Just some stairs in a movie

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By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American

This morning I was watching an old black and white movie, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, about a prizefighter, Joe Pendleton, attempting to fulfill his destiny as World Champion when he’s “mistakenly taken to Heaven before his time, and then is given a second chance back on Earth”; but that’s not what I wanted to write about.

No; but this movie had a scene set in the Farnsworth Mansion with his boxing trainer, Max “Pop” Corkle, leaving via a fancy entrance foyer with a set of marble stairs. In the movie, Joe Pendleton was temporarily ‘inhabiting’ Bruce Farnsworth’s body, getting it “in the pink” so he could continue toward becoming the World Champ in boxing; but Farnsworth got murdered which meant Joe Pendleton would have to ‘inhabit’ some other body to complete his destiny.  As mentioned, this isn’t what I wanted to write about; but some details are necessary to get there.

The marble stairs leading to the front door stirred a memory.  My mind was seeing two sets of stairs; the one in the movie and yet another, the image of a similar set of stairs from an old crime scene.  

I remember stepping over a dead man’s body from back when I was a rookie police officer dispatched to the scene of a real murder on Kirby Street in the fashionable River Oaks section of Houston.  As it turned out, that murder became quite a sensation as it involved high society.

“In 1972 (Sept. 24, 1972)  Dr. John Hill was ambushed and shot to death in his home. He was with his new wife, Connie, and his son, who were both left unharmed.”

“The story became a bestseller called Blood and Money by Thomas Thompson and later a TV movie called Murder in Texas, with Farrah Fawcett playing Joan Robinson.”

The senior police partner I rode with that evening assigned me to go to the house next door and stay with the young boy who had been taken in by neighbors upon hearing of the murder.  Just a guess on my part; but since I’d only been a police officer for about six months, he probably didn’t want me mucking up any evidence at the crime scene.

I really don’t remember much about the investigation that was taken over by the Homicide Division and eventually ended up in Criminal Court.  I do remember receiving a subpoena and going down to Records Division for a copy of the report to refresh my mind on details that I might need if I were asked to sit in the witness chair.

Turns out there was almost a book’s worth of printed police report the clerk handed me.  I really wasn’t a witness to much, if anything, that might indicate my need for being subpoenaed; but apparently, the District Attorney’s Office sent a subpoena to any officer whose name appeared in the original police report.

Watching an old movie did all that, just think what the mind is capable of remembering when it’s triggered by a simple image, a familiar fragrance or just about anything.  Isn’t life interesting…

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