Living in a small town has some perks. Seeing “interesting” people is one of them.
When Marv and I first moved here, there was a man we called the Shirtless Wonder. I have no clue what age he was. My guess is maybe well in his 30’s in the beginning. We saw him all over town, always walking. He walked with a purposeful stride, like he had someplace special he needed to be. He’d walk in all weather. If it was the least little bit warm out, he would be walking with his shirt off, either in one hand or slung over a shoulder. He was VERY fit looking. Nothing much to look at in the face, but his torso looked like he did weights. As the years went by, we noticed that he would still take his shirt off, but now would be wearing a white tank top underneath. I saw him a couple of times in the grocery store, muttering to himself. I don’t know when it was that we realized we hadn’t seen him in some time. If my first guess about his age was right, he’d be pushing 70 now.
Then there was the couple. Man and woman. Walking everywhere. Many times laden down with shopping bags. They looked to be in their late 20’s. The man was short and on the heavy side and seemed to walk slowly. The woman was the same height and wore impossibly high heels. Always. Couldn’t imagine how she could walk all over town in those heels. She also had jet black hair worn straight down below her waist. I was in line behind them once in a store. She was doing all the talking and pulled out an enormous wad of cash to pay for their purchases. We would see them everywhere for a short period of time. Then they were gone.
And then there was Stalin…
Short little guy with long gray hair and beard and a Stalin hat. Completely dressed in black leather. Always. No matter how hot it was out, he’d still be wearing a leather coat, buttoned up to the top. We saw him a lot at Raley’s. You did NOT want to be close to him in the summer…
I think he was still around long after Shirtless Wonder disappeared. But it’s been many years now since he made an appearance.
By far, though, the one who was around the longest was The World's Oldest Living Cocktail Waitress. There was a "fancy" restaurant where Marv and I would go on special occasions. It had a bar section attached to it, so the cocktail waitress would come around to take drink orders before people ordered dinner. This gal was maybe 97 years old, wearing a short black skirt and spiked heels and had LONG, straggly, blondish (don't know what other color to call it) hair down her back. Absolutely frightening. Wonderful personality of course. But scary to look at. Haven't seen her in a while though, and since the place changed hands we don't go there any more.
Oroville is bigger now, after 34 years of living here. Haven’t really seen anyone out of the ordinary for some time now. I kinda miss the Shirtless Wonder…hope he’s OK.