Fun and Games

I can recall only a few of those prized childhood mementos now. One special favorite that does still come to mind was a glamorous, mint condition matchbook from The Stork Club in New York. I think I had to trade an extra from San Francisco’s Top of the Mark  along with one from The Old Absinthe House Bar in New Orleans in order to get that Stork Club beauty.

(At that time, The Stork Club was columnist Walter Winchell’s nightly hangout. It also became famous as the favorite Manhattan watering hole for members of so- called “Cafe Society.”)

Another prize in my collection was a striped matchbook that Otto brought me from the S. S. Aquarius, one of two or three luxurious gambling yachts that plied their trade during the ’30s just outside the three-mile-limit off the Southern California coastline. Speedboats operating out of San Pedro would take high-rollers to and from these floating casinos.

***

Two things happened that broke up the long-running Otto and Eddie show.

First, the shipping company offered Otto Larsen a key berth on the east coast where he figured he could get his master’s papers and the captaincy of his own ship within two or three years. He grabbed at the transfer, said his goodbyes on all sides, and headed for New York. It happened fast.

A short time later, Eddie Daniels and Agnes Peterson pulled a fast one on us, too. They drove down to Reno for a three-day vacation—and they came back married.

Married? Agnes and Eddie? We were all happily astonished. For Agnes, it was her third marriage—her second to a merchant marine sailor. For Eddie, it was his first. My mother threw a small party for them and it wasfun to watch as the newlyweds cavorted like a couple of big, playful, overgrown puppies.

They moved into an apartment across the river in northwest Portland, up near the old ice skating rink. Once they were settled, Eddie returned to sea, while Agnes went back to Minnesota for a visit with her family.

At the flat on Taylor Street, my mother and I were now alone.

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The romance between Emma Lindquist and Dick Rankin faded fast.

The story we heard was that Rankin Field operations were going broke. Then “Tex” Rankin decided to make another go of it as a barn-stormer, and he pulled his kid brother, Dick, along with him. So it was more stunts and exhibitions. More air races. An occasional Hollywood job. More and more travel. Emma said no thanks.

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