He wanted to be called ‘Rusty’, like the kid on the TV show “Rin Tin Tin”. By the simple strategy of stubbornly ignoring all friends, teachers, parents, and others until they addressed him as “Rusty,” he soon became Rusty, and some time later decided that “Russell” was even better.
I admire Russell because he built a home-made hang-glider of fishing poles and plastic sheeting, and jumped off Mount Tamalpais. It worked all right, for a while, but then about 50 yards above the earth, the main spar broke, and he fell to the ground. About like falling out a sixth-floor window. He broke a collar-bone and ruptured his spleen. When he got out of the hospital, he rebuilt the hang-glider to be stronger, and jumped off Mount Tamalpais again, so that he wouldn’t have to be afraid of it any more. That’s the spirit!
So last week, I got a call from my friend Russell.
Russell lives in the hills just north of Los Angeles. He does high-end cabinetry and contracting. He is a mighty woodman, and has two grown boys of his own. One of them, Alec, makes movies these days.
Russell’s mother, Billie Jane, a long-ago crony of my mother’s, and long-time friend from my childhoot, is now very, very long-lived like all of her maternal line. Not letting that slow her down, she pulled a copy of my college story “Ralph the Cat” from some ancient file, and sent it to Alec. Alec likes it. Now Alec wants to make a movie of it. I’ve just written a letter of permission to film the story. Funny. I wrote it when I was about the same age as Alec is now, and that was a long, long time ago.
If things go well, soon coming to a Film Festival or Art Theatre near you … “Ralph the Cat.”