Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mustache Lady-Tumor Face & the Buttslasher

In the New Testament, there is that book of Timothy, it's gotta be pretty good if it made the final cut of 29, but yet...if we are fair, even though it has a purpose, it is basically nothing more than a billboard for the Pauline Epistles.

Now that people are reading the LAST AMERICAN BAKER across the world, I think its only fair to state that Klecko. like Timothy is nothing more than a silly commercial for programs of far more importance.

One example at hand would be Kim ODE (pronounced Oh - Dee) who is a columnist for the StarTribune in Mpls. Often times she helps me learn more about writing, while I try to teach her things about baking.

She is a bread enthusiast, and even built a 3000# brick wood fire oven in her back yard. she is just one of a dozen people who allow me and my madness LOL to plug into her/their successful life.

She is so Apostle Paul, and I am her Timothy,but instead of building tents and preaching the gospel of heaven, we enjoy gossiping, baking and sharing stories.

Recently she called and asked if I had been to the Hallmark gift shop in Crystal (knowing that this was the city of Klecko's formative years. I asked why, and she explained that ownership was selling after 25 years and it was the biggest of the Hallmarks in a 5 state area.

I just laughed and informed her that the idea was droll and I had about 1000 topics of greater importance that the TC's would enjoy hearing about.

However, major news publications and Klecko don't always prioritize in areas events with the same perception, so I guess I'll just go first and see what happens after that....but-but-but,,,,,before I start, it is important for those of you in Denmark, Russia, Iran and France to know that I simply adore this woman, as this body of stories continues on, you'll be hearinf a lot more from Kim Ode because I love her, and without her friendship, i would be 273 miles behind where I presently am in life.

So first off...."Oh My Blog!" Do you remember who coined that phrase? It was the chick from the award winning movie Juno. Chick wrote the entire screen play from the Target (before it was a Super Target) on Bass Lake Road in Crystal, just 100 yards away from Kims Hallmark gift store.

Crystal Minnesota is a western suburb of Mpls, and although I loved many of the people who lived there while I was growing up, I dislike the suburb's. I would almost sooner die than go back.

With that much venom blasting, I should be able to qualify that remark, but Its hard for me to define it in any other way than to say it's energy is so surreal to me (OMG - has Klecko gone New Age? sigh)

As you know,Klecko knows a few stories, and loves to line them up from the church pew to the bar stool, but tonight....I'll throw 3 fireballs at you which will be lauched from the city of my youth.

The Crystal Trinity...................


We'll start off this trilogy in that same Target that the Juno chick penned her masterpiece in, I'd be willing to bet you a dollar to a monkey that even after writing an Oscar winning screenplay in their cafeteria that she doesn't know the history which revolves around Mustache Lady, and why should she. These event started taking place in the summer of 1969 just after Woodstock.

Target was one of the first HUGE outlet stores in the United States. After WW2 came to a halt, our country had buttloads of manufacturing facilities and when there was no longer any call to build tanks, missiles or submarines, these spaces were used to hawk items that were basically the same as Rexall drugs or Tom Thumb, but Target had buying power and therefore there price point was less and they passed those savings on Baby Boomers with expendable income.

As kids we loved Target. One of the reasons it was so cool was dads refused to go there. It was a social club for Stepford Wives nation wide.
As we merged into the 1970's,Wilma and Betty no longer exchanged gossip across the picket fence, now days anyone who wasn't a savage exchanged info in the paper towel aisle, or over by the Hoover vacuums.

Each Target came equipped with 15-20 check out aisles. It was such a large number that you could go a whole year w/o having the same cashier twice. But with that said, there was one cashier that was known by everybody, and I'm not saying 92% of the customers, I'm saying this cashier had face recognition that rivaled Johnny Carson or Muhammad Ali.

To be honest I really don't recall her name, maybe because nobody used it. The woman was Italian or Greek looking with a short round body, but the feature that made her famous was the thick shaggy mustache that rested over her lip, it was caterpillar thick.

Everybody simply singled her out as "Mustache Lady" and since even if she was working, you only had a 1 in 20 chance of getting her, if you did get in her aisle you'd almost brag about it at Little League or the Crystal Pool.

"Yeah we needed Frito's and Brawny towels so we stopped at Target (and that's all you had to say, everybody would freeze and wait to see if you were going to end this story in personal triumph) and guess what? We got her, we got Mustache Lady!"

And just so you know, it was never "The" Mustache Lady, that would be freak show. It was simply delivered as a noun.

I heard stories from kids who grew up in functional family's, family's that went on vacations to far off exotic places like Ohio, and when they got back, it wasn't uncommon to hear not only a kid, but an adult mention that while they were in Canton or Cleveland, they ran into somebody who claimed to be from the western suburbs of Mpls.

Now when you're on vacation, and remember back then everybody was pretty much alcoholic and drinking Greenies or Harvey Wallbangers around the clock, and if somebody boasted a claim of knowing your stomping grounds, you didn't have to be uncertain if they were full of s***, you just simply had to mention Target.

If they mentioned the Mustache Lady.....you knew they were family. If the reference wasn't unveiled within minutes, people would make up pressing excuses (like only Minnesotans can do) and grab their children and run for the hills.

I think my favorite part about Mustache Lady is everybody has a different twist on her. In my head she worked there from 1969-1976, but I've spoke with others who have her stint ranging from 2-12 years, but the one thing that all of us have in common is that nobody really knows why she left, or where she went to.

The chick pulled an Amelia Earhart, how cool is that? I hope I fade like that.


When I was a kid the coolest thing on earth was your birthday, not just because you got gift's, and not just because you got cakes. Hells-Bells....my birthday is on July 8th so most years the adults who were responsible for my upbringing were still hung over on my birthday from kegs at the cabin during Independence Day.

The very coolest part about a birthday in Crystal is you would drive to the neighboring suburb of New Hope and troll down 42nd street until you ran into Mr. Steak.

Mr. Steak was the first raunt in my neighborhood that comped anything. On your birthday you received a free steak. I don't know why we thought that was so cool as kids. it's not like we got stuck with the check, and truth be told....the freebie looked like one of those Salisbury steaks you got out of a Swanson TV dinner.

For the first few years I lived there I didn't get my wish to go to Mr.Steak, maybe that is why I was so messed up as a youth, but when I was about to drop double digits and turn 10......uh huh, it was off to the feast.

So we get in there, me...my mother and sister, and who comes ambling across the threshold but a guy who basically scared the crap out of every kid under 15. His name was Tumor Face, well maybe not his Christian name, but he lived in another neighboring suburb, a small hamlet named Robisdale, and Tumor Face wasn't mean, he didn't scream or threaten anybody, but dude had a raw looking face with a chunk of something that looked like a brain which protruded from his left cheek.

rumor had it that it cost a million bucks to have it removed, and if so, there was only a 50-50 chance it would grow back...you know how those rumors can go when you are ten.

But Tumor Face got sat down by the server at a table next to mine, and he was seated directly opposite of me so the brain oozing out of his eye socket was in plain site.

Now our server came over and slapped my steak on the table, but I couldn't eat it and started to gag. My mom got really pissed. I was embarrassing her. At this time I had a sister who was 12, and typically we argued like brothers and sisters do, but she had my back and suggested to our mom that we switch tables, but it was fricken July 8th and about 100 degrees outside, nobody else was in the building, so in the loudest hushed voice I remember my mom say.......

"You-will-stop-this-this-this-childish behavior immediately!"

I kept gagging and refused to eat my steak. when mom knew it would only get worse so I got dragged out by my collar.

The following year I asked for a do over, it didn't fly, I ended up at Ponderosa Steak House and they didn't comp a single fricken thing.


You've heard of urban legend, I am guessing the term itself might have started in Crystal during the summer of 1971 or 72. Back then I was 8 or 9. In this era, we didn't have mom's that made play dates for us, we just woke up. Grabbed our baseball mitts and headed to a vacant lot and waited for the other kids to show. Basically we'd spend the entire day playing baseball unless something cool like a fire or a burglery occured.

I don't remember the first time I heard it, but I remember how just when Spring merged into Summer somebody mentioned that a guy on a Harley Davidson rode passed a girl on a Fuji 10 speed and slashed her a** with a knife that was attached firmly to a wooden pole.

As weeks passed, more and more you'd hear different accounts of the chick on Florida Avenue getting her butt slashed, or how some chick on Winnetka Avenue took a blade to the buns.

After awhile there was so many accounts, we got confused. It was like the JFK assassination....people were throwing spin everywhere.

I was a younger kid in the neighborhood, a newer kid as well. So my place was to keep my mouth shut and wait for reliable report from 13 or 14 year olds.

The M.O. of the Butt Slasher was always the same. he went after teenage girls on 10 speeds who wore tight shorts. Do you remember the 70's, everybody had those tight generic looking gym trunks...ouch?

When the older kids were out doing what older kids do, us younger kids sat around hoping, day dreaming that our misunderstood protagonist was get another one that day. We really did.

Who knows, maybe we were that warped, but more than likely, I think we were just so innocent that the reality of a man slashing a** just couldn't register in our simple minds. Life hadn't given us enough time yet to become so twisted or unhealthy.

Then I remember our local rag "The Post" came out with a story giving tips to parents on how the daughters could avoid getting the butts carved by the Butt Slasher.

You'll never understand how relieved we were to find out that this wasn't a fictitious hero like Robin Hood. The Butt Slasher was the real deal.

These crimes only took place that one Summer and the Butt Slasher vanished. He was never caught. But if you ever get a chance to talk with somebody who lived in the Western suburbs off Mpls in the early 70's,tell them that "you" were the Butt Slasher...that's what I do, and they almost always pee their pants.

Happy birthday Kim Ode.....I Love You a bunch.


  1. Well, nothing says love like a trilogy of genetic misfits, medical mutations and suburban psychopaths. Back at ya...........

  2. Yeah, those are all three of them mythic -- a Medusa, a monster, and the maniac.

    I used to see a man with really bad neurofribromatosis -- they used to call it elephant man syndrome -- in the business reference section of the library. He always seemed to be looking something up. I felt sorry for him, but not enough to say hello.

    His face had sprouted so many lesions he was like a model for horror movie makeup. I doubt he was doing business research. It was a very public place. I think he was there in an aggressive capacity, to say Look at me, look what God did.

    He must have had a terrible life.

  3. Isn't it funny which things stay in your memories? I cut the lawn 30 times a year for 6 years living at home and I don't remember any of it, but getting jipped out of a Mr Steak - steak, well that's trauma city.