Friday, November 30, 2018

My First Trip to NYC

William Sloan House YMCA NYC

New York City is on our minds lately as we are making plans of being there in a couple of weeks.  My first visit to the Big Apple comes to mind.

It was in late August 1963.  In the Navy I had just arrived at my new assignment at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, Helicopter Utility Squadron Four (HU-4).

In the barracks I was assigned a cubical that I would share with three other men.  HU-4 supplied helicopter support to non-aviation ships.  So, at all times I think there were at least 100 men in helicopter detachments on ships.  The good part is they were not in the barracks.  So, although my cubical was for four men, two were all on detachments.

The one remaining man (besides me) in the cubical was a little short guy named Marlow from Maryland.

Marlow was witty and on top of what you said.  Nothing got by him.  We introduced ourselves and somehow Marlow knew I have never been to New York City.

He said, “Lets go, it is just up the road (60 miles).”
We took the bus to New York City that Saturday morning.
I was very impressed as we started declining down a spiral road.  Right then, from the Jersey side the city looked big and overwhelming.

We went through a tunnel under the Hudson River.  I don’t remember if it was the Lincoln Tunnel or the Holland Tunnel.
Then, out tunnel and into the city.  I saw buildings with clothes lines between buildings, some people with their torsos half out their windows talking to people on the street.  Then the bus when into the huge Port Authority building, a terminal for buses.

Marlow and I walked down 42nd Street and Times Square, with me being amazed at everything I saw.

Then we took a subway to either the Bronx or Brooklyn.   We visited a relative or friend of Marlow’s for a while then returned to Manhattan.

I don’t remember what we saw then, it all blended in with my awwness.

When it got dark, back to the 42nd Street area with all the carnival loud come-ons and music.  We went into, if I remember correctly the Peppermint Lounge with Chubby Checker, or a Chubby Checker look-like singing “THE TWIST”.

Then as it got late, we had planned to go to the cheapest place in town to sleep, The William Sloan Y.M.C.A. house.

Just as we arrived in the front a young Italian or Greek looking man emerged from the darkness and asked if we were looking for a place to crash.

I knew what he was up to and said no.

He was persistent and offered that Marlow could stay with him and he would pay for my room at the Sloan House.  What a deal for me!

I think Marlow knew what he was up to too.

He walked me inside the building and he paid the desk clerk.  He probably got a discount for being a repeat customer.

Marlow and I agreed to meet at Port Authority the next day at whatever time.

The bad thing about the William Sloan House the rooms did not have bathrooms.  You had to go to a public bathroom and share the facilities with about 20 other men.

The next morning, I explored by myself and discovered the New York Public Library was on 42nd and 5th Avenue and other places… got to hear several street singers at a little park behind the library. 

I reported to the Port Authority at the preplanned time and Marlow wasn’t there.  I suppose they were having one for the road.
I went into the bar and had a drink, a Manhattan, I think.  Then another.  After the second one I went to the telephone booth and looked up Harvey Kurtzman, creator of MAD Magazine   He was my hero, as Charlie Brown said, I just mildly worshipped the ground he walked on.  I found his name living in, I think, Mt. Vernon, New York, just outside the city.  The two Manhattans swelled my balls, so I called him!

He answered the phone!

He was very pleasant.  We swapped a few one sentence notes via mail for the next few years.

Marlow finally showed up and the code of silence was, without saying, was placed on us, I was not to ask what went on with him and his new friend and well, “what happened in NYC stays in NYC”

We got back in time to dinner in the chow hall. 

In the chow hall line I met Don Lash, who became a lifetime friend.  In line I told him I just saw New York for the first time.
Don, being a people person, who can tune into your frame of mind, horned in I was hiding something, and he lit up smiling pumping we with questions.

And that was my first trip to New York City.  Many more visits over the next two years and the last one not long after Anna and I got married, about 1970.

And now here we go again!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Ice Storm, March 1961

Throwback Thursday: Our current weather condition reminds me of the Ice Storm of March 1961.  When the storm came it was during the night.  In March 1961, we woke up to a frozen white Winter Wonder Land.  I worked in Atlanta at the time and it was too dangerous to try to drive to work.  So, I called in.  So did all my friends that were not away at college.  We went out to play on the frozen  slippery terrain.

Larry  got a near worthless used car from his father's used car lot and we rode around and learned a lot about the physics of driving on slippery ice.  We went to Town & Country Shopping Center, which was empty of customers' cars because of the weather and used the wide open spaced parking lot as a training ground.  We would spin, get speed up and slam on the brakes en enjoy the slide.  Later we tried climbing a steep hill and I forgot what happened but it put an end  to our riding that car. 

The steep hill was leading off Powder Springs Street across from Garrison Road.  We were just a block or two from the Marietta Country Club.  We got the idea of going up to the golf course and sliding down the big hill there on the green.  When we walked up to the  Country Club we realized we were not the first ones to think of sliding down the hill on the golf course.  Many kids were there sliding.  They had serving trays they were using that they slipped in and got from the dining or kitchen area of the club.  Other kids had flattened big cardboard boxed, and even one group of kids brought a car hood they rode on.  I tried a serving tray, a cardboard flattened, but finally got the not so bright idea of riding down on a round red Coke sign, which the face of it was facing the ice.  I started down the hill, picked up speed, and for some reason the Coke sign started to spin, or I should say  the Coke sign and I started to spin faster and faster.

The Coke sign became a runaway out of control Coke sign.   I couldn't get off or guild it.  At the bottom of the hill is normally a pretty little pond.  That day it was partially frozen .  I  hit the pond, it may have skidded to put me more in the middle, then sunk. 
It was almost thigh deep in cold icy water.  I walked out.  The fun was over.

I needed dry pants.  My pants were sloshing  and about to get stiff with ice.  I was walking.  I lived on Richard Street which was about 2 or miles away, one block from the 4-Lane, across the highway from the future White Water Amusement Park.

Sometimes I can be resourceful when it comes to surviving.  I sloshed and crinkled my way across town, about halfway home to Colonial Circle, where Mrs. Latimer lived.  

My friend Gene "Jenky" Latimer was killed in a drag race the previous May or early June.  I knocked on  Mrs. Latimer's door.  She was happy to see an old friend of Jenky's.  I told her my pants were wet, could I borrow a pair of Gene's pants.  She gladly gave me a pair, which I went to the back and changed into.  Then Mrs. Latimer baked us some banana-nut bread, which we had with hot apple cider. 

Still, each time I ride by Colonial Circle off Fairground Street, or  eat banana bread I think of that day. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trump, Out of Respect

Click on to read

Atlanta Trip

Yesterday morning just after 7am we drove to Atlanta. The traffic was surprisingly light. We drove at full speed in no bumper to bumper traffic. It’s a week day at commuting time, where is the traffic? we wondered. Then we saw the traffic: The traffic was bumper to bumper was over to our right in the express lanes. They paid more for the luxury of driving out of the traffic and they brought the traffic with them! HAW HAW! We laughed for miles and thanked the folks over to the right bogged down in traffic.

I went into a Men’s restroom. It was a small restroom that only had one stall, a urinal, and a sink. I chose the urinal. While using it a man’s voice from the stall said, “Are you there?”
Was he talking to me? Surely he is on the phone I thought.
Then he said, “Whacha doing?”
Everything he said was vague enough to imply he was on the phone or talking to me.
I washed my hands and quietly slipped out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

3 Old Warriors Run Into Each Other

Today in the doctor’s waiting room an old friend, and my wife’s ex-co-worker Leo was also there.  Leo was wearing an Air Force ball cap.  It might have said “Retired” on the cap.  Leo was a lifer pilot.
Leo was checking out at the counter when a man near him said he joined the Air Force in 1962 when he heard about the Cuban Missile Crisis on the news.

I then broke in and told the two men and the lady behind the counter that the Cuban Missile Crisis inspired me to join the Navy.  (I did not say Navy Reserves).

Then Leo told that he was already in the Air Force when the Cuban Missiles urgency hit his command.  He said he was playing softball at the time..  He was in his baseball uniform and had to report to the base immediately.  So, he said, he reported to his command at the base as ordered – he was part of a fighter command whatever. 
He said he thought he was about to go to war, flying a warplane, wearing a baseball suit.

I pictured that in my mind and I was reminded of BLACKHAWKS comicbooks, where the pilot crew wore cowboy hats, and other eccentric clothing, but always had their blue military uniform on.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Marvel Super Hero Vigilantes

On TV we just watched SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING.  I watched it our of curiosity how the late Stan Lee was going to make his cameo appearance.  Hanging his head out a tenant’s window shouting.

They have made a lot of changes since he last time I saw a SPIDER-MAN.  For instance Peter Parker’s Aunt was elderly and matronly.  Now, she is young, sexy, and said several sexual undoes.  Another thing is that the whole Marvel Hero group of super vigilantes now have a chain of command with Iron Man as the leader.
I have never been a Super Super Hero fan because they are Super Vigilantes who take the law in their own hands.  That is why we the law, judges, and juries, and lawyers.  It seems UnAmerican to do likewise.

I would like to once see a Super Hero have an error in judgement and nab the wrong person to show how dangerous a vigilantes taking the law into their hands can be.   

Sunday, November 25, 2018


These 4 pages, laid out in order)  were copied and pasted from the 2nd issue of HELP magazine (1960).

The art is by Will Elder.  Elder was known for his humous details in the background.  The text is by HELP’s editor Harvey Kurtzman, which also did the text for the balloon in the still pictures.
As usual, click on each page to be able to see read better so you will get what Is going on.

Friday, November 23, 2018

They Work!

Used to, if I wanted something, says suspenders, I would go to a store and buy them.  If they snapped the first time I put them on I would take them back to the merchant and return them, unless the store keeper  convince me it was no surprised they snapped carrying such a heavy load.  It was that simple of a transaction. 
A few weeks ago, we bought on-line a pair of suspenders.  They do what they are supposed to do, hold up my pants.

The on-line store emailed us the other day and wanted to know did we receive the suspenders and if not they would start tracing the shipment and told us how to trace the shipment from our end.

They went on to say they think it is a possibility we did not receive them became we did not give an on-line review about them.

On-line review?

What can you say about suspenders that work? 

It seems to me if you said anything positive at all, in a way, you are implying you are surprised they did work, which is anti-saying something good about the subject.

The Clown in the Woods

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday, Thanksgiving



Copied and pasted from my Blog November 2013:
My 2nd Thanksgiving Story, which is more memorable:  Back in the early late 1950s or early 1960s a group of friends and I decided to go hunting early on Thanksgiving morning.  Larry Southern knew of a place in White, Georgia, near Cartersville of endless dirt roads.  Our plan was to take turns with two of us riding on the fenders and when we saw a rabbit shoot it.  We have been out on dirt country roads countless times and rabbits would run out in front of us.    Maybe we arrived at the destination about 2am, and proceeded to ride the dirt roads, taking turns at fender duty.  We did not see any rabbits.   We gave up and came upon an abandoned  country unpainted shack.  We built a fire in the fireplace and sat around and talked about life and gossiped.   We were not getting much accomplished , we decided to drive back to Marietta.  Out on the highway going to Cartersville we had a flat tire.  We were driving one of Larry's father's old  junk car somebody traded him for a better car (hopefully).  The old heap had  no spare.  We sat in the car and talked and gossiped some more.   Daylight began to slowly shift in.  When it got light enough that we could see some things around us we saw we were parked across  the road from a house.  Beside the house was a pasture and behind the house was a little hill.  Near the top of the hill was an outhouse, maybe 50 feet from the house.

Larry said he was going to use that outhouse.   We knew he meant it.  He loved to use outhouses.   Monty and Johnny tried to talk him out of it.  He wouldn't listen their reasoning.  He got out of the car and walked beside the house and up the hill.

Something you need to know about Larry:  He was then a shy person.  He would do sneaky things but hoped he would never get caught, it was too embarrassing.   When he did get caught he scratched his forehead  so his hand would cover his face.  We have seen him scratch his forehead more than once.

Larry went into the outhouse and shut the door.  The rest of us  sat there and talked and speculated what would happen if he got caught.

Then I saw a little grey headed matron looking lady walking up hill with some newspapers in her hands.  I told my friends and we were having laughing fits watching each step the lady took.

She opened the door and  dropped her papers..  Out bounded Larry trying to pull up his pants with one hand and scratching his forehead with the other.

He ran down the hill, jumped in the car , started the engine and  we rode off, flat or no flat.

We got down the road a very shot distance but around a bend and out of sight and gave out of gas.  This time we were in front of a service station that sold tires  and gas.  We started to pool our money  to discovered that every one of us was broke.
Somehow I got elected to go to Larry's house, or his parents' house, get his car and his money was hidden in his car, and drive back to White, Georgia.

I hitchhiked back to Marietta.  I lived with my family close to the 41 Hwy, or 4-Lane, as we called it locally.  My last ride carried me as close as two blocks for our house.  I walked into our house.  My family was having Thanksgiving dinner.  Invited  down from Chattanooga was my mother's brother Tom Petty and his wife Mary Jo.  I hurriedly ate, standing up - I was on a mission.  I took my car and drove over to Larry's house and got his car.  Luckily, his parents were not there - I would look awful guilty trying to explain everything to them.  I left my car at Larry's parents and took Larry's car and drove back up the 4-Lane to Cartersville.  That was before the I-75 was built. 

Right after the first street turning off into Cartersville, I gave out of gas.

Back then we ran out of gas a lot.  We did that a lot and just dealt with it as it happen.  It was also a way of life to park on hills with the front aiming down in case we had to push our car off.
I was out of gas with the mission incomplete.   The only thing I knew to do was to start hitchhiking towards White and worry about Larry's car later.  After all, they need the money to get gas and a tire for the heap.   As I was walking backwards on the northbound lane of the US41 with my thumb out I looked over to the southbound lane and there was my four friends walking backwards with their thumbs out.  I hollered and we joined up.

I do not remember the details of what happened next.  We got Larry's car, put gas in it and went back to white and had to walk to the owner of the service station's house to get him to open on Thanksgiving to sell us a tire and some gas.  I think he sold us a used tire for $5 and sold us gas. 

It was something I think I will remember until I can't remember no more.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Terry Townsend R.I.P.

Brothers Tommy (left) and Terry at a Varners' Reunion being question by a reporter.

Terry Townsend, an old friend, has died.  I have known Terry and his family since we were kids.  They lived on Moon Street almost next door to the Maple Avenue Methodist Church.  When I worked at the Big Apple I carried their mother’s groceries out and her three sons were her favorite subjects she talked about.  The sons were Termite, Tommy, and Terry..

Their father of Hill Townsend.  Hill and my father were local political buddies.  Hill owned the Black Satchel CafĂ©’ across from the Courthouse on Washington Avenue (Now, Roswell Street).

I hung out with Terry some in the late 50s and early 60s.  We were buddies during the houseboat era at Victoria Landing.  Terry was quiet and sincere.  I always enjoyed his company.

A couple years later Terry and I were in the Navy about the same time.  I ran into him on the NAS LAKEHURST, NJ Naval Base.  He was stationed at either Oceania or Newport, Virginia.  He was at Lakehurst to attend a class.  We had a nice reunion at the E.M. Club.

When we had our GOBAG (Good Old Boys and Girls) weekly get together at the American Legion Terry was always there.  Then he worked for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department, the Prison Compound.

Rest in Peace Terry

Sunday, November 18, 2018

SUNDAY FUNNIES!! You Know Who Gets Killed art by Jack Davis

From the pages of HELP magazine  #2, 1960.  Art by Georgia’s home-grown, corn-fed, the late Jack Davis.  The script by editor Harvey Kurtzman.  I think during this time Jack Davis was doing a balancing act between MAD and HELP.  He had a deep gratitude for competitors William Gaines, publisher of MAD, and Kurtzman.
On pages to enlarge them to make them readable.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Brother Biggers was a Father

From my blog Sept 16, 2006 copied and pasted (and corrected)

Brother Was a Father
In the 1980s Rocky was in the accelerated Target group at his school. It was Haley’s Comet time. I don’t remember how it all started, but in the Target kids parents’ association it was decided to take the kids to someplace way out in the country where the sky would be clear and not influenced by the glare of city lights to see Haley's Comet.

Anna took on the responsibility of finding a such a place, that would welcome children in the middle of the night. She came to the conclusion that a certain Catholic monastery southeast of Atlanta about 40 or 50 miles would be the ideal place. 

We have been to this monastery before. It is way out in the country. The monks there made their own food and made their own bread which was available for sale. Along with other stuff you would expect monks to deal with, such as honey, candles and I don’t know what else. I do remember they had peacocks wandering around the grounds. 

Anna called the monastery and spoke to a Brother Clarence Biggers. Brother Biggers was very enthused over a bunch of school kids coming in the middle of the night to see Haley’s Comet and said he would be delighted to be their guide.

He gave us directions. Then one evening we met someplace and all five or six cars drove in a caravan the long drive to the Monastery. I forgot the details of the directions but we found ourselves out on a lonely road in the middle of the night with no sign of civilization and were thinking maybe we took the wrong turn or something. Should we turn back and find a phone and call him? This was before cell phones.

Then we came upon a land mark he described and knew we were there on the right track. Then a tall figure in a hood stepped out of the shadows with his arms spread out. I remember the tall figure wearing a hooded robe. That was a shocking scary sight! I remember he was wearing a white robethat was blowing in the wind. Anna remembers another color robe – whichever. It was Brother Biggers.

He motioned for us to get out and we did. We, parents and kids, gathered around him and he told us he used to be a priest at Saint Joseph’s in Marietta. He went around and asked our names. When I told him my last name he asked me was I related to the late Dick Hunter. I said he was my uncle – my father’s brother. I remembered him – he did my uncle’s funeral when he died. He asked me how his wife was doing and also wanted to know how all twelve of their children were doing. They are doing fine. He said he thought a lot of that family.

He gave us and the kids a very educated guide of the constellations above us in the clear dark sky. He of course pointed out Haley’s Comet and told some trivia history about it such as Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was born during a Haley's Comet visit and died on its return visit some 80 plus years later. also what the people of ancient times thought of it and on each constellation he would tell the Greek mythology tale about it. He did a very good job in educating the kids and us on the sky that night. We listened in awe.

Unfortunately, then, as now, I have a low retention level – so, what I heard, although very interesting, went in one ear and out the other.

After it was over he asked us if we would like to go to the main building and have some hot chocolate. Sure! Everyone said.

We went upstairs in the back of the building and Brother Biggers took us into a kitchen like area with tables. He boiled water and had the instant cocoa and we sat around and talked to him and he told us more about the Monastery. He said all the monks had to work to earn their daily bread, so to speak. He said anybody, regardless of their religion or beliefs can come to the monastery and stay a while just to get away from it all and contemplate their belly buttons – or whatever.

A big bell clanged and Brother Biggers said it was time for the first mass of the day for the Monks, would we like to see it? Sure! We walked down a hall and quietly opened a door and we found ourselves in a balcony overlooking a congregation of Monks. Before entering he told us we needed to very quiet. 

The Monk congregation lifted their spirits by chanting. I don’t think there was a sermon.

Sadly, one Monk was slumped over in a wheel chair alone down an aisle between the pews and appeared to be very weak, sick, or just out of it. Being disabled is probably not an excuse to skip mass. 

He was a very intelligent knowlegable docent of Haley's Comet and the mythology tales in the night skies. 

We thanked him and we arrived back in Marietta about daylight.

Brother Biggers continued.

Years passed and one night on the local news a lady was being interviewed because she was suing the Catholic Church. She said Father Clarence Biggers molested her when she was young and attending Saint Joseph’s School. It was further pointed out that when several parents complained about Father Biggers molesting their children and  he suddenly had a calling to be a monk at the Monastery we went to.

Then, about a week later in the newspaper one of my female cousin came forth and said Father Biggers did some things to her too.

But Brother Biggers knew his stars!  You cannot take that away from him.

According to the recent news, Father/Brother Biggers is now deceased.  I doubt if he is up in the heavens with the mythology gods he talked so lovingly  about.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Benjamin Nov 2018

Rockettes. Young and Old

This morning on THE TODAY SHOW the ROCKETTES made an appearance, plugging the Rockefeller Center new Christmas Tree that will be lit tonight.

It reminded me of the bunch of times, while in the Navy, and once with Anna, seeing the ROCKETTS perform at Radio City at Rockefeller Center.  They put on quiet a well synchronized coordinated long leggy show.

It also reminded me of an Irish bar on the shore named Murphy’s or O’Hara’s, in New Jersey that had a frequent visitor of a aged retired  ROCKETT.  I have never been there, but my Navy buddy Don Lash has a few timers.

Don said the retired ROCKETT was proud of her career as a dancer and loved to sing in sing-a-longs at the bar.  She and Barney the drunken aged paperboy, also a frequent visitor,  knew how to carry a tune.

Tweedle Dee and Twiddle Dum Brothers

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

R.I.P. Stan Lee, Died at 95

Some pictures of my cousin Patti Hunter Bagley and her husband Mark rubbing elbows with Stan Lee.  Actually, Stan was Mark’s boss.  Mark is one of the artists of the comicbook SPIDERMAN.

When I think of Stan Lee I think of many years ago he gave a starving artist (cartoonist), my hero,  Harvey Kurtzman a job writing the HEY LOOK! Series fillers for MARVEL Comics.  Harvey went on to create MAD Comicbooks and MAD Magazine.

Once I saw Stan Lee interview Harvey Kurtzman and Georgia artist Jack Davis.  He is a very positive person.   He got his job with Marvel Comics because his uncle owned the company.  I think Marvel would have been water over the damn if it wasn’t for Stan Lee’s leadership.

Monday, November 12, 2018

What is Fake News?

CNN is one of the news networks Trump calls Fake News.
Trump was offended by a question CNN’s report Jim Acosta.
A lady tried to take the mike away from Acosta.
Acosta’s Whitehouse press credentials was take away from him.
The Whitehouse altered the video of the lady trying to get the mike from Acosta, making  him look more aggressive than he was.
Experts said the video was doctored.  Trump said it wasn't doctored.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president said it was.
Wouldn’t the altering of the tape fall under the heading of “Fake News”?

Robert "Bobby's" Darnell Memorial

Robert "Bobby" Darnell

Widow Linda

Sunday, November 11, 2018

National Cemetery, Near Canton, Ga

Doonesbury, Veterans' Day

click on to enlarge to read


The Battle of Chickamauga had the second amount of deaths in the Civil War.  It is just about in our back yard, near Dalton and Lookout Mountain.  Interesting fact, President Lincoln's brother-in-law, general for the North was mortally wounded there.

Art by Georgia's own Jack Davis.  I would say story written by Front Line Combat Comicbook editor Harvey Kurtzman, but it wrote itself, didn't it?

click on each page to make it readable