Newsletter 049 – October 27, 2023
Disclaimer: This newsletter and the two that will follow it were written in advance. This was done to allow me to focus on tasks I have to complete before I can publish my next books (Flood and Fire and Jagged Man).
This is a shorter newsletter, just a wrap up of some of my celebrity spotting at The Summit in Houston.
I followed a guy with long blonde hair down one of the office hallways for several minutes before I realized it was Björn Borg.
Jaleel White (Urkel) has a deep, non-nasal voice.
Kevin Costner is listed as being 6’1” but he approached me during a Rockets game, asking where the skyboxes were. I was 6’1” at the time (I’ve lost about an inch since then, some of the padding in my spine has mysteriously disappeared), and I remember looking downward (just a little bit) when I talked to him. Linda Ronstadt (who is shorter than Kevin Costner) seemed shy. Toby, a Ringling Brothers elephant (who was much larger than both of them), wasn’t shy at all. She used to grab my hand with her trunk when I walked by, searching for the fruit I sometimes brought her when Ringling Brothers Circus played at the Summit. She was born in the wild in 1961, and (I believe) is now at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.
Actually, when I think about it, I met quite a few famous people while working as a schoolteacher, too.
Walter Cronkite was one of the first students to attend Lanier Middle School (back in 1926). He visited the school a couple of years before I left.
Former Texas governor, Mark White, dropped by the school for a dedication ceremony the same day the space shuttle Challenger blew up. Mr. White’s sister taught at Lanier then, as did Susan McDougal’s brother.
Neil Armstrong, the astronaut, brought his computer by the school one day to donate it. His daughters had attended Houston ISD schools, and he wanted to give us something. It was one of his IBM computers (probably circa 1980). I hung on to it for several years, but during the summer of 1999, during an equipment purge (while I was gone on vacation), someone mistakenly tossed it, thinking it was junk. Ouch. I did manage to hang onto his software disks for a few more years (Lotus 1-2-3, DOS, etc.), but none of our newer computers were compatible with them.
Several of Houston’s mayors visited Lanier, and we seemed to have had people trooping through there every month or so. It was a busy place. One person I remember was Daniel Quinn. He was an author who lived in the neighborhood. One of our teachers invited him to come and speak to the students about his book, Ishmael, about a talking gorilla who places an ad in a newspaper asking for a pupil who would agree to be taught by him. The book unfolds as a philosophical treatise on society’s ills and how to solve them. Very interesting.
The last two newsletters in this series of ten will cover other things that have helped me as a writer, like my former acting career and some of my earliest writing.
See you then.
[“Fame sometimes hath created something of nothing,”
Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane
Standard Disclaimer: Please post a comment below if you would like to. All comments are personally moderated by a grouchy old guy, though, so posts by self-promotional schemers, spammers, and lunatic ranters won’t make it through. Everyone else, whether your thoughts are positive or negative, please feel free to speak your mind. Thanks.