Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sepia Saturday 162 : I married Liberace's Paperboy


This week's Sepia Saturday prompt of Western Union Messengers reminded me of my husband's short career as a paperboy. 

He delivered papers in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. This is his school picture from about that time - I don't have a photo of him on his bike, but he recalls it was a blue Schwinn, kind of like this one.

Papers were delivered to his home in bundles of about 50. He'd fold them, load up his cloth saddlebags, pile them on his bike and pedal his route. The first paper he delivered was the Citizen News; he had a huge geographical area to cover. Later, he moved up to the Valley Green Sheet - more papers, less geography. His zenith was delivery of the Herald Examiner, at that time the only evening paper in Los Angeles.

The distributors sold the papers to the boys who collected from their customers and got to keep what they collected. Richard had one customer who never had to pay; he had a crush on the daughter and couldn't bring himself to ask her father for money. The man must have guessed what was happening. Oh well, daughters are expensive and a free paper is one of the small pay-backs he enjoyed.




Above is my husband today sixty-three years older in this picture than in his paperboy days. When I say today, I literally mean today. We are applying for visas to visit India and had our photos taken at Costco this morning. I think my husband is still cute and hasn't changed as much as you'd expect perhaps because he still rides a bicycle up and down the steep hills in our avocado grove. Maybe I'm prejudiced?

A few years ago, during a discussion about weird jobs we had as kids, my husband asked, "Did I ever tell you one of my paper route customer's was Liberace?" "What?" I replied in astonishment, "You were LIBERACE'S PAPERBOY? This changes everything!" All his other accomplishments faded to black and from then on - that's how I introduced him to people. "...and this is my husband Richard, who was LIBERACE'S PAPERBOY!"

Richard remembers seeing the piano shaped pool


When I googled Liberace,  I read about an upcoming HBO movie about him, "Behind the Candelabra" to be aired in May, 2013. Can you imagine Michael Douglas in the role? And Matt Damon as his chauffeur, reputedly his lover?



I jest about introducing Richard as Liberace's paperboy. Depending on your point of view, an even more amusing job he had was a little later in his life, as a gas station attendant, gassing and oiling Johnny Cash's big black cadillac. Richard recalls Johnny Cash as friendly, nice to him and even passing out free tickets to his shows, ripping the tickets off a big roll he kept on the shelf in the back window of his car.

..something like Johnny Cash's Caddie


I'm in the back in the flowered dress

And because it's Superbowl weekend and the game is in New Orleans and I've been writing about celebrity encounters, I'm reminded of  the above BONUS SS photo. It was 1972 and we were at Superbowl VI. The scene was Pat O'Brien's where, acting like dumb tourists, we were sucking down Hurricanes (note the incredibly tacky souvenir glasses). This photo must have been taken early in the evening while everyone was still more or less in decent condition as in above the table and not underneath it. Those rummy fruity drinks resulted in the most vicious hangovers I can remember; the kind where your hair itches and your brain sizzles in a ketonic soup. We dragged ourselves to the game, nursing those hangovers, sipping Bloody Mary's and then went out and did it all again. 

New Orleans was full of politicians in the city for the big event.  Earlier in the evening pictured, we'd eaten a very fine dinner at Antoine's where in a private room we saw John Dean, Erlichman, Haldeman and others of that era eating oysters together (almost wrote this up for last week). Later that night, Tip O'Neill, then majority whip, squeezed into the chair behind me. I can claim that I really did rub elbows with him; in fact, more than just elbows as we were as cramped as sardines in there. Much merry toasting took place, the Hurricanes kept coming and we sang and drank into the wee hours.

Put your newspaper down for a minute - set that crossword puzzle aside and cycle over to Sepia Saturday for more interesting stories.

  









28 comments:

  1. I wonder who will play Liberace's paperboy in the movie? Haley Joel Osment has gotten too old but he would have been perfect.

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    1. See Nancy's suggestion below. I can't get my brain around Michael Douglas as Liberace. My imagination just isn't good enough.

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  2. "brain sizzles in a ketonic soup...," you are good.

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  3. there is so much packed into this post that I don't know where to begin. Richard as Liberace's paperboy. Now that's some bragging rights. Hope he never had to go inside to collect the bill. He was pretty cute.
    And the drinking in New Orleans. I take it you got to take home that giant-sized goblet since they gave you the box to go with it. Was the recipe for the drink printed on the box so you could mix your own when you got home.
    Let's see, who to play Richard in the Liberace movie? I can picture Drew Barrymore when she was a little girl playing the part. We have to be fair to women (girls), after all.
    Nancy

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    1. It seemed like years until I fully recovered from that hangover and I couldn't even say "Hurricane" for at least a decade, never mind mix a drink. You'd be a great casting director.

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  4. I love brushes with fame. You never told us those stories. You were too busy listening to our (not as good) brushes. This was a fabulous post! Loved every word. Your husband was and is cute.
    Barbara

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  5. I am happy my illusions of Johnny Cash have not been shattered - I had always imagined him as friendly and generous! I enjoyed your post very much.

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  6. A great story! It's always a laugh around a dinner table to ask people a job they had when they were young but I think your husband's would 'win'. I remember those Hurricanes (well the first one anyway) from my trip to New Orleans almost thirty years ago now - mmm.

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  7. The blue and white Schwinn reminds me of the first bike I had.

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  8. Liberace, that was a name I hoped not to remember. Thanks for a good story.

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  9. Enjoyed your yarn Helen. And I'm impressed that your husband can ride up those hills in your avocado grove!

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  10. Now that was just pure fun! Gotta luv celebrities and Hurricanes in tacky souvenir glasses.

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  11. You married a celebrity and you didn't know it!!
    Have a pleasant trip to India! I bet it'll give you a lot of inspiration for future blogs.

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    1. Thank you Peter. I consider it a minor triumph to have completed the visa application form. The trip itself will be anticlimatic.

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  12. Some stories! ...and that is an exclamation of wonder! Somehow my blogger didn't load the pic of your husband in current view...ah well, he probably just looks the same just bigger. Thanks!

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  13. Being Liberace's Paperboy beats my 'Playing Bridge with Enid Blyton's Daughter' by miles. A thoroughly entertaining post, The Superbowl is on live TV over here in England but unfortunately not until 11 pm at night 0 too late for me.

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  14. What an arresting title to catch my attention!

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  15. Amazing! 1972 I was one year old. Johnny Cash - I recognize him from a film about him with Reese Witherspoon. I kept the DVD. Your husband is cute now and then. Lucky father of his crush that was :)

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  16. Now that's a fine Sepia Saturday back story ... except that I got so carried away I've almost forgotten what the sepia photos were!

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  18. Johnny Cash! I Loved That Bloke's Music.& I'm Not surprised to hear he was a Good Guy!(nor that his car was black!)
    You must be really excited about India!Dont forget to take your camera!

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  19. I love this post! Thank you for sharing yours and your husbands special memories. I have had Hurricanes at Pat O'Briens too. Is that where the piano bar is, I can't remember? I also enjoyed learning more about the pitfalls of being a paperboy in love, lol.

    Kathy M.

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  20. I too had a first bike that was a blue Schwinn. And I'm happy to hear that Johnny Cash was a nice person with a roll of show tickets to give out.

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  21. A super show biz bicycle story and perfect for the theme! Best wishes on your trip too. Take lots of photos.

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  22. Oh yes, what a colorful person, and the amazing things that he did have! I have toured Liberace's museum, and it's just something everyone should see at least once! How interesting for your hubby too!

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  23. I love the title - and I love the post as well. I suppose as we move closer to an age of digital news, paperboys (girls) will become things of the past.

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  24. I enjoyed following your thoughts around the theme.

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  25. While the Liberace anecdote amused me, the Cash one impressed me!!
    Great post, quite entertaining. I see your husband got wise about matters of the heart. You'll have to tell us how the two of you happened...
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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