Next week I'll have Earl Darlin' Staggs as the Meanderings and Muses Guest Blogger. As many of you may have figured out by now, I do dearly love Mr. Staggs.
I met Earl a few years ago at DorothyL and we've become fast friends. We both grew up in Maryland - Earl in Baltimore, and me in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland named Cambridge, which is the home of my heart. While Earl and I were getting to know one another, sharing Maryland stories, I was also busy working on building a web page which is mostly a photo album. This was a labor of love that my adored cousin Bill got me started on when he started doing a Wilkinson family genealogy. I had boxes of wonderful old family pictures which I started scanning for him and decided they were such treasures, they needed preserving and to be placed where they could be accessed by the rest of the family. And ta da - a webpage is born. And it has grown from a few cherished old black and white photos to a treasure trove of memories - including vacation photos, friends and family photos, wedding album photos, Women Wearing Tiaras photos, Harley Barley photos, and The Class of '66 pictures from kindergarten right up through our 60th birthday party this past summer.
There's a section of photos of Old Cambridge and another section of Ocean City pictures. Seems Earl and I had some Ocean City ties we weren't aware of. Ocean City, MD is where Marylanders go, and have gone for years and years. Its an old fashioned beach town, old boardwalk included, with all the requisite boardwalk type shops, and carnival type games and rides. And there's a lot about that boardwalk that is exactly the same now as it was when I was a little girl. There are also beautiful white sandy beaches, and great restaurants. I love Ocean City.
A couple years ago, Donald and I borrowed a girl friend's condominum in Ocean City. She's an old and dear
friend I grew up with and have known forever. One of those girlfriends that we talked about here awhile back. Time can pass without us seeing one another, and then when we do get together, conversation just picks right up where it left off. This little condo of hers was perfectly situated just at the very end of the boardwalk, and a block back from the ocean with nothing but sand between it and us. We could sit on our balcony and watch the dolphins play. We could watch the surfers. And we could witness gorgeous sunsets, and you already know how I'm a nut for sunsets. And I don't think I've ever felt so at home in a place I've never been inside of before. It was a very weird experience, but I just settled in, enjoyed it and tried not to over-analyze it. But it gets even weirder. This condo is in the exact same spot that Earl Staggs' protagonist, Adam Kingston, lives in MEMORY OF A MURDER. That just set the tone for me for a book I thought I'd enjoy. Little did I know it would become I book I love.
Earl can also take credit for being one of the people most accountable for me being here at Meanderings and Muses, blogging away about anything and everything. He and I taking those walks down Maryland Memory Lane nudged something in me. The love I have for Cambridge and the memories I have of growing up there just started bubbling up; begging to be remembered. And shared.
Here's a fun little Cambridge remembrance. Laws, I hope my dad forgives me for telling this one!
When I was growing up there were a couple of "stag" bars in Cambridge. Did y'all have those? No women. I don't know if they specifically ever said "No Women," or if women just wouldn't be caught dead in them. There was one on Race Street not far from our apartment called the D D Bar. It was owned by a friend of Dad's named Monk Bradley, and it was a wonderful little place. I loved it - it was one of those grown-up "Not Allowed" places I would sneak into; along with the other Race Steet kids. And then be surprised when my mom showed up at the door to get me 'cause someone had called her. The D-D Bar was long and narrow and dark. There were maybe 4 booths in the front, a real long bar with a brass foot rail. There were also pinball tables, a shuffleboard table and a dart board.
If Monk needed him on Saturdays, Daddy thought it was a great (and fun!) way to make some extra money.
We had a local radio station in Cambridge, and on Saturdays, Ed Brigham would make a phone call to give away a free prize to someone if they could answer the question of the day.
On this particular Saturday, Mother and I were home, and the radio was on, of course. We heard Mr. Brigham announce that the question of the day phone call was about to be made. And we, of course, were hoping our phone would ring. Well, it didn't, but we did hear a very familiar voice over the radio say "DD Bar, Al speaking."
How fun - my dad!!!!
Mr. Brigham said "Hey Al, this is Ed Brigham, how ya' doin'?" After a few minutes of small talk
exchanging some "how's the family" kinda stuff, Mr. Brigham told Dad he would win two free tickets to the Arcade Movie Theater if he could answer the question of the day.
You could hear all the local Cambridge bar flies talking and hollering in the background, pinball machines ping pinging and all that bar noise. So Dad yelled for everyone to quiet down 'cause Ed Brigham had a question.
The question was "How long is a decade?"
Well, Mother and I laughed and she said she guessed she & Dad would be going downstairs to see a free movie soon. We lived in a wonderful old apartment over the Arcade Movie Theater. (In later posts I want to share some stories from this grand old apartment with you all).
Then we heard dad over the radio yelling to the guys in the bar "Ed wants to know how long is a DUCK EGG!!"
A duck egg.
Mother and I just about fell in the floor screaming we were laughing so hard.
You could hear all these men saying stuff like, "a Duck Egg? Hell, I don't know, Jim Bob - what do you think?" Answers like "2 inches, 3 inches - oh hell no, an inch and a half," and things like "Who the hell cares??" were all loud and clear over the radio. This went on for awhile and finally dad was laughing and said something like "Well, Ed, we think maybe an inch and a half."
Ed Brigham was hysterical and said "Al. Hazel is going to kill you. NOT a Duck Egg! A DECADE!!!!!!!!"
Dead silence on Dad's end. Then he started laughing really hard and started telling the guys in the bar that he'd made a mistake and what the question really was and you could hear those men laughing and laughing to beat the band.
For years anytime we went out to eat, especially in Ray Dayton's restaurant on Race Street, someone would holler "Hey Al! How long's a Duck Egg?!"