Submitted by Karl Breckenridge
Welcome to the 6-year-old kid’s collection of early Reno memories. The “kid” is indisposed this Sunday and has asked me to forego the HIPAA restrictions of a doctor-patient relationship, and craft a message to explain a current dilemma in his young life. I hope the reader will understand:
Permit me to introduce myself; my name is Dr. Wenxiu Wlodarczyk, earlier of Prague, Czechoslovakia and presently domiciled in Reno, Nevada. I am engaged in the practice of child psychology, having received a Doctorate in Child Neuroses from the University of Prague prior to World War II, and an advanced degree following the war from The University of Southern North Dakota.
I have come to America under the Tillotson Act as a refugee, escaping a brutal relationship with the diva of the Vanemuine Ballet in Estonia, who is as most Estonian divas in the 22.8 stone (320 pound) range with a foul temper and a crappy cook to boot.
I am happily residing in the Belmont Apartments facing California Avenue, and maintain a psychology practice at One East First Street in the original First National Bank building, on the top (third) floor. It is right across the street from the new hotel that the Mapes family is building.
I also have a relationship with Mr. Sam Ginsburg in his appraisal business here in this building, and work closely with Dr. Randall Ross of the Reno School District at the Babcock Building with all those little nutsos in the school system.
I am licensed to sell automobiles in Nevada with Pio Mastrioanni, was appointed the duly-empowered Consulate to the admiralty of Estonia by President Truman, and play fourth-chair cello with Dr. N. A. “Tink” Tinkham with the Reno Municipal Band. I was first-chair cello prior to WWII with the Philharmonisches Staatorchester Mainz in Prague until our symphony was decimated by a bomb from a picky Luftwaffe music critic during a complicated aria.
Also I am available to fill in on complex ukulele and kazoo scores.
I am in a relationship with one of the elevator operator ladies of the bank building, who, like the elevator operator in the Medico-Dental Arcade next door, is short in stature, as am I. I stand 1.37 meters (4’6”), tall for an Estonian cello player.
Now then, to my treatment of young master Breckenridge: He came to me voluntarily, and told me in the greatest of confidence that while other 6-year-olds are content to blow up outhouses or fill paper bags with fresh cow-manure, then light them and ring an unpopular neighbor’s doorbell and watch him stomp out the burning bag, and other such childish activity, Karl enjoys writing.
But – he started writing as if school was starting in 1946, and has attempted to maintain a chronology, speaking only of what is known as of the time it’s written, and maintaining a time-of-year…lately he’s been writing of school starting at Mary S. Doten School which happens in September, but all the while it’s spring in Reno and his writings should be of summer. And some in a time-frame after 1946 – maybe later in his short life.
He is bothered by this, and came to me, as a noted local child
shrink, er, psychologist for my guidance and advice. I am working basically for free, for the promise of when he writes his first book about Reno, if ever; when he gets a paycheck from the local paper for doing a column, HA!, I said to that, and his pay for playing banjo in some place in his vivid imagination that’s going to have a Friday-and-Saturday Summer night “melodrama” with the Bella Union Players – the place is known as the “Liberty Belle” or something like that, so God only knows if I’ll ever see a nickel for listening to him babble.
But, I told him, stick with the dream, throw the clock and the calendar and the seasons out the window and just sit down and write all he wants (I also told him that he ought to learn how to type and spell!) And the good news, few ever made it all the way to the end of one of his so-called “columns” anyway until this period of forced isolation and the reading choices are his stuff or the Contract Bridge column.
And I also told him to lose these buddies of his, Hank Philcox and Don Hartman, and let his sidekick Jody Rice, who seems to have a life and can parse a sentence, take a larger role.
So – if you ever see him writing again, disregard the time of year, relative to the past segment. Throw away the year 1946, or ’48, or whatever. Don’t look for any logic, is my advice, and you and Karl’s mindless scribbling will get along just fine…!
I’m told that once every 50 days of self-isolation his publisher, This is Reno, allows him one goof-off column, and this be it. Be of good cheer, enjoy your Sunday and tomorrow – Monday – he’ll get serious again. Sort of.
Oh, and as he counsels all, be safe, huh?
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Karl Breckenridge is slowly going nuts. So he decided to help out This is Reno by writing a daily out-of-his-mind column for the duration of the coronavirus shutdown. Karl grew up in the valley and has stories from the area going back to 1945. He’s been writing for 32 years locally and loves to yak it up with friends…now sitting six feet apart.
Read more from Karl Breckenridge
Karl’s pal Jody shares the rich history of bootlegging, decorating, and engineering within the confines of the Truckee River’s banks and its picturesque islands.