Thursday November 19, 2009

It was another one of those "Red Letter Days" .....

That's how I like to think of them, now that I've accumulated enough to make a book out them. But I won't ..... I still have two manuscripts to finish. "The Mastics .....From Blueblood to Blue Collar" and "Buzz & Pee Wee, Butchie & Me " So I just post some of the more interesting red letter moments to my ol' Web Glob, where if you have read any of my other postings, you know by now I like to "lay it on thick".

Here are more synchronicities, that have happened all too frequently ever since 1994, when I started writing my first book "Long Ride On A Short Track" and those uncanny sometimes "spooky" moments I had with some of the main characters, like Axel Anderson, that started hitting me as fast and furious as Axel's front bumper of his modified Stock Car would hit any car that might be unfortunate enough to be blocking him from getting to the front of the pack.

The start of the Long Ride book, began with a song as most of my books have. It also took shape in phone calls and later coincided with the growth of "The Internets" (all forms of communication btw) ... I never get tired of hearing "The Internets" ever since I first heard it called that by George W. Bush, and everytime Keith Obermann, reminds his viewers of W's eloquence with the King's English.

I will always credit my son Erik to introducing me to this new form of communication, back when he was not quite ten years old ( Child Is Father To The Man ) and those 14 K "steam powered modems" went boing, boing, boing, when you fired them up, only to que you into a part of the World Wide Wait, that was inhabited mainly by techno - geeks.

By the time, I got fully engulfed by "The Knapps", the internets had started to explode, and all sorts of communication and information ebbed and flowed in and out of my Mac. The Knapp story that evolved over nearly a decade, had enough Red Letter Day moments to write a separate book out of, but I instead have chosen to fold them into the Knapp manuscript. that although is about 6 to 9 months behind production schedule, should be arriving in print early in the new year. I have always enjoyed sharing info and always welcomed new stuff and friends, both long lost and new, as my now mega website The Knapps Lived Here, aptly demonstrates.

Happily it still does, just like it did this past Thursday :

Regular readers may recall a recent posting from September of this year titled "That Old Wheel" which if your curious and click on it, you will discover the most convoluted yet somehow tied together part of my life that I have ever posted. But once again may I remind you, this is why I GLOB, rather than Blog and why I never hope to become a bloody twit -ter.

Part of that posting dealt with a new book "The Murder In The Stork Club",that I made a small contribution to by supplying the publishers Crippen & Landru with the artwork they used for the cover. They found Grandpa & me on "The Internets" btw. Near the end of October, Doug Greene the main man there, recontacted me asking for my mailing address as the book was finished and he wanted to send me some copies,both hard & soft cover.

So last Thursday afternoon I started thinking, gee I wonder if Doug may of forgot to send the books,or if they could of gone astray. My street address often gets reversed or miss read because my house number and the street name are just one digit next to each other 46 & 45.

And so I sent off a one liner e mail to Doug asking if he had sent out the books yet. I no sooner hit the send button and the mail lady hit my door knocker with said books in hand. That is not the first time something like that has happened and granted it was a small Red Letter Incident,but when it happens it really brightens up my day. Then a follow up e-mail was quickly dispatched (I hadn't even opened the package yet)to Doug with the subject line titled "Would You Believe?"

And that was just the start of What Happened Next, Last Thursday, One Week Before Thanksgiving 2009......

First thing I did was bring the books for a photo session into the "Cub Room South" as I like to call our dining / tribute room to both Anne's grandparents, Claire & Steve Graham of Graham's Restaurant in Warren,Ohio and my Grandfather Jack Spooner from the legendary Cub Room of The Stork Club in NY City. There, the actual original 1930's artwork that now graces the covers of these books hangs proudly.


And after I get through reading you, you will join the growing Spooner mini library of ten books that I have found via the Internets, published from the 1940's - 2000, that have Grandpa & The Stork Club in them. You are the first however, where Gramps is on the cover. I wonder what old Mr."B"* would think of that? It more than likely would steam his clams. Though I'm sure if Sherm was still here,he would be sending out copies as Christmas Gifts. ( GREAT IDEA!)

* Sherman Billingsley, Stork Club Proprietor

This book contains four of Vera Caspry's mystery stories with The Stork Club story being the centerpiece. As I read through the forward, I would learn that her "novelette" was initially serialized in Good Housekeeping Magazine in November & December of 1945. In fact the editor of Good Housekeeping sent Vera to the scene of the crime,The Stork Club,just off of 5th Ave,where she dined every night for several months, all the while closely studying the inner workings,personel and of course the celebrities who frequented the club that newsman Walter Winchell labled "The New Yorkiest Spot In New York" It gives her story added realism.

I later would learn from Googling away,that Vera's story was also published in a hardback edition in 1946 available from Detective Club books and advertised then in all the leading magazines,like Life, Collier's and American.( the latter two of them being Knapp mags) Then when TV was in it's infancy,Vera's story was dramatized in 1950 on the Philco Television Playhouse with Franchot Tone in the cast. Much to Billingsley's delight,he got to play himself this time.( He didn't in the 1945 Hollywood Movie musical,The Stork Club with Betty Hutton ) That probably gave him the idea for his own dreadful DISASTER of TV series The Stork Club, that aired on both CBS & ABC in the early '50's.

But it was when I got to actually start reading the story itself, that another Red Letter Moment came my way. Here is the opening of Vera Caspry's story:


There was really nothing to it. Everyone who dined regularly in the smart New York restaurants had witnessed similar scenes. The blonde woman was Henry's ex wife, divorced almost three years but still as tremulous at the sight of him as a schoolgirl seeing her first movie star. Her escort, a pompous veteran of too many good dinners, bowed curtly to Henry and urged the woman to hurry lest the miss they curtain's rising.

Henry's companion returned. Until nine-fifteen they continued to eat and talk intimately. While they were having coffee and brandy, the girl glanced at her wrist watch, uttered an exclamation, and jumped up. She started off impatiently while Henry was still holding her coat. He accompanied her out of the Cub Room, past the bar, out the door.

A small man who had been dining alone paused at Henry's empty table. Jack Spooner, head man in the Cub Room, darted forward. The small man pointed to a platinum cigarette case and said, "Better keep your eye on that. It's valuable."

"I'll take care of it," Spooner said.

And with that we are off & running !!!!

It is obvious that Vera had observed during her nightly dinner research,how Gramps took care of things in the Cub Room. By the 1940's he was a veteran and celeb in his own right of the NY cafe society scene, having started at the Waldorf in 1905, when he was just out of the Marine Corps.

I couldn't wait to read on and see if he re appears in the story, He does!, but I haven't had too much chance yet to read further. And then another E Mail came in shortly after on the same day, that really reinforced the red letter moment !

The first one was brief and right to the point.

     I have reason to believe your George Schlagel is the brother of my Conrad Sclagel.  I always wondered what happened to George and then I found your web site so I think this has confirmed George Schlagel. Please email me back

Well that sure got my attention because you see a George Schlagel 1852-19-- was Jack Spooner's real father. Spooner was the name of his stepfather that all surviving Schlagel children took on when my divorced great grandmother Amelia Schaub Schlagel,married Fred Howard Spooner in 1893. Most of the Schlagel / Schaub / Spooner stuff I have is on a page I posted in 2007 titled Great Grandmother Spooner Hits The Bottle .... Again. That page was generated by finding two bottles of Spooner Polish from 1903, that I found in Austraila on the Internets ( E Bay). That was another Red Letter Day.

Debbie must of read that page in order to find me and so I fired an e mail right back. Then Schlagels & Spooners & documents flew through cyber - space that afternoon and evening and it was soon resolved that yes indeed, I was talking with a genuine biological family member, that I never knew, and vice versa. Debra Lynn Carver Bruns is the first living person I have encountered in the Schlagel line.

Now Schlagel is the type of name that census takers and immigration personnel loved to mangle and miss spell. Therefore it takes a whole lot of tenacity and a little bit of luck to research. But then again our actual family members in the two 19th century family bibles that Debbie ( who thankfully is a genealogy buff ) and I both are fortunate to have, would often miss spell it too.

I also got to see photos of George Schlagel's older brother Conrad and his family and an 1860 census where for the first time, I meet my Great, Great Grandfather John Schlagel,who immigrated from Hesse Darmstadt, Germany to Allegheny,PA in the 1850's with his wife Barbara and three sons who in 1860 are: Conrad age 12,Henry age 9 and George (My Great Grandfather) age 7. Henry was the middle name of Grandpa Jack's older brother Charlie (the first professional musician in the family I know of) and of course John is John Jack Spooner's full name. My Grandpa's, Grandpa (who I doubt he ever knew)was a Quarryman by trade. ROCK ON!

US Census July 1860


My Great Uncle Conrad Schlagel, 1848 -1926 & His Wife Katherine Elizabeth Lorisch

I would date this photo circa 1912 - 1915

And so life and this story hopefully goes on too. I now have a new found Cousin of some degree,and a new friend to boot and share family history with. Debra is a poet btw. It only took us three years to find each other on The Internets. Now perhaps a member of the Schaub family will turn up before too long, or even a much further long shot,a relative of John Schaub's wife Sarah,whose maiden name is unknown to me. I only know from the 1870 census, that Sarah __ Schaub born about 1831,came from France.

I am also about to start posting new found stuff on my father's family whose last name being Joseph has always caused havoc. Having a first name for a last name was a pain for me all through school and I was not sorry to shed it in 1976. It is an equal pain to research. I have so far traced the Josephs back to England in 1802. Would you believe my father had an uncle named Joseph Joseph Joseph !!! and I will also be adding in the scant stuff I have recently found on the Brachmans, sometimes known as Brookman, courtesy of my Grandmother Julia Brachman Joseph who married Walter John Joseph in Feb of 1907 ( BTW Walter John Joseph is my brother Butchie's real full name and he strongly resembles his grandfather and I favor Jack Spooner )


The year is 1944 and she is holding my newly arrived Big Brother "Butch" who seems to not be enjoying it. My Bigger Sister Gerri , who I will be seeing this Thanksgiving, is looking on somewhat bemused. Little did the three of them know that I was just three years away from my initial curtain call.

Good Ol' Julia Joseph liked to change names around too, She married Walter as Julia Brookman and promptly added an S to their last name,that both he and his three sons Herbert, Walter (my father) and Lester Joseph never used! She was the only one.


The Schuabs, Schlagels & Spooners