Here’s a story describing how Patrick met his second wife.
So I’m sitting side by side with Jerry Jarvis on the iron railing at the entrance to the Maumee Hotel in Toledo. Out the door comes a pair of women we both want to know. First choice we seem to agree is the one in white toreador pants, though the other is also fine. Jerry is first with his feet on the ground. My loafer gets caught in between the uprights of the railing. I lose my shoe, stumble with one sock on the pavement. This catches the attention of the tall one in white pants. I make my move. As far as I know I have only one advantage over Jerry; he is young, his Navy training has put him in good shape, and he has a pretty boy face. But he has only finished high school.
“Did you go to college?” That was my approach. Sounds a bit weak, but it hit the mark, as unlikely as it seems.
“Yes,” she answered.
Jerry was already working on the other girl, wasting no time.
Well, maybe one other advantage I have: I am wearing a black patch over my left eye. This is the result of a disagreement with a guy named Coop, and this story I will tell you another time, if you want more detail.
“Want to go for a cup of coffee?” That was me. I could have said a drink, but no use in pushing it. At this time I am not drinking of a morning, and seldom of a night.
That cup of coffee got me a promise that we would go together to the art museum the next afternoon. I happen to know that Toledo has an El Greco, and since she has told me her major was art, and in fact she is a teacher of art, she has to be impressed by this fact. She is on summer vacation, I learn in the coffee shop, and also on vacation, maybe permanently, from her husband. This last information I find most interesting, as you might imagine.
I am on leave from my wife and children, too, it so happens. Of course at this time I think it is only temporary, but do not mention this detail to Mari, which is how she spells her name. She had the choice, it turns out, because on her birth certificate it says Unnamed Irvin, due to her mother leaving the hospital before deciding on a name.
To cram the next two days into the proverbial nutshell, we discover we are somewhat compatible on several points, and we move into an apartment together. This does not sit too well with her employer of the moment. It seems she answered an ad for an au pair and got the job. Au pair was fancy enough to grab her attention, but she was only a baby sitter, however you look at it.
Her boss, name of Chet, does not take it lightly. He runs a crew selling subscriptions to magazines, and since his wife has run off with one of his salesmen, leaving Chet with two kids and a blue Cadillac to care for, he is in a bit of a jam here in Toledo, which is not well known for its supply of au pairs. What’s more, some stumblebum has adorned the Caddie with a deep gash in the powder blue paint from tail light to headlight, and Chet convinces his musclemen that I am responsible, which is in no way anywhere near the truth, I am willing to swear on a stack of bibles and they would like to put a patch on my other eye, if they can find me.
Which is going to be impossible, because I am shacked up in the apartment every day going through a few packs of Trojans over the next week, Mari being as susceptible as I am to hormones and pheromones and the like. I have given Jerry the key to my Olds and he delivers my guys to the field every day, and they go on working.
Jerry and Tom Maypes have a thing going between them, and they are selling up a storm. This is good, because Coop is in the clink for punching me in the eye, and his good buddy Shim took a Greyhound back to Chicago after the trial, leaving me short on the crew. Rainbow Studios likes their photographers to stay busy, for the simple reason that the photographers will drift off to other employment if they can’t pull in some pretty serious bucks.
So Tom and Jerry, while it sounds like a cartoon, are not a laughing matter for me. Between them they make the nut every day of twenty tickets each, practically no eyeballs, and Richard back on Lawrence Avenue is sending me the overwrite checks like clockwork.
Chet and his crew move on to new territory after a week or so, and I am meeting Tom and Jerry and a new crew member, Melissa, a girl picked up by Jerry, who is still the apple of Tom’s eye, but maybe not forever. On this day we are sitting in the cafeteria of the Maumee Hotel, where I am with bacon and eggs and Tom is with a Bloody Mary. Of which he offers me a sip, so he can say after with a wink, “by proxy.” Which annoys me no little, especially since Mari and Bloody Mary already make a squeak in my conscience – she is turning out to be quite sensitive in some matters.
The night before this we have gone with Tom to a bar called Daisy Chain, which is a place where men ask me to dance, and women go for Mari like bees to the honey comb. I am not used to such behavior, and we are quick to exeunt, as the bard says. This is our last night in Toledo, as we have decided on a tip from Jimmy, the photographer following our footsteps in this city, to head out for D.C. And neighboring Alexandria. The trip offers a few more educational adventures in the underbelly of our great nation.
Jerry decides to stay in Toledo with Melissa, so it’s fat Tom in the middle of the back seat of my Olds for the twelve hours to DC. Jimmy the photographer will follow after cleaning up the appointments in Toledo. When he has sent the film off to Chicago, he is done. The proof passer will revisit Toledo, and housewives and their husbands will choose their eight-by-ten out of the thirty-six on the contact sheets, and if they are lucky they will not spend more than a hundred bucks for extra eight by tens for the grandfolks, five by sevens for aunts and uncles, and wallet sized color photos for Pop to show to his buddies at work.
Meanwhile, Tom is telling us his life story in the back seat, and about half of it goes in one ear and out the other, but some bits stick. During his last sojourn in Washington, he tells us, he sells rocks in Grants, at five dollars each.
“Rocks.” He drops into his spiel. These rocks are from the Holy Land. He can’t guarantee that the feet of Jesus trod on the stones, but his robe brushed the ground where they were found.
Then he was with the circus for a while, Dr. Maypes from the House of Wisdom, with the turban and the crystal ball. Your fortune is my fortune.
This is the end of Patrick’s story (toledo.odt). Perhaps he planned to segue into a new piece from here, or maybe just complete it, but this is all I’ve got.
Patrick Meadows 1934 – 2017.