Norman E. “Pete” Heine, former mayor and now city councilman of Baker, one of the true gentlemen of Louisiana politics, says our nostalgia items about the old Baton Rouge General Hospital on Government Street remind him of this bit of history:
“Dr. Weiss was the doctor who removed our tonsils and adenoids just a few days before he was accused of the assassination.
“I remember him as a kind and compassionate young doctor with horn-rimmed glasses, who made young children feel comfortable in his presence.
“I will always remember that day.
“When I was campaigning for East Baton Rouge Parish mayor-president in 1976 and 1981, I stopped by the Guaranty Income Life building in the old Baton Rouge General, asking the employees for their vote and telling about my stay at the Baton Rouge General with Dr. Weiss as my doctor.”
Which reminds me
After one of Pete Heine’s campaigns for mayor-president — probably in 1976, when I was still doing honest newspaper work — I was assigned by the Morning Advocate to spend election day with Pete and write about what a candidate did when the campaign was over.
He was obviously tired from his toiling on the campaign trail, but he received me graciously in his Baker home and took me on a little tour of his town.
During the day we didn’t talk once about the election — he talked of the love he had for Baker and its people, and what it meant to him to have a chance to serve them.
We visited the Baker Heritage Museum, where he showed me the artifacts collected there and told me what he knew of their history.
It was a relaxing day, although at the end of it I found I didn’t have anything exciting to write about — just a man telling me about his town and what it meant to him.
Pete lost that election, but he certainly won my respect, for what it’s worth.
Andy Maverick says, “One of the functions of a newspaper in modern society is to find solutions to vexing problems.
“Once again, The Advocate has stepped up to the plate.
“Problem: The poor woman featured in recent advertisements whose knees hurt so bad that she can’t pray.
“Solution: The article on Saturday, describing the new phenomenon of drive-thru churches and prayer stations.
“May I suggest a Pulitzer nomination?”
Skate boy days
Charlie Zachariah says this about our mention of the “flying horses” carousel at Baton Rouge’s City Park:
“In the winter Mr. Murphy converted the building into a skating rink.
“Back then there were no fancy shoe skates as we now have, and the skates had to be clamped on to the soles of shoes.
“For this chore he hired ‘skate boys.’ I was one of them.
“After attaching the skates to those lined up for the session, we skate boys got to skate free, saving the 25 cents charge.
“If someone came in late for the session, one of us would be hailed off the floor to take care of them.”
Special People Dept.
Thomas and Pearl Hill, of Port Hudson, celebrate their 65th anniversary on Sunday, Dec. 14.
A damp shame
Mary Hamilton says our seminar on moms reminded her of this happening:
“As a young mother of three, I was often harried.
“I would come in and put my purse over the nearest chair.
“My mother, visiting at the time, said anyone could come into the house and steal it.
“Her suggestion was to put my purse in the washing machine for safekeeping.
“Wonderful idea, until this busy mother washed clothes with the purse still in the washer.
“Better idea, Mom, would have been to put it in the dryer.”
Ralph Drouin says, “After reading the list of ‘Southern Momspeak’ in Wednesday’s Smiley, I was reminded of my mama telling me this on ‘occasion’ many years ago: ‘You just wait till your daddy gets home! He’ll fix your clock!’”
Harold Mayeux says, “If you want a few more ‘Southern Moms Say:’
“At a meal: ‘Go fix your plate.’ (Where is it broken?)
“‘Go make your bed.’ (Better run to Home Depot first.)
“‘You can do the dishes.’ (Do what?)”
Jim Pitchford says, “In Natchez, when you said ‘What if,’ sometimes the comeback was ‘If buckeyes were biscuits and Muscovy ducks were race horses.’
“The English teacher when you asked, ‘Where is it at?’ said, ‘Between the A and the T.’
“My favorite is: ‘If ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’ were beer and nuts we could save some money.’”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.