My niece Patricia asked me if I would publish on this blog the letters of condolences written by a good friend, Bob Ervin, about her mother, Kallie Foutz Parker (my sister), and about her father, Norton S. Parker (my brother-in-law).
I am happy to do so.
Six years older, my sister, Vera Jean Foutz, was a hostess at the Hollywood Canteen while I only delivered their newspaper
If you are “getting your kicks on Route 66” then traveling eastward you will find the route remarkably well preserved in the Los Angeles area. About 11 miles from the terminus at the Pacific Ocean you will enter Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd and then intersect Cahuenga Blvd. Turning north and just before you reach Sunset Blvd you will see the high-rise CNN Building on the southwest corner and a multilevel parking structure adjacent to the south. This is the location of two past landmarks, one famous and one less famous.
The less famous landmark is the livery stable that kept the horses needed for the silent-era and then later, the “talking” western movies filmed by the myriad of small film studios around Sunset Blvd and Gower Street, six blocks to the east. This intersection is known as “Gower’s Gulch”. At Gower’s Gulch, cowboy extras gathered dressed in their Stetson hats, cowboy boots, and cowboy chaps hoping to earn $5 a day hired as extras in a saloon scene or riding horses from the livery stable. The livery stable then became a nightclub for a time, the Old Barn.
That livery-stable/Old-Barn was later converted to a more famous landmark, the Hollywood Canteen.
Kallie Foutz, The Ugly Duckling, My Sister
My older brothers told me my sister was the ugliest girl in America—which was not quite true, although she did win the contest that labeled her an ugly duckling over several thousand others. This is the story of her transformation from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan as told through my young eyes and documented in Mademoiselle magazine.
I was six years old and my sister, dressed only in a slip, had invaded my territory — the kitchen. She needed the kitchen mirror to complete her transformation into an ugly duckling.
Statue by L. Noble, photo by Jerrold Foutz
I parked my bike in front of the famous Sunset Strip apartment building, threw the saddle bags with the Hollywood Citizen-News around my neck and headed for the elevator. In 1944 I was a 14 year old paper boy and Jack Benny was the most famous customer on my route. He lived on a higher floor of the apartment building and I would deliver his paper first.
As requested, I fully inserted it under the door so it did not show.
Jack Benny lived in Beverly Hills but maintained an apartment on Sunset Blvd to be nearer the NBC studio where he broadcast his show — and I was his paper boy!
I never expected to see Jack Benny when delivering papers — but collecting payment each month always raised my expectations.