Louisville Magazine

NOV 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1042970

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Page 41 of 172

kyoms.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.18 39 first black reporter, Joe Broadus, came on board. He and I were generally on the night shift, and we often ate dinner together. He was tall, skinny and very, very shy. It was a different story with Mervin Aubespin. He was a trailblazer who started his career in the art department. A Tuskegee graduate and former teacher at Central High School, his road to fame began in 1968, when the West End of Louisville erupted in riots not long after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our white reporters had no sources in the West End; some didn't even know the difference between Osage Avenue and Eddy Alley. at's not to disparage them. Most of us who were white and lived in the East End were strangers west of 10th Street, where from time to time we boarded passenger trains at Union Station. Merv was recruited from the art department, handed a reporter's notebook and went to the epicenter of the trouble. He sent dispatches back to the office from telephone booths. Eventually, the Binghams sent Merv to Columbia University. Without question, a real perk of my job was meeting important people. And one of these encounters led to my saving Merv's life. Henry Heimlich, the Cincinnati doctor who invented the life-saving technique called the Heimlich maneuver, met with a group of C-J staffers at the Old House Restaurant on Fifth Street, a popular spot for Courier- Journal lunch meetings. After the usual round of cocktails (the abstemious Barry Jr. always ordered something made with bitters), Dr. Heimlich, then a vigorous 55-year-old, enthusiastically talked about the benefits of saving lives by jabbing a victim's diaphragm and pushing air up the windpipe. After dessert, we all stood up and began practicing on one another. A few months later I was working the graveyard shift on Sunday with Merv. e cafeteria was closed, so generally we brought our own supper or went to the snack bar downstairs for junk food. Merv, as usual, brought a bag of pork rinds, and, true to his Louisiana roots, began to douse them with hot sauce. (He kept a bottle on his desk.) A little while later, I heard a strange sound coming from him at his desk across the room. His complexion had turned gray, and he was wheezing badly. I rushed to him, putting both arms around his tummy. I gave him a few stiff punches and — pop! — the offending pork rind flew out of his mouth and across the room. Unlike his father, Barry Jr. was not to age gracefully in the publisher's chair. In January 1986, having just turned 53, Barry Sr. put all the family companies on the market, effectively throwing his son out of work in his prime. For years, internal strife within the Bingham family had roiled the workplace and was the topic of much talk and concern in the city. Finally, Barry Sr. said, "Enough." As so often happened in those days, the announcement came through memos posted on the newspapers' bulletin boards. As I walked into the building, I ran into Johnny Maupin, the chief artist, who was furiously puffing on his cigarette. "He's done it!" Johnny cried, with tears in his eyes. "Done what?" I asked. "e old man's put the papers up for sale!" Continued on page 138

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