Remebering Leroy Evans

17 Jan

I met Leroy when he was in his seventies. I was just 30 at the time. He had moved into the Lafayette California Morehouse Commune in 1976, about 3 years before I did. Leroy was big in character and in size being over 6 foot six in his stocking feet. He lived next door to us at the commune for a couple of years and my wife Vera would make delicious dinners on the 2 burner hot plate that we had. Leroy would smell her cooking and come by and we always made enough so that we could give him a big portion. He was not a little eater either being close to 300 pounds. He also would tell us stories about his life.

Leroy started boxing professionally when he was 13. He made a lot of money for someone so young and living in Harlem at that time, which was around the time of World War 1. His mother had left him with his grandmother as she was young and could not take care of him. His grandmother was nice but tough and strict. The fights were not legal as very few black men were allowed in the boxing gyms in those early days after World War 1. Promoters would set up fights in allies in New York and New Jersey. His grandma did not know that Leroy was sneaking out and boxing and making money as she would not have allowed it.
Leroy bought his own home when he was 15. He lived there secretly and only part time with his 27 year old married girlfriend. The house was in Yonkers and cost around $900 at that time. He also bought a brand new Cadillac for around $600. He was able to do all of this on the sly so that his grandma would not find out.
Leroy boxed for many years and was even ranked as high as number 3 heavyweight in the world at one time. He was known as the “purple torpedo”. He was still not allowed to or avoided by the white champions who reigned at that time. He actually boxed Primo Carnera, the heavyweight champion in a non title match and beat him soundly.
He hung out with some famous people and was married 6 times in his life. He said he always gave his ex the house that they lived in. He had an affair and dated Mae West for a while and she enjoyed him immensely. She gave him a full length mink coat that went down to his ankles; that must have taken a lot of minks to make a coat that big. He also hung out with the actor Errol Flynn. They would go out drinking together. This was how Leroy adopted gin as his favorite drink.
When I met Leroy he was the boxing coach at More University. Vic Baranco, the founder of Morehouse, had one of the members fill out the forms and do the legwork to get it accredited as a University in 1976, the same year Leroy arrived. They already had a boxing ring as my wife’s ex husband Walt Rogers took Vic to a theater to see Mohammed Ali fight Joe Frazier and Vic became enthralled with boxing and had a ring put up at the commune near the tennis courts. Vic wanted a sports team but More U. was too small and the members too old for most sports so football and basketball and baseball were out of the question. Boxing on the other hand was perfect and Leroy was the first coach. When I showed up the team was already 2 years running and they needed a lightweight so I learned quickly how to box as I had to catch up quickly to the more experienced guys. Leroy was no longer the coach as they hired a guy named Yankee. Leroy said that I was real good and quick but Yankee never taught me much defense.
Leroy would still get into the boxing ring to spar until practically the day that he died. He said not to hit him in the head as he had too many of those in his younger years. No one could hit him in the head anyhow as he was so tall and his left hand jab kept people at a distance from him anyhow. He was real smooth the way he moved in the ring. Whenever you saw Leroy in the hallway or out walking which he did quite slowly and you asked him how he was doing. He would always respond “Still kicking, but not too high.” When he was in the ring he was still athletic and beautiful to watch move.
Leroy also loved to pleasure women with his big hands. He trained with the Morehouse Sensuality department which I was part of in the late 1980’s. He got certified to do a DEMO when he was 83 years old, which was the oldest certified person to be trained at Morehouse. He lived for three years more after that and made a lot of women happy in that time. He loved to tease the girls and would purposefully stay away from her clitoris until they started begging him to rub it. Leroy was the first person that I met that called the clitoris the little boy in the boat. He said that he learned tat when he was a kid. He also called the perineum the taint because it taint the pussy and it taint the anus. Leroy liked to put a woman at total effect while he was pleasuring them. He would have a hot water bowl by the bed and when he was done he would dip the washcloth in the hot water to wipe off the woman after he rubbed on them.
Leroy would sing to them as he did them; love songs like “Baby Ain’t I Good to You.” He had a deep melodic voice and was quite the jazz singer.

Leroy actually made a CD about a year before he died from a performance he did at a nightclub in Oakland playing with the Random Band which was a group of excellent musicians living at Morehouse at that time which included Maestro Willy Weichert on the keyboards, Jerry Segur as the lead guitarist and Stan Robison on saxophone and trumpet and Jim Sugg on guitar and bass. Actually it was recorded onto a cassette at that time and we had it converted to a CD later and still enjoy listening to it.
Leroy used to like playing poker on Friday nights in the night club that was on the More University campus which was called the Waipuna Lounge which means by the water in Hawaiian. The name was changed by Vic a few years later to the Puhi Paka Waipuna because smoking cigarettes was banned on the public areas of the campus and Vic smoked. Vic therefore said the club was private and puhi paka means smoking, also in Hawaiian. Leroy smoked cigarettes too, though he started around the age of fifty after his boxing career was over. He smoked Kool cigarettes. Leroy still liked to drink his gin and on more than one occasion would drink too much and get a bit rasty. He would get belligerent and scared a few of the members that played poker with him, accusing them of cheating and threatening them; though he never did hit anyone. I never did play poker with Leroy as I can not stand the stench of cigarette smoke. He was always kind to me and Vera.
Leroy was also beloved by the children who lived at Morehouse. He ran the children’s house for a number of years before he became our neighbor. The structure was a separate building from the rest of the adult’s houses. The kids all loved him even though when they misbehaved he was strict with them. He made them fetch their own switch from a branch that he would smack them with. He did not really hurt them but they did respect him and seldom had to be punished.
Leroy was more of a lover than a disciplinarian and everyone loved him back. He was one Kool dude.

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