The Manson Murders and a Lawn Jockey

August 9th and 10th mark the anniversary of the killing spree conducted by a bunch of crazies and Charles Manson.  I wasn’t alive at the time, and didn’t really care too much for the re-telling of the story in my youth, and so have little to offer by way of commemoration.

I do have a strange and kitschy connection to the whole thing, though.

A little while after the murders took place, some “unnamed relatives” were doing some drinking in LA, as was typical in those and these days.  While, shall we say, “lit,” they decided to go down to the mansion of Roman Polanski, where Sharon Tate was murdered. They hopped the fence and did nothing of note, except they did leave with a small “lawn jockey” from the property.

The small statue–a racial caricature of a black man dressed as a jockey–had an extended hand on which one could tie the reins of their horse.  After it’s “liberation” from the Polanski-Tate estate, it lived in Lincoln Heights, in Los Angeles, for the next 20 some odd years.  My departed grandpa painted it a few times to give it a less than racially-offensive look.  My fondest memories of the small man are his time guarding his yerba buena garden.

I know where the little guy is today, but I ain’t saying.  Needless to say, what with time and the utter lack of interest within my family, I suspect it will one day find its way to my home.  Until then, just know that he is safe and well-cared for, in southern California, and seemingly unaware of the events of 40 years ago today.