Ideas That Never Grew Into Good Hubs
Norman the dancer
Norman was, by all standards, was a less than average man. His last name was even less than average: Stumpe. But Norman never complained. Most of the citizens of New Pine, Indiana would sometimes talk about Norman's quiet nature that he had from his youth and seldom uttered one word of complaint about adversities that came his way. Norman loved his job: fact checker at the Green Street Board of Education.
Norman did not have a social life to speak of. His Friday weekend time was spent watching Dragnet, Playhouse 90 and Douglas Edwards giving the news over the CBS Network over Norman's black and white Philco television. Norman had an on again, off again girlfriend, Susy Jean Middleton, a pert and sassy brunette who Norman worshipped. But never spoke to her about his true feelings for her.
Middleton, who loved the racy side of life--taking the occasional drink of Old Crow, smoking an unfiltered Camel, had left New Pine to drive her mother, a senior widow, eighty-eight, to see her only sister who lived in Adrian, Michigan. Sure as rain, sassy Susy Jean was hit by a speeding freight train in Adrian when she left her aunt Joanette's home to purchase a few groceries for her aunt. Norman, upon hearing the tragic news, was naturally devastated, his quiet non-complaining demeanor never would not let him share his broken heart to anyone not even to his pastor, the Rev. Booker Whitworth of the New Pine First Methodist Church. Norman was like that. Quiet and mostly private.
Time went by. Soon Norman started attending singles mixer's that his church began having each Saturday night in the fellowship hall. When a certain song was placed on the hi-fi system, Norman would make his way to the center of the fellowship hall where he would gracefully dance as if his feet were equipped with butterfly wings. No one would dare ask Norman why he danced with himself for fear that Norman might implode. Finally the Saturday night came when Joe Fitte could stand it no longer. He slowly made his way to where Norman was dancing and gently tapped him on the shoulder and with the bravery of King Arthur asked, "Norman, my friend, why are you dancing with yourself?"
Norman didn't jump with surprise, but simply looked Fitte directly in the eye and replied, "Joe, I am sorry to disappoint you seeing that you were seeking a more interesting reason as to why I dance with myself," he said. "In fact," Norman continued. "I am not dancing alone. I am just dancing with my memories."
Millie was her name. And she defined female beauty in every way. Her haunting blue eyes could cause any man to lose his way. She came from some warehouse close-out company in the Bronx, to take work in Gilby's Department Store in lower Manhattan. Not as much for the money, but for the chance to get past her hum-drum life.
Millie, as she was labelled, dressed in every known designer piece of clothing of the day and while posing the alluring threads, she was scoping out her next lover. Maybe a shoe salesman or maybe a factory worker who had grown weary of his marriage to his mediocre wife.
Millie, over the course of ten years, never aged. Never had any wrinkles. And never spoke harshly of anyone. But man, could she love. If God were to hand out rewards on Judgement Day for women who had pleased men beyond every realm of pleasure, surely Millie would be at the first in line to receive her eternal reward.
Millie, on her last day of work, confided to her best male friend, Todd, who had worked with Millie and grown to love her. "I have had such a long, illustrious love life due to the fact that I never get a broken heart."
Hey, it's lonesome Rose
Rosemary Leigh DuPree was a quaint girl with brown curly hair. Her parents never had to scold Rosemary for she loved to be considered a "good girl." In fact, she grew to strive to be a better girl each day that came. She knew that there was no prize to win for her devotion to righteousness. But she faced each day undaunted by the issues of her daily life and kept growing stronger and more righteous as righteous could be.
One day Rosemary awoke to a new life: womanhood. She loved it. Now she could experience perfume, rouge, lipstick and alluring perfume worn by her girlhood idol, Miss Jennifer Louis, a single woman who lived down the block wore to church. Rosemary loved to sit near her just to get a small whiff of her mesmerizing perfume.
Years later Rosemary fell insanely in love with a man known as "Gambler" Joe. As his name stated, Joe loved gambling as if he were suffering from a high fever. Joe and Rosemary met accidentally one Friday morning in the local post office and sparks flew between the two. Joe loved Rosemary's sexy curls and she loved how he smelled of nicotine and whiskey. She would have never dreamed of being drawn to such a man in her younger years.
Sometimes when two people fall insanely in love it doesn't work. And it didn't work for Rosemary and Joe. Joe had a cheating streak and soon Rosemary caught him with a neighborhood slut, Barb Gleason, a buxom blond. Rosemary begged Joe to change. She even prayed daily for him, but Joe only got worse. So did Rosemary as she spent the rest of her life grieving for her only love: "Gambler" Joe.
Elmer, the entertainer
Elmer Gomez was born in San Juan, Mexico in 1956. His parents were poor and Elmer barely had enough to eat. But Elmer's faith in things working out in life kept him smiling as he trudged to school each day. Elmer's favorite time at school was not recess, but Music Appreciation especially the days when his teacher would demonstrate how to play the guitar.
Elmer was soon begging his teacher for lessons after school. His parents were proud that he showed such an interest in music. But instead of money to pay for his lessons, Elmer's parents sent a live chicken with him to pay the teacher which she accepted for she knew about his family's poverty.
After Elmer graduated, he labored at two jobs for enough peso's to go to America and become a famous guitarist. Elmer was an incurable dreamer. But one of his dreams came true. That of him becoming a master guitarist. Not a famous guitarist. Elmer was not defeated by his lack of notoriety. He just found himself a quiet place in front of apartment buildings in Brooklyn to play his guitar for whomever would listen. He kept this up for years. And passed away happy at the full age of 56.
The Great Caldwell Reunion break-up
Everyone who lived in Tyler, Texas either knew about or was a part of that area's biggest event on record: The Annual Caldwell Reunion. Simply put. This event was from the brainstorm that Mr. J.W. Caldwell, a prosperous linen merchant had one night and by weilding his influence, saw his huge family that had scattered all over Texas and Louisiana to meet at his country estate to have an annual family reunion.
Time and space will not allow me to tell more in peaceful, descriptive terms just how much fun, laughter and fellowship The Caldwell's enjoyed over the fifteen or more years. Rumor had it that J.W. once remarked, "By gum, I have spent over $50,000.00 of my own fortune on these kin and I cannot be happier."
But on the sixteenth year, something controversial happened that mystery books are written about that caused The Caldwell Reunion to come apart at the seams with loud cursing, yelling, and even the throwing of food along with expensive Oak chairs J.W. had bought for his relatives to sit in. The local authorities did arrive to see what the trouble was, but soon left for fear of offending J.W. who had pull with the mayor an city council.
Some say that some Caldwell male cousin got offended when another male cousin made a pass at his wife, but that was never proven. Other rumors filled the air. But no solid answer was found to explain the end of The Caldwell Reunion. But as J.W.'s hired hands were taking down the decorations and putting the furniture back into J.W.'s mansion, Clarence Upton, an elderly black man who had worked for J.W. and his father before him, noticed a rare Spanish beetle crawling untouched over the broken dishes, spilled food and torn silk table cloths. Clarence stopped in his tracks and thought to himself, "Now I did see'z that pretty Mrs. Kathrine Caldwell Mixon scratchin' her thigh without being seen. Hmmm. A Spanish beetle."
Mamie's dark fantasy
Throngs of Americans as well as those of European background quickly grew to love the blond bombshell, Mamie Van Doren. Van Doren was naturally a gorgeous girl and did not require that much make-up or plastic surgery. In short. God was extra good to Mamie. Even the other two blond bombshell's, Marilyn and Jayne were jealous. And not many women were able to say that.
Years after Mamie's star had sadly faded, she confessed to a close friend that her true fantasy was not of a sexual nature. Or be in a powerful political position, but dreamed of being a busy homemaker. That's right. A busy homemaker. Fact: Mamie Van Doren just loved to be knee deep in the kitchen cooking various dishes, baking cakes and enjoying the experience with such a joy some who knew her thought that she was a bit fruity.
But facts are facts. Mamie Van Doren, the sexy blond who thrilled so many during her career went into retirement with that fantasy kept to herself until 1961 when her close friend spilled the beans to a Hollywood gossip magazine.
Audra Carole Steel, nineteen, single, living alone, had took classes at her local community college to learn the trade of floor refinisher. Typically, this was a man's job, but Audra did okay for her size and skills. It was not long until she gained an apprenticeship with the Baxby Flooring Co., of Chicago. She loved the work and the meager wages, but it was at night when Audra made the most money as a gifted strip tease dancer.
Factually, Audra went from "new kid on the stage" status to the lead stripper. Men of all races and vocations loved her graceful moves and how slowly she teased their imaginations with her dancing. But all the while she was dancing, her mind was on her nameless lover she had met a year ago at a Christmas party.
Audra had drank a little too much gin that night and did not recall the man's name. But what she and this man did throughout that Christmas Eve night was one for the record books, but she could not recall his name.
So on her lunch breaks as a floor finisher and strip tease dancer, she would grab the newest edtion of the Chicago Sun and scan the obituaries just to see if there were a "John Doe," listed. This was how the coroner tagged all people who died or were killed who did not have a name. Audra spent the next six years dancing when her money grew to be better than that of a floor finisher. As for her nameless lover, he just might still be out there.
My first and last interview with Jimmy Buffett
I had just started work at NewsTALK Radio 93.3 "The Flash," in Philadelphia. I was nervous. My assignment field manager, Billy "Hawk" Rose, a 22-year veteran of the talk radio industry said that he was sending me to record an interview with Jimmy "Margaritaville" Buffet for the drive time news the next morning with Danny DuBose, the hottest radio talk show host in Philly.
I arrived at Buffett's hotel, checked in with the front desk clerk who I asked to call Buffett's press agent to announce that I was there and ready to work. Tom Clarey, then-Buffett's press agent took me up to the tenth floor and to Buffett's suite that the hotel comped him for some great public relations plugs during his live concert that night at the Densway Stadium.
I met Jimmy and we shook hands. I was asked to sit down and set up my taping device while Buffett "got into the mood," as he said with a plastered smile on his face. I felt weird at watching him practice smiling that laid back smile and keeping his eyes halfway closed. Now I felt awkward as well as weird.
"3. . .2 . . .1. . . "I am chatting with music super-star, Jimmy Buffett who is in town for a concert tomorrow night at Densway Stadium. So I will get right to it by asking, just how long have you been in the music business, Jimmy?"
Jimmy's face froze with that smug, laid-back plastered smile with his eyes halfway closed. After five minutes and some wasted tape, he said, "Uhhh, ha, ha, well, I get, ha,ha, asked that so, well, it's like, uh, ha, ha, telling the same, uh, (cough) story again and (again) oh about, uhhh, sixteen or more, uhhh, years."
Before I could ask another question, Buffett said, "hold it, man. I got to mood myself," and stood up looking distracted shining that sickening plastered smile. Then he sat back down.
Through my fear I asked one more question and with that question Buffett gave some jibberish answer, stood up and had Clarey snap photos of just his face with his various plastered, smug looks with his eyes halfway closed.
I can describe my first (and last) interview with the "Senior Parrot head," in a word: Train wreck. I quit the next evening and found work unloading produce at the docks.
My life is really a comic book
Am I coming unglued? Or just having a melt down? I hope you can grasp my dilemma. I have lived 46 years on Planet Earth and every day of that times pan I have felt like I was living in a comic book. No kidding. I once saw a Dick Tracy-type wearing a raincoat from the 1940's walking toward me on the sidewalk. As we met, he gazed at me with a rock hard chin like Tracy and not smiling.
Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night screaming because an evil vilain named Red Skull (e.g. Marvel Comics) is standing over me laughing while pointing a razor-sharp knife at my girth. I go back to sleep but feel clammy and my bed is soaked with sweat.
There are many more frightening comic book-related incidents that I could share, but you might seriously think that I am a doofus, someone in bad need of attention from another human being. Or just plain depressed. I cannot tell you for I am not a psychotherapist.
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I hit Kate Middleton on three bars across the screen
Not too long after Kate Middleton married Prince William, I found myself in some area near downtown Las Vegas, "The Gambling Capital of The World," staring at some newly-designed slot machine rumored to have been designed by the collective efforts of Bill Gates, founder of MicroSoft and Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy.
(Gulp). I had but one dollar in quarters. What an ironic moment. (Gulp). I was scared to say the least for I was no Bret Maverick, a professional gambler. With shaking hand I deposited the four quarters into the amazing-looking slot machine. (Gulp). The digital wheels began to spin, whir, and make various sounds of tech-no mixed with African drum music.
(Gulp). I was sweating real sweat. Without warning the wheels stopped with a seductive photo of Kate Middleton on three bars straight across. "I won!" I screamed to an empty lobby. I waited for the winnings to pour out into my awaiting hands. No dice. No coins. I felt robbed.
(Cough). (Gulp). A computer-generated voice (that sounded like Vincent Price) said from inside the slot machine, "Now a special viewing box will pop up just for you. Enjoy." The voice that was reminiscent of William Shatner as Capt. Kirk, didn't lie as this black and pink Viewmaster-looking device popped up and naturally I looked inside. Why not look inside? I won didn't I?
There before my (gulp) two watering eyes were one colorful photo of the lovely, gorgeous Kate Middleton shown in a skimpy dress, white bikini, and finally in another yellow dress. (Gulp.
A barrage of thoughts began to attack my thoughts. I was suddenly terrified. Was I being possessed by the devil? I was raised in a Christian home. This couldn't be happening to me. I had presence of mind enough to grab an pen and pad that I always carry in my shirt pocket and copied down the following thoughts:
- "Kate Middleton is so down right gorgeous that I feel like singing soprano in a Brooklyn police squad on any Saturday evening.'
- "Kate Middleton's figure is so perfect that I feel like begging and borrowing enough cash to have plastic surgery to look like Fernando Lamas."
- "If I were to hold Kate Middleton in my arms I would suddenly talk backwards and stare in frozen gaze at the sun." (e.g. not a reference to Gracie Slick of Jefferson Airplane).
- "I bet that Middleton smells better than a freshly-cut pineapple on a deserted island."
- "Kate Middleton's smile is so sexy that she could command me to stamp my stomach with a branding iron and I would do it and wear the brand, "I'm a Fool For Kate," for the rest of my days."
- "Seeing Kate Middleton gives me the urge to run right out and learn to speak Chinese."
Then the photo show of Kate Middleton ended. I was breathing very heavy and my throat was dry. Man, how I wish I had not spent my last dollar on that slot machine. That money, plus more I had stashed in a locker in a Greyhound bus terminal in Memphis, was going toward an order of fish and chips, something that I had never tasted.
Good night, Kenosha, Wisconsin, home of my cousins, Ricky, Dennis, Debbie and Linda Williams.
© 2016 Kenneth Avery
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