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  November 2004
volume 2 number 4
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  Michelle Brodeur
  Nika Cavat
  Francisco Dominguez
  Dale Duke
  Ron Dvorkin
  Erik Haber
  Marie Lecrivain
  Laura A. Lionello
  Patrick Mooney
  Greggory Moore
  Kevin Stricke-9
  Gregory T. Young
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Ron Dvorkin
November 2004



Rev. Dave Wheeler

    Ron Dvorkin is the father of the talented and visionary poet Douglas Dvorkin, who tragically passed away at the age of 20. Ron is the host of the Barnes and Noble Saturday monthly poetry reading in Encino.



Take a Hike

    I was born and raised in Hollywood, CA, and spent much of my time during my early years, in, around and in back of my dad's drugstore on the corner of Fountain and Hayworth.
   I used to watch and tease Dad as he took the pills from the big bottles and put them into the little ones, but also watched as he brought out a mortar and pestle, working on some of the many different barks and berries he stocked to make wonderful, healthy concoctions.
    Hollywood was like a small community at that time. There was a famous drugstore called Schwab's where movie stars went to have breakfast, network, and be seen. When they were hung over, they did not want to be recognized, and so they came to our store which was only two blocks away.
    Most of the big movie stars of the era came to our drugstore at one time or another. I can remember in the fifties working behind the counter as the Sweet Water Chemist, or Soda Jerk, several times serving Joe DiMaggio coffee as he waited until it was time to go pick up Marilyn Monroe, who lived just down the street.
    Marilyn was Dad's favorite. He would save for her all the movie magazines with her picture on the cover. She would come in the store to buy them, dressed in jeans and a man's shirt tied in the front, no makeup on, and she looked just radiant, with a natural allure.
    My dad taught me our special customer's privacy was very important, so when I worked behind the soda counter I would clandestinely look over as Joe DiMaggio sipped his coffee, but was careful not to recognize or talk with him.
    I remember one time when I was nine years old, and I was thrilled when Dad took me to a baseball game. It was the old Pacific Coast League; the Hollywood Stars versus the Los Angeles Angels. That was a big inter-city rivalry played at Gilmore Field, home of the Hollywood Stars. It was on the corner of Beverly and Fairfax where CBS is now located.
    It was a great little ballpark, where you could see the action from any seat.
    It was around 1944, during WWII. A friendly atmosphere prevailed at the ballpark; everyone knew everyone else.
    There was a feeling of togetherness, and love of country, patriotism if you will, and a sense we were all in this war together, and we would see it through to the end. It was a time of food rationing, air-raid alarms and blackouts. Gasoline was also rationed, and the speed limit 35 miles per hour.
    At any rate, I digress. I had just been given a new red baseball cap, and before the game, I proudly had many of my favorite ballplayers autograph it.
    At about the fourth inning, several fans pointed out to me that sitting in a first base box was Bing Crosby, and several adults encouraged me to have him sign my cap. He was the biggest star of all, a popular singer and actor. I loved him, everybody did. He had just won the Academy Award for his beloved portrayal of Father Chuck O'Malley in the film Going My Way. Maybe you remember.
    Between innings, I excitedly walked over to his location with my cap and pen in hand. I approached him eagerly, but before I could even ask him to sign, he looked at me with contempt and started screaming, "TAKE A HIKE, BEAT IT KID!"
    I stood there, confused, frozen. I didn't know why he was yelling, and all the while this great show business star just continued screaming at me those horrible words.
    I could not move. The entire ballpark was watching my humiliation.
    My eyes welled with tears, my head down, standing there for everyone to see.
    Crying uncontrollably now, I just could not move. Dad was watching from a safe distance and did not come to save me. Finally, a kind stranger put his arm around me, and directed me toward my seat as the great star got in a final, contemptible "TAKE A HIKE, BEAT IT KID!"
    I never liked Bing Crosby after that.

copyright 2004 Ron Dvorkin