How long did you think it might be...
Sunday the fifteenth, 2023| Written by: Staff writer


October 14, 2023

Dearest Elizabeth,

[Please know that I only relied on MS Word to proof this.]

              I feel much regret for not having imparted to you the intricate complexities of my life over the last few years.  I know that must frighten you into thinking you are facing a Proust-like tome and but you do not know that I am giving myself only one hour to write it.  Normally, that last part would scare the b’Jesus out of someone.  It would not be you, of course, but it may fill you with dread because of the guilt you will feel if you do not read this.  The truth is, I need to spend that amount of time, which you will understand later. 

(I admit feeling a little guilty having lied so blatantly in that last paragraph.  I started this on Thursday!)

              There have been high points and low points over the last several years, of course.  That comes free of charge by the time one is a sexagenarian, as you will never know being stuck at 29 for life.  I will try to match the bad things with better ones.


The worst was that Hunter, Cielle’s youngest son, died of a freak aneurysm in April of 2022.  He was 29.  He had the wherewithal to exit from the Dallas interstate when it hit him, and video shows his car slowly hitting one side of the exit land then then hitting and stopping at the other.  He was kept alive for almost a week, but Dr. Stephen Kantrow spoke to the officer who found Hunter (who checked on him in the hospital), and from the officer’s description Hunter died immediately after exiting.

Last April there was a celebratory birthday crawfish boil and charity golf tournament for a local pet agency.  This will apparently be an annual event.

Cielle is getting used to it, though, which is the best one can ask as nobody ever “gets over” something like that.  I doubt you have “gotten over” Gus, but I hope that you are getting used to it.

Anderson and Emily Anderson and Cielle Camille and MGM
In July, though, I took Camille to New York City for the wedding of my oldest nephew, Hunters’ big brother, Anderson (31).  He married a really sweet elementary school teacher from New Jersey and they live in Brooklyn.  Camille got to join a New York weed club (it is legal there) which helped her immensely as she suffers from fibromyalgia.  We walked through Central Park, which included not getting murdered while passing The Rambles, a favorite haunt for murderers on Law & Order.  We did try to go to the Natural History Museum, but tickets to that are ridiculous to find, really expensive and include giving up one’s first child.  Camille was having none of that!  She figured that her father knowing Neil de Grasse Tyson from the UT Wrestling team (he runs the Hayden Observatory in the museum – and he helped kill Pluto as a planet) was enough.

  Camille did not believe me when I told her, when visiting her in Georgia when she was 13, that I knew Neil.  She was amazed when I told her how to pull up this photo on her phone.  Well, not quite this photo.  In 2018, I think, I took Mom to see Neil speak at the Sanger Theater.  An usher let me go backstage to see him and he signed a copy of it for Camille.  I sent him a copy of The Pluto Files asking him to inscribe it, which he did.  Camille is still mad at him for demoting Pluto, but there was really god reasoning behind that decision.  Nobody, for centuries, had really tried to explain what made planets different from other large objects in the universe.  At the end, Pluto just did not make the cut.

Not too far away was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and we were just not impressed.  The place was simply not organized, well, aside from the signs telling us where we could purchase our tickets.  After that we found ourselves on Fifth Avenue, and that meant Sak’s and $600 of perfume.  The Scent Bar was next.  It was really small – smaller than the original Miss May’s bar, sans the pool table room.  But behind that corner was an example of every L, B, G, Q, T and + of which one could ask.  That’s fine by me - I’d had been fine with an Indian Chief, a Police Officer, a Construction Worker, a Cowboy and a Sailor.  It was just that the place was too small for so many people. 

Our hotel on Thursday night was the incredibly small Hampton Inn in the Financial District.  We left at 7 a.m. Friday morning and they did not charge us for the other nights we reserved, which was very nice.  We found a Hilton in the Fashion District, which was much better, but had no vending machines and only one ice machine.  Oddly, nobody seemed to care that I wore Avengers pajama pants to the deli around the corner.

The wedding was held at the Boathouse in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn.  It was on the dock area (when boats used to go there, I guess) and the building was so historic it did not have an air conditioning system.  So, the event would have been great – IN NOVEMBER!  Instead, it was a 5 p.m. wedding in July, and we had to walk about a quarter-mile to get there from where the Uber dropped us.  Inside, the dinner tables were in straight lines and there was perhaps six inches allowed between the shoulder of the guests.  I sat across from Cielle’s best friend, Patti McFarland, whom you may remember.  Her significant other was a former  wrester, and thus the table seating was expected to be beneficial.  I knew the guy was much better than I ever was.  But when he said he won three New England State championships, I had to remember that Patti is not the sharpest tool in the shed.  Could he have meant he went to high school in Massachusetts as a sophomore, Connecticut as a junior and Rhode Island as a senior?  The more I think about it, he made have had to switch schools after each year to find one which would give him a diploma.

Meanwhile, Camille, tired from the walk to get there, decided to get some air in the women’s rest room.  I was told later that the restrooms were ten-times as hot as the rest of the building.  Camille took about eight steps outside of it before someone rushed and caught her before she fainted.  I had entered “9-1-1” on my super savvy Alcatel flip phone and was about to hit “Call” when someone spritzed her face with cold water and she regained consciousness.  As uncomfortable as the place was, neither of us were unhappy to leave early, and the park security let the Uber drive into the park to the building, which was nice.

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One of the, if not the only, good aspect of New York is that they know how to make a peperoni pizza.  We had one at the Hampton Inn and another after the wedding.  And the really special thing about them – they come with FREE COVID!  We returned on Sunday and Camille was diagnosed positive the next day.  Mom and I took Walgreens test that said we were negative.  (Re having COVID, I mean.) 

 Unbeknownst to anyone at the time was that on the Saturday of Anderson’s wedding Mom was already, according to her best friend, showing signs of being “off.”  I was worried about her come Wednesday, but that was my “Covid day,” with a constant headache but not a migraine.  Doing things for Camille took up Monday and Tuesday. 

 Long story shorter – Cielle stayed the night on Friday and was as alarmed as I was because Mom was not engaged in anything – even JEOPARDY!.  (Is it just me, or are others annoyed that when blocking JEOPARDY! the block does not entail the exclamation point?  I mean, the exclamation point is a part of the show’s name.  It is just me, isn’t it?) 

On the left is an image I made to frame for Camille.  On the right is one of many, many T-shirts I have made over the years.  Read further and you will see more.  At one point I made shirts and buttons saying "What part of 'It ain't over yet' confuses you?"  You are more than welcome to disagree, but in my opinion Trump's COVID policies forced Biden to punt re ridding ourselves of it, and now we are stuck with it.

Late Friday night we called an ambulance.  That was tough.  Mom has made it very clear that she does not want to die in a hospital bed.  But this was not something instantaneous, like Hunter’s aneurism.  As it turned out she had a UTI, COVID and was 89-years-old.  She was released on Monday but it took about 10 days for her to get back to “normal.”

She asked me to tell you “Hi” when I found the movie I suggested she watch on VUDU.  She is only a smidgeon less “sharp” than she has been all of her life, which still keeps her in the 99.5 percentile of smarter than everyone else.  (Granted, my thinking that may very well be a result of diminished capacity on my part!)  Her knees bother her a lot, though, and she should not weigh 150 lbs., but, really, am I going to insist she starts dieting and then looking like those old women in jogging shorts at Wholesale Foods?  She still smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, as she has since she was seventeen, because in 1954 that is what one did at Mississippi Southern.  About four years ago she chose not to drive anymore and chose to use a walker when she meanders around the house.  If she needs me there is a phone in her bedroom, bathroom and by her recliner.  Plus, she wears a necklace for a nurses station alarm, which is near my bedroom upstairs.  She says she will live to be 100.  She very well could, but that means I will have to live a year longer than my “three score and ten.”  I beat my “old man” when I made 60.  I know a lot of people lost money when I did that, but I thought that would alleviate me of any requirements to live longer.

Yes, time for Camille photos...

2019 Jazz Town Duals.
She has helped me photograph one tournament in Lafayette, two Jazz Town Duals and the 2021 LHSAA state championships.  She is very good, but is too used to photography-by-phone.
2023 Birthday
There was supposed to be a date when menthol cigarettes were made illegal.  That plaque part is blank.  The bottom one says "The day the menthol died."
2022 Halloween
She loves Halloween
2017 Halloween
(When a daughter wanting to be a makeup artist gets scary
2019 Father's Day at the 2022 Jazz Town Duals

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Aside from chronic anxiety and some wicked fibromyalgia, Camille is doing fine.  I cannot recall if I told you (OK – I cannot recall a lot!) about when she ran into my room to use my computer to check what her ACT score was.  I still pick the scabs in my ears from the cuts I suffered from her shrill scream when she learned she scored a 32, one point higher than I did.  She cored higher than me on the SATs also, but those are hard to compare as her test included a writing section.  Ours did not.  So, I can still lord my National Merit Finalist certificate over her!

Eschewing the colleges who wanted her, she decided to start the path toward becoming what she had wanted to be since she was 12 – a makeup artist.  She had to go through one of those incredibly stupid schools, Blue Cliff, I believe, to become a state certified esthesiologist.  For over a year she has been an esthesiologist for the Waldorf Astoria Spa in the Roosevelt Hotel.  She likes it, but she thinks it is the only job she will ever have because her boss also has fibromyalgia.  She suspects, but has never asked, that Daddy will make sure she has a decent roof over her head and an income whether she works or not. 

In September she moved into her first “solo” apartment.  She fell in love with it because the bathroom tile is a very pretty dark green.  And…I let her do it.  It is on Gentilly Boulevard across from the Fairgrounds.  She cannot afford it, so I’ll front half of her rent, but to me it is a “learning experience” for her.  It is safe for her when she is inside and she parks on the Gentilly Boulevard side.  In the back, though, her car has already been “rifled through.”  I am giving her this opportunity to realize that driving an extra five minutes to get to work is worth living in a smaller but safer area. 

Two weeks ago, Mom signed over her car and her half of the triplex to me.  I already own the house, and since Hunter’s death I get to use her entire IRA income until I die, at which point it will be split between Camille and Anderson.  Anderson does not care.  He has a degree in architectural engineering (a five-year program) from Penn State and is doing just fine.  Except, probably, right now.  I’ve no doubt he is doing fine, but he is in his second of nine weeks in Dayton, Ohio.  Two years ago, he joined the Air Force National Guard.  He had the luxury of having his grandfather (Bill – my stepfather) as a role model.  Bill was a B-17 navigator in WWII.  The grandfather I knew best was an incredibly racist Arkansas farmer, and my father was an opiate and alcohol abuser (go figure!).  He’s a very sharp kid, as was his younger brother.  My Lake Avenue roots will make sure that he and Camille inherit a very healthy IRA.

Re alcohol, I did go “cold turkey” for 11 years.  I was told 12 years ago that my cirrhosis did not mean that I could not have a beer or two once in a while.  Yet internal bleeding does have an impact.  About a year ago I bought a six-pack of Beck’s N.A. from a liquor store.  Unbeknownst to me (my God, who still uses “unbeknownst?”) the six-pack had an actual Beck’s and a Sapporo in it.  I had thought earlier that I might have a shot of Rumplemintz and the day I outlived my father.  Then I decided that date did not deserve any recognition.  As the beers stayed cool in my mini-fridge, I decided that if I completed a hard garage or gardening task, I would reward myself with a “real” beer.  Then I thought, “What reward, the stuff will kill me or not as I choose.”  So, on that night I drank the Beck’s.  I waited for the spiders to start crawling on me like on Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend.”  I had a lot of liquor in my closet which had been there since I stopped drinking.  It did not happen.

A few days later I opened the Sapporo.  I did not like it when I was drinking.  After one sip I poured it down the bathroom sink.  What alcoholic does that?  I learned then that I really suck as an alcoholic.  Granted, I drank enough to damage my liver, but that was not from addiction.  It was a lifestyle.  Nowadays, rarely before 7 p.m., I pour myself a Captain Morgan and Coke.  Now, I did some serious damage to myself with the Captain in my 40s.  I have learned, though, that it is only a 70-proof liquor, below the standard 80 proof, and certainly less than the 100 proof Rumplemintz I used to use as appetizers when I got to a bar to play darts or league pool.  Now, as the National Merit Finalist I mentioned earlier, I decided that it was better for the cocktail to fill miniature liquor bottles with water and freeze them to later use as ice.  I generally takes me two or three hours to drink one 12 oz. cocktail.  Again, I really suck as an alcoholic!

Let me see if I have any St. Martin’s news for you.  Jim Marsalis and I spend a lot of time insulting each other, but we did that when I was in high school.  Since I have last written you we have lost Robert Heintz, whom you may not remember as he started as a junior, and Doug Geehan has died.  No one I know knows how or why.  He was extremely obese for a doctor, though.  I suspect something else.  Sue Edwards and Rex Mooney have passed away.  Mrs. Edwards I adored.  Dr. Mooney, I am sure had people care about him.

We had a small dinner party for my 60th birthday at a River Ridge seafood restaurant.  Mom and Camille were there, of course, as was Cielle and her husband George, whom Mom and I had not seen in at least two years do to COVID and Hunter’s death.  Ashley Serice, John’s little sister, was there, and Mom let me invite two classmates!  I invited Evelyn and Nellie.  (Nellie, by the way, is dating Steve Young!).  For me, it was great.  As I am a South Bucktown kid, It was better than I expected.

I think it was because she thought it necessary because I invited her to my 60th birthday, Evelyn, and now I must switch to Marilyn, invited me to hers in May.  It was a “Come as your Favorite Saint or Sinner” themed event.  Well, I went as my favorite Saint, which was not me.  Being that I was no longer 18 years-of-age I went with another one, Simon Templar.  Her husband at least realized what I meant when he saw the flask I had engraved for the event.

I love Marilyn to death, but this was one of the gaudiest displays of wealth and elitism I have ever seen – much worse than the debutante parties of the early 1980s.  At times I was glad that, as Simon Templar, I wore a tuxedo.  Most of the people thought that I was a hired photographer as my clothes were much akin (yeah, I read a lot of Tolkien last week) to the caterers’ dress.  She has a beautiful house.  But the party was outside by the pool where the DJ was, and the screen where Marilyn’s husband complained because the soft porn he wanted to show on a pool-side wall did not work very well.  I still love her to death, but this thing was just ridiculous.  I should have asked her to put glow-in-the-dark yellow tape to show me the edges of the stairs.

I am doing fine now as you have asked.  I think I have torn something in my left shoulder, but an orthopaedist said to just rest it a tad.  In the event Mom does not live to be 100, I have some serious work to do around this house, and wrestling season starts in November.  The sometimes-excruciating pain will have to wait until March for further diagnosis. 

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I learned recently that Supertramp recorded some awesome songs!  I thought they were just a middling band like Journey.  They rock!   And, yeah, so does ABBA.

The Louisiana Wrestling News, I fear, will suffer this year.  Firstly, Mom needs me here more than she once did and Cielle is acting like she deserves a pass from helping with Mom a little, perhaps due to Hunter’s death.  

              I did have what I thought was a great post when I wrote an article about the 2023 Louisiana Classic.  The LACL is the hardest tournament in the state, as it does not have divisions based on school sizes like the state championships do.  It is held in mid-January, so a lot of data is available for seeding it.  I like to write about whom I would seed before the tournament starts.  In 2022 I seeded a Shaw kid second only because I did not think his record merited a #1 seed.  I thought he was the best wrestler in that weight class but thought another kid had beaten better competition.  The Shaw kid won, and I was on the floor taking photographs next to a gaggle of Brother Martin mothers.  When he won, the 126 lbs. punk looked right at me and yeller “Who’s number one now?”  Hence, I pointed one finger at him.  Apparently the finger used, rather than the number it represented, was irksome to a few Shaw people.  The Brother Martin mom’s indicated it was a perfect finger to use.  I was asked to apologize to the kid, which was fine by me for appearances sake, but I had my heavy camera well positioned in my hand in case a certain Shaw parent became more belligerent.  That I was able to come up with the at left response so easily pleased me immensely.

The major great part of this story is the the name of the kid I flipped off was Glenn Price - hence, the finals last years were "Price-less.".  And then switch two letters and one goes from "Mast" to Mats," and the circles are actual diagrams of wrestling mats.  OK, Glenn was there, but only as an assistant Shaw coach.  Shaw gets no more visits from me until he apologizes or someone tells me his reaction to me was out-of-line.  One of the people who ran the 2022 state tournament came up to me to tell me Glenn, albeit winning his fourth Division II state championship, which is a marvelous feat, did not win the Outstanding Wrestler award.I mentioned T-shirts I have made, usually to try to get people to think a bit or to annoy the LHSAA professional photographers.

Playing with history Snoopy on real lockers and a real gym floor. Camille taught me about Schrödinger's cat.  When I showed this to her, she did not understand it because she did not know the Peanuts characters  The quote comes from Jaws.  Note the legs on the Spy vs. Spy characters.  It took Marsalis a little time to catchthat. 2021 State shirt for me and my photographers This was a slight on the "professional" photographers the LHSAA hires.

Yeah, VistaPrint loves me!

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Re the Louisiana Wrestling News suffering, it is because my vision has been seriously damaged.  In 2015 I started getting calf cramps every morning.  If I had felt it would help anything, I would have cried.  They were, and once a fortnight or so now, still are.  My doctor and I went through hydration and “potashem,” as my grandmother would have said, pill large enough for horses.  Then he suggested chloroquine phosphate. 

              It is getting late even for me, so I will make this quick lest I bring on a migraine, which are always looking for me.


              Chloroquine phosphate was used for the treatment of malaria, and the cramps involved.  The stuff worked.  One pill every day and I had no more calf, feet or hand cramps.  What the doctor did not tell me about were the side effects.  The drug label says that after one, or at most two years, of taking the drug, one should see an ophthalmologist.  I took it for five years.  Would one not think that a photographer and niche-sportswriter would acquiesce to a doctor’s recommendation to see an ophthalmologist? 


              Well, I did get a little less than $270K in a settlement (there is a malpractice cap of $500K in effect in Louisiana since 1974).  I was able to use that to get Camille and me to New York, get her an awesome gaming computer and, because LA Citizens’ insurance increases doubled my mortgage payments, to just pay off the Bank of America mortgage completely on the apartments.

             There really is one cute story about my condition.  In 2020 I was walking down the driveway with Camille and told her that, after peripheral vision test, my ophthalmologist said I had absolutely no upper peripheral vision.  So, I confessed to her that I would be an easy target for droned-deployed missiles.  She told me, with the sweetest and obviously caring voice, “Awe Daddy, you do not have to worry about drone deployed missiles.  You gotta worry about hawks!”   And I am leaving almost everything to this young lady!  Actually, I think it was a definite example that she is my daughter!

               Anyway, my eyes will never get any better, but so far they have not gotten worse.  If only Mrs. Lobenstein had told us to take care of our rod and cone cells, they would take care of you. 


              All of my lights are on shelves near the ceiling, and I control them with remote controls.  I did spend exactly $60, which was the amount of Nellie’s Home Depot birthday gift card, on constructing an eight-foot-long light holder extended across my room. 


              I can drive fine during the day, and at night on well-lit roads.  It is just tiresome, at times, to make sure I am extra careful when making a turn.  At night on the interstate, I am fine.  But with the work I do, I cannot spend more than three hours on the computer each day.  I used to spend eight hour editing photos and writing tripe.


I really should not complain, as this is my 11th year of doing the Louisiana Wrestling News.  Nobody else in the nation has a comparable website.  I guess because very few people “smarter than your average bear” are able to retire at 40 and just live with less wants.  That has allowed me to spend well over $110K on it.  But I still love it and will miss it should I have to stop.


Speaking of which, since Mom transferred her car to me, I have a personalized license on the way that reads “LWN – 02.”  It means I shall truly have fleet.  Granted, as it consists of a 2011 Camry and a 2013 Corolla, it may be considered a fleet of dreadnaughts, but a fleet none the less.

We still do not know what to do with the obelisk that once was Lee Circle.  The Myrth Lee Circle have votes from myself and Marsluus


Please do not think of reading this as five minutes of your life wasted.  Think of it a 180 minutes that made me happy.

 All My Best Elizabeth Ann!



Yes, my seventh-grade photo when I was trying to get my life back together after you gave you I.D. bracelet to Thad Garrenger!



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