8 – I take it all back!!

O the joys of blogging … This is a whole new world, and I’m learning all the time. The biggest lesson to date being that people are actually reading what you’re writing, so that when you make mistakes you will be found out, and have to own up, and eat humble pie with your Starbucks coffee.

There is a Starbucks in Claremont. (Thanks Hayley & Viv!) It’s on the corner of Yale Avenue and Second, with the most discreet Starbucks logo I’ve ever seen in the US, but it’s there.

Elbert A. Wickes wasn’t a cheating husband. (Thanks Carrie!) Born in 1884 in Iowa, he first travelled to Ireland in 1934 to preview the plays the Abbey Company would be bringing on tour. It was there that ‘Smilo’ (as he was known to his friends) met Frolie for the first time.

Smilo Wickes
Smilo Wickes - with Abbey actress Ria Mooney

Writing dialogue for ‘Smilo’ is going to be so much fun after all that I’ve found here. His letters are full of ‘Have a heart Boss!’ and ‘That’s just swell!’ When he received a ticket for speeding, he dictated a three-page letter back, outlining the problems with the charges and his disgust with the officers. He even imitated their conversation with him on the side of the road, with an incredibly facetious tone! There is no further correspondence with the motor offences bureau.

When his business partnership spectacularly exploded, Smilo persuaded the Abbey board that he should keep their business, and he took on a huge financial risk personally to make sure the tour happened and somehow managed to balance the ledgers.  All of his neatly-kept ledgers for each venue, with each nights houses, takings and expenses are here, and the accountant in me couldn’t resist checking a few of his tots! (Not one mistake.) His investment in the Abbey Company was huge, personally and professionally.

Elbert married Dr Una, a high school principal in 1941 – almost two years after Frolie’s death in Dublin. It was his first marriage, and it seems to me (the documents are unclear) that at least one of his sons were from Dr. Una’s first marriage.

In penance for my mistakes, I will spend California’s first 100 degrees day this summer (today!) in the arctic cave that is Special Collections in Honnold/Mudd. The staff of Special Collections are the only people going to work today with socks and jumpers in their bags. And I’m doing the same.

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