[Dixielandjazz] Studs Terkel and Barrett Deems

Charlie Hooks charliehooks at earthlink.net
Mon May 5 20:30:15 PDT 2003

on 5/5/03 3:07 PM, JimDBB at aol.com at JimDBB at aol.com wrote:

> Chicago is not the same without Barrett Deems and Mike Royko.  It is a much
> blander place.

    You've got that right!  Both of them knew and admired my wife, Lornetta,
and Barrett never tired of asking about her, as in "Does she still like
those drums I gave her?"  I think Lornetta posted on the list several months
ago the story of how Barrett did many favors for her and the school kids she
teaches.  (The kids loved Barrett: they believed he was the model for the
drummer on the Muppets--and maybe he was!)

    As for Royko, the first time we encountered him was the year we married,
in 1981: I was 52 and Lornetta was not quite 26, slim with hair to the floor
and wearing a wide-brimmed swooping-around hat with shorts and a great tan.
We were at the Acorn on Oak to hear Buddy Charles (IMHO the world's best
piano-bar player) and were standing at the bar listening to Buddy.  All of a
sudden a drunk appeared, peering at us bleary-eyed above a martini glass.
Royko.  He moved in closer to Lornetta, staring.  "Most women," he declared
straight faced, as a studied conclusion, "would look ridiculous in the hat!"
People were turning, starting to listen.  Everybody knew Royko.

    "But you," he continued, "You look great!  And as for YOU," getting to
me with a stage sneer, "I hope ya' get run over by a truck!"  And ambled on
down the bar.  Netta was happy for a week.

    Royko loved Buddy Charles (as don't we all) and never seemed reconciled
to the closing of the Acorn on Oak where he listened to Buddy field requests
and held court almost every night until closing time around 2 AM.  I'm
surprised he didn't scour the owners all over his column for the way the
closed the Acorn: after a zillion years playing there Buddy was stopped by
the bartender one morning as he was leaving, "Uh, by the way, this was your
last night--the joint's closing."  Real class--if you subtract the first two

    Royko didn't live to see Buddy retire two years ago from the Drake Hotel
where he was hired about a hour after the Acorn or Oak shut down.  Just as

lots of Chicago memories,


More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list