Every time I think of it I’m amazed all over again. A knock on the back door. There stands a very tall man with red hair who tells me he is L. Brent Bozell. It turns out he lives in Washington DC and, apparently, just thought he would “stop by.”
You may have seen his son on TV, L. Brent Bozell, III, of the Media Research Center. They look very much alike. So, Daddy was at my back door and I invited him in.
How did this come about? It was way back in 1988. (Most of my musings are “way back” things.) In 1987 Bozell’s book, Mustard Seeds: A Conservative Becomes a Catholic, was first published by Trinity Publications. I did not know then what a player Bozell was on the world stage but did read that in the book he discussed frankly his problem with bipolar disease. It so happened that I had a friend staying with me at the time who was bipolar. I bought the book, only to be disappointed that there was very little personal stuff in it, mostly a collection of the political and philosophical writings for which he was rightly famous. But what I was looking for was something that might be of help to my friend.
So I wrote to him, expressing my disappointment. And behold! There he was at my back door. What a pity that I never asked him how that came about – did he drive there on purpose? (after all, it’s only a six hour drive), – was he just passing through? I remember very little of our conversation at the time, 25 years ago, but we were Catholics together. The thing I am very clear about is that before he left I knelt by his chair (that chair, right over there), and I prayed with him to be baptized in the Spirit when he said he was open to it.
Later he wrote me a note on March 10, 1988.
It was so good of you to write and I enjoyed every word.
I have been quite well since I saw you — small sinks, but nothing bad. And no manics.
I am wondering how you are — you seem to be in very good shape!
I hope to see you during the April 29th affair. Please call me when you get to town. 529-5518 (work); 244-4450 (home).
Love in Christ, Brent.
Of course, back in the day, we didn’t have google or wikipedia or even computers to help us find out everything about everybody. I am learning belatedly that Brent Bozell and William F. Buckley were buddies and together and were a formidable debating team for Yale. Brent married Buckley’s sister, Patricia, and they had ten children together. He was an editor of National Review and launched Triumph magazine. In looking up Mr. Bozell as I write this reminiscence, I am truly surprised about how much he was right up my pro-life alley. As it turns out in 1970, three years before the Roe v Wade decision, he and his wife lead a rally in which “Bozell was met by the police and was clubbed on the head. A police officer grabbed Bozell’s cross and broke it in half. He was thrown down and handcuffed. Bozell and seven others were arrested and given suspended sentences.” (Wikipedia).
A man after my own heart!
When I learned that Bozell had died (1997) I wrote his wife and sent her a copy of her husband’s note to me. She wrote back that “I will be sure to send your letter to our son, Brent III, who worships his father.” Her note was signed, “Trish” (Bozell). She, too, has since died, in 2008, at the age of 81.