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Friday, August 12, 2011

Celebrity Sightings

Celebrity Sightings 

Spies
in order of Appearance

Anne (Gilchrist) Osborn
Marilyn (Kirkpatrick) Franks
Shirley (Walton) Crone
Dick Ellis
Pat (Manifold) Cerny
Patty (Jay) Owens
Ortha (Reynolds) Emry
Jeryce (Meyers) Russell
Raleigh Emry

~

Anne (Gilchrist) Osborn
 
 
 While my sister was visiting us during Spring Break, we had a "table conversation topic" of what celebrities we had encountered over the years. She remembered that she and I had encountered Vincent Price at the Chicago Art Institute over 20 years ago and I remember that he seemed a little annoyed at being spotted when my sister asked for an autograph for her sons who were big fans of his.

Our daughter related her encounters with famous persons, one was at a college friend's wedding (she is a talent agent in California). Julia Roberts attended the wedding with her then-boyfriend, Jason Patrick, who was in the wedding party. (Sadly, a few years later the bridegroom divorced her and was featured in my granddaughter's "Instyle" magazine recently as the groom in a "celebrity" wedding---nothing was mentioned of course about his having an "ex"---our daughter's friend). Our daughter also said she ate Nachos with Tom Selleck---well, almost, as he was ordering them just ahead of her at a restaurant, and he conversed with her---she said he was as nice as he was handsome.

My "famous persons' meeting" was when I worked for Ainsworth attorneys Sam and Wm. Ely when they had a lawsuit involving the Brandos and a ranch they owned in Nebraska. I had to take shorthand for a deposition while Marlon Brando was in attendance (I wasn't too nervous--just kidding!!)---and I remember having to "read it back" and got stuck on a word and one of the attorneys present, a lady lawyer from Lincoln, had taken shorthand, and read the word for me. On the way out, Marlon Brando, said, "And a Merry Christmas to you, young lady!" That definitely made MY day (well actually a lot longer than that)! In those days he was what is known as a Hunk and a lot slimmer than he is now! I later heard that he went to buy something at one of the local stores and the clerk asked for his ID, not having a clue who he was. I can still remember what Marlon wore--blue jeans with a hole in them and a blue jeans shirt and boots!

I also saw a whole entourage of movie stars and Robert Kennedy at my office building in Omaha in the late 50's or early 60's who were with him on his brother's campaign trail---Jeff Chandler, Rita Gamm (who was Grace Kelley's bridesmaid), and also Pierre Sallinger. I've forgotten the others---I also saw President Nixon and Pat Nixon when they were in Omaha at the old Blackstone Hotel. That was before all the security they have for Presidents for sure. Our bus was next to their limo and we could look right in.

More recently, when we were on our way to our daughter's in Edmond, we were on the same road as President Clinton when he was here in OKC (actually the road was blocked off and we were stopped as the Presidential limo drove by). We were in Washington, DC. one Spring Break when President Reagan's limo whizzed by and the guards at the Museum we were leaving told us there was a Missile Crisis and the reason for all the strict security in the buildings.

Ken said when he was in the service in the 50's, Palladin's Richard Boone and James Arness were having a drink in a Bar and he and his buddies went over and joined them. He also saw Fred MacMurray and his wife in a Nightclub in Las Vegas. I'm not sure what a clean-cut guy from the Middle of Nowhere was doing in the Bars across the border in Tijuana, Mexico from Fort Bliss, Texas---but probably on the look-out for celebrities, right?? Those celeb's sightings really "date" us, ha.

Over the years, living in the "big" cities, we have encountered quite a few famous entertainers by way of concerts, etc., including Willy Nelson, John Denver, the Carpenters, who were some of the best. We used to go to the old Drury Lane Dinner Theatre in Chicago (I think it was something like $12 per person for dinner and a play!!) and a special memory is taking Ken's Mom, Wilda, and my Mother to see Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Kathy Crosby (Bing's wife) in a show. You'd have thought our Mothers were teenagers. They were more thrilled to see Douglas Fairbanks as I was to see Marlon Brando.

Another special memory of our Chicago days was a "would be" celebrity as a singer and actress, a neighbor, Janet. She made frequent trips to downtown Chicago to try out for plays, commercials, etc., and struggled with a lot of rejection, but never gave up or let it get her down. She did make quite a few films for commercial companies and enjoyed performing at neighborhood theatres. She was very active in church and community work and well loved in our southern suburbs, and we were so sad to find out she had terminal cancer. She maintained a great sense of humor to the end, and there wasn't a dry eye when our three churches, Catholic, Jewish and Protestant put up a huge sign so Janet could see her name "Up in Lights" and they had a benefit "Godspell" play for her. At her Memorial, she requested those in attendance sing "There's a Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in my Heart." She never quite made it to the "Big Time," but she was a celebrity to those who knew her.




~

Marilyn (Kirkpatrick) Franks 




Sometime in the late 1960s, I was on an airplane flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles. After boarding and getting settled in my seat, I heard loud voices and a much commotion in the first class section. Then, Della Reese was escorted to the seat directly across the aisle from me. Her little white poodle was in a cage and occupied the seat next to her. She was beautifully dressed and looked every inch a star, complete with long, elegantly manicured fingernails. All the uproar was because she had been booted from first class by the Oakland Raiders and she was MAD! We took off and after a few minutes she settled down and dozed off. Her arm and hand were dangling in the aisle. Then the stewardess came with her cart, caught one of Della's fingernails on the cart and ripped it off. Needless to say, there was HELL TO PAY!!! The Captain, a Doctor and many others gathered around her. There was much running back and forth from the cockpit to Della. Soon we landed in LA. She was the first to deboard the plane, escorted by the Captain and the Doctor, placed in a wheelchair and pushed to the terminal by two lawyer types.


~

Shirley (Walton) Crone

I started to work for the telephone company when I was a senior in high school which was in 1953. And the most exciting thing that ever happened while at work was one day Marlon Brando and his folks came into the office to use the telephone we girls could hardly believe our eyes. They were very nice people. Several times we would see them up town in one of the stores. Wondered where they were staying and found out they had a ranch south of town down not far from where Floyd was raised. Which then was called the Black ranch. Floyd and his Dad did a lot of carpenter work for them. Floyd said that Marlon's folks spent summers there at the ranch and Marlon came and spent a few weeks every summer. His folks were real nice people. Vonnie you probably remember when he came into the telephone office.


~

Dick Ellis

In one of your assignments you asked about celebrities we have met. My meeting happened in Ainsworth, Nebraska.

During one of the years I was coaching and teaching there, the A Club decided to do something different to raise money. We had tried the "carnivals" the cake walks and bake sales and though they were always successful, it was decided to try something else. I don’t know who noticed the ad but probably Coach Story. The ad was in the Omaha World Herald and it stated that it was possible to engage a troop of "rasslers" for entertainment in your town. It also advertised that none other than THE GREAT JOE LOUIS would referee and also box six rounds of exhibition. This was shortly after they had stopped boxing in Nebraska High Schools. Babe knew that the people of the Sandhills loved boxing and felt this would be a great drawing card.

All the arrangements were made and a ring was shipped to Ainsworth High and it was set up in the old gym. Bleachers were brought from the football field and reassembled on the stage. I think every folding chair in town was placed around that ring and the place sold out immediately. When the promoters came from Omaha to check things out they told us that we would have to remove the first two rows around the ring because if anyone was thrown out of the ring the insurance would not cover, because of the proximity of the chairs in those rows.

Well, those rows were the first to sell and Babe and I talked like good fellows to save the ringside seats. A compromise was finally reached and we removed the first two rows on the north side of the ring. This is where any who might be tossed out of the ring would be thrown

The night of the fight finally arrived and as I said the place was packed. The rasseling events took place with Louis refereeing. The last bout was a heavyweight bout with one of the Pesecks rasseling a kid from Kansas City. It got in to a free for all as these things usually do. The final thing was that Peseck swung on Louis, so Louis "knocked?" him out then the kid from KC punched Louis and he was promptly "KO’ed" too. 

The finale was to be the six rounds of exhibition boxing by Louis. His opponent was the kid from KC and Peseck was to referee. It went about three rounds again with Louis knocking out both the other boxer and the referee. Louis then went to the dressing room and the crowd was about to tear the place apart. They had paid primarily for the boxing and they had been cheated. Well, Babe and I went to the dressing room and that is where I met THE JOE LOUIS. We explained to him that the crowd had paid to see him box and that was all they wanted. We finally convinced him to return and to do the six rounds without a referee but to give the people what they came for. He returned and boxed with the fellow from KC and with no referee. They timed the rounds and he really gave a demonstration of what boxing was all about. At the end of the bout the people gave him a standing ovation and the man could not believe it. Later in the dressing room, with tears in his eyes, he told us that in all this time he had never had a standing ovation. He was an amazing man.


~

Pat (Manifold) Cerny

As a registered lobbyist it is not wise to become identified with a political candidate. Years ago when Bush and Dole were lined up against one another, the South Dakota Republican legislators were split into two camps and all were attempting to secure everyone possible to join their campaign. I took a different route and told both groups I was supporting Pete DuPont - he was a legitimate candidate. This kept me from declaring between the two major 'camps'.

I had to go to Washington, DC to testify on a water bill (Dec.) and we were to head for Tempe, Arizona for #2 son's graduation from Ariz. State. On my return from DC, I was to meet Bill in Sioux City and fly to Phoenix, then Bill would drive home with Tom and I would fly back to Sioux City to retrieve vehicle. Great idea until a snow storm socked in Chicago and my flight out of DC was cancelled. No problem, United would fly me to Phoenix next day. Boarding the plane, I noticed a young lady with a DuPont for President button on her lapel. Started a conversation and asked for the button. To make a long story more readable I got the button and Bill, Tom and I were invited, as her guest, to a fund raiser for DuPont at the Biltmore Hotel that evening. I had no clue at the time of the snobbish stature of the hotel.

We arrived at the Hotel in Tom's little Chevette which had the taillight taped on and one back door bashed in from a hit and run he had endured. I wish you could have seen the face of the valet parking attendant!!!! We proceeded to the cocktail party fund raiser. I have never seen so many full length mink coats and huge diamonds amassed together in a room. When his assistant introduced us, Pete looked at Tom, asked him what he was receiving his degree in the next day and then said 'this is a pretty nice graduation party, isn't it?", with a nice smile.

Sunday AM Bill and Tom packed up and left for South Dakota in the Chevette. I sat in the motel lobby waiting for the motel van going to the airport. Was reading the paper about the rock group U-2 that would be playing at Ariz. State that night when the van drove up. As I approached, about four young men climbed in ahead of me. I sat down by one, he stuck out his hand and told me his name. I shook his hand and said I was Pat. He asked me what I did. I told him I was a farmer and a lobbyist. That brought a puzzled look on his face, then he broke into a smile and said 'this isn't the airport van if that is what you are waiting for'. I had jumped into the van taking U-2 to the campus to practice. I think they were relieved to discover that their 'groupy followers' had not turned that old.


~

Patty (Jay) Owens


Having lived in the Denver area for 30 years, we were lucky to have listened to and danced to many famous bands (Louis Armstrong, my favorite), and also to have gone to many off Broadway shows featuring many well known stars. But to actually have been able to touch or talk to a famous person, I have to go back to my childhood for one and the late 70's for the other. 

When I was about 10 and while visiting my cousin in Iowa, I attended a parade for William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy) and later got to pet his horse Topper. It was a thrill I've never forgotten. 

About 1977, my daughter Cyndi, who had been very active for years in working for the Special Olympics, was asked to attend a benefit in Pueblo honoring those people most active in this cause. Her escort was Lyle Alzado. When he came to the house to pick her up, every neighbor was out on their front lawns waving and cheering. Being great Bronco fans, I have to admit I did "mention" he would be coming to several people. I have to tell you, that this giant of a man, couldn't have been nicer or more soft spoken. We saw him in a different light than most, and always have thought of him as "The Gentle Giant." 

Because of his involvement with Special Olympics, he and Cyndi became fast friends. We were very saddened at his death, especially because of "why" he died, but to the end, he still was trying to help kids, by telling them how steroids had destroyed him.


~

Ortha (Reynolds) Emry

[Story Meister Note: My mom telephoned me to tell me her computer was on the blink and wanted me to write a short blurb about her celebrity encounter for her. I don't often get to be a ghost writer so I thought it might be fun. I motioned to Shirley Ignert now Neked (she's the bunkhouse stenographer) and Shirley scribbled down Mom's story and I put it into first person as if I was my Mom. I may have done that before when I needed an excuse for being absent from school, but I'm out of practice. So Mom, if I don't get this quite right, maybe no one will ever know that Shirley Ignert now Neked is not a great stenographer.] 

I was visiting my Son Bob and his wife Jenny in Washington D.C. and we were touring the Capitol Building. We were in quite a large group of people moving together but not really part of a tour. Then we heard quite a commotion and loud talk. Then as if Moses was parting the Red Sea, the crowd parted at the directions of some stern looking Secret Service agents and Vice President Dan Quayle strolled by within an arm's reach from me! It was exciting to see the Vice President and to add to the excitement I found that I had become separated from Bob and Jenny! But we were soon back together and had something new to talk about.


~

Jeryce (Meyers) Russell

I moved to Las Vegas in 1957 when the population was only about 50,000 people and the strip was a two-way street. Compared to the almost 1 and 1/2 million people that live here now. When I came here, it was a really different world than Norfolk, NE. This was a fast moving place and the past years have been a wonderful time and truly never a dull moment!

I worked for two allergy specialists for 20 years full time and another 13 years part time. We were the only allergy doctors that were board-certified specialists and we had a very large practice and treated many of the stars and bosses of the hotels. Most of the stars and entertainers were just great patients and then we had a few "prima donnas" that I won't name.

I will name just few of my favorites: Harry Belafonte, Louis Basil and Toni Basil (his daughter), Kenny Rogers, George Lindsay (Goober) Wayne Newton, Patty Page, Liberace, Paul Anka & family of girls, my very favorite was Benny Goodman. Mr. Goodman was a golf buddy of one of the doctors and called the office a lot. He was the most gracious gentleman and just as good as the wonderful music he played in his band.

All of you fellows out there would have loved when the Follies Bergere' and the Lido de Paris shows arrived from Europe with all the gorgeous dancers, showgirls, nudes and singers. Most of them spoke fair English but they all were so nice that it was really fun to get to know them. Then we had the bosses and top owners of five of the hotels on the strip. They never had to "wait" to see the doctors and whenever we wanted to see a show or have dinner at any of their hotels we always had ringside seats. Those were the days when "juice " counted and it was who you "knew" to get jobs and to get things done.

Things and times are different now as everything is on a computer and the hotels are traded on the New York stock exchange.

Christmas time was always so much fun as the gifts that the doctors, nurses and office staff received from the above patients were out of this world with surprises. Nevada being the small-populated state that it was years ago, we knew most of the politicians and were on first name basis with them. When election night came around, we always were invited to the many parties held for the candidates that were given and hosted by the different hotels. The hotel usually had a name band playing and whichever entertainer was appearing would always attend and mingle with the guests. Those were the days when everyone got "dressed up" the ladies wore long dresses and the men always wore ties and jackets.

Just one more short story: If any of you watch old James Bond movies, be sure to watch "Diamonds are Forever". It was filmed in Las Vegas and really shows the town the way it looked before this explosive growth took place. My first husband and I had just opened the Palm Mortuary in Henderson and it was used as the mortuary in filming this movie. Sean Connery was on site for several days and I was in awe and he was so nice and sooo handsome!!!

When I came to Las Vegas so many years ago, the first month I was here, I thought it was the hottest dusty place in the world. I longed to be back in Nebraska, but our jobs and careers were here and it’s been a wonderful life with many, many happy memories. The dusty town has grown into this beautiful oasis in the desert and I can truly say Las Vegas has been really good to me. Jeryce Myers Russell


~

Raleigh Emry


I have had few close encounters with celebrities. Of course we've been to the concerts where famous folks have taken our money so we could see them. That list is quite extensive; but my celebrity chance encounters are few and far between. I don't mind as I'm not into celebrity-watching. I'm a proponent of Badger Clark who wrote, "I like my fellow man the best when he is scattered some." But "celebrity encounters" is the topic and I am the story-miester. So I'll tell you all I know. 

My first F-4 Wing Commander was Chuck Yeager, the first guy to break the sound barrier. He flew with my squadron a few times a week. Except for the fact that he was then a Colonel and I was then a First Lieutenant or Captain, he was a friendly ordinary guy with an extraordinary past. 

When I was stationed at Danang, South Vietnam, Richard Petty (race car driver) showed up on the flight line one day on a tour. He wandered around and shook hands. He was without his trademark hat and sunglasses but he wore a "Richard Petty" t-shirt. A few of us had just returned from a mission and were crawling out of our F-4s. Richard Petty wandered over to shake our hands. One guy didn't know who he was, but he recognized the face on his t-shirt (with hat and sunglasses) and said, "Hey man! Where'd you get the Richard Petty t-shirt?" Richard Petty in a light-hearted but sarcastic way said, "Hey Man! I AM Richard Petty!" As you can see the humor at Danang was sometimes petty. 

When we went to Canada on my officer exchange assignment through the Embassy, we first stopped in Ottawa (the capital of Canada). After doing some business at the Embassy and meeting my supervisor, we toured Ottawa. Daughter Lisa was just two. As we walked near an entrance to the Parliament building, a limo drove up and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau walked out of the door and waved to the few of us as he walked to his limo. I picked up Lisa and moved to the opposite side of the limo from Trudeau so she could see better. Of course she didn't know Pierre Trudeau from Adam. But it struck me how ordinary it was. There were no escorts of "Secret Service types" looking stern and pushing the crowd back. Just Pierre... he walked by himself, behind maybe two or three other folks who led the way. He looked dapper in suit and hat. Terry especially remembers his rose boutonniere. It was just a moment in time when we and the Prime Minister of Canada exchanged smiles and waves. He drove off in his limo and we continued our tour.

During my assignment in Canada, my CF-101 Voodoo squadron on Vancouver Island had a big to-do and invited USAF Lt. General Daniel "Chappie" James to be guest speaker. Chappie James was one of the Tuskegee Airmen who served in an all black P-51 squadron in WW II. He was an ace in WWII, maybe also in Korea, and also had a few Mig kills in F-4s in Vietnam. At the time of my Canadian assignment he was the Commander of NORAD (North American Air Defense Command). My Canadian squadron, the 409 Nighthawks, was assigned to NORAD (we sat Air Defense Alert... the Cold War was still in progress). When General James accepted the squadron's invitation, our Canadian commander was a nervous wreck. He was sure that one of the rowdy Canadians would do something to disgrace Canada.

The Canadian Dining Ins were a blast! ("Dining Ins" were formal dinners for just military members; "Dining Outs" included spouses.) Everyone wore their formal mess-dress uniforms and the formalities of the dinner were closely adhered to... but with some additions and modifications. A bagpiper piped us into dinner and Mr. Vice (the most junior officer is always Mr. Vice) proposed the toasts. It was his responsibility to make sure that all the toasts, from Queen Elizabeth on down, were properly made and acknowledged. As Americans were present, it was customary to also propose toast to the President and the U.S. chain of command. It was also his responsibility to taste the wine the wine steward offered and order up the next glass of wine with each course of the meal. There were many courses and Mr. Vice usually gave some silly, slurred toasts by about course "five". By the time the dinner had progressed from soup to nuts and on to cigars and brandy we had imbibed several glasses of different wines and had drank to the health of many people... living and dead.

At most Canadian Dining Ins and usually after about the third toast, the dinner rolls began to fly. A dinner roll properly slathered in butter was a good blivet to take the "new" off of someone's formal mess-dress uniform. So you had to keep your eyes open and hopefully duck in time... or use your bread plate as a shield to deflect the greasy missile. The rolls were usually saved for after dinner when the guest speaker was the center of attention. He too could then be targeted. If all went well, everyone then mingled and paid the piper in drinks. By the time the piper was called on to pipe us back out of the hall and close the evening's festivities he was usually in no condition to play a kazoo let alone a set of bagpipes. So I hope that paints a picture of a typical Canadian Dining-In in 1975.

The Canadian commander was worried that a salvo of rolls would ruin the dinner that the esteemed General James was invited to and thus put a crimp in the relations between the US of A. and Canada. Therefore, he sent around instruction booklets to each officer and let each officer know, in no uncertain terms, that if the proper decorum was not followed to the letter, heads would roll. 

The night of the banquet came and things progressed "by the book" throughout the dinner. The piper had piped, the toasts had been made. It was time to introduce the guest speaker. The Canadian commander was a tall, extremely thin guy who looked a bit like Ichabod Crane... enough like Ichabod that folks called him Ichabod when he wasn't present. He stood to introduce General James. Before he spoke, he looked nervously left and right making eye contact with every one of us. You could see that he was silently pleading for us to behave. He then said "Gentlemen, I now introduce General Daniel "Chappie" James." 

Chappie slowly stood up. Chappie was a very big man and very impressive! He had more medals dangling from his chest than all of the Canadian officers combined! He reached under the table and brought something out and stood up even further. It looked as if he was eight feet tall. He WAS eight feet tall! He was standing on his chair. He held a basket of dinner rolls and fired a salvo at us. He began his speech with, "Gentlemen, I have heard of your tradition. Let the games begin." Rolls flew until the supply was exhausted and we then settled down to an hour or so of a very entertaining yarn about Chappie James' experiences in the wild blue yonder.

General James was staying the night at Comox Canadian Forces Base, so he was in no hurry to leave the festivities. The Canadians have a weird game called "Crud" that they play on a pool table. As Crud is rough on the table felt, they usually have a designated "Crud" table. You don't use pool cues but instead catch the balls in your hand and fire them back across the table. I don't recall the exact rules as the rules were never the same two nights in a row. One version was to choose up sides and use any tactics known to man to roll your teams pool balls into the pockets while attempting to keep your opponents' pool balls on the table. Crud always became enthusiastic and rough... like hockey. Players blocked shots with their arms, legs and torso, and if sufficiently wined, foolishly blocked shots with their heads. To keep the game fast-paced, there was the equivalent of a three second rule to keep a blocker from camping in front of a pocket.

As I was a USAF officer, General James beckoned to me and challenged the Canadians to a Crud game... USAF against RCAF. So it was us against them... two against the many... and they had home court advantage! If it had been anyone else but Chappie James, the Canadians would have won. I'm sure of that! I was a pathetic Crud player. But when I had the secret weapon of a huge, African-American, Three-Star General in full mess-dress uniform thrashing around and around the pool table firing pool balls and blocking shots, it evened the odds. The Canadians were a bit intimidated, and I think we fought to a draw. 

Chappie James is dead now. It's doubtful he remembered, for long, the night that he and Captain Emry teamed up against the Canadians in a game of Crud at the Comox Officers' Club. Even still, I remember the night that I teamed up against the Canadians in a game of Crud at the Comox Officers' Club with General Chappie James! 

When stationed at the USAF Interceptor Weapons School at Tyndall AFB, Florida, I needed my annual physiological training. We had no "altitude chamber" at Tyndall so I was sent all the way to George AFB, California for the one day training. 

I received my training and was at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) boarding a DC-10 for my flight back to Chicago and eventually Florida. Ricky Nelson and his band boarded the plane the same time that I did. We walked down the tube to the airplane together but were not seated near each other. Airliners take off to the West at LAX and climb over the Pacific before turning back eastbound over the city. About half way through our climbing turn, the DC-10 cabin filled with a thick, smoky vapor and I heard the pilots retard the throttles and felt the airplane abruptly level off. Everyone looked nervously at each other. I'm sure I did too as I'm more comfortable in an airplane if I have something to do with its destiny and if I'm strapped into an ejection seat. 

I thought to myself, "Isn't this JUST GREAT! I can see the headlines now, 'RICKY NELSON KILLED WHEN DC-10 EXPLODES OVER L.A.' and there won't be one mention of MY name!" In a few minutes the Captain, in a confident voice said, "Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen. You may have observed a mist in the cabin. An air-conditioner package had a problem, so we shut it down. We have a backup and so will proceed on to Chicago." A few years later Ricky Nelson was indeed killed in an aircraft accident and there was no mention of my name in the headlines. Thank goodness! 

President Reagan came to Alaska when I was stationed there and as I helped organize his stop-over, I made sure that Terry and I had seats right up front at his scheduled speech. Our kids went with their classmates. 

First Lady Laura Bush, when she was the Texas Governor's wife, came to Terry's elementary school a few years ago. She and her driver... no entourage... showed up with no fanfare. She read a book to the students. Laura looked "just like another teacher" according to Terry and, of course, Laura had spent time in public schools as a librarian so it's no wonder.

While driving back from San Marcos on I-35 one day a dozen years ago, I cruised by James Michener who was puttering along in an old pickup truck. He was living in Austin at the time and continuing to write one of his many lonnnnnnnng books. Maybe it's his influence that causes me to write lonnnnnnnng stories.

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