Category Archives: Family

Jack Keevers writes a note to Betty Shields, June 14, 1932

DapperJackKeevers

Dapper Jack


 
 

BettyShields

Betty — “Libbie”

WESTERN UNION PRESS
Congress Hotel,
June 14, 1932, 11 PM

Dear Betty:

How are you, honey? I suppose you are ready for the good old hay, or sumpin’. Did you work hard today? I hope not. What’s new by you, precious? There is one thing I’d like to hear you say right now. Betcha if you were here you’d say it, wouldn’t you?

I saw lots of big shots today. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. gave a boy one thin dime.

I talked to Will Rogers this afternoon as follows:

WillRogersBaseballMe: Who is going to be nominated, Mr. Rogers?
 

Will: Yes, the Cubs have a good ball team.

He looks just like he does in the movies. Peculiar, eh?

One of our men was at Hopewell on the Lindbergh case. He did not say much about it.

The California delegates gave a concert in the lobby about 8:30. Music & baloney while you work. The baloney was all about Hoover being the man to end the depression, to the tune of Moonlight and Roses.

If this sounds a little squirelly, don’t pay any attention to it. I just thought I would drop you a note to show that I was thinking of you. I may go home in an hour or so. We have been very busy all day, and expect some fireworks in a few minutes.

Well honey, will be seeing you. I hope it’s soon.

Je t’aime
Jack

6-14-1932

Marriage Notes for John O’Connell Keevers and Elizabeth Margaret Shields:

November 30, 1935 – WITH THIS RING I THEE WED

It was early, very early the day they were married. The church was shadowy. Tiny golden flames flickered on the altar and brightened the faces of those two who were repeating the marriage vows after the scarlet-clad priest. BETTY SHIELDS was changing her name. Tiny, sweet BETTY SHIELDS was becoming JACK KEEVERS’ bride. And what a lovely bride Betty was.

Her dark-fringed blue eyes seemed bluer than usual. Perhaps it was the reflection of the blue bridal gown. And how her eyes shown! Could they have been enhanced because of the sparkling silver turban perched so demurely upon her proud head?

Never was there a bride who wore a ring so tiny. Surely it had been fashioned for a fairy princess. But, of course! BETTY was the Fairy Princess and JACK was her Prince Charming, not only on that morn of November thirtieth, but forever and ever.
Reprinted from Saint Jerome’s church bulletin.

Kidz

Bernie, 40 month old

Bernie, 40 months old

(Grandpa gets some sweet cereal. Bernie is very interested in what’s going on in the kitchen as Grandpa quickly hides the cereal bowl in a cupboard that Bernie can’t get to but is in plain sight. Later, Grandpa is chewing a mouthful.)

Bernie sitting on the couch with Grandpa: “What are you eating?”

(Grandpa ignores Bernie.)

Bernie: “What’s in your mouth?”

(Grandpa just keeps chewing.)

Bernie: “Open your mouth!”

(Grandpa shakes his head.)

Bernie, 40 months old, switches tactics: “What’s your name?”

BernieBeautyGrandpa speaking with mouth closed: (“mmm Puddn N’ Tame mmm”)

Bernie: “What’s your name!”

Grandpa: (“mmm Puddn N’ Tame. Ask me again & I’ll tell you the same. mmm”)

Bernie: “What are you eating!”


The last time I was babysitting Bernie (3 years
old), she admonished me:

“Gampa, don’t pick your boogers”.

(It’s nice to know she’s being taught well.)

Other times it’s:

“Gama, I have icky boogers.”

(She wants her Grandma to wipe her face with a wet paper towel).


ImHereBernie bursts in through the door.

“I’m Here!”

Papa Invents the Drive Thru Toilet

Papa Invents the Drive Thru Toilet


Papa saying COOL! at the NASCAR races, Placer County Fair, Roseville

Papa saying COOL! at the NASCAR races, Placer County Fair, Roseville


Newest Addition to the Roughhouse Crew

Newest Addition to the Roughhouse Crew

I Live in a Den of Hashashians

My Father's liquor measuring cup—jigger—was free standing like the one on the left, but egg-cup shaped like the one on the right, but with no gavel-like handle, and a stem between the 1/2 ounce and quarter ounce cups

My Father’s liquor measuring cup—jigger—was free standing like the one on the left, but egg-cup shaped like the one on the right, but with no gavel-like handle, and a stem between the 1 ounce and 1/2 ounce cups

A Non-User Sandwiched Between
Generations of Aficionados of Forbidden Substances

When I was growing up, we had a fine silver implement like the one described, with the cup sizes finely-inscribed just below the rim with die stamps. The metal was brass underneath the silver plating; all throughout my childhood, the silver was wearing away, so the yellowish appearance of the core metal was showing through. But you could flick the rim of the cup with your finger, and it would emit a bell-like tone.

Catherine, James, Suzanne, Kenneth

Sheila’s Children, about 1967: Catherine, James, Suzanne, Kenneth

I had it re-silvered, and gave it to my sister, Sheila. It was a strange experience, getting new silver plating: The silversmith I found in the phone directory, wouldn’t let me come to his shop, for fear of robbery. I had to meet him in an isolated, rural location. I only saw him twice: The first time, I left him the jigger and the cash, something like $40. He called when the work was complete. I met him at the same place, he handed me the jigger in a sealed, transparent zip-lock bag. It was glowing with a brightness I had never seen. I sent it by mail to Sheila. I never heard anything else about it. When I tried to find out about it from her kids, they said the house was razed after her death, because she was an ultra-severe hoarder, but no one had seen it.

My Dad was 21 when the Depression hit. He was 25 when Prohibition was repealed. I believe he was a subscriber to the glamor culture of a forbidden substance, rather similar to the current marijuana culture. Jack had a bar. The jigger was an heirloom from those days.

Jack Keevers about 30

Jack Keevers about 30

When World War II was getting ready to break out, Jack was a liquor clerk at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago. He told his boss that he should stock up on scotch because of the war; his suggestion was accepted and the move saved a lot of money for the hotel.

Jack later showed signs of problem drinking. We would see him in a mildly intoxicated state, sipping his high-ball, muttering-yelling at the television. At such times, he was drinking alone.

Later, when he drowned cleaning a swimming pool after having a heart attack, we had sad questions about whether or not he had been intoxicated at the time of his death.

ElkhornAndDryCreekRioLindaCA

Elkhorn & Dry Creek, Rio Linda, CA

I had nightmares of getting “high”. No matter how long I remained “clean”, I couldn’t shake the fear of relapsing back into marijuana use. Finally came the day in the early 1990s, nearly fifteen years after I had last “used”, that I knew I was liberated.The last time I consumed marijuana was in the late 1970s, in the same back-back pool yard, lined with 6 foot high grape stake fence, where my father had died. I smoked it in an ordinary tobacco pipe, a cheap plastic one I had bought at a Thrifty Drug Store. After that time, through the grace of Christ’s Sacraments, I began to overcome what was an addiction for me.

I had nightmares of getting “high”. No matter how long I remained “clean”, I couldn’t shake the fear of relapsing back into marijuana use. Finally came the day in the early 1990s, nearly fifteen years after I had last “used”, that I knew I was liberated.

Snake Man's heated, humidity controlled cabinet was twice as wide and twice as deep as the one depicted here

Snake Man’s heated, humidity controlled cabinet was twice as wide and twice as deep as the one depicted here

I was at the house of Snake Man, a tall, slim, muscular, handsome young twenty-something, with long, blonde hair, down to the middle of his back, one of the most truly jovial personalities I have ever known. He was a bassist in a Christian band, self-described as a “Carnal Christian”. (He pointed out to me that Igor Stravinski’s Rite of Spring is diabolical; I had never suspected it and have never heard it from anyone else.)

Snake Man had a python in a 6 foot high, heated and humidity controlled cabinet. We worked together at the then-world’s largest industrial bakers. He invited me to his house.

I had been there a few minutes, when another one of our colleagues, a guy who had hair like Phineas of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, came in and threw down a 4×6 inch flat, aluminum foil package onto the rough, wooden living room table.

“Whelp, I’ll be seeing you.”

“Wait a minute, where are you going. Why don’t you stay and have some of this?”

Phineas of R. Crumb's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

Phineas of R. Crumb’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers

“No thanks, I’ll be seeing you.”

I walked out. It was then I knew that I was free.

It had been a long journey. It had begun on the last day of the 1960s, December 31, 1969. My parents were out at a New Year’s Eve party. I was a psychologically shaky fifteen-year old, attracted by the drug culture of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (L.S.D.). Although no one had to force it on me, I was legally and psychologically incapable of informed consent.

Here

“I’ve sold my soul to the devil.” – John Lennon,
December 27, 1960

I was given marijuana stronger even that now used by the people around me. Cambodian, opiated cannabis indica, had the reputation of knocking out a grown man on a single “hit”. After four hits, I felt the drug coming over my body from the feet up. In a moment I was lying on my back in the middle of my parents’ living room floor, “dancing” on my back to the Beatles’ White Album.

My attraction to weed eventually contributed to my becoming homeless. Numerous attestations of the disadvantages of marijuana use can be found on this website. Let those who refuse to believe that there’s any cost to introducing a “natural” substance into one’s body, take their chances.

For myself, it is my desire to live apart from this scourge. I now have to walk into rooms with a thick haze of marijuana smoke. I have been so overexposed, I smell it in my blood when I am away from home.

Please, Lord, get me away from this.