Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nick Clooney's invite opens my eyes to the south

Now...George’s Dad...Nick Clooney.                                               repost

     In the summer of 1956  Nick returned home from AFN Europe and called me at my parents home in Effingham, Illinois.
       He suggested I drive down to Lexington, Kentucky to a ranch and hang with him and get up at 4AM to clean fancy race horse stables. Boy that sounded like fun (not) but it would be an interesting trip. 
      I had my first real taste of the deep south...the whites only signs at the water fountains and stuff like that.  I was somewhat startled at this which is strange as I lived in a town that allowed NO blacks...and they couldn’t sit down in any Effingham eatery. And this was southern Illinois not Mississippi.
      I had been born and lived for sometime in Paris, Illinois where blacks were treated as least...although they had to live in the southeast section of the city. Black basketball players for Paris High School were great...and I remember lanky Bob Owens leading the Tigers to the state basketball championship two years in a row...whipping the socks off the big bad Chicago teams!
      But the Paris Tigers were not welcome to play in Effingham.
No teams with a black payer could play in Effingham...and you know what...if you read my earlier blurb about the two interstate highways crossing just northwest of the city...then you could guess how that whole thing would radically change.  And it did.

     Anyway I cleaned the stables and bid Nick farewell but I got a phone number for him as he said his next stop was Beverly Hills...not necessarily at his sister’s Roxbury address but at an apartment they had on the south side (poor?) of Beverly Hills. 
 (NOTE:  For the story on Nick Clooney trying the acting bit use the "search" box on the top right of each post and put in "Nick and Stan back together again" and you'll get it.  It's VERY interesting.)

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