Ed Ward on Leon

Ed Ward writes about Leon on his www.berlinbites.com blog

Here's what I wrote Ed. Ed,
You made me laugh out loud several times. I haven't really been able to share with anyone about Leon leaving and you triggered several memories: the joke that the name of his place was really OK Book and Records because the one book left in the place when it became a collectors record store instead of a thrift shop was some ol' porno rag that Rockin' Dopsie and all his Twisters used to pore over in the back of the store whenever they weren't smoking "cat dick", their description for marijuana cola buds, or shooting craps.

All the stars hung out there sooner or later. And whenever things were slow, there was always Antone's on one side, the porno peeps, Moma's Money, Benny's Tavern (the last men-only beer bar on Sixth) and Catman's Shine Parlor. Something was always going on at Catman's.

The parade through the store was constant--street people like El Paso Slim ("I wish I was your age and knew what I know now" and "If I had your hand, I'd throw mine away"), the great East Austin floating heads in store windows artist Joseph Henderson who carried a funk that forced the windows down and the door open, some burly guy who grumbled unintelligibly, Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams, former champion heavyweight boxer for a spell.
So-called regular people like Clyde Woodward and Norman Fleeman who had hustler and con written all over them from the git go and you still loved hanging with em anyhow.

That was the hubbingest half-block I've ever known. Oddly enough, that very same real estate had a historical marker dedication last week, noting that the site of the parking garage and mini mall was once the Bremond block, which was one of the oldest buildings in Austin when it was torn down in 1979, forcing Antone's and OK to move, taking all the fun with it.

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