Saturday, September 26, 2009

Night Visitors

Photos: I took this snapshot of Hap and Marilyn Meredith at the 2004 EpiCon convention in Oklahoma City; the cover of DISPEL THE MIST, Marilyn’s newest Tempe Crabtree mystery.

By Pat Browning

In all of Marilyn Meredith’s books there’s a bit of romance. Who better to write it than a lady who’s been married for more than 50 years? Marilyn and her husband Hap are a team, a familiar sight at writers’ conventions and conferences.

Now retired from the residential care business, Marilyn and Hap live on the Tule River in Central California’s Sierra foothills. They met on a blind date in Southern California, in what sounds like an episode of “Happy Days.”

Hap was in the navy at Port Hueneme. Marilyn was a high school senior in Eagle Rock. With two other couples they took the streetcar to Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles, where they danced the hours away. Later they took a taxi to one friend’s house, but the final ride never showed up, so Hap walked Marilyn home, a short distance of three miles.

They arrived about 3 a.m., and Marilyn recalls that her parents “were wild.” It had never occurred to her to telephone them. Hap had no transportation at that hour so her parents let him sleep on the couch in the den. A few weeks later, he and Marilyn tied the knot.

They lived in Oxnard for more than 20 years, where four of their five children were born. Hap served in the Seabees, going to Vietnam three times. When Oxnard got too big and busy for them, they moved to the Sierra foothills, where Marilyn’s forbears had settled in the early 1850s, and they have lived there ever since.

Marilyn sets her Tempe Crabtree mysteries in those foothills, which are just above the Valley flatlands where I lived for so many years. Reading one of her books is like a visit “home” for me.

Marilyn is a prolific writer. Her books are available in hardcover, paperback and electronic downloads. The latest is DISPEL THE MIST, woven from an Indian legend of the Hairy Man.

But sometimes you just have to laugh, and Marilyn’s real life is every bit as colorful as her fictional life. This is a blog Marilyn posted on September 18, and the images it evokes are priceless. If you can picture Hap, stark naked, chasing a prowler across the rooftops … read on …

From Marilyn’s Musings (, reprinted with her permission.
Friday, September 18, 2009

It's been awhile since we lived in a city or a real neighborhood--but I was thinking back about some of the excitement I remember from back then.

One night, while I was asleep in our back bedroom -- with the drapes open, after all we had a six foot high fence all around the yard -- a police chase ended right outside the sliding glass door. I never woke despite the fact our dog, a German Shepherd, cornered the suspect right there. The police, one of whom was my son-in-law, arrested and hauled the guy away. My dear son-in-law told me that my nightgown had hiked up and I mooned the whole bunch. Dear hubby affirmed this. (Why on earth didn't he come inside and cover me up?)

Another time, our whole family was sleeping and my middle daughter (a teenager at the time) came in to tell us someone was on the roof. Once we were good and awake, we could actually hear someone clomping around up there.

At the time hubby slept in the altogether. He leapt out of bed, dashed out the back door, grabbed an ax he had there, climbed a ladder and got on the roof. We could hear him yelling and chasing the intruder. Daughter and I fell into fits of laughter picturing hubby and father running across the roof, buck naked, hollering and waving an ax.

We hoped he neighbors wouldn't see him and call the police. He didn't catch the guy but, no doubt traumatized, the roof walker jumped to the ground and hightailed it down the street.

And that's my two prowler stories. No doubt there were more; it was a wild neighborhood despite the fact several police officers lived there, but those are the ones I remember, and probably the funniest.
Now we live in the foothills and our intruders have been limited to bobcats, possums and raccoons.


Cheryl said...

Oh my, I learn new things about Marilyn all the time. This is great.

I love both Marilyn's Deputy Tempe Crabtree books and the Rocky Bluff P.D. series that she writes under the name of F.M. Meredith.

Marilyn will be going on her sixth virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in October to promote her latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree book, "Dispel the Mist", and I've already read and reviewed it at my blog. The books just keep getting better.

Thanks for this wonderful post about Marilyn and Hap. If I ever meet Hap, though, I might have a problem keeping a straight face.


Chris S aka ChrisChat said...

Priceless...will/have these memories make into the stories?

Jean Henry Mead said...

Pat, I've lived in every one of those places mentioned and enjoy Marilyn's adventures there. She and Hap are quite a pair!

Morgan Mandel said...

That's a laugh riot!

And I love the romantic story also. It didn't take long for you two to realize you were meant for each other. And it's lasted 50 years! Good for you.

Morgan Mandel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I have no idea what the comment is about above this one--but Pat, how much fun to read how much you remember about me and my sweetie. Actually we've been married nearly 58 years--scary, isn't it?

We've slowed down a bit over the years, and Hap no longer sleeps in the altogether. Now its p.j. bottoms.
By the time he got out of bed, any prowler would be long gone. Besides, I don't let him get up on the roof anymore.

Thanks, Pat, what a fun blog to read--nothing like laughing at yourself.


Beth Terrell said...

Hi, Marilyn. Thanks for stopping by! I enjoy reading your posts on DorothyL.

Mary Welk said...

Funny stories. Knowing Hap, I'm glad to hear he wears pj bottoms now. :)

Anonymous said...

That post above yours was from a troll who has attached itself to Murderous Musings. I just deleted it.

Your memories are such fun. Thanks for letting me share them here.

Miss you and Hap --

Pat Browning

Chester Campbell said...

Great post, Pat. Marilyn's pace in writing and promoting leaves me breathless. I believe it was Punque who introduced me to you and Marilyn at the 2004 Bouchercon in Las Vegas. It's been a joy communicating with both of you in the years since. I've run into Marilyn at a few other cons and met Hap at one of them. They're quite a pair.

Anonymous said...


Marilyn's pace leaves me breathless,too! She and Hap make a good team, just as you and Sarah do. Yes, we met at Bouchercon 2004 -- a memorable event for so many reasons.

Marilyn is a legend in the Fresno Sisters in Crime group. As one of them said, when a publisher goes out of biz, Marilyn just steps over the body and finds another one. LOL


Mark W. Danielson said...

A couple of days ago, the news reported a naked 60 year man held an intruder at gunpoint until the police arrived. Sounds like a trend here. I mean, is there something about sleeping naked that attracts intruders?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I was at our family reunion when Pat posted this blog. I had my new iPhone with me but couldn't figure out how to use it very well, finally resorted to my mini-computer.

Again, thank you, Pat. And I do miss you. You were such fun at conventions, being a partner at a library event, or being together at a book festival.

And you know what, you were the very first reporter who ever interviewed me as a writer.