Walter Long
Las Vegas, Nevada - 1967

There has been only one Walter Long. He was the senior exhibit technician at the Nevada State Museum in Carson. Walter was very talented and extremely meticulous when he created miniature dioramas of Native American activities. Only with perfection was he satisfied with his work. Long, from Brooklyn, New York was basically a very quiet man. I never heard him swear. When he wasn't busy with an exhibit at the museum, he was painting large oil landscapes at home.

While watching a slide show of his vacations, I noticed that his car was in every photograph. "Old Faithful" at Yellowstone National Park? Yes, his automobile was in the foreground. A beautiful panorama of Lake Tahoe. Same thing. His car is on the road in front of the lake. I asked him why he showed his automobile in every slide. 

He said, "Howard, that's my proof that I was there and didn't buy the color slides at a souvenir shop."

Didn't know one needed proof of personally visiting a place. But, that was Walter. Only one facet of a simple man and his complex views.

This brings us to Las Vegas. He and I traveled from Carson City to Las Vegas to install several case exhibits in the rotunda of the Convention Center. We were scheduled to be there for two weeks.

On the first night there, I asked him if he wanted to see one of the stage shows. He said he didn't want to do that. Same thing for the next three evenings. Finally, he consented to go the newly released animated movie, "Jungle Book." 

We had been there a week when several friends from Carson City came to town for a weekend visit. They came prepared for an exciting time. Jerry was an instructor at the Nevada State Prison. When an inmate heard he was going to Las Vegas, he gave him the name of a pit boss and told him to call the guy and tell him that the inmate sent us. Strange offer but we tried it.

Miracle of all miracles. The boss arranged for us have a dinner show - for all nine of us. Gratis. Told Jerry to give the prisoner his regards.

We were ready to leave for the hotel. I didn't invite Walter because he hadn't wanted to go out except to see one movie. He pulled me aside and asked why he was not going. I told him.

"Well," he said, "May I change my mind?

I told him that it was a bare bosom show, a fairly new form of entertainment back in 1967. He said that was okay.
It was a great evening of dining and drinking and watching a great show with wonderful costumes and beautiful women, accented by a headlined talented orchestra. Our seats were the best. Down front, right next to the runway. All free through a convict's friend.

Walter was worried. He kept asking how much it was going to cost. I told him it was free through a friend of Jerry's. I don't think he really understood the concept of comping in a casino showroom.

Walking through the parking lot, I asked Walter how he liked his first bare bosom show. I expected a drawn out explanation of his likes and dislikes of the extravaganza. 

He gave it serious thought and finally replied, "The music was too loud." 

I miss Walter. He was one of a kind.

©Copyright 2007 by Howard Hickson 

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