Iron History

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11/20/2008 Entry: "11/21/2008: The Conclusion of the March 1, 1988 Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe"

Conclusion of the March 1, 1988 letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark. For parts one and two see the November 7, 2008 entry and the November 14, 2008 entry.

Sulimanov, the Bulgarian defector, who now calls himself Sulimanogu, has been ADOPTED by the Turkish Prime Minister as his son. At a sanctioned meet in some Turkish place, attended by the IWF Chairman, Herr Schoedl, Sulamanov went 330-1/4 snatch and 414-3/4 c&j. Both new world records plus a new W/R total.

He will also be allowed to lift at the Seoul Olympics. So tis said. You couldn�t get me there for ten million. Some crazy is gonna pull the same sort of stunt pulled at the 1972 Olympics and a few will get bashed dead.

As for me, I am still here, hanging around like a fart in a phone booth. Last week I had a bad turn. Bladder acting up for some reason. But I am back as before now.

By the way, when I wrote Bollocks re the glaring errors in Grimek�s article re Sandow, I told him very plainly that it was for his info only and I was out to hurt no one�s feelings, that I had already written to Grimek to set him straight.

How in the hell this ridiculous story re Sandow lifting a car out of a ditch came about beats me. It should be obvious to anyone that not even the most powerful modern power lifter could, on his own, lift a car out of a ditch- look up the word in the dictionary and see what it is- yet here�s a 57 year old man doing it, and one who wasn�t as powerful as he claimed.

The �ditch� incident took place a full two years before he died. The car had its hind wheels in a rut and the two men with Sandow shoved the car out of the muddy small depression in the road, where the wheels had been spinning. NONE OF THE THREE LADIES WITH THE MEN- NONE OF THEM- related to Sandow by marriage or otherwise, assisted other than getting out of the car. But that afternoon, when he got home, Sandow did tell his wife Blanche that he had a slight headache.

Why these fables are repeated and spread around---you guess. As Oscar Wilde remarked in one of his aphorisms; �History doesn�t repeat itself. Authors do.�

Do you realize that it has been since December 24th that you haven�t (sic) written?

Re Leopold. I strongly suspect that this was Arnold�s ORIGINAL name. During my wanderings in pre war Germany and Austria I never heard the name ARNOLD but always Leopold. But what does that prove? I would say that Arnold is maybe his second name which he prefers to use over Leopold. Leopold Schwarzenegger- can you imagine? Might interest you to know that Schwarzenegger means BLACK PLOUGHMAN.

I agree re Beckles. I think he WAS born in 1938 but for some perverse reason wants to be older than he is. All sorts of interesting Freudian and Jungan slants to this.

I haven�t heard from Father Ignatious, my goodness, good gracious! Aka the Reverend Todd for a moon now. That other house he is moving in is one of his old rental houses he owns. Close to where he presently resides. I did tell him of the award and he went through the ritual verbal back pattings. Said he�d come over and take a shot of it with me. Hasn�t been. If he has moved or not I don�t know. Meanwhile re the material he was supposed to have sent. DON�T HOLD YOUR BREATH. He and Jan are very busy, she with her doctoral program and he Toddling around from class to class, etc.

I have managed to get hold of Lon�s address. He�s the old fag photographer- but always a good guy to me and aware that I didn�t care for his sexual preferences. But we got along well together and I shall write him.

Maybe you can get the Wunderkind to give you a space ad for an article. Try it on for size via Everson.

When I wrote Joe today sending on the photo of me and The Reverend at the 1986 Old Timers� Bash, I told him not to drag his heels over bringing me to L.A. He had said yesterday that he was waiting until the remodeling of his headquarters was finished. I said worry not over that. I don�t care if your bloody headquarters is in ruins, it�s you I want to chin wag with and I don�t feel like holding my breath.

Of course I accept your apology for not writing sooner. Didn�t know about the death of a friend. Why didn�t you write and unburden yourself. Maybe in my fumbling bumbling way I could have helped my FRIEND.
[A very close friend of mine- with whom and with his wife Geni and I socialized, was shot to death on the job a few days before his birthday in January 1988. He was an Illinois State Trooper, and a finer man I have never known. I still miss him, but we remain friends with his widow, and his son]

As for your being casual more, about writing. I am getting a bad feeling from this, although I appreciate honesty and like to get my bad news STRAIGHT. I shall understand if you don�t want to write any more. But I won�t like it. I can understand not wanting to writ to all and sundry, but a friend, such as I believe WE are, is a bit different. But it�s your choice to make.

Re that stuff in Grimek�s articles. I am wondering how it got past the panel of �experts� employed by Balik. It is my feeling that Grimek is being USED for his name and what he represents. The man can�t write worth a pinch pf Panda�s poo poo.

Goodbye for now Joe, best to you and yours as always. I�ll be 76 this March 27th and I feel time is growing short for me- not that it bothers me too much-

[Roark note: With the wisdom of passing years, I regret putting Charles in this communication dilemma. The death of our friend REALLY bothered us, and with my workload- well, there are lots of excuses/reasons, but the sad conclusion is that I think it could have been handled better from my end. I was very fond of Charles, and as I re-read this letter I re-realized he was fond of me, so there is a certain ingredient of regret and guilt on how I handled this. Charles and I continued to write each other for two more years, and those letters will be presented in this continuing series. But let it be known that Charles was a unique and wonderful person in his own ways up until the day he died one day before my birthday in 1991]