Pat Temple ‘Salon’ Remembered Fondly
Pat Temple of Warwood was many things: A teacher at Clay School, a devoted member of the Brooks Bird Club, a patron of the arts. However, for me, her greatest role was presiding with her husband “Fritz” over an intellectual salon on Hazlett Avenue in the late 1960s and early 70s.
A bucolic waif from Wetzel County, I forgot exactly how I got there. It was probably at the invitation of Keith Mallard, whom I met during his one semester at WVU. Keith was a Linsly grad, and a Darmouth dropout before a long apprenticeship as a writer, eventually migrating from Boston to Vancouver some three decades ago. Giving the lie to the Bibilical admonition about the status of a prophet in his own land, Keith was inducted in Wheeling Hall of Fame for his vast literary product Stockbroker Pete Halloway shepherded the passage from Canada to the Civic Center.
Another regular visitor to the chez Temple was Mark Kasdan, also a Linsly graduate, and an honors graduate of Harvard College. Kasdan became a screenplay writer in Hollwood during the critically well-received “Criminal Law” (starring Kevin Bacon) and numerous others. His younger brother, Larry, became a major player with “Body Heat,” “The Big Chill,” et al. Also visiting were Bruce Hubbard, now a San Diego psychiatrist; Steven Brooks, a Georgetown Law graduate and counsel for the Democrat Party in New York (he got his introduction to politics there during Bobby Kennedy’s 1964 camplain for the U.S. Senate).
Our “Willie” (Bill Hadsell) was a regular visitor. He is the retired proprietor of Wheeling Cycle and Marine on 17th Street. Steve Savitt, a retired philisophy professor at the University of British Columbia, was an occassional visitor.
The friends included the Temples’ two beautiful daughters, Ann and her older sister, Ellen, who was the intellectual peer of Joan Didiom. Another one was Jerri Gordon, the last homecoming queen at Moundsville High School.
I would be remiss not to include a neighbor, Paul Grossi, a Central and Marshall grad who at last report was head of the state compensation bureau in Alaska. It would be possible for me to claim partial credit for this since when I was counsel for District 6 of the UMW of A, I got “Paulo” a job in their compensation department. The daily parade of “the halt, the maimed, and the blind” was a bit much for his tender soul, in much the same way a 9-month stint as a guard at the old prision in Moundsville drove me to drink.
The wounderful thing about Pat Temple’s salon was that this was the only place that I frequented where one could talk unfeignedly about “things that matter,” books, movies, poetry, etc. We were each of us on that quest for “the good, the true and the beautiful” and a remakable number of us attained it. As kids with our noses pressed firmly against the glass at the candy store, Keith, Mark, Steve and “Willie” got what they wanted out of life. They did not – in the scornful word of J. D. Salinger – “settle.”
I came from a world where the only topics were hunting, cars and sports; where the only standard was who could kick whose butt. As a drinking friend of mine whose wife taught at one of the Wetzel County schools put it, “here, not only are good grades not prized, they are ridiculed.”
It was a different world that I discovered at 21 at Pat Temple’s salon. There were people who prized the things that I secretly prized. I didn’t have to give up hunting or sports – I was never much of a car nut – I just added to my repertoire. Here was a place I could say “a time of beauty is a joy forever” or “canst thou not minister to a mind diseased/pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow” and not be laughed out of the room.
H. John Rogers