My Dad's Landlady

Those who know me may see the seeds of some of my own background in this....

When my dad got out of the service after World War II, he ended up in Glendale, Calif., where he worked at the Glendale News Press newspaper. (I believe he was sort of an all-around jack of all trades: I think he worked in composing, advertising, the press room, etc., as well as sometimes writing stories.)

He rented a room from a woman -- a war widow, as I recall. She liked having a man around the house, and he liked the cheap digs.

One day, he came out to find her ironing shirts. But she was unhappy: "This iron gets too hot!" she complained. She looked at my dad for help.

There isn't much you can do if the iron gets too hot, but he didn't want to leave her without hope. "Try tying some knots in the cord," he advised her. "That will slow down the electricity."

That seemed like a good plan to her. Sure enough, when he came back later there were knots in the cord.

Another time she complained that her tea got cold too fast. "That's because you heat up the water so fast. Heat it up more slowly, and it will cool down more slowly," he advised. I think she found that advice useful too.

I'm not sure if dad just moved on after that, or if she caught on and threw him out. But now you know where I learned to be absurd and keep a straight face.

Posted October 26, 2015

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