Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Way back when my late wife, Janice, and I first got married, we lived just outside of Newnan, Georgia in a trailer park. Yes I said a TRAILER PARK! Of course, back then everybody spoke American and went to the same church.

We had a RURAL ROUTE 5 mailing address, since there was no such thing as house numbering, GPS, or the like. Remember the RR5, we'll get back to it.

Well 9 months after the wedding bells sounded, our first child was on the way. Nothing out of the ordinary, a healthy baby boy, Joseph Allen was born. Not being the savvy business man that I am today, I did not have insurance to cover the expenses and had to work two jobs to pay off that child. Still, no problem, it's just what you do. This was October 28, 1975, also remember this date.

Almost two years later, October 12, 1977, to be exact, Janice was again at Newnan Hospital to deliver our next child. As I was waiting to welcome Clayton Daniel into the world, a nurse asked me to go down to the accounting office to see the manager.

When I was seated he informed me that they (the hospital) could not deliver my child. I told that pencil-pusher unless he knew how to stop Janice's contractions, plus had nerve enough to tell her she couldn't have the baby there, he needed to step aside and let nature take its course.

He informed me that the reason was that I had an unpaid balance on the previous child (born 10/28/75) and they had a policy of not giving further service to people with outstanding balances.

I informed him that he was full of s---, and that I had all the receipts at home, with a "paid in full" receipt locked safely away in a lock box for just such an occasion. Flustered, he began to scramble through his paperwork (this was pre-computer printouts) to prove that I was indeed the shiftless deadbeat that he thought I was.

Here comes the identity theft (of sorts) part of the story:

He said, "Aren't you Larry T. Cook?"
Me, "It's actually "G", but close enough.
He, "An your wife is Jan M. Cook?"
Me, "She prefers "Janice".
He, "You live on RR5, Newnan, Ga.?"
Me, "For the last 2 years."
He, "Your wife gave birth here on Oct. 28, 1975?"
Me, "Correct."
He, "And your daughter's name is........?"
Me (as I interrupted), "Only girl in my house is upstairs giving birth!"

Here are the stats:
On the other end of RR5 in Newnan, Ga., lived a guy by the name of Larry T. Cook. His wife was Jan Michelle Cook, while my wife is Janice Marie. They had a healthy baby girl the same day that our son was born. Well that might be the end of the story except------

I started getting calls from local companies such as furniture stores, department stores, and the like, saying that I was behind on my payments. When I tried to tell them it was mistaken identity, it comes to light that the sorry s.o.b. was giving Janice and my work places as references for credit. Back in those days the local stores would just call and ask if you worked at a certain place and the credit clerk would get all the information she needed. This obviously was before all the privacy policies of today.

Well, after some doing, we finally got all that straightened out. Shortly after that we moved and I took a job with another police department in the small town of Franklin, Ga.
During the summer the main event for this sleepy little town was the FRANKLIN MUSIC PARK. Owned and operated by the honorable Mr. Hugh Goodson, the Who's Who in country music would perform there in the course of the summer. Of course my job was to work every Friday and Saturday night, helping direct traffic, as this place drew huge crowds. Because I always worked the nights of the shows, I never got to attend any of the shows.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received a call to report to the magistrate court one afternoon, while I was in uniform and on duty. The judge called me aside and said, "Larry, I'm sorry but I have a bad check warrant for your arrest. I want to see if we can fix this before it goes to court."
"Mrs. Alexander, I don't know how you could have a warrant for me; I don't write the checks at my house, Janice does. Who says that we gave them a bad check?"
"Well the affidavit says that you bought 4 of the best seats in the house at the Charlie Daniels Show at the Music Park and the check is no good."
"First of all Clarise(Mrs. Alexander), you know that I am directing traffic to all the shows, along with everybody else at the Police Dept. and the Sheriff's Dept. The chief and the sheriff are the only two that get to see the concerts. Please let me see the check."

That son-of-a-bitch had come to Franklin, wrote a bad check, and now I was having to again straighten out his mess. I called my former chief in Newnan, and giving him the story, he sent 2 detectives to find this joker and show him the error of his ways. After a few days in a country jail, the message seemed to sink in and I never had my identity stolen or confused again.

p.s. I forget to mention that while we still lived in Newnan, Janice went to a local fast food restaurant known as the WISHBONE (best damn fried shrimp anywhere) and when her order came, she wrote the girl a check which was commonplace back in those days.

The clerk looked at the check, looked at Janice, and then back at the check. With a room full of lunch-time customers, the clerk looked Janice dead in the eyes and announced in a loud voice, "This check ain't no good, the Cooks ain't never wrote a good check here."

Just as Janice was crouching into ninja attack mode, the fry-cook came out to look and just happened to be on the same softball team as Janice. Seeing that death was about to be visited upon the clerk, the lady from the back rushed forward and shouted, "NO! NO! This is a different set of Cooks!"

All of Janice's life, she had been a forgiving person. But until the day she passed away, she still did not see the humor of that day. She was a good Christian woman, but she did have her pride!

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