|Posted on Wednesday, September 4, 2002 - 7:22 am: |
Thanks for sharing a glimpse. And, for what it's worth, my condolences.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 6:41 pm: |
Sounds like a man of the oft misunderstood beat gen.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 12:15 pm: |
Thanks, Marc. I'm finding out more about him from relatives since he passed. I was just talking to his sister, who told me how his mother and younger brother are both buried in Arlington National Cemetary. She also told me that his time in the 1940's was spent hitchhiking across the country, and that one point he called her at 5 in the morning to play trumpet for her from Manhattan. I'd love to write his biography, if I could find all the people who knew him.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 10:48 am: |
Leonard sounds like the kind of guy that I would have liked to have had a drink with. Raschied, you're lucky to have had a friend/father like Leonard. He may not have been the most responsible dude on the planet but he certainly seemed to have lived a full and fascinating life.
Thanks for posting your memories of Leonard.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 9:56 am: |
Leonard's behavior in life always provoked strong responses. Some hated him, but others just considered him a character. He was trustworthy with money for the most part, and could write checks in just about any establishment in Downtown Sacramento despite the fact that he didn't have a shred of ID.
One thing that impressed me in his later years was that he could go anywhere in Downtown and people would yell, "Hi Leonard" as we walked past. He definitely made an impression on people.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 6:11 am: |
10 years after my mother and he split up, I ran into Leonard on a city bus.I was 20, with a very-pregnant wife at the time. we talked for a while on the street corner, and we exchanged phone numbers.
By the time I got home, I had a message waiting for me. Leonard called, "just to make sure this was real, and not some kind of delusion." That message told me a lot about the world Leonard lived in.
Over the next ten years, the relationship went from bad to good to bad several times. When we finally broke down and bought a car, Leonard would call several times a week asking for rides at 10 at night to the store.
Once, he invited himself and his girlfriend to dinner at my house, expecting filet mignon and brie. He was mortally offended that I was letting my wife go out with her friends that night, and I was just serving chicken nuggets for the kids. I didn't hear from him for over a year after that incident.
Whenever Leonard decided it was time for a vacation, he would find a way of getting admitted to the local hospital. He knew how to work the hospital system, telling people what they wanted to hear, and with his slightly-addled condition, most of the young residents would admit him "for observation" for a few days.
Once in the hospital, he would pester the nurses, enjoy the "great meals" as he loved hospital food, and draw people's pictures with pastels. I tried to get him to stop, but he thought it was the best way to get care, and that he "deserved it" because it was free for him. I used to call it his "club Med" vacations.
Unfortunately, his health really did take a turn downhill these past months, and this last hospital stay stopped being fun for him about a week ago. Although he hadn't smoked in 20 years, his lungs started to give out, and he started having trouble swallowing anything, even water. His sister took him off the vent-assist machine Saturday afternoon, and his body gave out minutes later. He was 75 years old.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 5:49 am: |
Leonard could be crude, kind, honest, and a lying bastard all at the same time. Having a conversation with him was almost impossible, because he couldn't stay on one topic for more that a few minutes. He called everyone "Baby" and spoke whatever came to mind with no filter between his brain and his lips. I remember one time where he told a woman "That wig you have on today looks a hellofalot better than the one you had last week!" That was high praise from Leonard.
Growing up with Leonard was like living a sitcom. Despite whatever day job he had, he was always concerned with his art. He once brought home an old toilet someone threw away, and planted geraniums in it, and put it in our front yard. My mother had a fit.
One summer, after an on-the-job accident, he spent the entire summer painting "Emmet Kelly" style clowns in the garage. As the tempature went up, the clowns got eviler and eviler looking.
Leonard was a hustler with people. He was always looking for the "big score" that would make him a millionaire. He never had a problem with asking anyone and everyone for a favor, which drove my mother insane. Mom finally had enough when I was about 10 years old, and bailed on the marriage. I didn't see him again for 10 years after that.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 5:38 am: |
Leonard's history before he met my mother is still shrouded in mystery to me. I know he was born in San Antonio, and grew up there. He talked of being a fry cook in Manhattan at one point, and that he followed the restraunt owner down to Florida. He joked he was a gigolo on the beaches down there for a while.
I also have a photo of him in Fairbanks Alaska, playing a trumpet, although he had no interest in music when I was a child.
He was in the Korean War, and afterwards, was given shock therapy treatments at a VA hospital in Oregon.
My mother ran into him on the campus of the University of Oregon, and he was doing pastel portraits. He offered to do her picture. She thought he was a rich eccentric artist. She got two out of three right. From Oregon, we headed back down South, to Sacramento CA. Leonard had a sister living here, and he came down to borrow money from her.
|Posted on Monday, September 2, 2002 - 5:31 am: |
My dad died this weekend.
The word dad, and father, have a strange meaning for me. I never knew my biological father, and I seriously doubt he's still around ("Boston" Bob Delaney - if you are reading this, write me) but you never know.
To understand who I consider my father, you have to understand my mother a little. She left home in '66. moved to Greenwich Village for a while, and actually roomed with Seals and Croft. From there, she headed West, looking for the Beatniks, and found the Hippie movement in full swing.
My natural father ran a bookstore deep in Haight-Ashbury called the Third Eye Bookstore. While my mother made beaded necklaces, he sold books in the front, and dealt drugs out the back.
When my natural father wanted to start up a nontraditional family (him, my mother, and another woman named Sandy) my mother bailed. I was 3 weeks old. She moved up to Grass Valley, and joined the commune there.
I heard lots of stories about here friends at that point. Everyone had nicknames, like Friar Tuck, and the stories were legendary, like my mother stealing a California Bear flag from a Bank of America to make a wedding dress for her friend's wedding.
Finally, she left the commune with some friends and headed North, to Oregon. It was there she ran into Leonard, the man I consider my Father. The man who died this weekend.