Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Jack Blanchard's Column..August 7, 2018

  Thousands of intelligent good-looking readers.


We were living in a cabin in an old motor court on 79th street,
paying rent by the week.
We were buying a junky used car, also paying by the week.
Our rent and our car payment were exactly the same amount.

Just starting out, we had no equipment or instruments.
At a lounge in Hallandale, I talked the owner into trying us out as a duo.
We were both piano players so we had a problem.

We went to see Gus Rubin,
a friendly man who ran a little music store called Ace Music.
He rented us two mikes and a guitar amp to sing through, and an accordion.
Neither of us played accordion, but in a pinch we figured we could fake it.
We were the worst duo we had ever heard.

We knew we stank, but we hoped the owner didn't know it.
At the end of the first night he looked at us with pity,
and told us that our music was "not good".
The understatement of the year.

Gus had rented us the equipment on the honor system.
We were to pay him when we got paid,
so we took the stuff back, paid him for one night,
and had exactly enough money left to pay either the rent or the car payment.

The landlord had shut off our water and electricity
for being an hour late with the rent,
so we packed all our belongings in the car,
and drove through the Friday traffic to make the car payment.

We parked in front of the Intercity Finance office and went in.
The woman behind the counter took our money and gave us a receipt.
Just as we were about to leave she asked:
"Why do you have the car packed with clothing and bags?"
I was still young and honest, so I said,
"It was a choice between our rent and the car payment.
We decided to pay you".

She asked us to please wait for a moment,
and went into the back somewhere.
She came back and said their legal department ruled that without an address,
we couldn't keep the car.
We told her we had just given her all our money,
but she didn't care and wouldn't return it.

This was the help she gave us:
She would allow us to keep our things locked in the car, at her office,
until Monday, when they would reopen.
If we had an address by then we could have the car.
We were broke, homeless, and with no transportation,
facing the long weekend ahead.

A few years later we read in the paper
that she and her whole outfit went to prison for doing bad things to people.
That good news was too late to help us.

We didn't know which way to turn as we went out into the late afternoon heat.
For some reason we hitchhiked to Hollywood.
Maybe because we had worked around there,
and might run into somebody we knew.

The sun went down fast, the way it does in south Florida,
and we got hungry.
I knew the family that owned Jimmy's Italian Restaurant.
The son was sort of a friend of mine.
He gave us dinner and we promised to pay later.

Midnight came and went
and we were still walking.
No luck anywhere.

We were sitting on a bench in the big circle in the center of town.
Directly in front of us was the old Hollywood Hotel,
a castle left over from the Al Capone days.
I remembered that I'd met somebody who told me he was the night clerk there.

We went in and I asked the guy if he had a place we could sleep for free.
He said "Well it's now 3 AM, the day clerk doesn't come on till seven,
so I can let you sleep in a room for four hours."
We took the deal.

Somehow we got through it,
but things didn't get much better for a long time.
Just different.

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan...
Home Page:
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists. 

© Jack Blanchard, 2018.  

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