Author Archive

May 2017

Mother’s Day

Mom and me at the beach

Mother’s Day 2017 was spent at home. The demons of dementia are respecters of none, nor do they honor a special day set aside to honor our dear mothers. And this weekend, those demons have been very active, dashing around in my dear mother’s mind, snatching bits and pieces of her memory, jumbling them up and throwing them back at her.

As you know, when things get bad, it’s into the family auto we go; sometimes a ride helps. We saw the sun go down Friday afternoon, came home for a while, and then early Saturday morning we were off again; this time we got to see the sun come up.

Mom slept off and on since then. But thankfully, she’s up now, as sweet as ever. It’s during her spells–as I call them–that I try to remember my mother as she was before in the snap. As a child, my dear parents were always there for me, answering my myriad questions about whatever crossed my mind at the time. We often drove to Pensacola Beach for the weekend in those gentle days gone by; Dad at the wheel of our Nash Rambler, mother riding “shotgun” and me bouncing around in the backseat in the days before seat belts. Oft times at the beach, I’d dash along the shoreline picking up shells and smooth stones that had washed ashore. In the snap, it’s some of those smooth stones that I’m showing my mother.

Seashells for Mother’s Day

A few months ago, while cleaning out our storage room, imagine my surprise when I discovered those same smooth stones in a box of seashells. The boxed seashells were purchased at one of those long-gone seashell shops that once lined Hwy 90 from Pensacola to Bay St. Louis. Mother had saved the box and its seashells, along with the stones, as she did with so many of my childhood trinkets, coloring book pictures, and the like. When another spell traps mother in its sticky web, where she does not know where she is and refers to me as “that boy who looks like my son, Andy,” I’ll think of those smooth stones and those seashells. For they will remind me of time, a happy time of childhood innocence. In a world gone mad, it’s those memories that make life happy once more. And once again, my dad, mom, and I are at the beach gathering seashells and smooth stones, not realizing that we were making memories that would–and have–lasted a lifetime.

Jan 2017

My Dad. A Remembrance.

Dad and Me 5 001Twenty years ago, January 11, 1997, was cold, bitterly cold. The sun was shining, though, its warming rays sprinkling the winter garden of the Brent House Hotel in New Orleans with sparkling rays of sunshine. As I sat quietly reading, “The Nazi Doctors,” I could not wait to tell my Dad about it. I’d inherited my love of history, especially World War II history, from my Dad. We often read the same books about the war, which led to lively discussions around the kitchen table. But on that freezing day, Dad was not capable of talking about books or anything else. Little did I know what that day would hold.

            The 1996 Christmas season had been busy. I’d taken off a few extra days from work to make sure my upcoming Christmas soiree would be as festive as ever. Invitations for December 21st were sent with this schmaltz opening: Never a Christmas morning, never the old year ends. That I don’t think of someone–old days, old times, old friends. The food had been ordered and would soon be delivered. My wonderful, old 2nd Street apartment was resplendent with glistening decorations. A good time would surely be had by all! But a phone call from Mom on December 19th quickly put a damper on everything. “Anthony, I need you. Your father’s sick. Come home now!” Without hesitation, I stopped putting the final Christmas touches on the dining room chandelier and rushed home. What I found was not good.

            “Dad, you okay?” I asked as I entered my parent’s bedroom. His answer was not one that I had expected. “Son, I don’t feel good.” Knowing that my Dad was a man of few words when it came to personal matters, I knew something was amiss. When he ask me to help him to the bathroom, my suspicions were confirmed. By the time he got there, he could hardly breathe. “Dad, I think you need to go to the hospital…what do you think?” He nodded yes. “Mom, I’m calling an ambulance.” And thus began a journey, one that would prove that I was stronger than I ever imagined.

Dad            After sitting for several hours in Gulfport’s Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, a preppie young doctor introduced himself and cut to the chase: “Mrs. Kalberg, we think it’s best for Mr. Kalberg to go to Ochsner. His tests indicate a severe blockage in two arteries, possibly some in the aorta. We can call Ochsner…get the ball rolling if wish.” Of course, we said yes. Dad had had heart surgery at Ochsner in the early 1960s, performed by its founder, Dr. Alton Ochsner. That surgery helped correct my Dad’s heart from the ravages of childhood rheumatic fever. Dr. Ochsner told my parents if they had waited six more weeks, Dad would have died. But for now, Dad would stay at Memorial until after the New Year.

            Mom took the night shift, and I took the day shift. Dad was weak, so weak he could hardly walk, talk, or eat. It was difficult to get him to do any of those things. But the first order of business was canceling my Christmas party. I enlisted the help of David Delk, who called my guests–all 100 of them–and let them know that the party had been canceled; family always trumps a party. While hospitalized, Dad would walk for me when he wouldn’t walk for Mom. I knew why. He was more than aware how delicate she was, both mentally and physically. She didn’t say much, but I knew deep inside she was fearful of what was coming–major heart surgery.

            My journal entry for January 9, 1997, started with these words: “I’m sitting here alone in a celery-green sitting room, which is part of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Ochsner…” Leave it to me to write about the room’s interior, which looked as if it hadn’t been redecorated since the 1960s. I also wrote about the families in the room. Some were in tears, some were laughing, but I sensed that everyone was somewhat fearful of the future. I too was one of those people. Mother was in our hotel room. For those that don’t know, the Brent House Hotel is attached to Ochsner Hospital, which is most convenient for families with loved ones there. Knowing my mother as I do, I knew that I’d be on my own for whatever the future might hold. And how true that would be!

Dad's 1992 Train Trip 001            Dad’s surgery was originally scheduled for January 8th. However, it was delayed until the next day due to a child’s emergency heart surgery–hospital rule, children always come first, which is understandable. January 9th did not go as planned either. Dad’s surgery was rescheduled for 5:00 A.M. The Front Desk was supposed to call us at 3:30 A.M. You know where I’m going with this story: they didn’t. I woke up from a sound sleep and knew something was amiss. I called Front Desk. The desk clerk told me it was 5:10 A.M. Yikes! Not a good start to what would be an incredibly long day. I told HER to call the Surgical Unit and inform them why we’d be a tad late! I quickly jumped into some pants, a sweatshirt, and slung a ball cap on my head. I then woke Mom and Dad, got him dressed, and dashed off to the Surgical Unit with Dad in a wheelchair; Mom said she’d  follow right behind once she got dressed. When I arrived at the Surgical Unit, I don’t know who was more apologetic: the nurses, due to the Front Desk snafu, or me for not having a travel clock, back in the day when folks still traveled with such.

            The nurse quickly put Dad in a room and started prepping him for surgery. Once she did, he was placed in a bed in another room with other patients who were waiting for surgery as well. After looking for Mom, I found her, and we went to the room where Dad was. Our pastor, Dr. Kiley Young, came in to greet us. What a surprise! He was there visiting another church member. We prayed for Dad’s surgery and its outcome until the nurse interrupted us. “Mr. Kalberg, it’s time,” she said. In the poignant silence that followed, my Dad’s eyes filled with tears. I’d only seen my father cry once before. It was at my sweet Granny from D’Lo’s funeral. He hugged my mother, who was crying too. He told her he loved her very much. Then he looked at me with his huge brown puppy eyes and said forcefully, “Son, you take care of your mother!” I said I would and with that, he was wheeled out of the room and down a long hallway. Just before turning a corner, Dad looked back at me with a strange, forlorn look on his face. I think he knew deep inside that the surgery would not go as planned. Alas, there had been no time for me to tell him that I loved him or him me.

            For the next five hours, Mom and I cooled our heels in the celery-green waiting room. A few dear family members came to keep us company. It was a delight to talk with them and play catch-up. Occasionally, a nurse would give us an update: All was going as planned. Late in the afternoon, Dad’s doctor came to the room with good news. The surgery had gone well, which surprised the doctor considering all that was done. He’d replaced Dad’s aorta and mitral valves; a bypass was also completed. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Mom and I hugged and kissed our relatives and said goodbye. Dad was resting peacefully in Intensive Care, so Mom and I ate supper. After that, we went to our room, got into our bed clothes, and went to bed. It had been a long, long day! Sleep came quickly. Unfortunately, so did a call from Intensive Care.  

flamingo motel            “Mr. Kalberg, please come to I.C. as soon as possible…your father’s taken a turn,” said a monotone nurse’s voice. “Yes, ma’am. We’re on our way.” Mom was awake when I got off the phone. I told her what the nurse had said. For the second time that day, we quickly dressed and dashed to the hospital. Dad’s doctor met us in a private waiting room and told us what was happening. “Mr. Kalberg has developed some internal bleeding, caused by all the new surgery. This is a serious development, one that I was not expecting. We’re doing all that’s humanly possible for him.” Mom started crying. I held her close to me. “Doc…what’s going to happen?” I asked with hesitation. The doctor looked directly into my eyes and said with great kindness, “Within twenty-four hours we’ll know. I’m very sorry” He smiled, shook my hand, and left.

            The nurse came in and ask us if we’d like to visit Dad. The Intensive Care Unit was huge. There must have been thirty or forty patients in it. As we passed room after room, we could see the patients with tubes and wires all over their bodies. Above each patient was a series of computer monitors recording heart rates and such. Just before we got to Dad’s room, the nurse stopped us. “Mrs. Kalberg, Anthony. I just want to warn you that Mr. Kalberg’s swollen due to the internal bleeding.” Then we entered the room. Mom gasp. I inhaled deeply. Dad looked bad, really bad. The nurse told us that he probably could hear us but could not speak. He could barely move.              

            As we approached the bed, I could not help but notice the tube in Dad’s mouth or the myriad of wires that spun around him like a huge spider web. He was covered in a thick blanket. And like the other patients, hanging above his bed were computer monitors; their green lines and numbers flashing. But it was his face that was the most distressing. He was so swollen, he was almost unrecognizable. His eyes were swollen shut, as were his lips. His face was bloated and jaundiced looking. Mother spoke to him, as did I. But I’m not sure he heard us, much less understood what we were saying. The nurse arrived and said it was best that we leave.

            On our way back to the hotel room, Mom was silent. I’d heard that silence before. It always meant that she was shutting down, withdrawing into herself. I also knew that from that point onward, I’d be on my own. I was accustomed to that too. Being an only child, I’d learned long ago to survive by myself. Or should I say, by myself with God’s help? For the second time that night, we got into our pajamas and went to bed. I fell asleep to the sound of Mom crying.

            The next morning, January 10th, dawned bright and cold. Mom wanted to stay in the room and have breakfast sent to her. I order her some and left. “Mom, I’ll keep you posted. I’m gonna have some breakfast and read in the winter garden after I see Pop. I love you.” She only smiled. It was a bittersweet smile, but a smile none the less. I could only imagine what was she was thinking. At 10:00, the first visit of the day was allowed. The celery-green waiting room emptied and was silent. I once again passed the many rooms with their very sick patients. I paused when I came to Dad’s room. I was not sure what I would see.

            I then heard a very cheery voice. It was one of Dad’s nurses. Her name was Rosie. Kevin and Lilly were his other nurses. I laughed and told them that I was terrible when it came to remembering names, so I’d best nickname them. Rosie was christened  Sweet Rosie O’Grady. Kevin became Kevin Costner. Lilly accepted her Tony as Lilly Langtry. We became fast friends. My journal entries for that day were posted about every two hours after visiting Dad. As the day lingered on, my entries were a mixed bag of fear, sadness, and a bit of anger. Why was this happening and why now? God are you up there? If so, where?

            Lilly told me that Dad’s body had so much excess fluid in it, the doctor had ordered a dialysis machine to help the body drain. Kevin came into the room and started that procedure, as Rosie emptied the urine bag. It was dark and murky. The room reeked of alcohol and disinfectant. Dad still had blood on him for the surgery, which Lilly started to clean. And the noise! Buzzers! People moaning in pain! Family members crying! And above it all the monotonous hum of the lights in Dad’s room!

            I knew that I needed a respite, a peaceful place to unwind and pray. Kevin told me where the chapel was. My last entry that day was at 10:06 P.M. It stated the following: “Have just spoken with the Doctor. He said at this point, Dad’s chances of surviving the following day were slim. And now new machines–one for Dad’s lungs to help him breathe; one to help his heart pump; a blood machine to keep his blood flowing. He’s so bloated and has a sickening, yellow-green color. Oh! Watchman, what of the night?

            My next journal entry stated this: January 11th, 5:45 P.M. Daddy’s gone!

            To this day, I’ve never forgotten those words. They are acid-etched in my memory! Late on the afternoon of January 11th, when the doctor told me that Dad had only a short time to live, I dashed to the hotel room to get Mom. She met me at the door. “Is Frank gone?” she asked, tears streaming down her face. “No Mom, but he’s going fast, very fast. Do you want to come with me?” She paused and looked at me with her big blue, tear-stained eyes. I knew she didn’t want to come. “Will you be okay?” she asked. “Yes, Mom. I’ll be just fine.”

            I then heard a voice on the intercom. “Will the Kalberg Family please report immediately to the Intensive Care Unit on Fourth Floor.” I hugged Mom. I knew this was it. I dashed back to Dad’s room and was greeted by his doctor, along with Lilly, Rosie, and Kevin. They told me that Dad had only minutes to live. The doctor once again said how sorry he was, just as he was paged to another floor with an emergency. He quickly departed. “What’s gonna happened now,” I ask.

            Rosie said that they would give Dad a massive injection of morphine to ensure that he would feel no pain in the end. Rosie said that once that happened, I should watch each of the five monitors. I had a huge lump in my throat. I wanted to cry but couldn’t. I then ask if any of my three new friends were Christians. And to my surprise, they all said that they were. “Okay, give him the shot. But before you do, please hold me, just hold me until it’s over.” And they did. I stood there and watch, as one by one the monitors flatlined. I knew Dad was in Heaven–no more pain, no more tears, no more fears. Only an eternity of peace, love, and happiness knowing that he was Home in the loving arms of Jesus!

            Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my Dad. Oh! How I miss him!

 

Dec 2016

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

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I have two remembrances of this day–one from a dear lady in our church, the other from my dear mother. Here goes: December 7, 1941, dawned cold and wet, here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The temperature outside was cold and the temperature inside the homes of many Gulfport residences was cold as well. Why? The main gas line providing natural gas to those homes had ruptured. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Reese Bickerstaff, located where the Federal Courthouse now stands, was one of those homes. I rented rooms from Mrs. Bickerstaff in the late 70s and early 80s. Many a morning she would tell me stories of life in Gulfport, “back in the day.” The morning of December 7, 1941, was one of those stories. She told me their cook was preparing breakfast for the family on that morning. Because of the broken gas line their house was “freezing cold.” When the cook ask if the family would be taking the morning meal in the dining room, Mrs. Bickerstaff said, “Heavens no! We’ll freeze to death! We’ll eat in the kitchen!” Why the kitchen? Their stove was not gas but electric and produced just enough heat for that room. As the morning wore on, Mr. Bickerstaff ventured into his study to get the morning paper. He decided to turn on the “wireless,” and it was then, over the crackling airwaves, that he and his family first heard the devastating news about Pearl Harbor.
kaltenborn
It was those same crackling airwaves that brought the news to D’Lo Mississippi. Mother said that she, my grandmother and my uncle had just returned from church. My Uncle Ellis turned on the radio and the clipped voice of H. V. Kaltenborn issued forth. It was then my family first heard of the history-changing events that had taken place thousands of miles away in a sleepy lagoon called Pearl Harbor. Little did my dear family or the Bickerstaffs know, as they listened to the horrific news, that nine Mississippians had already been killed aboard the USS Arizona during the attack. An attack that “Will Live In Infamy.” Lest we forget their sacrifices and the many others who lost their lives 75 years ago today, so that we would remain “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”

To read excerpts from my current novel, “A Chasing of the Wind,” please go to my website www.AnthonyKalberg.com . Purchase it on eBay or directly from me via my website. Thank you.

Dec 2015

Santa. Ducks. And Baked Bread.
A Christmas Memory!

The Holiday rush is once again in full swing. Halloween ghosts and ghoulies scare us. Thanksgiving turkeys fill us.
And the twinkling lights of Christmas thrill us. These festive times are filled with family, friends and the joy of holiday memories.

Many of those memories are wrapped in a pretty package of delightful smells. Candy corn. Pumpkin pies. And oyster dressing, thick with bell peppers, parsley, and smoked sausage. Come Christmas, the air’s filled with the sweet scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and evergreen. But there’s another smell that conjurers Holiday memories–fresh baked bread!

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Jul 2015

Coast Ghosts

Fall will soon come calling! Cool nights and crisp days. Monarch butterflies and jumping mullet. Popcorn trees draped with crimson leaves. Friday night football. Bonfires on the beach. But Fall is a prelude to something else–Halloween! Halloween, with its ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night!

We fear the unknown, but why do we gravitate to it–that shadowy darkness at the top of the stairs or that whispered voice in the billowing Gulf mist? Perhaps someone far wiser than me can explain the psychology of fear, but for me the explanation doesn’t matter. I’m one of those people who crave a good scare. And Fall nights are a good time to experience just that.

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May 2015

Ten Years Ago – A Remembrance

It was hot–very hot–on Saturday, August 27, 2005. While sitting in a wicker rocker sipping iced coffee and enjoying the cool of my balcony, I observed over two-thousand people moving steadily along Gulfport’s picturesque 2nd Street. Along the way, homeowners had set up cooling stations comprised of frozen bottles of water and garden hoses spraying a fine mist of cool water. People ran. People walked. They laughed. They perspired. Everyone was out to have a good time for a good cause–the American Heart Association.

As I sat admiring the runner’s determination, a dear friend from church dropped by and ask me to babysit his three-year-old son while he continued the run. I agreed. As little Weston and I built castles out of empty Cheerio boxes, the hot morning passed. Once his father had completed his run, he returned, out of breath and sporting a man-sized thirst. He guzzled down an icy glass of water and then asked a question— a question that would change my life forever. “What are you going to do for the storm. Leave? Or stay?” And then came my never-to-be-forgotten reply, “What storm?”

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Apr 2015

A Tale of Two Libraries – Letter to the Editor

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Feb 2015

Before The Drive-in’s There Were The Air Domes!

They’re all gone now. The Do. The Don. The Beach. And the Moonlight. For those of us who grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, those names conjure up memories of our Drivein theaters. How can you forget going to the submarine races or the passion pit? Remember the little green citronella coil? You’d light one up to ward off those pesky summer mosquitos and then choke to death on the smoke! Remember the cutesy intermission music and the cartoonish hotdogs and popcorn boxes that danced across the screen, tempting you to visit the refreshment counter? What about those chunky gray speakers, with dubious sound quality? Remember Fivedollar-a-carload-night, the car’s trunk usually full to the brim with additional teenagers?

Most, if not all, of the Coastal Drive-ins were gone by the late ‘70s, victims of changing tastes and times and the elements. Pass Christian’s Moonlight Drive-in, located on Hwy 90 where Walmart is now located, was destroyed in 1969 by Hurricane Camille. In a bit of irony, Gone With The Wind was its upcoming attraction. But before Drive-in’s dotted the landscape, another form of entertainment tempted Coastal residents — the Air Dome. An April 3, 1909, Daily Herald article stated, “During all of last summer, a form of amusement enterprise known as the Air Dome became very popular in the cities, large and small, in the North and some parts of the South. Of course, an Air Dome means an outdoor theater, a theater the dome of which is the star-studded sky.”

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Dec 2014

A Scary Christmas Memory

It was a frigid-cold that night in December, 1967. The moonlight on the path through the woods was like a sparkling silver ribbon that lured us closer to our destination: Old Leather’s Place. The older neighbor-hood boys had promised us young-er boys that our Christmas Holiday wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a real haunted house. Earlier that night they first regaled us with stories of a headless ghost who played mel-ancholy tunes on an old piano—his music floating eerily through the late night air, and then they led us into the woods.

Suddenly, lumbering out of the woods that surrounded it, a ram-bling, derelict house materialized. It rested high on thick brick pillars, was enshrouded in peeling paint, and reeked with age. As we approached the house, the older boys did their best to frighten their young charges, but it didn’t work on me. I turned toward the wind, my ears wanting to hear tickling piano music. The words to a favorite Christmas song whistled in my mind: There’ll be scary ghost stories, And tales of the glories, Of Christmases long, long ago.

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Sep 2014

Granny’s Baby-Blue Buick Special

One of my favorite Coastal events is Cruisin’ The Coast. Each year I look Forward to the passing parade of jazzy, colorful cars sprinting along the highways and byways of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As I sit in my lawn chair on Hwy 90, I’m also entertained by the attire many of the drivers and their riders wear. I especially like seeing a vintage car sporting a lovely lady resplendent in a silk head scarf and and a pair of cat-eye sunglasses, their rhinestones catching the glistening sunlight. A driver complete with a splashy Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, plus a Montecristo cigar, always rounds out the picture. But of all the classy cars zipping around with their spiffy riders, there’s one that I look for most of all: a 1949, baby-blue Buick Special.

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Apr 2014

The Socialist and the Southern Belle

Did you see the movie Midnight in Paris? It’s a romantic comedy splashed with fantasy. That fantasy begins one midnight when Gil Pender, played to the hilt by Owen Wilson, is whisked back in time to 1920s Paris. On a deserted, cobblestone street, a vintage Peugeot creeps to a stop, a door opens, and a gloved hand bids him enter. He does. Once inside, he discovers he’s in the presence of some of the 20th Century’s greatest writers and artists.

But what if you were whisked back in time? Imagine a balmy summer’s eve on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gentle waves lap the shore. Ribbons of silvery moonlight dance across the water. Suddenly, out of the dark, you hear the clip-clop of horse hoofs. An elegant carriage approaches. You hear laughter as it glides to a stop. Riding in it are a distinguished gentleman and a beautiful lady dressed in the latest haute couture fashions. They smile, introduce themselves, and you discover you’re in the presence of Upton Sinclair and his Southern belle wife, Mary Kimbrough Sinclair. It’s August, 1915. Europe has descended into the madness of WWI, but your night of fantasy with the Sinclairs has begun.

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Jan 2014

Dogs! And Cops! And Bats! Oh! My!

“And Lord, please protect us tonight from dogs and cops…” The prayer was suddenly interrupted by a whispered voice. “Pssst, don’t forget the bats,” I said.

“And the bats, Lord, protect us from them as well. Amen!” Jimmy Curtrell added. He was the much adored music director of Gulfport’s First Baptist Church during the 70’s. “Now, let’s shake a leg and get a move on.” And with that, a caravan of cars filled with teenagers and kids home from college roared down Interstate 10 toward its destination.

Turning south on the Delisle exit, the cars came to a slow crawl as they entered a towering, pillared entrance. Beyond it a dark winding path snaked its way through the woods. The drivers turned off their car lights but kept driving down the path. The evening silence was softened by a springtime symphony of chirping crickets and bellowing frogs. But in the distance barking dogs could be heard.

The cars slowed to a stop. The riders got out. Their trail through the woods was hampered by tangled weeds and vicious vines. They stumbled into a clearing, and there, glistening in the silvery moonlight, was their destination.

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Nov 2013

The Biloxi Point – A Christmas Memory

“Son, we’re going to the Point after church, so keep your suit coat on,” my Dad said.

“The Point? Why there?” I asked. “Your mother has some Christmas goodies to deliver.” Dad rolled his eyes and smiled. “You know your mother. Mr. And Mrs. Clause all rolled into one.”

Then, I rolled my eyes in dismay. I was fourteen. All I could think about was going home, eating pot roast, and putting the finishing touches on our new aluminum Christmas tree with its rotating color wheel. The tree was a silvery creation covered in shiny, multicolored ornaments from the local TG&Y store. I was happy my family was up with the times. It was, after all, 1966.

As we rode along Highway 90 in the family Rambler, I peered out the window at the bleak, windswept sand flats. It was a typical winter day: rainy, coupled with bone-chilling cold. My thoughts then turned to our destination. “The Point? Wasn’t a girl at Gulfport East High School dating a boy from there? And wasn’t there a big stink about him being from the wrong side of town?” Just then, Dad swerved to avoid a huge pothole. The Rambler skidded on the slick pavement. Dad quickly regained control, and we plowed onward through the rain. Onward toward the Point.

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Jul 2013

Holy Mosquito Bite Batman! It’s Summer Time!

Do you remember the ‘60s TV show, Batman? Twice weekly, Batman and Robin treated audiences to their own brand of campy slapstick comedy, awash in the fiendish antics of the Daring Duo’s roster of villains: the Joker, the Penguin, and the Riddler, as well as others. These cunning scoundrels taxed the Daring Duo’s patience, as well as the Duo’s ability to eradicate them. Each show ended with a cliffhanger, leaving the audience to ponder if Batman and Robin would survive. But the Daring Duo may have met their match had they traveled south via the Batmobile and experienced a Mississippi Gulf Coast summer with its heat and those flying, biting Harpies of the South – the pesky mosquito.

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Bat House

Apr 2013

Public Enemy #1 on Mississippi Gulf Coast

“Mother of Mercy…is this the end of Rico?” This famous line ended the classic gangster movie, Little Caesar, starring Edward G. Robinson. That line may have ended the movie, but it was the beginning of America’s fascination with gangsters. Hollywood peppered the public’s appetite with movies like Scarface, White Heat and The Public Enemy. Movies like these were based in gritty reality, using real events like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. They were also based on real people like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and John Dillinger.

By the mid-30s, the violence surrounding gangsters and their illegal shenanigans was front page news. As the murderous violence increased, so did the public’s demand to stop it. To save the day, in blazed J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI with their “War on Crime.” That war led to the demise of the likes of “Baby Face” Nelson, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis. Of all the famous gangsters from the 20s and 30s, Karpis was the last Public Enemy #1 to be arrested, and also spent the longest time as a federal prisoner in Alcatraz, serving twenty-six years.

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Jan 2013

Why Romney Didn’t Get Enough Votes to Win

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012  by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

Rabbi Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun

The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

Ronald Reagan himself could not win an election in today’s America.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentives looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote; so too those who anticipate “free” health care, who expect the government to pay their mortgages, who look for the government to give them jobs. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

Imagine two restaurants side by side. One sells its customers fine cuisine at a reasonable price, and the other offers a free buffet, all-you-can-eat as long as supplies last. Few – including me – could resist the attraction of the free food. Now imagine that the second restaurant stays in business because the first restaurant is forced to provide it with the food for the free buffet, and we have the current economy, until, at least, the first restaurant decides to go out of business. (Then, the government takes over the provision of free food to its patrons.)

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation (by the amoral Obama team) of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which “47% of the people” start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money – “free stuff” – from the government. Almost half of the population has no skin in the game – they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.

It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is dumb – ignorant, and uninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters – the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.

Obama could get away with saying that “Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules” – without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the “rich should pay their fair share” – without ever defining what a “fair share” is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to “fend for themselves” – without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending. Obama could get away with it because he knew he was talking to dunces waving signs and squealing at any sight of him.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away. He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico (even if they came from Cuba or Honduras), and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws. He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions – in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone. He could do and say all these things because he knew his voters were dolts.

One might reasonably object that not every Obama supporter could be unintelligent. But they must then rationally explain how the Obama agenda can be paid for, aside from racking up multi-trillion dollar deficits. “Taxing the rich” does not yield even 10% of what is required – so what is the answer, i.e., an intelligent answer?

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America. Obama is part of that different America, knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed. That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his “negative ads” were simple facts, never personal abuse – facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc. As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil’s bargain of making unsustainable promises, and by talking as the adult and not the adolescent. Obama has spent the last six years campaigning; even his governance has been focused on payoffs to his favored interest groups. The permanent campaign also won again, to the detriment of American life.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan – people of substance, depth and ideas – to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents. Obama mastered the politics of envy – of class warfare – never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups. Conservative ideas failed to take root and states that seemed winnable, and amenable to traditional American values, have simply disappeared from the map. If an Obama could not be defeated – with his record and his vision of America, in which free stuff seduces voters – it is hard to envision any change in the future. The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy – those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe – is paved.

A second cliché that should be retired is that America is a center-right country. It clearly is not. It is a divided country with peculiar voting patterns, and an appetite for free stuff. Studies will invariably show that Republicans in Congress received more total votes than Democrats in Congress, but that means little. The House of Representatives is not truly representative of the country. That people would vote for a Republican Congressmen or Senator and then Obama for President would tend to reinforce point two above: the empty-headedness of the electorate. Americans revile Congress but love their individual Congressmen. Go figure.

The mass media’s complicity in Obama’s re-election cannot be denied. One example suffices. In 2004, CBS News forged a letter in order to imply that President Bush did not fulfill his Air National Guard service during the Vietnam War, all to impugn Bush and impair his re-election prospects. In 2012, President Obama insisted – famously – during the second debate that he had stated all along that the Arab attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was “terror” (a lie that Romney fumbled and failed to exploit). Yet, CBS News sat on a tape of an interview with Obama in which Obama specifically avoided and rejected the claim of terrorism – on the day after the attack – clinging to the canard about the video. (This snippet of a “60 Minutes” interview was not revealed – until two days ago!) In effect, CBS News fabricated evidence in order to harm a Republican president, and suppressed evidence in order to help a Democratic president. Simply shameful, as was the media’s disregard of any scandal or story that could have jeopardized the Obama re-election.

One of the more irritating aspects of this campaign was its limited focus, odd in light of the billions of dollars spent. Only a few states were contested, a strategy that Romney adopted, and that clearly failed. The Democrat begins any race with a substantial advantage. The liberal states – like the bankrupt California and Illinois – and other states with large concentrations of minority voters as well as an extensive welfare apparatus, like New York, New Jersey and others – give any Democratic candidate an almost insurmountable edge in electoral votes. In New Jersey, for example, it literally does not pay for a conservative to vote. It is not worth the fuel expended driving to the polls. As some economists have pointed out generally, and it resonates here even more, the odds are greater that a voter will be killed in a traffic accident on his way to the polls than that his vote will make a difference in the election. It is an irrational act. That most states are uncompetitive means that people are not amenable to new ideas, or new thinking, or even having an open mind. If that does not change, and it is hard to see how it can change, then the die is cast. America is not what it was, and will never be again.

For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel. They voted to secure Obama’s future at America’s expense and at Israel’s expense – in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin. A dangerous time is ahead. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. That Obama’s top aide Valerie Jarrett (i.e., Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett) spent last week in Teheran is not a good sign. The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon – and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality. As Obama has committed himself to abolishing America’s nuclear arsenal, it is more likely that that unfortunate circumstance will occur than that he will succeed in obstructing Iran’s plans.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there is an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline. Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come. Across the world, America under Bush was feared but not respected. Under Obama, America is neither feared nor respected. Radical Islam has had a banner four years under Obama, and its prospects for future growth look excellent. The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

Two bright sides: Notwithstanding the election results, I arose this morning, went to shul, davened and learned Torah afterwards. That is our reality, and that trumps all other events. Our relationship with G-d matters more than our relationship with any politician, R or D. And, notwithstanding the problems in Israel, it is time for Jews to go home, to Israel. We have about a decade, perhaps 15 years, to leave with dignity and without stress. Thinking that it will always be because it always was has been a repetitive and deadly Jewish mistake. America was always the land from which “positive” aliya came – Jews leaving on their own, and not fleeing a dire situation. But that can also change. The increased aliya in the last few years is partly attributable to young people fleeing the high cost of Jewish living in America. Those costs will only increase in the coming years. We should draw the appropriate conclusions.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.

 

Dec 2012

The Story of the Unhappy Nail.

A cautionary tale penned by Anthony Wayne Kalberg (with apologies to the movie, “On The Waterfront.”)

Once upon a time, the way all good stories begin, there was a nail. He did what nails do best – hold things together. Now this particular nail was unhappy doing what nails do best. So he said to his fellow nails, “Hail! Nails! I’m tired of doing what we do. I want more. I wanna have class! I wanna be a contender! I wanna be somebody instead of just an old nail high up in the bell tower of this old cathedral!” His fellow nails begged him to reconsider. They attempted to make him realize how immensely influential he was to the architectural integrity of the cathedral, but alas to no avail. And then it began. The unhappy nail wiggled and squiggled out of the tight hole that for years had been his happy home. Finally he was free!

“Goodbye all you loser nails…I’m out of here! The world will soon by my oyster!” (Not that nails know a lot about oysters, he just thought it sounded sophisticated to use such phraseology.) With his fellow nails looking on and powerless to stop him, the nail suddenly found his little elongated self sliding down the side of the bell tower at warp speed. And with a resounding plop the little nail landed on the sidewalk below.

“Here I am world…and any oysters that might be in the vicinity! Come and get me! I’m all yours!” Alas, it was not meant to be. No one noticed the little nail. People walked all over him, kicked him around, and finally after much abuse he was ignominiously swept into the street, only to be washed down the drain that night during a violent rain storm, never to be heard from again. And thus ended the life of the unhappy nail. But the nail’s story does not end there.

During that same rainstorm, which swept the unhappy nail to his early demise, his fellow nails found it difficult to hold things together. Much to their horror they were unable to keep the shingles covering the bell tower in their proper place. The shingles started clattering down the side of the bell tower, landing plop, plop, plop on the sidewalk below. “Oh! Where is that silly unhappy nail when we need him!” they cried. “Without him, we are doomed!” And so was the stately cathedral.

The violent rainstorm pounded the bell tower. It started linking. A small leak became a gushing waterfall. It coated the bells in the tower, causing them to rust. It oozed into the plaster covering the cathedral’s ceiling, turning its magnificent frescos into mush. The relentless, dripping avalanche then bore down on the priceless stained glass, loosening the lead that helped hold the intricate pieces of glass in place. After the rain had ceased, the morning sunlight exposed a total ruin, the result of one nail’s unhappiness and discontent.

Are you like the nail? Unhappy where you are? Discontented with the deck of cards that Life’s dealt you? Have you ever stopped to think that the Good Master’s put you where you are because you are doing what you do best – hold things together? Ponder this: Without you, and the power you possess because of God’s influence in your life, what stately “cathedral” in your life might crumble into ruin if you were not there to help hold it up? So when you become discouraged thinking you are useless, please remember the story of the unhappy nail, who should have stayed where he was because he was doing what he did best – hold things together. And if he had, his story would have ended happily ever after…the way all good stories should end.

Take care and may God bless.

Nov 2012

A Christmas Memory

The Christmas shopping season is at the starting gate, chomping at the bit, awaiting the starting bell. And once rung, Coastal shoppers can race to a myriad of exciting shops. From the Blue Crab Gal- lery in Bay St. Louis to Gulfport’s Martin Miazza Gifts, and from Bi- loxi’s Paper Moon to Salmagundi in Ocean Springs, Coastal shoppers are truly blessed. But back in the day the Coast was not so blessed. If Christmas shoppers longed for something unique, New Orleans or Mobile was their only option. But in the mid Fifties all that changed. The Purple Lantern opened and became THE place to shop on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Purple Lantern was the creation of Mary Jo Sternberg. Not long after graduating from New Orleans’ Sophie Newcomb College, she opened her first shop in Gulfport on 27th Avenue across the street from the present day Amtrak station. The building, like others on the block, had not been properly maintained. When Mary Jo painted it purple, the city fathers hardly raised an eyebrow. She filled her first shop with the exquisite finery for which the PurpleLantern would always be known. But problems lurked just outside.

Download PDF – Holiday 2012

Dear Readers, Here’s some additonal information concering the Purple Lantern, as written by Nels Anderson:

When was the shop started:  I really don’t know, because it was in operation at the highway 49 location when I arrived at Gulf Park College to teach.  I heard quite a bit about the old shop, but that’s all.

How I met Mary Jo:  I suspect I met her through the Gulfport Little Theatre.  I’m sure I was introduced there and started borrowing items for the sets.  The theatre at the foot of Hwy 49 was in the process of being built, or was at least in the planning stage.  I do remember borrowing items from the store.  The first summer I was there, I ran the shows at SIX GUN JUNCTION, and I believe it was the second summer that I needed a job and was a good enough friend of Mary Jo’s to ask for a job at The Purple Lantern as a salesperson and general worker.  I remember spending many nights pricing merchandize before it went on the floor.  I can remember that the lady employees and I would look at some of the merchandise that Mary Jo had ordered, and say to each other, “This will never sell….it’s so ugly, or whatever.”  Those items usually turned out to be the one’s that sold first.  We’d just shake our heads.  And the amount of merchandise was unbelievable.  It would take us hours to price everything.  She had a pretty high mark-up, and we’d also always think things were priced too high to sell……but they did.  Again, we’d shake our heads.

My work as a salesperson was terrible.  Mr. Sternberg (Mary Jo’s father) would get upset with me because I wouldn’t follow the customers around and try to sell them certain things.  I was terrible at that, and I think the customerrs thought I was following them around to make sure they didn’t steal anything…….and that would make me nervous.

I started helping Mary Jo with the display work, and that became my main job.  This leads me to the big fire….in 1965, I believe, or thereabouts. I’m sure you have that date.  Immediately before the fire, we put a Christmas display in the windows existing of a huge Christmas Train, with a car in each window with built in shelves for merchandise.  I worked long and hard on that, only to have it burn up just a very few days after we installed it.  The fire was a big blow to Mary Jo.  I was on my way to New Orleans to see a play with Helen Picking ( a fellow professor at Gulf Park College) when we heard the news on the radio.  When we got home that evening, we drove by the store and could see that it was a major disaster….and I knew I’d hear from Mary Jo first thing in the morning.  Almost immediately, she found an empty building on the other side of the train tracks,  It was just a few days before Christmas.  We worked day and night getting that building ready, and had a new store painted (purple), stocked, and open in 7 or 8 days.  The next morning after we opened, I got on a bus for Albuquerque to spend Christmas with my sister.  I slept all the way across Texas, In was so tired,.

Some people may remember the fire sale that Mary Jo held in the garage room next to the main store.  We carried salvageable items there for days after Christmas I assume.  When the sale opened we were flooded with customers, and the sale went on for weeks and weeks.  If I remember right, she didn’t shut it down until she stopped making at least a couple hundred dollars a day from it.

We immediately started designing the new store.  The layout generally followed the layout of the old shop, with a few new innovations.  There were around 20 shops, and it was my job to design and build each.  I’m sure I had help at some point, but have a very sketchy memory of that time because we were working so hard.  I’d get the shops done, one at a time, until the building downtown was repaired and ready to move in to.  It was during this time that I finally earned the good graces of Papa Sternberg.  He just loved the carousel horses I designed and painted for the Toy Carousel.  He thought they were just great, and maybe I was worth my tiny salary after all!  We spent  hours and days getting ready.  Remember, I was teaching at Gulf Park College at the same time, so there were many late nights.  I think a lot of the heavy work was done during the summer, so that helped.  Opening day was a big occasion.

Just a couple of other things I can remember:  I  enjoyed shopping with Mary Jo at the new trade mart in New Orleans and at the big trade center in Dallas; eventually we drove all the way to Chicago to shop at the famous Merchandise Mart there.  Mary Jo had a very interesting way of shopping.  She would flirt with the salesmen unmerceably.  In New Orleans, I can remember her shopping for make-up and over-night cases.  She’d butter up the salesman, and the pull things off his display, and pile them up in the center of the room. Then she’d say, “Send me two of each,” and walk away, leaving the poor salesman to repair his plundered salesroom. I’d look back as we walked away, and he’d be standing there, smiling as hard as he could, and waving, and I am certain swearing under his breath!

Once in Chicago, she was buying coffee mugs, and there was a wall of mug sized niches, with a mug in each.  She’d pull out the mugs she wanted just to the edge of the shelf, leaving the salesman to run along and grab the mugs before they crashed to the floor.  She loved doing things like that, and the salesmen would stand there with big smiles on their twisted faces. Good times!  Occasionally, the salesmen would close their doors at 5:00 and bring out the champagne for everyone left in the shop.  We hit a lot of shops just before 5:00!

Sep 2012

Kinard Fite

Sep 2012

Kinard Fite – A Few Thoughts and Memories

I was saddened to hear of Kinard’s passing on September 7, 2012; for many months the man has been on my mind. Over the years I’d lost track of him, not knowing how to contact him. But after hearing that he did not wish for me to accompany him to the 20th Anniversary production of Sweeney ToddI thought it was best to let well enough alone.

I first met Kinard in 1986. He and I were in that year’s Sanger Theater Production of OliverHe played Mr. Sowerberry to my Artful Dodger – a stretch if ever there was one…I was 34 at the time. LOL. That production led to another – a musical version of The Christmas Carol which he directed, casting me as mean ol’ Mr. Scrooge. And thus began a most interesting relationship.

Kinard was always kind, casting me in many of his grand, over the top productions: Cabaret (another stretch since I don’t sing or dance to well. LOL) Show BoatSweeney ToddGuys and Dolls, to name a few. There were times when he exasperated me to no end with his meticulous attention to detail. But I always knew that in the end, whatever the problems during production, said production would be the finest amateur theatrics the Mississippi Gulf Coast had ever seen. I was proud – very proud – to say I was in a KNS Show!

During that time, Kinard allowed me to enter his inner circle; said circle small, exclusive, and not easily accessed. It was there that I discovered the inner man, the man who few knew, or were allowed to know. More times that I can count, we dined at the Bombay Bicycle Club, or strolled the Biloxi streets in the cool of a Fall evening. There were a slew of Saturday morning motor trips to New Orleans, which were always a delight! Whenever I’d pick him up, he always had a colorful bag filled with strange, but entertaining objects: note cards on which were written his thoughts, or a bit of poetry, or a line from some obscure play; some tasty morsel or a bit of fresh baked bread; a lady’s high-heal shoe filled with artificial flowers or peacock feathers; and there were always his notebooks for KNS’s next production. “AWK,” he would say, “What do you think of this? Would such-and-such be better or worse?” AWK! No one had ever called me by my initials. I thought that was cool. And for that matter, I thought the fat little bald man with piercing blue eyes and a glare that could cut diamonds was just that too – cool!

Upon our arrival in the city, he always took me to the most evocative places – the old “Lavender District” in the French Quarter was a personal favorite. He told me that back in the day the area was where the city’s gay population had lived and hung out. He showed me where Tennessee Williams once lived; told a delightful tale concerning an old light fixture that once hung near the front door of Mr. Williams’ house. It was Mexican in design, made of multi-colored stained glass. When it was on in the evenings, it meant Mr. Williams was at home and was receiving – as it were – guests. Kinard said he had been one of those guests. To a country boy at heart, coming from small town America, I was enthralled by it all. We always ate at a delightful hole in the wall, embedded deep within the French Quarter on a back street. The restaurant had a French name that I can’t pronounce, much less spell. LOL .

But it was during our return trips at night that he often turned melancholy. He spoke of old lovers, life in the 50s and early 60s, and at times, his ex-wife, his child, and his family – a source of pride and remorse. Our little outings always ended with: “AWK, I’ll call you…” Which he did when he got home , and would continued to do almost every day for weeks thereafter. I always came away from those times with Kinard thinking I’d just experienced something out of the ordinary, strangely fascinating, but always uplifting, my knowledge broadened, my horizons expanded.

And then there was the first time he allowed me entrance into his house; not something that all were allowed to do. We always entered via the back door, where a note pad and pencil were attached to the door molding. With a creak, the back door slowing opened. I was agog! I thought I’d entered the home of the Mad Hatter, with accouterments purloined from The Old Curiosity Shop. I almost expected to see a male version of Miss Havisham waltzing toward us, reeking of stale rose water and brittle lace. But no such apparition appeared, only dear ol’ Kinard shuffling around in a tattered silk kimono, into which he had changed upon our arrival. The walls of his kitchen were covered in a menagerie of fascinating objects: a spindle from the grand staircase of the old St. Louis Hotel in New Orleans; a large poster of James Dean, augmented with a string of white Christmas lights; and a myriad of notes that people had left on his back door, along with old newspaper clippings and greeting cards. The sink was filled with dirty dishes, the stove top covered with cans of scented candle wax and the occasional ancient cooking pot. Then there was the bedroom: bed high up off the floor, stacked up on concrete blocks, a large rectangular mirror as a headboard; a rickety bookcase, filled to overflowing; a radio tuned to PRM, classical music filling the air. There were other rooms as well: a study, dining room, living room, and front bed room; all the rooms crammed-packed with old costumes, books, furniture, and my favorite – “sculptures” made of Waffle House to-go boxes. Those were just tooooo funny, and sooooo Kinard!

But the man did have his demons.

And many times those demons took us to sad, dark places from which I feared we’d never return. Those demons oft times materialized in the form of anger, or bitterness, or just a sticky malaise that was hard to breech, much less understand. I finally realized that Kinard’s demons were part of his genius – you could not have one without the other. And if you could not accept the demons, your time with him was short. I lasted longer than most, but alas, the demons won. They finally encrusted his mind, causing him to lash out at others with vicious cruelty and acidic criticisms. I saw dear old friends attempt help, only to be rebuffed. He was like a werewolf, killing the very people he loved the most and that loved him. I wanted to help, but did not know how. I wanted to reach into that brilliant, hard head of his and decapitate each of his demons, freeing him from their grip. But that was never meant to be. And thus we parted.

I last saw Kinard in the tumultuous months following the great storm of ‘05, when my dear Mississippi Gulf Coast was irrevocably change forever. He was in Dr. William Sams’ office in Gulfport. I’d taken Mother for her check-up, and when we were walking down the hall, I saw that dear ol’ bald head. When he saw me, I guess he thought I’d not seen him first – he acted as if he were asleep. I thought, “Oh! No you don’t…you dear ol’ codger you!” I bounced up, shook him awake, and planted a big ol’ smacker-roo right on top of his old bald head. “AWK, fancy meeting you here,” he said in that droll voice of his, glasses precariously perched on his nose. After a few pleasantries, we told each other goodbye, and as I looked back at the old man sitting in the chair, a tear filled my eye. I thought of all that could have been, should have been; all that I could have learned, and all that I could have created under his tutelage. But his demons – and mine – did not allow for that, and for that I am truly sorry. I can only hope that in his last days, Kinard made his peace with his Maker. And perhaps if he did, he’s experiencing an eternity, not one filled with demons, but one filled the joy, happiness, and love that he longed for on this side of Jordan, never quite found, but never gave up the hope of finding those human emotions that we hold so dear. Goodbye to you – my dear, long lost friend.

Sep 2012

Titanic Boat Songs. Great Collage

http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/music_and_radio/

Aug 2012

The Art to Growing Old Graciously

Fifty years ago, when I was 10, I remember my sweet Granny from D’Lo telling me there was an art to growing old graciously. At the ripe ol’ age of 10, I smiled, not really knowing what that meant. Now I do. I was never good in art classes, but this is one “art” project that I intend to master. With age comes a wisdom that transcends book “learnin’.” You learn to say a polite “No” when needed; you learn to do the things you can do, and not to fret over those that you can’t; and of greatest importance, you learn who “sticketh closer than a brother,” so says the Good Book. At 60, you tend to look back over your life (if you’re brave) and realized that most of your dreams were just that: dreams. You intended to put “feet” to those dreams, but somewhere along Life’s hilly, bumpy trail, those “feet” lost their way. And when dreams get lost, they are sometimes replaced by a bevy of mistakes. And Oh! My Grasuhus! Have I had my share of mistakes along Life’s trail. Thankfully, I learned from my mistakes (for the most part) and I’m happy in the knowledge that God ain’t though with me yet! But although my dreams might not have come true, I do count myself as one blessed individual. Blessed with parents who loved me, warts and all. Blessed with dear friends, who indeed “sticketh closer than a brother.” Blessed with a strong belief in God and his only son, Jesus. And blessed with the knowledge that someday ( soon or not so soon) I’ll be granted access to a place that I don’t deserve, by someone who gave His life for me, a poor wandering wayfarer trying to get Home. Home – where there’s peace, love, and joy, no tears, no pain. It is then I will know that I truly did master the art of growing old graciously; awaiting a new, spotless canvas on which to splash the brilliant, sparkling colors of Eternity.

Jul 2012

Attention First Baptist Church Crystal Springs, Mississippi

In church this morning at FBC Gulfport, I was shocked (but not surprised) to hear of your decision to deny a black couple’s marriage in your sanctuary. Was it due to their color? Is it somehow related to church politics? Or a power struggle to rid the church of some member or staff member? Whatever the real reason, the reason was ill-timed. …

Ill-timed because those responsible threw dear ol’ Mississippi right back into the hands of the media; back into the shark-infested waters of the those that smell blood and viciously attack. Your decision only intensifies the country’s negative image of a state that for all of my 60 years I’ve called home; a state that is light years away from it’s racist past – your decision only strengthening the tether to it.

Question? Now that the Southern Baptist Convention has voted as its worldwide leader, a charismatic, highly articulate African American, how does that sit with you? Will you leave the convention? If you can’t let a Black couple’s marriage take place in your sanctuary, how can you be led by a Black man?

We live in trying times, times we’ve not seen since the 1930s – world-wide financial collapse, wars and rumors of wars, and seemingly inept, world-wide leadership. Do we as Christians really have time to worry about skin color? Or church politics? Shouldn’t we be honoring one of the Good Master’s last commands? “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” Does Christ’s command stop at the front door of some Baptist Churches in Mississippi because of skin color or life-style choices? To some at FBC Crystal Springs – some…NOT all – it appears so. Forgive them Lord. And forgive me, a sinner at best, struggling to get Home to thee.

Jul 2012

Anthony Steps Out to the Titanic Anniversary Dinner

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

 

Jul 2012

Tree + Swing = Kindergarten Memories

The author, in the stripped shirt, enjoying his 5th birday party (c. 1957) at Mrs. Moore’s kindergarten.

It’s that time again! Schools across the nation will open their doors to streams of children, hopefully eager to learn. Remember your first day of elementary school? Or kindergarten? What conjures up those long, lost days? Is it the scratchy sound of chalk on a blackboard? A nun’s sweet face as she raps your knuckles with a ruler? Or is it the smell of fresh baked sweet rolls from the school cafeteria?

Or children’s high-pitched, gleeful laughter on a playground? Could a tree be a time machine back to those days of “reading and ‘riting and ‘rith- metic”? Me thinks – Yes! The front yard of the Cable One building on Debuys Road is anchored by such a tree. But fifty-five years ago that front yard belonged to someone else, Mrs. Moore. And Mrs. Moore ran a kindergarten. My first day of kindergarten is one of my earliest memories. I was five. My parents, with me riding shot-gun in my mother’s lap, were the first to arrive that morning.

Download PDF – Late Summer 2012

Apr 2012

What good deed will you do this day?

Mornin’ Folks! When I was a little boy, I spent summers with my sweet Granny from D’Lo, Mississippi. Each morning started with the smell of bacon and eggs frying in an old black skillet, the smell of coffee filling the air. We’d sit at her little breakfast table, say our blessing, and dive into the delicious breakfast she had cooked for us. And then she would ask, as she did every morning, “Anthony, what good deed will you do for someone this day?” Her question is mine for you this morning – “What good deed will you do this day?” A kind word? A friend comforted? A loved one called? A shut-in helped? Just a thought on this lovely cool Spring mornin’. Later ‘Gaters
 
 
 

Apr 2012

Here’s the question: Are you a bully? Or were you the victim of one? I was the latter.

Morning Folks! Here’s the question: Are you a bully? Or were you the victim of one? I was the latter.

Reading about the poor teenager whose life has been irrevocably changed due to a spinal injury, the result of a bully’s fist punch to the boy’s abdomen, I was reminded of my days in High School. Thankfully, my injures were not physical, only mental.  In my High School annual there’s a snap of a group of girls, all aglow with Pepsodent smiles, standing in front of a water fountain. That water fountain was at the base of a Y-shaped staircase. For me, said staircase was not “the stair way to Heaven.” I had to climb that staircase everyday, passing the giggling girls. And when I started my climb, they started their jeers: “Whoooo! Look who’s here….sissy boy. Hey sissy boy, where’d you get that trench coat? Did you mama buy you that briefcase?” Their taunts brought the jeers of others, and if I could, I would have crawled between the paint on the walls and the concrete blocks to which the paint was attached. This assault was daily, and daily I climbed the stairs looking desperately for an escape. I never found one. If the girls were vicious, the boys were just down-right mean! One in particular seemed to take sadistic pleasure in making my life a living hell at school. I can see him now, tall with mop of coal-black hair, sauntering down the long school hallway; he was the cock of the walk, as it were. He was the campus football hero, the idol of his coach’s eye, and eyed by all the giggling girls at school. He was in a word – perfect. Perfect that is until I came into his sights. And Oh! My grashus, the nasty, lewd things that “perfect” boy would say to me. Some of the things he said, I didn’t even know what they meant. And looking back now, I wonder if he bullied me because I was small of stature and perhaps he was bullied at home; his father and brothers were all “real men.” And did I mention that he was also a member in good standing of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes?
But all good things come to those who wait.

Years later in the mid-90s, after a smashing run of The Christmas Carol at Center Stage, I was standing in the lobby receiving kind words about my performance as Scrooge. And lo and behold who should appear in the receiving line but Miss Pepsodent Smile of water fountain fame! She had brought her grandson to see the show. And when she came up to me, it was like old home week. She hugged me, and told her grandson that we’d been in school together. He was a cute kid, about 12 years old, and full of questions about my makeup and costume, etc. I smiled, answered all his questions, the entire time thinking, “Little one, I hope you never have to experience the living hell I did, all of it brought on by someone like your dear ol’ grandmother.”  I also saw Mr. Perfect some time back, gorging himself on raw oysters at Gulfport’s Half Shell Oyster House. I was dining on the upstairs balcony and had a bird’s eye view of him. I could not help but laugh. Gone was the mop of coal-black hair, replaced by a lovely bald scalp of blotchy pink skin. Gone too the muscular physique, replaced with one that somewhat resembled a large wooden barrel. He was escorting some bleached-blonde bimbo, perhaps all he could reel in his “declining” years. As I was leaving, our eyes met. For a second, he acted as if he didn’t remember me, but then he smiled a toothy grin and said, “Well, look who it is…the little pansy boy.” Little did he know that the “little pansy boy” had grown up over the years, and no longer feared Mr. Perfect. With a sweet smile, I looked at Mr. Perfect and said, “You know, in an ever changing world there’s one that never changes…once a jerk…you’re a jerk to the day you die.” The bimbo giggled. I left Mr. Perfect was a spot of gumbo on his tie and a look of bewilderment on his face.

Now…said all that to say this, were you a bully? If so…shame, shame shame on you. And if you were, have your reared you sons and daughters to be the same, or perhaps your grandchildren? If so…shame, shame, shame on you! I look back on those hellish days at school and can say without reservation that I would have not survived if it had not been for my loving parents – Mom the school teacher, Dad the Marine – and dear ol’ FBC Gulfport. Those two places – home and church – were my anchors in the vicious, turbulent waters of my youth. Had it not been for those anchors, which tethered me to places where I found true love and acceptance, I shutter to think where I might have ended up, or what I might have become. Bulling has erupted on our school campuses; its bitter pus oozing into festering sores. It has brought untold misery to millions of young people, and death to some. And now a teenage in Ramsey, New Jersey, will live the rest of his life in a wheelchair due to a bully. But how can we fault the bullies, when many times their parents taught them how? How? By never telling the little bastards: “No, you can’t do that,” or “Honey, it’s alright. Mommy and Daddy will smooth everything over…don’t you worry Honey…” But then there are times when parents do everything they can, bringing up their child as best they know how. And now the child has morphed into some type of Frankenstein monster, trying to kill the very person who created it.

So what to do? How to stop the bulling? I have no idea. But I do know if children who are bullied do not stand up, backed up by their parents, nothing will change. If you even suspect your child or someone else’s child is the victim of a bully, talk to that child. Talk to his/her parents, grandparents, school officials. I never told my parents or anyone else in authority about my days at the hands of bullies. Perhaps if I had, something would have been done about it. Silence may be golden in a library, but when it comes to bullies, silence is a road map to an irrevocable destination: disaster.

Apr 2012

The Sunken Gardens – Tranquility for the Shell-Shocked

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” And the Garden of Eden! Remember that story? The garden was beautiful. Adam was weak. Eve was curious. And the Serpent was beguiling. God created a perfect garden for Adam and Eve. But they didn’t maintain it too well and got kicked to the curb. Ever since then, kings and queens, and the rich and humble alike have attempted to recreate that perfect lost paradise.

King Nebuchadnezzar II built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – for his wife, homesick for the green mountains of her distant homeland. There’s debate over their actual existence, but archaeological digs near Babylon have unearthed massive mud brick arches, which many scholars believe are the foundations of the famous gardens. The jury’s out on this.

Download PDF – Summer 2012

Feb 2012

To my angered Legislators:

“Many lawmakers – mostly Republicans – were fuming mad Tuesday over an online campaign that had teachers and other public employees and retirees ringing their phones and filling their email in boxes with complaints over a vote they took last week.” – this was the opening paragraph of today’s local fish wrapper.

Fuming mad? It’s your CONSTITUENTS who should be fuming mad. And even if your constituents – the ones who VOTED you into office – tied up your precious phone lines and emails with complaints and comments – and YOU had to “spend hours” reassuring them YOU are not out to cut retiree benefits – isn’t that part of your job description? Silly me…I thought it was. And unless I’ve been misinformed over the past 60 years, this is still America, and we – it’s citizens – can still voice our complaints on the soapbox of our choice. Fuming mad…indeed!

Here’s a few thoughts and comments concerning those august Legislators who were quoted in today’s article:

  1. Rep. Richard Bennett – You stated: “This is a partisan group putting out misinformation…” What partisan group? What misinformation? Care to elaborate on both? Inquiring minds (mine in particular) want to know. You also stated the Legislature is not “going to do anything with PERS this year…” THIS year? What the other three remaining in your tenure of office?
  2. Rep. David Baria – Thank you. But you do understand why State Employees and Retirees – past and future – look at the Sunshine Act with a jaundiced eye, as the old-timers say? Was it not revealed that Mr. Barbour’s PERS overhaul committee stated their lawyers had found a way around the PERS Retirement System? And as today’s fish wrapper stated: “if the agency (PERS) wanted to cut benefits, the agency would simply go hire a lawyer that agreed with them.” If this is not correct, PLEASE address this falsehood.
  3. Rep. Timmy Ladner – I’m sorry you received 60 to 80 emails…nasty form emails at that. You should let your constituency know, from now on, slews of form emails simply won’t be tolerated.
  4. Rep. Jeffrey Guice – “he (you) doesn’t believe lawmakers – at lease those from South Mississippi – are going to take any stance to take away any earned benefits…” Let me thank you for that – but – what about the other gaggle of Legislators from the other counties? Will you lead the charge against them should they “turn” against State Employees, voting to cut benefits? I’ll be your drummer boy if you do.
  5. Rep. Scott DeLano – “Who is this? Who do you respond to?….” Well, dear sir, why not join Honor Your Promise on Facebook. And if you do, you can respond and “deal with this type of new media…” I look forward to your future comments on that group’s site.
  6. Rep. Bobby Moak – I guess the old adage is true: “What goes ’round, comes ’round.” It’s the Republicans who are currently “weeping and wailing and gnashing” their teeth; it will be you Democrats when your back in power. Some things just never change. Your stated “Baria’s amendment, thought not a direct vote on PERS benefits, would have provided some protection to major changes in the direction for the agency.” Major changes? In the direction of the agency?

And therein Bill Shakespeare lies the rub. WHAT major changes? And you, and the other boys and girls in the Legislature, wonder why State Employees and Retirees are just a wee bit queasy when it comes to our retirement pay and 13th check? So – said all that to say this – if you folks have issues with Honor Your Promise and the “false and misleading information” spewed out by this group, put it in writing. Have a town hall meeting. Say it on the telly or the wireless. But by all means SAY IT. And if you do, perhaps your won’t be bothered by those nasty emails and bothersome phone calls. You have a bully pulpit! We – State Employees and Retirees – have no voice! None… other than the likes of Honor Your Promise.

Thanking you in advance for you consideration in this matter, Anthony Kalberg (A tax payer who votes.)

Jan 2012

Miss Effie, Rembrandt, and Me

Miss Effie

It begins each morning. By the time I’ve fi nished sipping my first cup of steaming, jet-black coffee, it’s in full swing – the vacation I take each morning. Without leaving the comforts of home, I can feel the heat from Arizona’s dry-hot deserts, dangle my feet in the placid, cool waters of Florida’s Suwannee River, and rub the gritty sand of Georgia’s Jekyll Island between my fingers. I can also gaze upon the majesty of Colorado’s Cross Mountain, and taste the salt-sea spray of the crashing, plungingwaves along California’s Pacific Coast Highway. And keeping me company during my travels is the mournful howl of an old hound.

Download PDF – Spring 2012

Oct 2011

Spanish Moss – The South’s Mystical Elixir!

Spanish moss! The very words epitomize the Deep South more than any other native plant. When Hollywood portrays the South, it festoons the set’s fake trees with the wispy gray plant. Southern artists splash it liberally onto their canvases. Writers like Faulkner and Tennessee Williams evoke it in their writing. Gordon Lightfoot even wrote a song about it! But the name, Spanish moss, is a misnomer.

Download PDF

Jun 2011

Beauvoir Memories

Beauvoir was the last home in which Jefferson Davis lived. Mr. Davis, the only President of the Confederate States of America, occupied the house from 1877 until his death in 1889. After the War between the States, Mr. Davis was charged with treason, and imprisoned for two years, but was eventually absolved of any guilt. During that time he lost his fortune and his health.

Download PDF

 

Apr 2011

The Inn by the Sea – Paradise Lost

“Once I built a tower up to the sun, brick and rivet and lime. Once I built a tower, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?”

These lyrics are an anthem to the dark spirit and the equally dark days of The Great Depression. They express the deep regret of an America that had lost its ability to dream. This anthem was sung by millions, as they witnessed their dreams of grandeur dissolve into bankruptcy and breadlines.

Download Spring 2011 PDF

Gallery

Mar 2011

Pass Christian, MS – A link to a famous murder, a famous ship, and a famous book!

Before Katrina came calling, Pass Christian was a charming little town consisting of tree-lined streets, quaint shops, and grand old mansions that hugged the shoreline along Scenic Drive. Since that time, Pass Christian has struggled to reinvent itself, but hope springs eternal, and progress is being made.

Download PDF – KAL111

Dec 2010

There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays!

I’ll also take my old Magnavox record player out of the closet, along with several old Christmas albums. Putting a record on the turntable, the scratchy sound of needle to vinyl will bubble out of the two detached speakers, along with the rich baritone voice of Robert Goulet singing “There’s no Place like Home for the Holidays.”

Downloadf PDF – KALBERG CHRISTMAS 2010

Oct 2010

Moonlight and Moonshine

In the summer of my 13th year, I was introduced to an amazing concoction the country folk called moonshine. Moonshine! The very word conjures up images of bootleggers, Dolly Parton singing “Daddy’s Moonshine Still,” or perhaps Faulkner’s steamy novel, Sanctuary, with its equally steamy character Popeye, and his unsavory past in the bootlegging business.

Download PDF – KAL310

Jul 2010

Miss. Jessie’s Tower House

Upon hearing those words as a child, did you cringe, knowing that you had failed in keeping one of childhood’s Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not be a chicken! And did your “chickenhood” follow you as you matured? Alas, mine did! I’m a chicken, and because I am, I missed a golden opportunity to meet one the Coast’s most eccentrically delightful grand dames – Mrs. Jessie Sherman Gundlach – and to visit her equally eccentric house, Castle Sherman.

Download PDF – KAL210 2

Mar 2010

Spring is for Weirdos!

Daffodils are among the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Their flowering brings a promise of warm weather and sunny days, along with a burst of color to a landscape still dressed in its winter greys and drab browns. A member of the Narcissus family, daffodils originated in the woods of Europe and are easy to grow. In the fall, put a few bulbs to bed under a cool blanket of soil and come spring, Voila!

Download PDF – KAL110

Dec 2009

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Ever wonder what the Christmas tree in the proverbial Grand Hotel looked like? Can you see it now, touching the lobby ceiling, draped with garland and twinkling lights, each evergreen bough laden with sparkling ornaments? And what about that smell, the fresh cool scent of pine or cedar!

Download PDF – KAL409

Oct 2009

The Merry Mansion

You may be asking yourself what the first two statements have in common with the last? Our local real estate agents could answer that question with three words – Location! Location! Location! And that prime location would be the west corner of Hwy 90 and Lorraine-Cowan Road, where Fun Time USA once stood. Remember Fun Time USA?

Download PDF – Fall09KALBERG

The Merry Mansion during the summer of 1969, just before the house was destroyed in Camille. Photos courtesy of Diane Skelton. 

The Merry Mansion 1

The Merry Mansion 2

The Merry Mansion 3

Jul 2009

Gulfport Little Theater Article

I did audition and got a part – a eunuch in Gulfport Little Theater’s 1975 production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A eunuch? Don’t go there! But that first audition, that first part, and that first production was “the beginning of a beautiful friendship” with the local theater community – and of course Gulfport Little Theater.

Download JPG – Summer09

Jul 2009

Hollywood – The Dream Factory

For almost one hundred years, the Dream Factory has created everything from sets and costumes, to movie stars and movie moguls. Many of the its glittering creations are iconic . Who could forget the creepy house at the top of the hill in “Psycho” or Scarlett’s green velvet dress made from her Mama’s portieres?

Download PDF – KAL209

Mar 2009

A Springtime Haint

As a child, I spent many spring afternoons playing on my Granny’s front porch. It was a typical Southern porch. Comfortable wicker rocking chairs invited conversation. A porch swing constantly whispered, “It’s nap time.” And framing it all in Kelly-green perfection were lacy ferns gently swaying in the dancing afternoon sunlight. In keeping with all things Southern, Granny’s front porch also sported a blue ceiling.

Download PDF – KalsKaleideoscope109

Dec 2008

Al Bowlly – England’s Answer to Bing Crosby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the image to read the article in the Mississippi Newcomers & Visitors Guide, Holiday 2008

Oct 2008

Belle Grove – Majesty in Ruins

The misty memory of a beautiful lady haunts me – a beautiful lady that I never knew. My first introduction to her was in 1969 when I saw her picture in a book,“Ghosts along the Mississippi.” Her beauty was not created from flesh and bone, but brick, mortar, and lime.

Download PDF – KALlatesummer08

Jul 2008

Sea Serpents Spotted In Gulfport

Did you know there are sea serpents living under the bridge that space Fritz Creek? Surely you’ve seen them. They have long snouts filled with needle-sharp teeth. They are covered with diamond-shaped, interlocking scales that are hard like armor.

Download PDF – kalbergsummer08

Mar 2008

The Titanic – History or Warning?

When Spring brushes the countryside with brilliant color, and bathes it with sweet smells, most Southerners think of azaleas, wisteria, and Easter. But this Southern boy also thinks of the Titanic.

Download PDF – Spring08Anthony

Dec 2007

The Markham Hotel – A Phoenix From The Ashes?

As a child, can you remember stepping into the spacious lobby of an old, grand hotel, and upon entering the lobby, there in all its sparkling, twinkling glory was a Christmas tree? Usually the tree was “tree-top-tall,” as the old-timers say, and would almost touch the lob- by’s ceiling.

Download PDF – Holiday 2007

Oct 2007

Three Gracious Ladies – Going, going, gone?

During the Roaring 20s, the country was awash in giggling flappers, bootleg whisky, and red-hot jazz. Folks shed their Victorian yokes, and embraced the new freedoms and conveniences that were sweeping the countryside.
Download PDF – Kals Fall07


The music’s not my favorite, but the home movies and pictures are great!

Jul 2007

Remember the Drive-In Picture Show

The first drive-in picture show opened on June 6, 1933, in Camden, New Jersey. It was the brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, who mounted a movie projector on the hood of his car. The clicking projector beamed its flickering celluloid offering onto one of Mrs. Hollingshead’s best white sheets that had been strung-up between two friendly trees.

Download PDF – kalbergsummer07

Mar 2007

The Middlegate Oriental Gardens

The entrance to the gardens

To an impressionable, 17 year old boy, it was a magical place! Winding pathways tiptoed through masses of exotic greenery. Unfettered wisteria vines, lush with purple blooms, draped the trees like fine lace. Trickling water from an ornamental river could be heard, flowing gently under humpbacked bridges painted bright red.

Download PDF – Spring07

 

Gallery

 

Feb 2007

A Letter to the Editor

Before we pay a visit to our individual sheds, barns, or outhouses, in a combined effort to sharpen our plowshares, bring the tar to a bubbling boil, and snatch up all the pluck-able, non-laying hens we can find, I would request restraint from my Fellow Armpits… restraint and also patience.

Download JPG – SunHeraldLetter

Oct 2006

The Theater Bug

Eons ago – the mid-70s – amateur theater was the far- thest thing from my mind. Sooo, imagine my surprise when a dear friend called and said, “Anthony, I’m helping direct A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum at Gulfport Little Theater. I need someone to play a eunuch.

Download PDF – KalsKaleidoscopeFall06

Jul 2006

Katrina’s Prince in Shinning Armor

I NEVER KNEW THE MAN’S NAME. But as Katherine Hepburn said in that wonderfully rich, warbling voice of her’s in the movie, On Golden Pond, he was “my Prince in shinning armor.” And he was a Prince that I discovered, but by chance. By 2:00, on the afternoon of August 31, 2005, the blistering heat had wrapped itself around me like a dense, woolen, blanket, drippy-wet with humidity.

Download PDF – Kals_summer06

Mar 2006

Natural Gas in Church

When’s the last time you had a good laugh? Not a nervous titter, mind you, but a real rip-snorter? Now granted, here along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina’s lacerating visit, finding something to laugh about can be as rare as hen’s teeth. And rarer still is the laughter brought on by a Southern winter.

Download PDF – KALSspring 2006pdf

Dec 2005

Katrina Angel

It was an angel. A child’s angel. A child’s homemade angel. A gift perhaps. For a parent or a grandparent. And there it was, seemingly hiding itself in the craggy crevice of a mountainous pile of rank smelling debris. Its hand-painted face smeared with mud. Its Styrofoam body crushed.

Download PDF – KALSHoliday 2005pdf

Jul 2005

A Remembrance of Camille

Those of us who call the Mississippi Gulf Coast home know why the “livin’ is easy!” Because it’s HOT! What else is there to do but take it easy and “hunt a cool place,” as the old timers say? For our tourist friends who might not know, a coastal summer can be a HOT, humid affair.

Download PDF – Kals_July2005

Aug 1998

The Romance of Ocean Liners

The same thing this nation is going through now with this Titanic craze, the nation was going through 86 years ago.

Download JPG – articletitanic