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Thursday, October 17, 2013
On a beautiful summer weekend during the mid-1960s, I was visiting in Los Angeles with my dear friends Dabney Coleman and his wife, Jeannie, and my Roanoke friend Doug Talbert, musician extraordinaire.
On Sunday, Doug took me with him to the famous "Magic Mountain" just outside L.A., where he was playing piano that afternoon for the great singer Mel Torme.
There was a large outdoor stage and an amphitheater. Just before the music started, the ushers started putting several people into what they called "VIP cages" - little wire boxes just large enough to hold two people - that were placed in the grass next to the amphitheater. I guess I fell into the VIP category because I was with Doug.
Who should they put in the cage with me but Scott Carpenter, who just a few years earlier had been the second American to orbit Earth - after John Glenn. Both American heroes! Carpenter passed away Oct. 10.
Of course I knew who he was, but I don't "Ooooh" and "Aaaaah" over celebrities. So he and I introduced ourselves and we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon talking about various things when we weren't listening to the fabulous music.
There must have been a reason for those little wire cages, but to this day I can't remember what it was - if I ever knew. But what better company to be confined with than Scott Carpenter?
- Kitty Coxe Koomen, a reader in Roanoke
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