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April 1, 2014

Moving to Westminster

Roy Meachum

A snow fell Sunday. Wet and heavy. I was already moved to a town whose name flirts and escapes me frequently. “Frederick” was more memorable when I first moved there.


That was 30 years ago.


From my birth in Monroe, Louisiana, I’ve grown accustomed to move about. There was the transfer to New Orleans when I nodded with four. Mother could not believe things I remembered. In those days, the hegira was frequently interrupted – and slowed down – by ferries. This was before Huey P. Long engaged in an orgy of bridge building. It’s much easier now. Thanks to Huey.


When I was 9-years-old, I settled down with Holy Cross College; I wear the ring from the class of 1945. I’m an old dude, quietly admitting to 85. With that age, the Army opened its arms. I was sworn in and designated for study in the Alps, to learn codes. Instead, I spun records as an earlier disc jockey, the title wasn’t invented.


The American Forces Network in Germany provided succor. I was once kissed by Rita Hayworth; I didn’t do so well with Danny Kaye and drank Django Reinhardt under the table – all because of young women. When I shipped out for Washington and The United States Army Band, it was not the same. Anyway I married the first of four times, which wealthy Muslims do. In time, I became an admirer of the religions; but sure I find all faiths fascinating; unknown and come to be known.


Above the desk in my new home, sits a presented document from the Islamic Society of Frederick; nothing’s more sacred. Not even Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; I knew her uncle, the president, and her aunt Jackie. But I met her through the ballet school, before that horrible afternoon in Dallas. My official title was the administrator of the Washington National Ballet Foundation, which included towing a tot about.


The professions attracted me, the performing arts and journalism; I dawdled in both, beginning with the Morning Show on Channel 9, then know aw WTOP. I twisted through The Washington Post twice, as a reporter. At the broadcast arm, I achieved a high role, but then I was a presidential adviser, in the arts.


Then I moved to Frederick and the lively dance with The Frederick News-Post. Publisher George Delaplaine was my hero; he withstood all kinds of heat to kill my columns. He’s the most impressive man I saw in journalism, including the paper’s Washington Post editors, including Al Friendly who ranked high with me.


Westminster Ridge is where I currently make my home. Worried about my stay in the hospital, my daughter-in-law, married to my eldest son, insisted I move close to them. It makes sense. Kari won’t put up with nonsense about my age. She has three teenagers from a previous marriage; he was an idiot to get rid of her. The beneficiary: Thomas Moore Meachum.


They built home outside Westminster. They’re living outside the Carroll County seat, in a house they built for themselves. They’re curious kids about life. They wanted me to join in the excitement. I’m glad to be a part of my last party.


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