Leslie Van Gelder Fights The Pondering Pig

I’ve been writing a piece about Leslie Van Gelder, or Leslie Hipshman as I knew her then – the girl whose 1962/1963 letters were posted here in the last weeks. I want to round off those letters by describing an evening we spent together in December, 1961.

Maybe I’m indulging in self-delusion – imagining it’s possible to resurrect a night forty plus years ago as if it was last night. It wasn’t significant or life-changing for either of us in any way. We didn’t fall in love. We didn’t decide to expose J. Edgar Hoover no matter what the consequences. We just spent a nice night alone together in the city at the rainbow’s end.

Yet here it is, carefully stored on its own shelf down in the memory banks. Or enough of it to make me think I could try to resurrect the whole evening. I’m trying to see the seventeen-year old Leslie in my mind’s eye, listen to her voice and imagine I remember exactly what we talked about in that cheap Chinese restaurant so long ago.

I have several clear mental pictures to work from. But it’s a challenge. And a fun challenge for me, even though it’s keeping me away from the novel a little longer.

If I don’t put it up in a few days, then it is a failure, and I’ll never be able to face my friends again. So wish me luck!

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9 thoughts on “Leslie Van Gelder Fights The Pondering Pig

  1. “Something is happening and you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mister Jones?”

    Can anyone easily assess their own times? It takes at least a generation to put some things in order. Kings have to die. Wars must needs be put aside. The words and lives of our past require detachment and impartial immorality to be filtered successfully. A lot of clap-trap, I know, but somehow necessary for reasonable study, mes non?

    But who here is reasonable? Who be dressed in the cloak of righteousness? None are worthy, no, not one.

    Dig, Brer Pig. Stamp on the terra. Dance the last dance of the night like it were your last, in fact, it might just be that. Or, maybe so not.

    In any event, I digress. Go, Pig, go. Run the train full throttle. Scream through the station and careen haphazardly into Diamond Heights, if that be what it takes. Otherwise, just tell us the story.

    Tell me a story, Uncle Pig. I’m tired and I wanna go to bed. I like the one about Sal and Dean and funny old Carlo Marx.

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  2. Thanks, pals! For newcomers, let me introduce my illustrious guests. Jinx is that well-known feline philosopher who catches and then releases mice. Strictly a hobby, you understand. When the pressure of philosophizing gets too great, it’s off to the barn to nab another one of those blighters.

    Paula is the Great Rememberer of the North, who routinely recalls her punk youth in Vancouver in the 80s as if it were last night. Actually, she’s been a little slow lately, but her back files can be enormously entertaining. At I Remember… (http://cowpunkmom.blogspot.com/)

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  3. Man, I am looking forward to this! Trouble is, as I mentioned before, every time I try to imagine Leslie I imagine my old friend Kerri. Now I see you young, walking through the dark streets of the Richmond, with Kerri gliding by your side in a long red velvet goth dress. Bother, I just can’t shake it!

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  4. I see this 20-ish pig guy chilling with the bretheren and sisteren in the last American city. It was 1962 or sumthin’. They were playing gut (yuck) string guitars and a-singing “Tom Joad” or “Midnight Special” and figgering they’d be discovered by, like Albert Grossman or Izzy Stein or, maybe Mitch Miller.

    Leslie knew the Young Pig. Lucky Leslie.

    Well, maybe we knew the young Pig and never knew it. What do you think? I grew up with this guy named Frederico. He danced with Rita Moreno, if you recall. He was the Puerto Rican porcine doing the Meringue with her in “West Side Story”. He was from Bean farm and was just Frederick when he was born. He went on to literary fame.

    Ok. The Meringue scene was an out-take, but that doesn’t take away from the truth. He danced with Rita Moreno and that’s no small feat.

    Ok. I lied. He wanted to dance with Rita Moreno and he got axed in the audition. Heck, he’s my pal and I gotta lie for him. He bailed me out in ’54 from that ugly business when that rooster Charles guy was fighting with that Leghorn cartoon fella and I got in the middle of it. Henrietta told me to leave the roosters alone and I couldn’t stay back. The cartoon thing was big and, being farm guys, we were ready to be discovered. Huckleberry Hound was big, so too the other Jinx, with Pixie and Dixie.

    Face it, I was royally pissed. Me and Pix and Dix used to work the Keith circuit back in the 30’s, as “Me and Two Rodents”. We were big in Altoona, but bombed in Albany. They split with the other Jinx and got hooked by Hanna-Barberra. I wish them well, but still haven’t gotten past the burn. “Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.” I guess you get the idea.

    I ate Pixie and Dixie.

    But Fred was a New York pig. He went to Nathan’s on Coney Island and we never saw him again. Some thought he went to ‘Frisco and others thought he ended up in New Orleans, where he opend the original “Tipitina’s” before the hurricanes. I think he’s still eating hot dogs.

    I knew the pig way back, you get the idea. Here, I’ll stop. Youse mugs will get lost if I continue. I might burn off both your ears.

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  5. I knew Leslie Hipshman Van Gelder in San Francisco when she was dating Darby. I fell for Leslie in a big way, and the last time I saw her was in upstate New York in the late 60’s. She was/is funny, creative, sensitive, a good writer, and a super lady.

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  6. I knew Leslie Hipshman Van Gelder in San Francisco when she was dating Darby. I fell for Leslie in a big way, and the last time I saw her was in upstate New York in the late 60’s. She was/is funny, creative, sensitive, a good writer, and a super lady.

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