Write On

The signature of James A. Baker III is printed on millions of currency notes produced while he was secretary of the treasury. So when Baker attempted to purchase something from Tanglewood Pharmacy in 1996, owner Jim Maxfield thought it would be neat to have him sign the cash for real. "Well, I'm not sending this one to the bank," Maxfield thought. Baker's autographed $100 bill led to Maxfield's habit of acquiring items from his famous to nearly famous clientele who live in the drugstore's affluent neighborhood; the resulting collection is called "You Are What You Write On."

Included are Olympians Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, actress Jaclyn Smith and former president and first lady George and Barbara Bush. Far from the dull collection of 8x10 photos, Dr. Denton Cooley signed a surgical mask, George Foreman put his John Hancock on boxing gloves, Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale signed a miniature mattress, and Marvin Zindler signed -- what else? -- an ice-machine door.

The exhibit has outgrown the stationery department to fill all parts of the pharmacy, both along the walls and in a large display case near the center of the store. Atop the case is a presidential bust by local sculptor David Adickes. You'll also see a roll of Ace bandages signed by gymnast Strug, a hard hat signed by oil-field firefighter Red Adair and a sliced ham signed by Pink Logan of Logan Farms.

A few items aren't yet on display. Dan Rather's TelePrompTer copy from the beginning of the Gulf War sits in storage until Maxfield can figure out what to do with it. "It's kind of large, so I don't have the space for that yet," he says. A check signed by Howard Hughes is awaiting framing, and Retton's slippers are tucked into a corner of the office somewhere.

As for future additions, Houston Texans coach Dom Capers lives nearby, so you just know it won't be long before his signature finds its way into the collection.

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Cathy Stucker