Dear Smiley: I recently saw the “Bonne and Clyde” movie with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway on Turner Classic Movies, and my encyclopedic curiosity got me to check out what Wikipedia had to say.
Turns out the scene with Gene Wilder and his girlfriend (Evans Evans) being kidnapped by the outlaws has some truth and a Louisiana connection — kinda like the story in your column about Clyde’s haircut at an Opelousas barbershop.
The pair kidnapped a Ruston mortician, H.D. Darby, and his neighbor, Sophia Stone.
The article doesn’t say if they were unceremoniously dumped, as in the movie.
P.S.: Your column ought to qualify for college credit in history — or in something.
ALEX "SONNY" CHAPMAN
Dear Smiley: The first car I ever bought was a sky blue Fiat Spyder convertible with a five-speed transmission —very snazzy but very temperamental, to put it nicely!
My much younger brother Carl begged me to let him drive it to his high school prom.
Long story short, later that night he walked in the door with my gear shift in his hand! I think he drove all the way home in first gear!
Let it roll
Dear Smiley: I owned a great little MGB-GT in the early '70s. Not sure I could even get in and out of it now.
The starter began acting up and became unreliable, so for a week or so I would only park in the direction I needed to go next.
When ready to leave, I would push the little car into the street, line it up, put the key in the ignition in the “on” position, and the shift in neutral.
I would then push the car until I got a bit of roll going, hop in, depress the clutch, shift into second and pop the clutch— which would cause the engine to turn over and start up.
When I parked downtown I backed into the parking slot which was at the top of the ramp, so I could push the car out and easily get it rolling and repeat the clutch routine.
I did eventually have the starter repaired and reinstalled it. It worked like a champ until I sold the car.
Today, owning a manual shift car serves as a theft deterrent, as few people know how to operate a clutch anymore.
Ah, the joys of youth!
Meeting its match
Dear Smiley: Several years ago we had a Fiat (we called it a "Fot Yot"). My husband John used it for work.
We were having trouble with it. My brother-in-law, J.B. Castagnos, who is a great mechanic, came over to check it out.
He fixed it with a matchstick. I still don’t know what he did, but it ran for a long time.
Dear Smiley: Another "wrong car" story:
A few years ago I found a case of wine in the trunk of my car. A church person had given the maintenance man her trunk key to put the wine in her blue Toyota
He had struggled to open the trunk, but finally got it open.
I had a newer model Toyota, but the same blue.
HELEN B. SIMON
Dear Smiley: Your article about TV weatherman Mike Graham made me think of elementary school in Iota.
We took a bus ride to Lake Charles to be on KPLC-TV with our second-grade band, the “Rhythm Sticks.”
Mike Graham was working for that studio at the time, a young man probably just starting out. I remember him because he was very nice to me and all my friends.
CRAIG M. BENNETT
Payment on demand
Dear Smiley: Here is the note my grandson left for the Tooth Fairy (his spelling and punctuation):
"Dear, tooth fairy. This is sopostue be worth a fortune. If you don’t give me more than 5 dollar’s then no more teeth for you! Because this is a tooth that is specaile! From: Quinten"
Dear Haydée: I can see an Advocate copy editor looking at the above story and thinking, "And then Quinten became a newspaper reporter…"