in rural Paris, Iowa, and Wordpress

A Remembrance

Abandonada, San Miguel de Allende

* * * * * * * * * *

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: You’re welcome, Terry. Very happy to be here.

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: I think my feelings on hearing of Gene Wilder’s passing were the same as everyone else’s–those who so enjoyed him and his work through the years–a profound feeling of sadness and loss.

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: Yes, we both attended the University of Iowa. Of course in those early days none of us had any idea what lay in his future.

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: To tell you the truth, Terry, I do not have a lot of personal memories of Gene to share with your listeners. You must remember that he graduated from Iowa in 1955. I did not enroll for the first time until 1965. He majored in Communications and Theater Arts, and I majored in English and History. I am not even sure that I set foot in any of the same university buildings that he did.

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: Well, yes. Now that I think of it, there is one thing. When Blazing Saddles came out in ’74, I was back there attending graduate school. My wife at the time had a best friend named Beth. Beth’s mother, Loreda, was a colorful local character and quite active politically. She owned a large, three-story Victorian on the north side. During his time at Iowa, Gene rented a room from her on the third floor of that house. I did have the opportunity to see the room once. Of course a good many other people had lived in that room since Gene had lived there when I saw it. Nevertheless, it was an extraordinary experience, Terry.

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: No, after I finally graduated I never went back to the place. To the best of my knowledge, Gene never did either. It is entirely possible that he did go back at some time or another for a visit or a lecture or something. If he did, I missed it. I was no longer paying attention to that sort of thing.

Miss Gross: Zzzzzzeeerrrrrp.

Steve: In my own defense, Terry, I lost track of Gene–other than seeing his films of course–only because I had an enormous number of issues of my own that demanded my full attention in those later years. We can get into some of those issues now if you would like . . .

Terry? . . .

Terry? . . . .

5 Responses to “A Remembrance”

  1. Susan Creamer Joy

    “Come with me
    And you’ll be
    In a world of
    Pure imagination
    Take a look
    And you’ll see
    Into your imagination
    There is no
    Life I know
    To compare
    With pure imagination
    Living there
    You’ll be free
    If you truly wish to be.”

    -Taken from the song, “Pure Imagination” – Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly

    This was delightful, Mr. Wonka. Do carry on. Terry Gross has no idea what she is missing.

    • StephenBrassawe

      In my imagination I am interviewed every day by Terry Gross on this or that topic, tough interviews, but she is up to it.

  2. calitexan1949

    Te Producers. Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Smarter Younger Brother, Willy Wonka… say no more.


    • StephenBrassawe

      It may have been a bit too soon for something such as this, but I am with you for sure. I loved this man. My life was so much more enjoyable than it would have been without him.

  3. mlhe

    Terry Gross is going to find out about your blog and when she does, she will let YOU interview HER! Oh yes and RIP Gene Wilder. When I was in college, I dated someone who kind of looked like Mr. Wilder. But back then I sort of looked like Roseann Rosannadanna.


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