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Morris Martick, James Baldwin, and . . . Curious Hairs?

Thank you for your tribute, It was almost as delicious as his cooking

Thank you for your tribute to Morris Martick! (“Morris Martick,” Mobtown Beat, Dec. 21) It was almost as delicious as his cooking.

Let me share two memories of dining chez Martick.

In 1972, I taught at a challenging junior high school in the city. A fellow instructor was an effete black man who wore a lot of silver jewelry he crafted from pilfered restaurant flatware. In the middle of one class, he cursed the kids and walked out, never to return.

I collect books signed by the author, and in the late ’70s went to a James Baldwin lecture at John Hopkins’ Shriver Hall. Before the talk, an announcement was made that Mr. Baldwin would not sign any autographs or books. Afterward, I met my ex-coworker. I asked what he was doing. His reply: “James Baldwin.” My friend lived in Paris and was now traveling with Mr. Baldwin, along with other young companions. He introduced me to Mr. Baldwin, who asked me to recommend a restaurant. Good dining options then were limited; I wondered where we could eat well and without drawing too much attention to a racially mixed, obviously gay ensemble. Martick’s! After dessert, Mr. Baldwin, who said little, smiled at me, saying this meal was as good as any he enjoyed in Paris. Then he took my copy of The Fire Next Time and autographed it.

One Baltimore summer, several friends and I celebrated another’s birthday at Martick’s. Sweating, Morris both cooked and served. He sampled too many wine sauces. Later, he would appear wearing a dirty apron and sneakers. We checked our plates for curious hairs and were amused by the sideshow.

Gary F. Suggars


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