|This dignified portrait of Norman was taken in 1971. |
Copyright Dave Stovall.
|Photograph taken in 1965 of Norman meeting President Johnson. |
The photo is inscribed, "To Norman Lane
With best wishes Lyndon B. Johnson." Collection of Iris Hyson.
Norman's beverage of choice was Pabst Blue Ribbon beer...morning, noon and night...and he usually wore a construction hard hat. Robert Phillips, owner of the Silver Spring Auto Body Co. (demolished) provided Norman with a cot and a hot plate in his business, the closest that Norman would accept to the comforts of a home. Norman liked to rummage through the dumpsters behind Bell Florist and Pumphrey's Funeral Home (demolished) where he would retrieve discarded roses and then proceed to give one to each woman he passed on Georgia Avenue.
|For years this sign was attached to the Silver Spring Auto Body Co. until it disappeared|
in 2003 after the business shut down. Photo taken by Jerry A. McCoy in 1996.
|Silver Spring Auto Body Co. sign donated by Charles Atwell. |
Collection of SSHS Archives.
When the ABC television show "Real People" featured a 7 1/2 minute segment on Norman in 1979, it asked people in downtown Silver Spring if they'd vote for him if he ran for office. Everybody said sure with one black guy responding, "Why not? The last two white men I voted for were bums too."
Such a colorful personality seemed to beg to be immortalized and that was what artist Fred Folsom did, starting in 1974 by creating dozens of studies, paintings and lithographs depicting Norman. On October 11, 1991, four years after Norman passed away in the back seat of an National DC cab abandoned off of Sligo Avenue, Folsom dedicated a life-sized bronze portrait of him.
|Oil on masonite, 12" x 12", by Fred Folson, copyright 1987.|
Collection of Jerry A. McCoy.
|Photo by Jerry A. McCoy.|
Please join the Silver Spring Historical Society on Thursday, April 14th, at 9:00 a.m to honor Norman on his 100th birthday. If anyone knew him, we would love to hear some stories. And if anyone knows how the tune goes, we could sing this song written in 1979 by Harry Merrick, then the lead singer of the five-member Chase Holiday Band...
"He's walking down the sidewalk, moving kind of slow. He looks kind of funny, but he's never feeling low. And if you ask him he'll tell you everything is OK. He never worries, you can always hear him say, 'It's all right, don't worry about it.'
He's the mayor of Silver Spring, Norman is his name. Things will come and go, but he'll always stay the same. People have to relax and take it day by day because he never worries and you can always hear him say, 'It's all right, don't worry about it.' "