Both the driver Jack Magerstaedt (born 09/29/1945) and the BYG/Yellow Superintendent (and former driver) Barry Fletcher died on Monday, January 30th, 2012. It was a double blow to the industry, something that we are still coming to terms with. Barry unfortunately had been dealing with various health issues for years but just after his very recent retirement another ailment, pulmonary fibrosis raised its ugly head and he was taken from us in a matter of days. Barry was very popular, always the complete gentleman, regaling us with tales from his days with the Seattle Police Department. We will miss his presence.
The story on Jack's death is not as definitive. Harborview Hospital will be performing an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. I spoke to his niece Shannon and she had an interesting report. The current story is that upon impact an ulcer or ulcers broke or burst or were perforated, there upon releasing toxins that eventually killed him. Shannon said, that Harborview stated, quote, "He had no stomach." I am not sure what that totally means but it appears to imply that Jack had some very serious underlying heath issues. Jack smoked cigarettes and drove Ali, the night driver to madness by leaving ashes all over the front seat. Jack indeed was incorrigible, truly a taxi curmudgeon, his grouchiness legendary but now there just might be an explanation. An irritated stomach is no laughing matter though very occasionally he cracked the rare smile. Knowing that he was a morning regular at the Mecca Cafe located in the lower Queen Anne, I dropped by yesterday to tell them the bad news. They of course were shocked to hear that Jack would no longer be coming by for his customary cup of coffee. Knowing that Jack had a long list of regular customers (personals, as we call them), I wish I had some way of informing them of Jack's fate. Anyway, as soon as I get word concerning the autopsy and any funeral arrangements I will post it immediately.
Adios Mexico City
I wanted to make a final comment and give the contact information to the great dentist I had the pleasure of meeting. This was my fourth visit to that wonderfully crazy and vibrant city and probably will be returning in six months as Dr. Fuentes is now my permanent dentist. I must also compliment his fatherly colleague, Dr Roberto Wallentin, that master of the root canal. He has been doing root canals since 1972. That man is a magician.
Mexico City was just terrific. Most would consider it a contradiction that a city of over twenty million could simultaneously retain such a personal warmth. The Mexicans truly reach out to others, even strangers like me who can barely say good morning in Spanish. I had a very positive experience and if I wasn't so tired I would describe in detail the many wonderful interactions that both me and my friend Mark had.
Contact info for Dr. Jorge Fuentes.
Address: Luz Savinon 727, Col Del Valle, 03100 Mexico, D.F.
Telephone: 5523-3615 5669-3435
He has a website which comes up if you "google" his name.
And yes, taxi was taxi upon a slow weekend. Exhausted after my Mexico jaunt, all I wanted to do was sleep. Biggest fare of the weekend was $65.00. No complaints! other than I was in a cab. The new 478 is solid car, with everything working. A Crown Victoria like its crunched predecessor, it had just over 148,000 miles when I got into it. The late 478 had over 368,000 miles before smacking into that wall. Tough cars, those Fords!