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I was born March 13, 1936 to Elmo and Ida Linkenhelt. Elmo was 47 years old. I was the apple of his eye. He built tracks on the stairs of our house so I was not bounced around going up and down in my carriage. He also built a draft release that was placed in my bedroom window so fresh air could come in without a chance of me catching cold. You will also see a picture and the record of Invention with my dad's signature of what he called the "Infant's No Draft, Sleeping and Sun, Swaying Cabinet."
My mom and dad were divorced when I was three or four years old. Every time I drive down Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, just before Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards cross each other, I think of the many times I went to Beverly Gardens Park with my mother and father. I remember the times dad and I shared when I was a young girl of five or six with much love. Dad would take me to the pony rides on the Venice Pier. I was a tall child, so he would get me a pony named Laddie, who was the tallest pony in the string. I could hardly wait for Sunday to come each week. To this day I am still riding horses and they are a part of my social environment. We would go on the Merry Go Round and a few other rides, but the ponies were my favorite. When Venice Pier stopped giving rides we went to Santa Monica Pier. We rode the Merry Go Round and I loved to reach for the gold ring. Dad was so patient with me. We spent a lot of time picnicking in the Palisades Park, just sharing time together, taking pictures and I remember climbing up on the cannon in the park.
I went to Beverly Gardens Park with dad when we spent weekends together. The Sonja Henie Ice Rink was located very close to dad's apartment and he would take me there when there were shows or when she was practising or doing exhibition skating. Some Sundays we would go to church together. One of the churches we went to see was on the corner of Pico and Beverly Glen. Every time I drive by there I think of dad and I going there together. I cannot begin to tell you how much those times meant to me.
I got so excited on holidays, because I would get to spend Christmas Easter and Thanksgiving with my dad. He made my holidays a dream. I enjoyed being with him so much. It was not that he bought a lot of things for me, it was that he made me feel so special.
Dad was a great cook and he cooked such different things than I had living at home with my mother and grandparents. He used to buy me a big jar of black olives, just because he knew I loved them. He taught my mother how to cook. He made pies, breads and great country food. We would sit at his table in the kitchen and laugh and talk while we ate together.
Dad realized I was a bit of a tomboy so he manicured my nails and told me how important it was to take care of myself. He would check my clothes to see if anything was torn or had a button missing. When I was in seventh grade I started to develop into a young lady at he early age of 11. I was taller than most of the other children and even some of my teachers. I started to slouch my shoulders and pull on my sweaters so no one could see I was developing. Dad spotted that right away. He took me to Hollywood Boulevard and parked the car. We spent a couple of hours just watching ladies go by. He pointed out the ones that walked tall and carried themselves proudly. He also pointed out women that did not carry themselves with pride. He explained to me, that I should not be embarrassed to be tall. I should walk with pride and when I entered a room to enter as though I owned it.
We went home and started practising by carrying a book on my head up and down the hallway of dad's apartment. We did this together until I could master three books without them falling. I appreciate today that he took that kind of time with me. He was always gentle with me, never raised his voice and he had so much patience. I always wanted to please him, because he always wanted to please me and I knew this at a very young age. When I was about 14 years of age, my grandparents moved to Porterville, California and I had to go with them. I did not want to go, but I had no choice. Dad and I would talk on the phone but we only saw each other only twice in the two years I was living in Porterville. This was due to reasons that he and I had no control over. Due in part to my parents' divorce and in part to the man my mother was married to at that time.
I returned to Santa Monica to finish my senior year at Santa Monica High School. I called dad the day I got back. We talked evening before he died and I told him my mother was going to drive me over and I could spend the summer with him. I could hardly wait. I was 16 years old and dad always told me when I was sixteen, if I had thought I wanted to be in the movies, he would help me. When I was younger I was such a ham, always imitating Mae West and Bette Davis. Dad and I would go to visit D. W. Griffith and I would do the imitations for them and dance. They both thought I was great.
When I got to my dad's place on Van Ness I saw the front door open, which was strange and there were a lot of people around. When I went in I saw Mrs. Sheriff, who lived below my dad and was a long time neighbor and the manager of the building. I asked where my dad was and she told me my father had died and had been taken away in the ambulance a couple of hours ago. I was shocked and in disbelief. There were people milling around. I noticed they were taking his personal belongings. Mrs Sheriff went on to say dad had been harboring a bad cold. She heard him get up in the morning and go to the kitchen as he always did. Then she heard him come back to the bedroom and heard a loud thud. Then there was silence. She knew he had not been feeling well and had been battling the flu. She got worried and ran upstairs to find him lying on the floor and he had died. My grandmother was living with dad at the time of his death, Dad had brought her from Indiana in 1949, so she would not have to be alone. Ironically she now was left alone, in a town that wasn't home.
I saw someone reaching for the clay heart I had made for my dad for Fathers Day when I was in first or second grade and another person reaching for our personal photo albums. I got angry and told them all to leave the apartment and leave all my dad's belongings.
I realize now that I am enlightened to collectors and fans why they were taking things. Not thinking of the loss his loved ones were feeling, but because they thought a lot of his career and wanted a personal memento of his. I have often wondered what really was taken from his apartment.
I always take things in stride and thought I had taken his death in stride too! But last year I took some courses that invite you to look into the possibility that your past is your future. When you learn to look into your past, you do see how it can affect your future. During the course I realized I had anger that my Dad died and was taken from me before I was ready.
I had never experienced death and was always so excited to see dad, and when that came, he was lying in a casket. For months I would see men that favored my dad and I would look to see if maybe it was him. I just did not want to accept he had died and I used to say maybe it was just a movie part.
Copyright 2000 - Marci'a Lincoln Rudolph
Marci'a and George McWhorter
McWhorter ERB Collection ~ University of Louisville
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My Father, Elmo Lincoln ~ The Original Tarzan
by Marci'a Lincoln Rudolph
My Father, Elmo Lincoln: The Original Tarzan is a book that explores the life and times of Elmo Lincoln--an actor that changed the face of film and started in some of the greatest and most well known films of all time. His roles in Tarzan of the Apes, Birth of a Nation, and Intolerance have changed the face of film forever. TRULY A COLLECTOR'S ITEM! This volume contains never-before-seen biographical information.
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