Larry, Stuart and Ronald.
Memories, like ghosts, float about to haunt our senior nights. Sometimes they come unbidden; sometimes through incantations uttered wispily we call them forth. There are bad recollections, of course. The ones we conjure up and embrace are the good reminisces, which we occasionally wish we could relive.
"Let's form a band." I don't recall who had the idea. It seemed a good one at the time. Rock 'n' Roll was blossoming with people like The Mike Pedicin Quartet, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys, Bill Haley and the Comets and some wiggle worm named Elvis. We all played instruments, why not get in on the action.
There were four of us and we got together a few times and gave it a shot. Or was it someone tried to shoot us? There was Stuart on his baritone, a kind of undernourished tuba, Teddy on slide trombone and me on trumpet, all trying to produce some kind of harmony to the rhythmic beats of Bill on his snare drum.
We were a long way from the aforementioned pioneers of Rock. We were more a pathetic echo of a very bad Salvation Army Band. All we lacked was Ron on the Sousaphone, but this was a few years before he took up that instrument.
We were making our caterwauling in a room at Stuarts.This shows the graciousness of his lovely mother that she didn't attack us with a broom and sweep us out the door.
There were three of us who stuck fast through those days, Stuart and Ronald and I. Other friends flitted in and out of our world, but it was always we three who danced to the same drummer, although we were different in many ways. I remember evenings of gathering before early TV to watch frontier Playhouse, old westerns cut down to fit the screen, which seemed new to us. Or the more scary or imaginative stuff we shared an appetite for. Stuart and I sharing some horror on "Shock Theater", laughing along with the cadaverous host, Roland (pictured on left). Or Ronald and I at his place taking in the latest episode of "Twilight Zone".
(The former Roosevelt Theater, formerly Downingtown Opera House, as it appears now is on the right.)
But time and the river flow on and life took us away from each other. If the highways of life parted us, the web of the internet brought us back. After I lost my bank job ten years ago, Ronald contacted me and we picked up by email our old friendship. Not long after he found Stuart in Florida and I began to co-author plays with Stu, just as we use to create songs together fifty-plus years ago.
Leslie is the charming and talented daughter of Stuart (and how could she not be talented with a father such as he?) She began arranging a reunion between us, a get together in the vicinity of Philadelphia and so, on July 10, we came together once again in Mrs. Marty's Deli in Broomall.
It was as if time had never been. The comfort was there, the ease, the banner and the talk.
I hope we can meet again this way before another forty years or so rolls down the highway. My knees aren't so good now. I fear they may give out altogether when I am over 110.
Below is a video record of the day, pieced together by your's truly from film taken by Ronald and myself. Leslie took her own and hopefully we'll see us from her lens viewer one of these fine days.
Now, if I could only reunite with my hair!
Three Desperadoes Ride Again
Desperadoes at Lunch
Desperadoes for Dessert
Desperadoes in the Afternoon