I was surprised and dismayed to see an obituary in the paper for ex-Springfield cop Robert Brown. Surprised, because I didn't know he was even still alive, and dismayed because he was a colorful character on the local political scene for many years. The picture that ran with the obit was obviously taken many years before his death recently at age 89:
In the Diary of J.Wesley Miller, there is a great anecdote about Brown and an encounter he had with the Springfield Police Commission:
Retired Police Officer and labor activist Robert Brown came to visit today. He arrived at 2:55 and I served strawberry shortcake and sherry, of which he had several refills. Brown told me that he used to go to First Church but the new minister there talks about Martin Luther King all the time instead of God so he stopped going. His father was a truck driver from Rumford, Maine. Brown is 76 years old and has six kids, three boys and three girls. He graduated from Tech High in 1945.
Brown said he hopes the Feds get something on Albano after all the trouble he caused the Patrolman's Union. Brown also told me of how "Efrem Gordon saved my ass!" It all started when Brown made an important arrest and two cops who arrived later wanted to put their names on the arrest report too. Brown refused to give them false credit and the cops got mad and said they'd get even.
One day Brown stopped to chat for a few minutes in a barbershop in Six Corners and the cops who were mad suddenly barged in and accused him of sleeping on the job and turned him in. He was hauled before the Police Commission chaired by the hard-nosed Beaumont Herman, who suspended him without pay for three days. Brown cried out, "Your Honor, I'm getting the shaft!" Bo Herman stood up and shouted at him not to use profanity and suspended him for another three days.
Brown went to see Efrem Gordon and Effie said he'd been before the Police Commission many times and that he would help him out. At the appeal Atty. Gordon showed that there were inconsistencies in the accusations against Brown and brought in dictionaries that showed the word "shaft" is not obscene. Bobby Brown was exonerated and thereby became one of the few guys to ever beat the Police Commission. Later Brown went to Efrem and told him that with six kids he didn't know how he could afford to pay him but Gordon said forget the bill because, "I've had so much fun beating the bastards!"
The dirt road that goes past my backyard is covered with ice.
Craig Chaquico of Jefferson Starship has a new band. As you can hear below, it is very good.