I fell on my ass..fell off hard. Ripped up the leather, getting bruised up pretty good. My prized leather was never the same. Damn those fair beaters.




Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bright with Hope- A Family Album May 24, 1987






The News-Times

Danbury, Connecticutt Section B

Sunday May 24, 1987

Father Fights for Children He Gave up

By Trink Guarino

News-Times staff

DANBURY- Michael Evans wants his children back.

Believing he could turn to the Sate Department of Children and Youth Services for help when he needed it. Evans a year and a half ago voluntarily relinquished custody of his son and daughter untill he could provide then a proper home.

Now he is caught in a maze of paperwork, psychological evaluations, social worker reports and red tape. He is trying to persuade the State to give back his children before it’s social workers recommend that custody be granted to their maternal grandparents in California.

His story focuses attention on a complex system designed to protect children from abusive, neglecful parents. Evans raises qusestions about the inner workings of a system that can permanently seperates parents and children.

As part of a policy to protect the confidentiality of cases, DCYS will neither confirm or deny that Evans’ children are in State custody.

Rosemary Savino, a spokesman for the department, said Evans has every right to file for revocation of DCYS custody , and it is his right to talk about his children to whom ever he wishes. We do not have that right.

The State prefers to return children to their parents whenever possible and as soon as possible, particulary at a time when there is a critical shortage of foster homes. In Evans’ case , the two hoals are in conflict say his lawyer Heidi Winslow. “In it’s unseemly haste to resolve this situation and open foster beds, the State is considering a situation that would remove the children from their father permanently,” she says.


Evans and his attorney say that delays and snafus have made it difficult for Evans to prove his parenting skills before the State relinquishes responsibility for his children. Winslow is primed for a State recommendation that custody go to the maternal grandparents who live in California with the children’s mother. “Then we go to court and fight,” she says. “In the meantime we wait and hope that nike can meet their requirements in time.”

The State has set a target dat of July 1987 to make a decision about Evans’ children, Winslow says. “At that time they could recommend adoption, a return to the parents or that custody go to the maternal grand parents. If Mike’s evaluations don’t meet the social worker’s standards, the children will in all probability go to the grandparents.”

Meanwhile Evans, who has gotten himself a job as a car salesman in Carmel, N.Y. is trying to meet these standards, he says but he is frustrated at every turn by the system itself.

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he says, his voice carefully deviod of emotion. “No matter how hard I try, no matter how any requirements I satisfy, there is no way to satisfy the State. And I miss my children.”

Evans struggle with the DCYS bureaucracy began in December 1985, when in desperation he turned to the State for help. At the time , his children were living on Golden Hill Road with his wife of eight years. Eric was 8. Brittany was two years old. Evans who was seperated from her, asked DCYS to investigate his childrens situation. “I had already figured out they were living in squalor in a ramshackle house,” Evans says. But he was in no condition to take care of children at the time, he says. I was working odd jobs, living with two guys in Bethel. I had no home of my own, no financial stability,” he says.

DCYS investigated the case and quicky took the children from their mother and placed them in temporary foster care, Evans says. Six months later, in August 1986, the State filed for temporary custody. “I didn’t fight it,” he says, because I knew I wasn’t set up to take care of two very young children.”

DCYS temporarily placed the children in two different foster homes in Bethel. At the same time, at DCYS’ recommendation, he began receiving therapy for his own involvement with drugs and alcohol.

Evans, 36, also set about pulling his life together so that he would be prepared to meet a target date of december 1986 when his children would be returned. “I got myself a steady job. I rented a three-bedroom apartment in Pawling and filled with toys for the kids, and I’m still living there alone. The State gave me a lot of good ideas about how to be a better parent, “ he says. “But now it’s time for them to let the chidren come back to me.”

In November 1986 the children were moved to a foster home in Prospect where they would be together. But the move made it more difficult for their father to visit. It also triggered a series of DCYS decisions rescinding and then returning Evans’ rights to visit his children.

With each decision, there were visits from social workers, psychological evaluations, interviews and appointments. Evans began keeping a log of his contacts with DCYS.

According to one of his entries, Brittany had developed “health problems, tummy aches,” and a question was raised by DCYS concerning the cause. As a result, Evans was allowed to continue his visiting his son but his visits with his daughter were cut back, pending a review by social worker Aleta Markham, he says. For the next four weeks, Markham was unable to keep her appointments with Evans and he did not see his daughter for five weeks. Markham said she could not comment on the case.

An independent child psychologist has been called in to evaluate Evans’s parenting skills with the children. There have been several delays in the process because she is coming into the case cold., and went on vacation shortly after being assigned to the case. Psychological evaluations od Evans have recommended that he spend additional time with his children befor they move in with him to pave the way for the adjustment. “The reports State that Evans is too much of a friend and not enough of an authority figure for his children,” Winslow says. Evans also tends to be ‘ overly dramatic,’ partly due to a show business upbringing,” Winslow says.

The evaluations leave Evans with a “deck stacked against him,” Winslow says. “When you’ve got psychologists (involved) we need to do a few more things before mike is ready. It’s tough to go in and persuade the court to revoke State custody.”

At present, Evans is still trying to work with the state system. He is scheduled to return to court as soon as the State make it’s recommendation, expected some time this summer.

“I can only hope that the State recommends that I get custody,” he says. If they don’t, I’ll have to find another way to fight. I’m not going to give up.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On May 31, 1987 Wib died from ‘thyroid storm’, a rare complication of hyperthyroidism. Thyroid storm is often precipitated by a physiologically stressful event. Two months shy of his eighty-second birthday.

Cremated, graveside ceremony in New London, Pennsylvania. Set for 1pm, a three-hour drive. I was minutes late, Masako knowing I was coming via the long drive and the sole surviving son; pushed to start without me. Masako took ultimate control with Wib in ashes, if not sooner. I would later learn that I was the ‘drug addict son’ that she urged Wib not to have anything to do with. Seven souls attended, which included the minister and myself. Maybe Masako was the ‘physiologically stressful event.’

After the brief service and the obligatory hello and good byes, the six souls faded, I stood alone, looking down at his headstone crying and swearing to him that I’ d be the father he never was. Jammed with feelings I was.

I had a remarkable meeting (I would later realize) at his funeral with his eighty- something year old cousin Greta Petermann. We stayed connected; she ended up forwarding me THE Evans family tree dating back to the early 1700 Quakers. Benjamin Hazel from Smyrna, Delaware, was his illegitimate grandfather and purportedly a Dupont. She filled in the blank of my long lost, mysterious great- grandfather.

For about three years Greta Pettermann would keep in touch with a holiday card professing her love of God and her faith in me. I loved these simple, sweet cards. Her faith gave me strength in these shaky times. They give me strength now just thinking of them.

As instructed, after his death I contacted his lawyer Edgar Hathaway, he told me that there was “absolutely” nothing in the will for me, I was not mentioned.

I told him of the letter…he said there was nothing he could do.

I hired a lawyer in Hathaway’s neck of the woods with a borrowed $250 to further research my pickle. Lawyer concluded the will overruled the letter. I was out of luck.

Masako wouldn’t give me anything…I wrote, called many times “…. maybe the Marine Sword (that I so treasured as a child)…. anything?” Became very good at not understanding English whenever I could reach her. The following year I did a get some of his things… a shoebox of letters and photos that we had exchanged over the years…. including a loose-leaf binder that said on its front; “Please give to my son Michael David Evans…my autobiography”. It certainly was not complete in any sense of the word but it became the foundation of my research and writing on him several years later. Many of the notes from the binder are in Wilburs’ Working I and II, and were the genesis (in part) to this whole project. Little did I know that 15 years later E-bay would come to the rescue…. for a price.

July 1987 came and went, the State continued to drag their feet and I continued to jump (and stumble) through every hoop and over and through every complication they presented. Persisting with my weekend trips; Pawling to Prospect to Pawling to Prospect to Pawling. Six hours of weekend driving. At least four times a month, for months and months.

Tucking them in at night, we’d pray for their mom and her well-being. Staying away from the negativity…hard to do (didn’t last). I learned from Susanna, her slamming of Wib all those years, how awful it was.











Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Am




Although an intended starring vehicle B ABOVE HIGH C never materialized, MGM offered her the lead in National Velvet. Suzanne, whose family allowed her to manage her own career (It isn’t any wonder....), couldn’t see herself in the part finally played in the ‘44 release by Elizabeth Taylor, turned it down because she couldn’t sing in it. The studio appalled by her decision, dropped her at contracts year-end, in February of 1938. “When MGM let me go, I went up to the office of producer Nicky Lafack, who was married to singer Lynne Carver, chewing on a cigar and sounding like Mugsy Malone, he says, ‘Kid, you can’t sing. Go back to Minneapolis, your through- your finished.’ ‘I wanted to cry so badly, but I didn’t. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I was crushed but determined. I marched down those stairs to my mother, who was waiting in the car. “Mom,” I said, “I’m fired”. Then she started to cry, and at that moment I grew up--at thirteen years old.”

Their one source of income cut off, the Larson’s were left marooned in their modest home in Beverly Hills. The denouement was swift. Creditors descended on them; repossessed the car, carted away the furniture bought on the installment plan. There was nothing left for Les to do but gather up his family and move to a two-room flat at nearby Venice where the rents were cheap and the vegetables plentiful. The next few months were…tenuous at best.

Suzanne remembers: While living in Beverly Hills, she would frequent a Five and Dime down the street from their newly provided ‘modest’ Beverly Hills home, Vera, the woman behind the counter, had a small sign on the wall that had an Egyptian looking ominous “eye” on top with an “I AM” in the center. Suzanne would often wonder what that sign was all about. A day or two after the Creditors descended and the Dodge was repossessed, Suzanne learned all about the “I AM” sign.. She stopped by the store, bemoaning the Larson fate and the heartrending loss of their brand new Dodge. Vera says in a blustery affected English accent, “Now just believe that that car is in the garage,” and in a hot air over-the-counter blast spouts…. “ Just say this, OH MIGHTY I AM PRESENCE, BLAZE FORTH THY COSMIC RAY, AND BELIEVE THAT THE CAR IS THERE, BACK IN THE GARAGE!” “Say this over and over on your way back home and the car will be there.” This is exactly what Suzanne did running up the hill to her Dodge-less garage, saying over and over, ‘OH MIGHTY I AM PRESENCE, BLAZE FORTH THY COSMIC RAY,’ ‘OH MIGHTY I AM PRESENCE, BLAZE FORTH THY COSMIC RAY’…. I BELIEVE MY CAR IS BACK IN THE GARAGE…. Yes. I BELIEVE MY CAR IS BACK HOME… It wasn’t. It turns out that the I AM Order was a 1930’s Los Angeles ‘cult’. Maybe the seedling of the omnipresent Scientology…?



Monday, August 8, 2011

391 year circle

As I described in 'Susanna Foster's Primer'. how I 'synchrondipitously' found my ancestors Reliance Hopkins and David Crosby; Steven Hopkins descendants 'buried in my back yard'; Steven Hopkins came over to the USA in 1620 and helped write 'The Mayflower Compact' which became the basis of America's Constitution. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, which became Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Today, I visited Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom to the very 'steps' where Steven and the rest of the 101 passengers left for their new 'mysterious' home in America four hundred and eleven years ago.

It was an odd feeling; like visiting an old home with Steven by my side, bringing to an end (?) a three hundred ninety one year journey

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eighty Duece and Dad-man

Central Park-Michael and Philip with their new puppie 'Barney.'


LAW OFFICES
DAVIS, BELLIS & KOLSBY
Suite 501-507
1420 Walnut Street PHILADELPHIA 2, PA

PENNYPACKER 5-8800

John Morgan Davis
Isadore H. Bellis
Herbert F. Kolbsy
------
Stanley M. Poplow
G. Scott Stewart III
Stephen E. Levin

September 21, 1960

Mr. Wilbur Evans
122 South 18th St.
Philadelphia 3, Pa.

Dear Wilbur,
Thank you very much for your letter of September 12, 1960 relative to the problems that you transmitted to my office. I am sorry that you have had difficulty in talking to Mr. Bellis or to me but please be advised that we do intend to help you to the fullest extent of our ability.

Let me give you some of the problems, which are involved in the matters laid before me at our conference. My assistant, George Scott Stewart III, has forwarded to Doylestown your case against Mr. Irvin Robbins, suit should be instituted in this matter in the next ten days. Second, your problems relative to your divorce action are very complex and have had several conferences in our firm. As I pointed out to you at the time of our first conference the fact of your wife obtaining a divorce in Mexico for which you paid, complicated your status here to a great extent. When Suzanne left your home in Valley Forge she went back to your home in New York City, she did not desert you under Pennsylvania law, for it was a home, which you maintained and paid for. You have since obtained a larger apartment for your wife and boys in New York City and you are paying the rent thereon as of what you consider your proper responsibility. They are living with her and therefore the Courts of Pennsylvania have no jurisdiction over their guardianship.

I am presently working on the law, which applies, to your situation so as to properly advise you as to further action. I hope that I will be able to discuss the matter with you in the near future. You may be assured that I have your best interest at heart and that I shall do my best to protect you fully in this very intricate situation.
With warmest personal regards and every good wish,
I am Cordially and Sincerely yours,
John Morgan Davis


Two letters from Dad to Kathleen-

Les is now living in Pomona, this letter was written two days shy of his 77th birthday.



Sunday, Sept, 25, 1960



Dear Kathleen,

Here I am still stuck with the Plymouth up on blocks in the backyard! Well someday when I’m 78 Ron will have it done. If I’d have any idea of the delay and expense I’d have taken it to Fred Clarke over at Temple and Reno, and while the expense would have been more the job would have been done in a few days. I do not blame Ron because he’s had to do part time work on his own affairs but I’m afraid he is not as good as I was led to believe. Nor does he have the adequate tools so we’ve had to rent them. However I do like them both very much and they have more than made up in other ways for the delay and expense. Well except for not getting down to see you, it’s OK not having a car right now for the distances are not to great here. And Norma and Ron have been here most everyday at some time or another.

I had to get some parts both for the car and the typewriter I am overhauling to sell (an old Woodstock I picked up). It is already sold to Norma’s sister for her boys use at school. Anyway I took the bus to L.A. tended to that and then Vicki wanted me to take care of the kids while she and Joyce drove over here to look at a couple of houses. That was Thursday and they got back to L.A. about 8:30 P.M. and since she had to have her car Friday for shopping, I couldn’t ask her if I could borrow it to come down there.

They baby nearly drove me nuts. I get along with Scottie because I enforce the law with him and he knows it—yet he likes me so he didn’t give me much trouble. Once I had to wallop Stephan in Vicki’s presence because he defied her in obedience. I always talk to him after and explain that I do not like to punish him and so far he has always admitted he had it coming. I cleaned up the place sharp for them and believe me, I can’t stand spoiled kids. I’m afraid Vicki has little discipline although you cannot tell her that!

I like it here very much—there is not much smog and the traffic is nothing like the rat race in L.A. I went over to see Ruby Wedsnday evening at her request (her friend Frank Lasage died about two years ago and she is very lonely) and I got lost in Glendale and was an hour late finding her place.
Hope everything is O.K. with you. Hold everything and before long I’ll make it. At least you are not 2500 miles away now!

Patience dear. Love Dad

Sunday afternoon, Jan. 22, 1961

Dear Kathleen:

I’m sorry I could not come down today. I have had a very miserable week, one big constant headache. Last week , as you know, was an emotional upset for me and that did not help any. Things at Vicki’s are improved now. I have not done as much as I would have liked to for her, although I was able to saw off the bottom of another door so it would close over the rug. Also we had a day and a night of high winds that blew down the antenna which I erected again using more stay wire. Scotty broke into the record player compartment and jammed the changer (again). And then managed to break a leg on a Duncan-Fife stand, What a dear little lad! These are just a few of his willful adventures!

I had hoped to get over to L.A. this past week to see your mother for a little while, then Clarence Purcell, Joe Adams, your kids, and Ruby who as you know has been kind but all of this I was unable to do.

Do you remember the place on Third Street I pointed out to you (similar to the Salvation Army and Good Will)? It is run for the benefit of a hospital. I stopped in there the first of the week and picked up a Victor Red Seal album 12 inch (three records in excellent condition) for 55 cent; Madame Butterfly, Lucia Albanese, Lucille Browning, James Melton!

I want to thank you for sending the check for $6.00. It came in handy. Vicki will pay me $6.50 tomorrow so I’m OK as the month comes to an end. I do hope you are following the suggestions I gave you. I’ll get down there as soon as I can. Keep the chin up.
Heap love, Dad

To Dad from Kathleen--

Norwalk State Hospital
February 7, 1961
Dear Dad,

Received your letter and I’m sorry to hear that you don’t feel well.
I got the message by phone Friday that you could not come to get me. I hope that Scottie and Suzanne are feeling better. If you need any money from me let me know. There is a girl on our ward that plays the piano and she said if she could accompany me she would like to. I think her name is Carolyn. Well, love, Kathleen.

Wib buys a piano, moves us and the piano into 3A, our final apartment in 32 W. 82. A two bedroom on the third floor facing the street. A large airy, bright apartment. Philip and I shared a bedroom that was at least twice the size of what we had been used to. Our two windows looked down on 82nd St.. And get this, we had our own bathroom. This was a happy time. And when the boyfriend Paul arrives on the scene he becomes instant dad-man. I was ecstatic, couldn’t let him go.

Letter from mom to her dad—

November 29, 1961

New York City



Dear Dad,
Received your letter this morning and it’s a funny thing but just last night I intended to sit down and write you a letter with all the news, in fact I had the paper and pen out all ready.

First about Philip’s arm: A month ago he broke it missing a rope swing he and some other boys made in the park, falling about 7 feet. He broke it very badly, all twisted and almost impossible to set—they thought they’d have to operate and put a pin in it to hold it together but after two sessions under anesthesia, (the last session the doctor set it 6 times before he could get it together right) it’s mending O.K. He’ll have a bump they say will disappear in a year or so. In the meantime we’re worried about the nerves in the arm because he can’t straighten out two fingers and had no feeling in three. The doctors don’t know if the nerve has been severed or just injured. Yesterday they put on a new cast, and in (he was in the hospital for 8 days) two weeks they’re going to take it off and a neurologist will do some testing. If it’s been cut he will have to operated on and they will sew it together, which means another week in the hospital and another six weeks in a cast. BOYS! You should have seen him lying there in the park when I got there, 6 cops, park rangers, a whole crowd. They were all very nice. I couldn’t get a hold of my G.P. so Paul, my friend, (I’ll tell you about him in a minute) called his doctor and he recommended this Dr. Arnold who is with the Hospital for Special Surgery (New York Hospital) which is perhaps the leading orthopedic hospital in the country. So he’s in good hands. He’s been through hell let me tell you, having had plenty of pain, you can imagine with a nerve damaged like that. He’s been a brave boy—everyone said so, even the cops. I’ve been very worried. I love the boys very much, it’s difficult to explain how it affects me.

I’ve been seeing this fellow, Paul for the last year. He’s 11 years younger than I am, so it’s pretty ridiculous I guess except it doesn’t seem so. He’s 6’4” and looks older than he is, we have a great deal in common. He loves music and has a real ear for it. He wants to write, but he’s not settled at anything yet. He’d been working for his father here in the garment center in New York but when the government called the reserves for the Army he has to go. He plays basketball for them. He LOVES basketball, is very graceful and beautiful to watch. He’s a born athlete. He went to the University of Conn. and played ball for them. He doesn’t like the work he does with his father very much and I think this stretch of playing ball will get him to what he really wants to do…play in the Pros when he gets out. I don’t know what will become of us. I fought it a good deal in the beginning but some how neither of us has been able to let go. I can’t see any future for us. He isn’t established in any way, and age difference make overwhelming barriers. He’s very nice, has a good heart and I think you’d like him. I’m trying to practice everyday but it’s hard. I have so much to do and I’m weary before I begin. I turned everything over to a lawyer and he’s having talks with Wilbur’s lawyer now. I don’t know what will come of it but perhaps I can get something from him towards helping me get started. These soap operas they pay very well and the hours are good, too. We’ll see. I want him to send the boys to a good school where they can get some kind of an education, these public schools are lousy.

We have a little dog named Barney, ½ Welsh Corgi and ½ Manchester Terrier. We’ve had him since he was 5 weeks old. He’s now a year and a half. He’s really a sweetheart. We’re very lucky. He never yips and you can teach him anything, he’s so intelligent. The boys love him. He’s a real house pet—never goes out except to do his little business—what a difference from poor old Bromo! The kids have a hamster, too, so you can see I have my hands full!!

Well I guess that’s all, guess you can’t believe your number one daughter will be 37 next week, ‘eh!!? I’m as old as Mother was when I was born. Give my love to all; to Kathleen, Mother, Vicki. And take care of yourself. Dad I hope I get to see you all in the next year. Lots of love Suzanne.
P.S. write and tell me what you think of Pro football. Also what you think of the game now as compared to when Minnesota had Bernie Bierman—that period.
Paul and I have arguments about it. I told him all about you.

These were contented times, probably no happier time in my kid-dome. Paul was the Man, way cool. He boogie-woogied on the piano, he was in the Army, hung out with us, took us to his basketball games at Fort Dix. At the University of Connecticut he played basket ball with the “Huskies."…wow, screaming fans and all. One evening as we all went to watch Hudson River fireworks, he held my hand as we walked down Eighty Duece (82nd Street). Man ‘o’ man and Barney was happy too, Mommy’s caboose.

I remember hearing Paul and Mommy having sex; I was stunned, momentarily dazed by the sound of my mother’s groans and the sudden knowing about something I knew nothing about, a strange feeling. And some talk about a “diaphragm?”

From 3A we looked down on the sidewalks of Eighty Deuce. And through those windows Philip and I began to truly feel the city life, the energy of the streets and maybe… a vague breezy sense………. that things would be ok.