When it came time to dedicate Hairpins and Dead Ends, I couldn’t settle on one, so I chose two important ladies in my life, two larger-than-life characters who had perilous journeys of their own: silent film actress Lina Basquette and Carol Ankerich, my mother.
My mom has been gone over two years and the wound is still raw. She left a hole in my heart that no one will ever fill. I wrote about her illness and death in a blog, Losing Mom and Maebelle.
Here are some glamour pix of mom and me.
Here’s a glamour photograph of Lina. Now, there was a siren. My buddy, silent film historian Roi Uselton considered Lina his ideal movie vamp. She was smoldering.
Lina was my first silent film interview. I featured her in my book, Broken Silence: Conversations With 23 Silent Film Stars. She was also one who remained in my life until her death. We spent a lot of time together. In some ways, she was like a grandma to me.
When she came through the South,we’d hook up. She was the first person I saw who traveled with a portable bar stocked with her favorite liquor. Lina loved her cocktails before dinner.
At my request, she drove to Atlanta one weekend to screen one of her films and to sign her memoir. I booked her across from the Fox Theatre. She called me from her hotel.
“Michael, this is Lina. I’ve just arrived. I’m here at this dreadful Days Inn. The rooms remind me of my vaudeville days.”
“Oh, no,” I say.
“Can we find another hotel?” You bet!
We did. She was happy at the Renaissance Inn.
After the screening and book signing, Roi and I went back to her room. Lina curled up in bed and nibbled on Pepperidge Farm cookies and gossiped about this one and that until the wee hours of the morning.
Well, the stories go on and on. Someday, I will write in more detail about Lina.
My mother and Lina were as different as water and oil. While both were gorgeous women, Mom was very shy and reserved until she got to know you; Lina never met a stranger.
Both of these unforgettable women made a significant impression on me. I love and miss them!