Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Possibly True Hollywood Story, Part II #ThrowbackThursday

See also A Possibly True Hollywood Story: My Dad's Stories About His Grandfather

In September last year, I shared some family stories that came from my father about his father's father, who was allegedly friends with Buster Crabbe. Today I have a new batch of stories my dad told about himself. To sum up the circumstances briefly:

* March 24, 2014 was my Dad's mom's - Gloria Elaine's - 80th birthday. We had the party on Sunday. Please don't think we ignored her, even though we spent the 24th elsewhere.

* On the 24th, my brother, sister-in-law, my nieces, and my mom hopped on the commuter train into Chicago and went to Shedd Aquarium. My husband and I, and also my dad, had to work Monday.

*After work, hubby, Dad, and I went to the pub for dinner and drinks. We were there almost four hours, during which time many stories were told.

Dad Bill was a police officer in South Bend, Indiana, for 36 years. This is what he looked like as a 21-year-old rookie.


Yep, that's my parents on their wedding day - February 16, 1974.

South Bend is the fifth largest city in Indiana (after Indianapolis, Gary, Evansville, and Fort Wayne), but it's also home to the University of Notre Dame. Having football and basketball arenas, the university is also a concert venue, hosting acts such as U2 and, in the year of my birth, Elvis Presley. Not long before my birthday and his death (not the same day, but kinda close), Elvis performed in South Bend, and my dad worked security.

Elvis in 1970. Public domain
Before the show, Elvis had a hankerin' for some watermelon. It was February, though, and there was no local watermelon to be had. Februaries in South Bend are brutally cold, snowy things. So Elvis sent his private pilot in his private jet to Memphis to fetch him a watermelon from Elvis's fridge. Approximately two hours later, the watermelon arrived, and Elvis enjoyed it on his way to the airport.

He and his best friend (in the 1970s and still today) Tom worked security together at an AC/DC concert, too. One member of the band - he doesn't recall which one - called them "the pigs" (he said something like, "Oy, the pigs are here!") but then offered to share his blunt with them. They politely declined.

AC/DC's Bon Scott, 1979. Public Domain
Dad Bill also had a one-time security gig for Zsa Zsa Gabor. He swears she was one of the nicest people you could ever meet - and, of course, stunningly gorgeous. He escorted her to a steak house and waited outside. But then Zsa Zsa came out and said, "Aren't you going to join us?" And she sat Dad Bill and the other security escort at her table and treated them to a steak dinner.

Zsa Zsa in Lili. Public domain
In the years that Joe Montana was a student at Notre Dame, he lived in an off-campus apartment above a bar. My dad used to hang out at that bar, and the very outgoing, sociable Montana would sometimes invite Dad Bill and his friends up to the apartment. Many, many students - usually of the female variety - would hang out there.

Joe Montana in 2006. Creative Commons image by Phil Hull
Those were some of his best days on the job. He also told us about some of his worst days, days when people committed homicides right in front of him. One summer he witnessed so many, no one else wanted to ride in the squad car with him - he was considered bad luck.

I'm definitely lucky to have him as a dad, though.

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