Ridgewood Story, 7

Parker Evans

Evans home

Parker Evans was 28 when twins Dave and Amy were born. He was born in Ridgewood and raised solely by his mother Peggy Evans after his father died. His hair and eyes were brown. He was 5’ 11” and thin. He free-lanced as an illustrator for periodicals, and his proudest accomplishment was doing the cover art for a science fiction graphic novel series called “Safire: Base Ten.”

Casually dressed when he worked at home, Parker wore snappy blazers and suits when he was off to business meetings in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Los Angeles. Despite his casual dress at home, he rarely went shirtless unless he swam, and he rarely wore shorts and tennis shoes unless he played tennis.

He was a great philosopher who spent hours reading and analyzing ideas, and was a man in touch with his emotions but not always the master of them. He could channel his feelings into a creative act, or he could let them simmer under the surface without an outlet until he burst, lashing out at everyone around him.

Parker enjoyed order and craved for the peace and happiness of home, but it was usually disorderly when Dave and Amy were there. The house was a vintage 4-bedroom farmhouse (circa early 1900’s). Parker spent a lot of time working in his art studio, which the spare bedroom upstairs. Amy’s bedroom was a smaller room, and Dave’s bedroom was the smallest, which had bunk beds for when Lenny slept over. Dave always took the top bunk.

Parker’s house had an eat-in country kitchen with Pergo flooring and a wall of floor to ceiling cabinets. French doors separated the family room from the living room. The living room’s bay window faced Ridge Road and had a reading seat built below. The room was also his library. Among his books were Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson; The Old Curiosity Shop and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens; Moby-Dick by Herman Melville; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis—all of them classics in literature. Also among those old books was Dracula by Bram Stoker, which was a favorite of mine.

Dave, Lenny and I liked to watch horror shows on television. The daytime TV Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows (a series about witches, ghosts, vampires and werewolves that ran from 1966 to 1971) had been a favorite, and later TV movies The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973) starring Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, would prove to be fun and chilling to watch. In fact, they, along with earlier TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, and the films Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Bad Seed (1956), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Innocents (1961), and Rosemary’s Baby (1968), influenced my writing during those spookier visits with Dave and Lenny at Myers Ridge.