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[The Oxford Project]
I was elected County Attorney in 1958 when I was twenty-six. I was the youngest county attorney in the state of Iowa.
April 30, 1959, sticks in my mind. Full moon. The police told me to get to Mercy Hospital. A three-year-old child had been slapped by his mother, got a blood clot, and died. Then a man was pulled off the road with a blood-alcohol level of .50. By all accounts, he should have been dead. At eleven-thirty, a guy shot his girlfriend at the Airliner Bar and then put the gun in his mouth and blew out his brains.
Later the same night, I got a call to go to the Park Motel, where a barn had gone up in flames. It was arson, plain and simple, and we had the plaster-cast footprints to prove it.
At the trial, the jury stayed out twenty-four hours. The foreman said he knew the man had set the fire, but the jury felt the fellow had a nice wife, two nice children, and what would be the point of sending him to jail?
I started my law practice in the old meat locker, then I moved to a room above the old bank. On Thursday afternoons, I'd go to the LP Club around the corner. I'd have a bottle of pop and watch the guys play cards, mostly euchre, but sometimes gin rummy. LP stands for either "limp prick" or "limber prick." I'm not sure which, but considering the old geezers there fellows like Brownie Welch, Carl Dalton, Ross Beard I have a pretty good idea.
My hobby from the time I got married till I had heart problems was coon hunting. I've traveled all over the county coon hunting. Every man is entitled to a good coonhound, a Cadillac, and a wife not necessarily in that order.
From The Oxford Project. Welcome Books. Photographs © 2008 Peter Feldstein.
Text © 2008 Stephen G. Bloom. www.theoxfordproject.com