May 17, 2015

Famous Insurees For $100

Pop sold insurance. During the 1960s, his agency was underneath / next to / in the vicinity of the Fillmore West. Occasionally he'd come to work on a Monday to find a broken window, so he wasn't so happy about his location.

He didn't hate hippies so much that he wouldn't take their money, though. Apparently he was a go-to insurance guy for musicians traveling from abroad to play at the Fillmore, and my sister says that he also insured Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone. Very cool.

Pop had notions about how to make a mint, and how to identify growth markets. He invested in geothermal energy in the 70s. And he specialized in insuring people who had lost their insurance or were under-25. He advertised his insurance agency during the bullfights on television. He opened an office 200 miles away in an agricultural area (although the mamoo says that was just to have a place to escape to). And he liked to collect interesting names and stories about his clients.

Among them: Empress Lovely, Orange Greene, Hiawatha Crawford (who named his son Haiwatha Crawford Jr.), Lucky Brush, Chesterfield Jones and Edsel Ford Fung. Edsel was the only one of them who was well-known -- the meanest waiter in town, notable for his yelling at the devoted customers of Sam Wo restaurant. Another client was nicknamed "Cy" because his job at San Quentin involved dropping the cyanide pellets into the acid bath that created the gas for the gas chamber. Wow. He came to my pop to insure what he claimed was the world's largest pearl.

My favorite name of all was Abraham Lincoln Canary. That just rolls off the tongue. I love that name so much that during one point in my life all of my friends knew about it. Once, when I needed to page a friend at the airport, I called the White Courtesy Telephone operator using Mr. Canary's name. 

My friend responded to the page pronto.

1 comment:

Richard P said...

I see narrative attraction runs in the family.

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