Iron History

[Previous entry: "Mighty Men of Old: Ernest Cadine"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "November 21, 2003: Al Beckles's Age"]

11/13/2003 Entry: "Nov 14, 2003"

Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Mar 7, 1986:

I think that when Sig does pass along I�ll treat his so doing in a different manner, preferring to write of him as a human being rather than what he meant to lifting and bodybuilding. I know of course that his contributions to the Iron Game are great but his contributions as a man are greater.

I was supposed to go into work today- the time is now 7:30AM- but I got a call from Terry Todd around 7 to say his car was on the blink, he had to leave early in the afternoon to go to Houston to watch a bullfight put on by Jack Woodson- a mutual friend of ours and one who owns a club here in Austin- the very same club that XXX the Mighty lost because he didn�t come up with the rent on time- and so I have the day to myself.

I still cannot get over that T. Derek Sobel being nominated for the Hall of Fame as the CENTURY�S GREATEST BODYBUILDING WRITER. In fact I am pissed off more than somewhat since I have never heard of the dude. Terry told me- when I asked him this half an hour ago that he wrote OCCASIONALLY for Iron Man. Few people have written more than I have and even John Fair remarked about my prolific ness when he was here researching for his Golden Years of Weightlifting.

Both my letters- the one written yesterday and this one will reach you after you get back from Columbus. So I do hope you have a good time and enlarge your contacts. All grist for the mill.

As for your still discovering things new. Count the day lost in which you DON�T.

As for XXX changing personality, can a leopard change its spots or an Ethiopean his skin. It�s hard for any of us to change personality. As for letting all and sundry know you and I are in close contact, do what you want on this score. But I�d advise against it. Where is there �Need to Know� as they say in intelligence circles. I see no objection to letting people know we, rather YOU know ME. But to disclose the closeness of the connection would, I think- with my usual nasty suspicious way of still thinking like the Fuzz- would be a cardinal error. Knowing that you have heard of me or know me is one thing. But disclosing that we are in close contact might be unwise insofar as it might be a drying up agent of information that they might otherwise disclose.

I have never been in the habit of deluding myself or failing to recognize my limitations, and, I am sure beyond any possible doubt, that I have ruffled a few feathers at times and got more than one person pissed off more than somewhat. But the decision is yours to make.

I doubt that Terry Todd will mention anything beyond the fact that you visited the Collection and me and he and she. It is hardly likely to go beyond that- in my estimation. I am sure if XXX the Mighty had known you and I were in close and regular contact he would NOT have opened up as he did. Sure you get the point.

Possibly I have done XXX an injustice for thinking HE thought that I was bigoted against certain cultural or ethnic groups. Maybe what he meant was that I didn�t understand Spanish. He KNEW that I associated with [John] Davis and had quite a few bodybuilders of Latin American ancestry up to my home in the Bronx.

It is strange that he should mention this bit about my being unable to handle Chicanos since he had only ONE of them as a member of his club and NO BLACK member although he did have both blacks and Chicanos working menial tasks. It is also hard to understand this latter since XXX himself is a member of the Jewish faith and sensitive about it since he never let anyone know. To me it didn�t matter a hill of beans or a single one of them. Brought up in the English sense of fair play for all, �That just isn�t cricket, old man� sort of stuff. I never cared if a man was black, white, polka dotted or albino or what his faith or ethnic or cultural gins and preferences were.

And at the time I came to Austin I was TOTALLY UNAWARE that it had ANY CHICANO population.

You can depend on one thing. If you write to XXX, he will write back and in his usual disjointed loose at the ankles and wrists style.

That it all for now, see ya, best to you and yours,

Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Mar 15, 1986:

Thanks for your letter dated as per post mark March 12th which reached me yesterday. I am starting this now since I am sure I won�t get to mail it before Monday- work�s piling up around me like cow flops in a well grazed meadow.

My news first. Talked with Milo Steinborn yesterday afternoon. It was the old sod�s 93rd birthday and from the degree of background decibels some hell of a party was going on. The rotten swine were probably drinking all OUR beer. He sounded marvelous. Voice vigourous and replies lucid. We nattered for a couple of minutes, I wished him many happy returns and off the phone I got Terry and Jan to get their two cents worth in.

Sig Klein is out of the hospital and, from what I am told, appears to be a little better. When I said his wife was still alive, that was an assumption on my part. I don�t know for sure, but have gathered she is still living from the gossip I hear here and there.

I don�t see how Grimek can stop anyone from writing a bio on him. He is a public personality and all he can do is sue if he feels something is said about him to which he objects.

What has me puzzled re Katie Sandwina is the name NOCK as her parents� names and her oft told name of BUMBACH. Thanks for the info on her. We have a fair amount of stuff on her here at the Collection- which by the way is not only growing but becoming more and more famous. Yesterday we had a very sweet lump of crackling up to do a story on the collection- a sprightly young German lass from the German Newspaper Mag STERN. Name Christina- last name unknown, but who cared when confronted with the presence and pleasantness of her pulchritude. She was, she told me, from Hambourg and we exchanged reminiscences of how it was now- all new, chrome glittery- and then in the old days in the early thirties when I visited it. She said she was �rich� but she was amazed at how wealthy some of the people she had met in Austin and Houston were. I said, �So you are rich are you. Can�t you see I love you madly?� Anyway, we got on famously, especially when I told her I had heard good old Adolph Hitler give a couple of speeches at the Berlin Sports Palast. Neither Terry or Jan were around and I had loads of time to work my evil wiles upon her. Don�t I wish.

Beer will be in the ice box, all cooled down, on your arrival. It�s my bounden duty to have means of revival at hand on your arrival in order to get you over the shock of meeting me face to face

Thanks for the stuff on Joe Lambert. There�s nothing I like better than jerking up someone as smug as dear old XXX. He sent me a letter the other day, saying he had been inspecting some ice rinks in Germany or Holland or some such outlandish place. He manages to travel around to various functions because he gets his way paid. He is some sort of Government employee, exactly what I will find out and let you know. He is, as I may have mentioned, a workaholic, finding it hard to get over the loss of his wife. Understand his feelings in this matter. It isn�t like a divorce at all where the �feelings� are mutual. Most times anyway. The death of someone you love, or respect takes something of yourself away.

Not too long ago I wrote to our mutual friend XXX, telling him of Siggie�s condition and that I was going to write an OBIT for Bob Kenedy in which I would deal with the character of Klein and not about his gym ownership and some such. I added these words that �I know this sounds ghoulish� but it might provide Bob Kennedy with a �scoop� and so help along he and his somewhat ailing mag.

Well, Lo and behold, as they say in Polynesia. I got a letter from Kennedy to tell me he had just received an OBIT about Sig Klein from XXX and he remarked �Strange, Chas., but he used the same words as you: �I know it sounds ghoulish etc etc.� I had previously written to Kennedy suggesting a Klein obit with space held in order to scoop the rest of the mags, also adding the words, �I know it sounds etc etc� the same words I used in my letter to XXX. I don�t need to say any more or express my feelings as to this action on the part of XXX. Nuff said�By the way, who was NUFF. And what did he say.

I like Ed Jubinville. He is a GENTLEMAN and I use this in the British sense, and you can�t possibly understand this sense. But try and be a Brit and understand. I have never heard a single derogatory word said of him. Not like me at all. I�m a sheer bastard.

Time for �I wonder why� item. I wonder why Terry Todd�s name no longer appears on the SPORTS ILLSUTRATED MAST HEAD. And why his articles no longer appear therein. Any rumors floated your way.

I am halting this missive right here and now with the hopes of catching the poxy postman. I aint goint over any typoes, so suffer. And if I have failed to answer any questions, throw them at me in your next,

Best as ever to you and yours,