Crazy harry wasn't crazy was he. Nope. Crazy wondered around town and could be found anywhere in the city. Now and then he would wind up in night clubs bars and restaurants around Dundalk. He was an amiable fellow with a knack for the theatrical and an impossible talent with a pair of scissors. He was a comedic showman in the best Vaudeville style.
The first time I ever saw him was at my home. In my growing up years and as a young adult I caught his act at a lot of Baltimore establishments. We had a house full of company from Georgia, aunts, uncles and my grandparents as well as friends..
My Brother Charlie had gone to Dundalk for some reason and stopped byNight Club and Harry was performing on stage. He finished up his act and my brother asked him to come with him to our house that we had a crowd there that would be a good audience and when finished he would drive him to the Hollywood Inn. Harry walked everywhere or road the streetcar in which case he always performed while riding. People threw money at him. It was always believed, by almost everyone, that he had a bundle of money socked away someplace.
Harry came in sat down and began telling jokes and said he'd like a drink. My mother went through the usual list of things to drink. Ain't ya got no liquor he wanted to know? Mom remembered the fruit cake. She had some that my father had soaked with rum. Crazy, stuffed the cake in his mouth and swallowed it making us all fear he would choke to death. He told more jokes and mimicked perfectly anybody that said anything Then he went around the room and roasted everybody. We all found it amazing how he hit the character of each person in the room. He didn't know any of us. Then it started, a sound cam out of him a little like a mouth organ crossed with bagpipes. Started off low and got louder WER-EEE-EROL-WER-EEE-EROL-WER-EEE-EROL-----I DON'T WEAR NO UNDERWEAR AND I DON'T WEAR NO WOMENS DRAWERS----WER-EEE-EROL-WER-EEE-EROL--- AROUND AND AROUND AND A WAGON WHEEL, WER-EEE-ERO-WER-EEE-EROL
Slowly he reached down in his carpet bag and pulled out a pair of scissors and paper. He held the paper behind his head cutting out the profiles of every on in the room some of them were folded several times and were three profiles. The whole time he was doing his singsong, song. He stopped his song and said Now I'll sing you a real song and cut loose with WER-EEE-EROL and we laughed going through that song a couple of times he then broke out with a beautiful rendition in true Irish tenor style of Danny Boy.
He finished, with tears in his eyes stood up and bowed, In the time fashion of this show we threw money at him. He picked up the coins and put them in his coat pocket. We all clapped and cheered. He started for the door and my mother offered food and he refused. Just as he started out the door he reached in his pock pulled out some coins and said pennies with , I don't take pennies. He tossed them on the carpet and went on out, my brother behind him
After he was gone I scrambled to get the pennies, to my surprise they were corks out of bottle caps. Every one got one last laugh, it was on me. My brother returned home and told us that Harry had questioned him about every person that would be there. So there was the answer to Harry having such an uncanny insight into the personalityof each person. It seems no less amazing that he could draw conclusions about our personalities from such a brief discussion about the people. That required a great amount of insight into people to do that. Crazy Harry wasn't crazy was'e.