Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lois Lane In Person, Kinda

Metropolis. Home of Superman. Home of Lois Lane. Conveniently located just off I-24 west of Paducah, tucked inside the Illinois state line.

When I was four years old I watched Lois Lane on Superman and determined to be a reporter. In the days of Donna Reed and June Cleaver, there weren't many working women. Not only was Lois working, she was doing a job as well as, and sometimes better than, a man. She was doing important work, exciting work and, she was doing it with a pen. She was petite, pretty, gutsy, and
successful. She was my role model.

It was nearly 11 pm when we rolled into the picturesque town. My husband was asleep in the back seat, his 6-foot-frame curled between comfort and contortion. My daughter glimpsed the sign first, “Giant Statue of Superman. Straight Ahead.”
Cool, I thought. I almost drove straight for it, thinking that would be a pretty interesting site at
night, but my husband roused and I knew he would need to get out and stretch. So I drove to the Baymont Inn. It was smack-dab on the river bank next to the Harrah's Casino, but in our bleary-eyed state, we didn't notice the river until the next day. But even in my exhausted condition I
couldn't help but notice the new construction in the hotel. New stonework, new ceramic tiles the smell of paint, new wallpaper – and everything spotlessly clean.
“Our entire first floor is being renovated because of the flood we had last year,” said the gal at
the front desk. We recalled having seen Paducah in the news, but you forget how long it takes people to clean up and repair.

The mighty Ohio River was the same gray as the overcast sky, and just as close when we went down to breakfast the next morning. Barges with their rough cargoes drifted nearer to
us than the the casino sign. I took in the uniqueness and timelessness of the scene. While glancing through the brochures in the lobby, a familiar name jumped out at me – Noel Neill Statue – just two blocks from Superman.

Get in the car!
We drove a couple of short blocks and there, as promised, was the man of steel (in fiberglass, I think). I was verily impressed to see the words “Truth, Justice and the American Way” engraved on the pedestal. We posed for the obligatory photos there and with the Superman/Superwoman plywood-where-you-insert-your-head. Then we were off to find Lois Lane.

There she was. Even in monumental proportions, she is diminutive. Dressed in a belted suit with pumps, purse, and earrings, she holds a pad and pencil in her hands. Otherthan any statue of Buffalo Bill, I have never been so thrilled to see someone immortalized in bronze.

It was the icing on this cake of a trip.

We stopped at Walgreen's for a couple of necessities before hitting the interstate. The sales clerk was so friendly and helpful, about my age, and we chatted about the town's landmarks.
“You should come back for our Superman Festival,” she said.

I feel some in-depth, investigative reporting in Metropolis!!!

(Top photo: Me, Noel Neill, Noel Coalson. Photo by Gary Bisel)

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