Touching The Hem Of Fame

Very Likely Possible. . .

January 8, 2003

Back when I was a junior in high school, I played a cockney in the school operetta, My Fair Lady, which features cockney Eliza Dolittle who gets reformed by professor Henry Higgins. In one of the early scenes, I, in my patched tatters, admired the beautiful finish of a hem on a wealthy well-dressed woman as she passed by me.

I briefly touched the hem of the lady, who could have been famous in her world.

But I can't imagine this kind of fame. Mr Blackwood, the FASHION JUDGE of the world, has seen fit to pronounce judgment on a certain author who's works have receiving my attention lately. Yes, right up there with Anna Nicole Smith and Princess Anne, my favorite author, dear Anne Rice was singled out for his barbs.

Personally, ''a cross between Queen Victoria and the Vampire Lestat!'' sounds rather lovely to me. But what does a poor pedestrian person like me know? Actually quite a lot, if you ask ME! Just don't ask Blackwell.

Still for all of her fame, and all of my non-fame, there may be a brief brushing of our fates, however remote. Reading her bio, there is a minor bit player who sounds very much like a minor bit player (actually not quite so minor) in LAURA's bio.

Read now, the description of when Anne and Stan got married:

''Anne wore a blue brocade shirtwaist dress with long sleeves and a flared skirt, size five. Stan wore a suit.

The JP was a one-legged Baptist who walked with a crutch and held a Bible in his free hand. He was warm and open, enjoying the unusual setting.

The wedding party stood in front of a large fireplace, and the Ritters silently prayed that the occasional scorpion that came down the chimney would not show its face.''

from PRISM OF THE NIGHT, by Katherine Ramsland

Now read the description of a man who'd helped Laura get her first job, many years ago.

''I also met One-Legged Johnny at Lamson Business College. Johnny was Jan's friend. He was tall, 6'2'', skinny, with a movie villain's narrow, pockmarked face. His reputation was as nasty as his appearance. Whether due to his missing leg or because he was plain ornery I didn't know, but he could be one hateful bastard. Leastwise, if the stories about him were true. I was used to a father who was a hateful bastard, so I liked him anyway. Johnny, however, hated me. He came from Texas and we were always ragging each other about our home states. He'd say things like, ``Texas is still paying sales tax for Pennsylvania.'' I'd quip in return, ``Texas is fish dung washed up from the Gulf of Mexico.'' I thought we were joking, good clean fun, and assumed he thought the same . . .''

''. . . After that Johnny and I became stout friends. He trusted me as he had never trusted anyone. That's what he said and I believed him. It was One-legged-Johnny who was instrumental in getting me my first decent job, a NCR 3000 operator at the Valley National Bank. A NCR 3000 is a bookkeeping machine designed to do ledgers and statements on checks and deposits. When I was hired Emil Schuster, the supervisor, informed me I had an exceptional friend in Johnny. The only reason I had been hired was because Johnny wouldn't stop badgering him.''

from IN THE ARMS OF A RAINBOW, by Laura Lansberry

I wasn't able to find it in her bio, but Laura had said many times, when telling tales of the past, that Johnny reformed his past criminal ways even further and returned to Texas to become a Baptist preacher! Anne and Stan got married in Texas, in 1961, which was about four years after Laura got her first job.

Now how many one legged Baptist preachers in Texas could there have been in 1961?

I say their JP and Laura's friend were very likely one and the same!

© Joan Ann Lansberry
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