Friday, February 20, 2009

A Memory

I read three newspapers a day. The local paper early in the morning and the larger papers when my son brings them home with him in the evening. The big boys bought our local paper a few years ago and combined it with another beach cities local. Most of the quirky writers that I loved were fired and the paper itself was made smaller and a lot less interesting, but I like to know what is happening locally so I pay for a paper that feels very like I'm reading a high school journalism project. That and a cup of John's strong coffee will wake me up every time (not necessarily with a smile).

A few weeks ago I opened the L.A. Times and came face to face with a memory. A very sweet memory that really did put a smile on my face. There on the page looking exactly as I remember him was the face of "Dr. George". It tickled me so much I turned to my son and asked, "Do you remember Dr. George?", which in turn tickled him so much he got up and came over to sit beside me to play "I Remember Grandma".

My father used to watch the news on KABC every night after dinner. My mother used to watch the weather on KABC after dinner. As John says constantly, 'we don't have real weather', but my mother became addicted to the news about tomorrows non-weather. The reason...Dr. George Fischbeck. She loved him.

The article in the Times said that he still looks the same. "the thick, black-rimmed glasses, perched atop that beak of a nose, the mustache still animated, if a bit grayer than when he left KABC in the 1990's."

"Fischbeck made an instant impression when he landed in Los Angeles in 1972 by clinging relentlessly to his lack of polish. He flapped his arms and raised his Groucho Marx eyebrows. He shuffled through hand-drawn charts, someitmes struggling to find the right one. He sometimes got so caught up in lecturing about the atmosphere that he forgot to deliver the forecast." My mother loved him!

She was so taken with him she made a special effort to be free when the news came on, which was very unusual for my mother. She always had a project of some sort going. Her usual after dinner activity involved that project until Dr. George arrived in town. One evening with Dr. George on the TV and she was hooked. All things were put aside when the news and Dr. George were on. My father used to get more of a kick out of my mother then he did with the tale of weather to come. It became a family tickle and we used to tease her about it.

Then one afternoon she and one of her friends went 'downtown' to celebate the friends bithday. They went to one of their favorte hotels, the one with the glass elevator on the outside of the building. My mother loved riding in that glass elevator and always came home with a tale or two. This particular evening she came home not only with a tale but with a sparkle in her eyes.

After lunch, while she and her friend were waiting for the elevator to arrive to the top floor a man came and stood beside her to wait too. My mother never met a stranger so she turned to say something friendly to him and 'lo and behold' there standing beside her was none other then Dr. George. My mother was never known to be speechless even when excited so she did her usual friendly Bonnie thing. She says they had a great time. She lavished him with praise and adoration and he lavished her with his quirky smile. She could almost reiterate the conversation word for word, and it was a long one, afterall they had to go all the way down the side of the building in the glass elevator.

She said they talked like old friends laughing and sharing during the ride down and when they reached the ground floor he told her how glad he was that they had met and then reached over and kissed her on the cheek.

She had so much fun the following week telling all of us that we were not allowed to kiss or touch her on her Dr. George cheek. That was the cheek reserved for the weatherman.

My mother would have loved reading that article in the Times. It tickled my son and I so much we had a lovely time remembering Grandma's Dr. George cheek. Isn't it nice to have a happy memory drop in on you unexpectedly?

Take care of yourselves, my friends. Love, Pennie/Sandra