Related topics

Maryann Simmons wore a full-length black gown to the auction _ just

May 26, 1997

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) _ Maryann Simmons wore a full-length black gown to the auction _ just the thing when you’re bidding on coffins.

With magician friend Chris Rayman at her side, the 26-year-old St. Louis woman paid $210 for two wooden coffins, each about 3 1/2 feet long. They’re for children.

``I bought them because I’m interested in death and cemeteries,″ Simmons explained.

Also on the block at the Sportsmen’s Club on Saturday were human skulls, mortuary items and objects from the occult. Ronnie Jokisch of Adam’s Auction Service said the items were part of the estate of Ken Arnold, a St. Louis bookseller and flea market founder who died last month at age 62.

Arnold was into the occult. While many of his rarest volumes were not offered, hundreds of books on magic and occult practices were sold. Three human skulls also were sold, one going for $210.

Auctioneer David Jokisch said the macabre items showed only one facet of Arnold’s personality.

``You know you look at these things, skulls, coffins, and you might think Arnold was pretty weird, but he was the nicest guy you’d every want to meet,″ he said.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ While dozens of motorists fumed when Woody Harrelson and other environmentalists blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge last fall, Susan Zitron and Don Woods were warming up in other ways.

The two were on a bus headed for San Francisco International Airport when the protest last November over logging in northern California stopped traffic. Six months later, they’re engaged.

``We weren’t searching, so the angels delivered us to each other,″ says Zitron, a 52-year-old career counselor. ``It just all turned out perfect.″

Zitron and Woods, a 56-year-old insurance agent, happened to take the same airport bus just as Harrelson and eight others clambered up the bridge. Zitron noticed Woods’ ``rich voice,″ while he was impressed when she comforted people upset by the delay.

The two divorcees chatted all the way to the airport and followed through on plans to meet after their trips.

``It gets past serendipity,″ Zitron says. ``We were both really open to falling in love with the right person.

She’s written a thank-you note to Harrelson, but hasn’t heard from the actor. Woods didn’t have to think too hard about where to propose _ he popped the question on the bridge.


PITTSBURGH (AP) _ With a prayer and a blast of plastic explosives, a 24-story building with a mural of some of the city’s biggest sports heroes crumbled in about 10 seconds to make room for progress.

The 500 Wood Street Building fell into a special pit Sunday. In its place will be a Lazarus department store and parking garage, which are expected to open by Christmas 1998.

With the building went the high-profile sports mural of artist Judy Penzer, who died last year in the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, N.Y.

So long to ``Mean″ Joe Greene and Jack Lambert of the Steelers. Goodbye to Bill Mazeroski and Roberto Clemente of the Pirates. Adieu to just-retired Penguins star Mario Lemieux.

The demolition left thick smoke across an area of four square blocks, and a lingering odor of gunpowder. Authorities broadcast a prayer to each other before the blast.

``Fantastic. It was an awesome view,″ sightseer Jim English said from a restaurant on the 64th floor of USX Tower, several blocks away. ``You could even feel it up here.″

Update hourly