[aloha-donblanding] I found my cache
- Greetings DB aficionados!
I was not in the office for one week and returned to 250 email messages
- primarily from this group! One of the things I did was to track down
the DB materials that I have accumulated via my mother.
To re-cap . . . about ten years ago while I was visiting her, she was in
the process of giving me some of her Don Blanding material. I have
always known of him because he was a friend of the family and I have a
couple of vague recollections from my very young childhood (I was born
1946). I had not given it a lot of thought, but many of the family
stories seemed to "have holes" -- information seemed to be incomplete.
Anyway, as I was going through her books, I noticed that DB has penned a
note to my father on the poem Heart's Radar: "Remembering Scotty".
That led to some questions and a circuitous conversation over the next
few days. Finally - I was able to piece together that 1) Scotty was the
same Scotty referred to in DB's poetry (The fellow Lone Wolf), 2) Scotty
had been my father's roommate and that I was named for him -- middle
name Scott, 3) Scotty was DB's secretary and 4) Scotty was DB's lover.
After I pulled that together I asked some more direct questions and got
a little more complete story. Later, my mother put some of that into
writing. I'm going to share a little of this, but as my mother is still
living and is understandably somewhat sensitive about it -- AND as my
siblings do NOT know about my father's relationship with the "more
sensual" side of the DB story -- I ask that you do not go tracking her
down to ask questions AND that if you use my name in anything the
chroniclers among us might write, please get permission first:
[talking about my father -- "Jack," in DB references - J was stationed
in Hawaii as a sailor, and just stayed after he got out]
At what point J was able to move ashore and maintain an apartment I
don't know, but I am sure he had roommates to share expenses. One of
his roommates was Scotty, who was Don Blanding's secretary. Thus the
introduction into Don Blanding's set of friends. J never did tell me
lots of details about the connection. However, he did tell me that Don
was gay and Scotty was his lover. All mentions of Scotty's name in his
poetry mean the same man. Don was short-changed in the physical
requirements for a normal relationship. Scotty, however, discovered
those tendencies when introduced at Boy Scout camp!
[In conversations my mother mentioned that DB's first "experiece" was
also with a Boy Scout leader in Oklahoma -- a possible reason for
leaving home at age 15? dunno. She also said that my dad felt that DB
would not (could not?) have consumated his marriage to Dorothy; that he
was a trophy husband.]
Anyway, how long the relationship had been going on I don't know.
Scotty eventually married a girl and they got along fine.
[She told me that Scotty's marriage greatly upset DB, although it was
the norm for gay men to marry at that time -- that is how they "passed"]
Then the wife of Scotty went back to California to be with her family.
While she was gone Scotty went to give blood one day and his
instructions were to go home, take it easy, rest until at least the next
day. That evening he decided to go to a party at Don Blanding's. He
had a few drinks and joined the crowd having a sex party. Just how much
he had indulged, whatever it was, caused him to fall over dead. He was
about 38 years old, as I recall. Sad ending, but of course Don was
devastated. Don was off and on the Island, but it broke up the close
association of that crowd." **end of letter quotes**
From conversations -- DB got married shortly after that in order to
avoid scandal. My father left the Island for several months as well,
returning to his mainland hometown with the intent of marrying a high
school girl friend. That did not work out, so he travelled to the
mid-west to marry a girl he had known in Hawaii, which also did not work
out. He finally returned to the Islands and ran into a young lady he
had known slightly before -- married her ( my mother ) and it worked
out. They remained married until his death about 20 years ago.
After the marriage to Dorothy broke up, DB moved to Bend, Oregon --
quite close to my family. He lived at 955 Wall Street, Apt. 7. Here is
the text of one letter DB wrote to my father:
Sept. 3, 1951
Alhoa, Bucko. Labor Day, and a healthy day to stay off the roads. So,
this Vagabond will just stay at home and write a few letters, snooze a
bit, look at the mountains, feed the Mallard ducks down on Mirror Pond,
read a while and rest like a poached egg on a piece of nice warm toast.
Good idea, eh?
This Vagabond seems to have found his Shangri-la in Bend. Loving it
more every day . . .and what days, warm and cool at the same time. Sort
of an exciting laziness which suits this temperament like red woolen
It's necessary to be in Portland and vicinity from 24th of September
to 30th, and in San Francisco from 7th of October through November 1st.
Darned well don't like it, being away from the apartment, the ducks, the
big mountains, and the joy of simply being here, but it's necessary to
keep the hamburgers in the deep freeze. Bend is just as fascinating and
alluring, at this period of this Vagabond's life, as Hawaii was at that
period. It's a simple life, Gosh knows, not even a little bitta
whirlpool of fooferay and jumping beans, but one can get used to that in
time. There are several younger couples with cars who like to sniff
around in the nearby mountain places; went up to Tumalo Falls yesterday
and picknicked. Simple enjoyments, but they sure suit these days.
Oh, the old jumping beans get restless every so often, but if
they're allowed to simmer they quit raising Hell.
This Vagabond is GETTING his vacation right here; you're the one who
needs a change of grass for a few days. Why don't you run up here and
shake the Klamath grass out of your woolen pants.
Am trying to get the book out of my system, but it comes through in
dribbles. Well, that's the way it has to be. Slow going but, after
all, if there's still a cracker or two in the bread-box, why should
there be any worry.
Very doubtful whether there's any return to California expect to
S.F. for a few penny-raising lectures. No yen at all for the Los
Angeles area. It's alright, but not satisfying at this stage of the
Autumn has definitely hit here, and although the days are pleasantly
warm, there's that Breath from the High Deep-Freezes which tells that
summer is packed and gone, saying she'll be back next year and to
forward mail from September to June.
The telephone is 1425--J, if you get any bright ideas.
Best aloha to you and yours, [signed, with bird drawing] Aloha, Don
There was a PS that my father cut off the letter -- My mother said that
DB put personal notes at the ends of letters and that my dad always cut
them off before letting anyone else read what he had to say.
My family would go up to Bend to visit Don -- My mother would take my
brother and I to the park while Don and my father went off for the day
together. I also remember Don visiting us in Klamath Falls on
I have a nice snap shot (4x5") of DB wearing wool pants and a plaid
jacket standing under a Douglas Fir tree feeding ducks in the snow. On
the back DB has written: "The extinguished poet, Donald Duck Blanding,
threw a lunch party for the Quackenwaddle Culture Club of Bend, Oregon.
The members were CRAZY about him . . . as long as he dished out cracked
corn instead of corny cracks. Aloha. Don B.
The other snap shot of interest is one of the mysterious Scotty. It's
B&W, 2 3/4 4 1/2 -- a full body pose showing Scotty wearing white
slacks and shoes, also a short sleeve Hawiian print shirt featuring
angle fish. He holds his hands behind his back and, given that he
apparently died at age 38, it seems to be taken near the end of his
life. On the back of the photo, it merely says, "Scotty - Don
No where in any of my material do I have Scotty's last name.
Well -- that's enough from ME for awhile! Hope this was of interest.
- Hope these addresses help thanks to Harry B. Soria
These may have known Don B. professionally.
Dave Donnelly's e-mail is available on at:
Eddie Sherman has been a columnist for MIDWEEK MAGAZINE, our weekly
newspaper here on Oahu, for years.
- Gerald, I'm awstruck at the info you have presented. There is so little
personalized information about DB. I note that in interviewing Kay at the
Carmel Library (she met DB as a teenager), she said he was so personable and
likeable. She did not recognize him as a famous person at that time, but
remembered his friendliness. This is the wonderful part of DB that shines in
his work. Thanks for the contribution. I have copied your email but would
not use it per your request. I know so little about DB in Oregon. Its
interesting to see how content he seemed there. I can feel the
Blandingmobile firing up for a trip to Oregon this summer. I've been through
Bend before but just passing, not stopping.....time for some history lessons
- Maui Tom, my past email conversations with Dave Donnelly were fruitless about
DB as he said he didn't know him at all. I was hoping Dave might do some
research in the archives of the Star Bulletin, that's when I lost him. We
have Mandarin on line with us and she was going to Hawaii during Christmas
and I tried to line up Dave so she might meet him, but I lost Dave and wasn't
sure he was still employed at the SB. Is the SB still going? I guess it was
near extinction when I was there in October. I will check out the other
email address. I hadn't heard of him before. Thanks again...
- Maui Tom, am I correct in assuming that Eddie Sherman knew DB? Sorry about
my confusion but I re-read what you wrote and wasn't sure. This is tj. If
so, is he on line and do you know him personally or thru Harry Soria?
- TJ Eddie Sherman was a columnist in the forties and fifties all the way to
the present. He probably new Don Blanding. He might be of help
- Jerry, great info, enjoyed reading it. What a great fine for the group.
Thanks for sharing.
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