The other day, Hair Balls stumbled on the newish blog I Heard It At the Ice House, the online home of eightysomething retired newsman John Moore
Moore's complete profile reads "I am a retired newspaper columnist" (for the Houston Post, among other papers) and he has the stories to back it up. There are short, punchy first-hand reminiscences of old wide-open Galveston and legendary Houston defense attorney Percy Foreman (and his brother Zimmie), not to mention Mexican border stories and autobiographical sketches of his service in North Africa and Italy in World War II and his Depression-era rural upbringing.
All of which compared very favorably to the folksy work of the Chronicle's sage octogenarian Leon Hale. But spring is in the air and sap is rising everywhere, not least at I Heard It at the Ice House. Moore's last two posts read less like Hale than Penthouse Forum.
Last Friday, Moore looked back wistfully on his wartime stay at the Victorville Air Force Base in California. "I had good luck at this California Air Base and was assigned a building with an office, a teletype, an Associated Press machine, and a bedroom," he writes. "I also was assigned a WAC secretary. Her name was Phyllis."
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One day, Moore remembers, he decided it was high time to bring a bottle of whiskey to work and get to know Phyllis better. "One thing led to another and she ended up spending the night with me. When it came to sexual relations Phyllis just could not get enough. During the months that lasted until the end of the war Phyllis and I had sex nearly every night."
Yesterday, despite the passage of the weekend, Moore's mind was still on what the Brits call "the beast with two backs." Moore's memories of wartime Casablanca do not exactly gibe with those pictured in the classic film.
"The city was a refuge from the Nazis. However, like most soldiers, I enjoyed the sex that was available there. There were all sorts of women, natives, European refugees, black, brown, white and half breed, young and old. It was a mix of cultures. On one occasion about 12 of us soldiers helped ourselves to a bus and went on the outskirts of the city. Here was a native bordello and the women were young. Try to visualize a large room with five or six soldiers and an equal number of young women, all young and uninhibited. A few dollars would buy a lot of sex."
Moore notes that he didn't see the Bogey-Bergman movie until after the war, and when he finally did, he knew first hand that it "underestimated the terrain."