February 6, 1998

Remember the big fire on Pacific Street in 1924? This was before we had city water and we had to fight fires with well and cistern water. There was a certain widow, very attractive, living next to Bella’s Grocery.

One night, as of many nights, here lover was there in the house with here, He was a married man and did not want his presence in the house to be known. The man was a Latin lover and very passionate.

He was so passionate in his love-making that he kicked over the lamp and set the curtains on fire. He was so afraid to be seen, that he jumped into a trunk that was sitting at the foot of the bed. Vincent Bella noticed the fire and yelled to my brother Baby to run and ring the fire bell, which was one block away at the City Hall.

When the fire truck arrived, a couple of firemen ran into the burning house. They could hear a muffled sound saying, “Save the trunk; save the trunk; save the trunk!”

Remember when Mr. Bonner used to have a lunch car at the Ferry Landing in Morgan City? He had a sign on his wagon which read: “Coffee 5 cents a Cup – Strong 100% Proof Coffee 25 cents a Cup.”

I asked a young man about 12 years of age how he liked the moves of today. He said that he loves them, especially all those fake blown up lizards that Speilberg directs – those impossible space movies. I asked him if he liked westerns and he said, “No – no signing westerns or love shows.:” I asked him if he could name some of the old movie stars and he could not. But he said he had heard of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. Well, these two stars were legends in their time.

Charlie Chaplin died when he was very old. He had a lot of problems because they accused him of being a Communist and he was deported to Switzerland. He became very ill and died sitting in his wheel chair, while looking at one of his old movies, “The Champ” with Jackie Coogan.

Rudolph Valentino was a very young and virile man – very good looking and the idol during this time of all the women. He was great; he was wonderful; and the greatest star that ever lived – he was invincible! The news came that Rudolph Valentino was dead!

At 27 years old, Rudolph Valentino was dead of a ruptured appendix. His greatest picture was “The Sheik.” He had only been in this country for three years. During the funeral, which caused such a furor and excitement in Hollywood, there were over 500 policemen guarding his casket, and women were crying especially Poli Negri,

Several times they rushed up and tried to take his body out of the casket. They just couldn’t stand to see him buried.

* The End *

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