One Eye Wilson
I’ve often thought that there were more characters in that little area of Baltimore that I grew up in than anywhere else, but it was probably the same in every little neighborhood back then. Most, like the Boo-Boo’s lived in the area but some would pass through on a regular basis. I should also add that being very shy, and reading a lot when I was younger, some I created with my own imagination. That could be the case with ‘One Eye Wilson’, but over many years they seem to be as real as the one’s who actually existed. Was One Eye Wilson a real living person or the creation of my imagination? You decide.
‘One Eye Wilson’ was a tall black man that would pass through the neighborhood from time to time collecting what ever he could to get enough money to survive by collecting metal, paper and anything else he could salvage. He always had a cigarette hanging from his mouth and didn’t say much other than to utter a few syllables from time to time. He was tall and very lean and usually pulled a device that sort of looked like a wagon but was more like a combination of a bike, go cart, wagon and was obviously one of a kind. One Eye Wilson was somewhat scary to a young kid but that was mainly because of his appearance with his one eye always closed and the other looking a bit crossed. He would never say much to us kids but never said anything out of the way either. Our parents would sometimes say a few words to him if they had something that he could use, but times being what they were, little conversation would be had other than telling One Eye that they had some things he could use.
On some occasions One Eye Wilson would have a companion with him we called ‘Foul Mouth Freddie’. When Freddie would be talking to One Eye Wilson he would be talking so fast that you couldn’t understand anything he said other than the cuss words that he would utter every fifth word or so. One Eye would just nod his head as Foul Mouthed Freddie would start to talking as he would seem to get more excited the longer he went on, but would continue his cussing as regularly as breathing. Freddie was short and fat, probably 100 pounds overweight and this made him always seeming to trail behind One Eye Wilson when they would move on, with Freddie still chattering as they walked away.
One Eye would also on occasion have another companion we called ‘Clambake Carter’. Now Clambake was always dressed immaculately and clean and would always wear a W.C. Fields like straw hat with a Black ribbon that went around the hat. Clambake was tall and had a deep voice and was always talking food to One Eye, usually about seafood, oysters and clams, hence his name ‘Clambake Carter’. Clambake was in stark contrast to Foul Mouth Freddie and it would make you wonder what kind of interactions you would have when the three would get together. Looking back, it makes me wonder how Clambake always seemed to stay so nice and tidy, clean as could be, when One Eye Wilson always looked as if he had been wearing the same clothes for six months. I believe Clambake just went along with One Eye Wilson for the companionship and didn’t get involved a lot in actually handling the stuff Wilson would pick up.
Did these people actually exist back in my childhood, or were just the works of my fertile imagination? Well, in either case, they became even more real as time went by, and I can picture them almost as clearly as my family and friends that I grew up with. The mind and imagination can be a wonderful thing, it’s a shame that we oftentimes don’t use it as much as we get caught up in our day to day existence. One Eye Wilson, Foul Mouth Freddie, Clambake Carter, the Russian Boogie, Bo-Bo the Midget, Oggie Boo Boo. Hays Gra Ra. Were they all real? They are to me.