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a story to tell . . . #1

If this works for me (and I've yet to discover!) I am initiating a new series of postings on this site. My main LJ site: Oldandeasy, has been given over to frequent postings on where my head has been going, of late. These can be retrieved, 25 in a recent bunch, with the 'cluster-retriever': http://oldandeasy.livejournal.com/

I assume that these, too, will be retrievable using the same format: http://oldefool.livejournal.com/  We shall presently see. For now, I'll proceed on the assumption.

So here's the first story I have to tell, here...

During all the pre- and wartime years (and on beyond) that I lived in San Francisco, and regularly read the SF Chronicle -- always my favorite paper, there -- The Chronicle had a rather mysterious columnist named Royce Brier -- mysterious, because his face was never shown. He cultivated a virtual legend about himself, in that respect. Shown from the back, sometimes, but never face-front. And as I grew up, that was the Royce Brier I became familiar with.

But in rummaging through my earlier life, as I've recently been doing, I've come across some events from years earlier -- from when my family lived in San Jose, in the early-to-mid 1930s. These things are not so much 'plagued by memory' -- for I actually recall very little of those times. Born in 1927, I was not yet 8 years old when in San Jose and these things happened. They are 'inscribed on mind' more as legends in their own right, rather than actual memories. And I recently discovered that there had bee something big on the San Jose scene, news-wise, that merely got rubbed into me, though not at all understood at the time. I was not really old enough to grasp it, with any understanding.

There was a lynching in San Jose, at a downtown park in front of the city jail. It was big news at the time -- heck, made it into East Coast newspapers, I'm sure . . . I think my Dad had brought some of them home. At least, his hometown newspaper, from St. Paul, Minn. So it did register on me, but that's about all I can say, this long after. For the rest, it has fallen into the status of legend. And I've only recently become aware that this old legend involved Royce Brier at a reportage level for the SF Chronicle. I hadn't actually recalled that, and I'd seem to have forgotten it by the time my recalled knowledge of Royce Brier finally settled-in.

Here's the story...

Kidnapping had a brief Depression-era vogue in the country, mainly centered on the Lindbergh child, which made big headlines in the mid-1930s, around the same time as the one I'm recalling. This one in San Jose had to do with the young son of a big local department store owner. I don't really recall much on that aspect, for this is about the two fellows charged with the crime, and what happened to them. Royce Brier was one of a pair of reporters sent to San Jose by the SF Chronicle, the other being Carolyn Anspacher. It was really my introduction to Royce Brier, though I had fully forgotten it by the time -- when I was closer to 20 -- that I was later captivated by his 'invisibility'.

San Jose was a fairly small place, in those days, and we lived in walking range of the City Hall and local jail facilities. At least, at my Dad's walking range. The town was in an uproar, over the capture of the two kidnappers, and a huge crowd gathered at that park; and I suppose, before long, they made use of a battering log to force their way into the jail and bring the prisoners out. Local police were helpless in the face of it; and apparently no state police were at hand. My assumptions, of course.

At any rate, that's what was later reported . . . quite likely, by Brier and Anspacher. And long-since forgotten by me. My later 'take' on Royce Brier had no recollection of this. Nor do I know, for sure, if my Dad actually was part of that throng. But he did have a way of watching thing from the sideline. And I must have known -- then -- if he'd been out for one of his evening walks, and into town. But I certainly have no particular recall, on which to base it.

End of tale.


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