My Short Love Affair On The Slate Table
Around 1963-64, I got hooked on shooting pool, when I started hanging out at the High Cue in Elizabeth NJ on St George Ave.
Every day after school, a friend and I would pedal our bicycles down there. Even, in the early mornings when they opened on weekends.
Dutch and Lucky, two pool shooters from Chicago, who came to the east coast and had just opened the High Cue. The place was first class with about 20 Brunswick Gold Crown tables. Which, also included two billiard tables too. It was a big place to shoot pool.
Early in the mornings, Dutch or Lucky would teach me the fine points of the game. Dutch had me shooting billiards on one of those big billiard tables without any pockets. Yeah, it's tough trying to playing three cushion billiards. Especially, when you are a young kid just starting out. It was Dutch's way of teaching me the angles the ball travels off the cushions, while Lucky would always school me in the art of shooting straight pool.
One day Dutch tells me I have to stop using the different house cues, and get a good stick of my own. So, he starts showing me these real fancy Palmer cue sticks. Boy, I can't afford one of those, I told him.
So, he calls up Palmer, and they talk a bit. Then, Dutch says no problem. He can get a plain jane stick made for me.
With that we start figuring out what type of stick would be the best to have made for me. After weeks of playing with a pile of different house sticks, and trying out both Lucky's and Dutch's sticks, we had most of the details down on paper.
So Dutch calls up Palmer to put the order in. While on the phone, Dutch asks me, out of the blue,.... what color!
I just never thought of that. I though nothing of the plain Jane house sticks as having any thing other than being wood color.
Dutch says, while still on the phone,.... pick a color.
What's your favorite color.
So I say,.... GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He laughs and says, green it is, as he goes back to talking on the phone.
Yes, a "green" plain Jane, I heard him say over the phone just before he hung up the phone.
Well, about a week or so later I walk in,... and Dutch greets me while walking up the ramp to the sales counter. He says I should look at the cue sticks on the wall behind the counter.
I look over, and there surrounded by all these fancy Palmer pool cues is this lone green stick standing out from the others.
Boy was I ever excited. Dutch hands it to me, and says, let's try it out.
I can't tell you what a difference that stick had compared to the house sticks I was used to shooting with. The feel changed my whole stroke. The way the cue ball reacted to my stroke, was amazing.
I could do things with that stick, I really had to work for with the best house stick I could find.
Now, I had to just pay Dutch for the stick. He was going to hold it hostage till I paid him. Well, anything over 50 bucks was big money to a kid still in school back in those days. So, I had to get my game together to pay the ransom. Which I did.
Well, my pool shooting career was cut short because of Rock, R&B, and Jazz music. Along the way, I just found myself playing more gigs than shooting pool. The last time I used that Green Plain Jane, was back in 1967 or 68.
LOL, after all that time, while cleaning up the attic, my wife says, what's this thing.
Yes, she found it. The last time I put my eyes on it, was back then.
So here I sit wanting to find a game and give Plain Jane a workout.
Today, to my surprise, New Jersey is not so much populated with big pool halls, like the High Cue was in Elizabeth, as it was years ago.
Yes, in the '60s I watched Allen Hopkins shoot nine ball at the old High Cue in Elizabeth NJ. Not to mention Steve Mizerak taking over the table one night with the side bets going on in the gallery.
Jack Colavito was another hot player who played often at the High Cue.
Any of you guys today ever play three cushion billards.
Anyone remember the High Cue in Elizabeth New Jersey.
This is my Faithful "Plain Jane"
Plain Jane is still all original as I got her. Along with the extras you see here too.
Since I have put this page up on my web site, I've been told that my Plain Jane looks to be a pre-catalog cue stick that may have been made by Frank Paradise while he worked at Palmer.
©Copyright R.K.Koerner 2001 All Rights Reserved.