July 5, 2007 -- La Cañada Valley Sun
"Around Town:"Redundancy Department of Redundancy"
By Anita Susan Brenner
It was 6:55 a.m. when I pulled into the coffee place. "Strange," I thought. "I didn't know the sun came up this early."
And there were no SUVs out. Lots of open parking spots. Amazing.
Last night at the post office had been equally weird. I saw kids on skateboards.
Eight of them.
They were talking in the parking lot. Like a cocktail party or something.
Suddenly, I remembered. School was out. But why was I up so early?
Once inside, I ordered a plain coffee, with room for milk. I found a seat in the corner. A few minutes later she arrived — an attractive lady in her 40s. She sat next to me.
It was the Anonymous Source.
"Here!" the Anonymous Source said. She pushed over a brown folder. And then, just as suddenly, she was gone.
I put down my coffee and opened the folder. It contained news clippings. Hundreds of them. Yellowed with age.
I took out the first one. It was a story about Dr. Roy Lanterman.
"Lanterman, Lanterman," I muttered to myself. "That name sounds familiar."
And then, I remembered. The Museum. Lanterman House. Roy Lanterman was the man who built the Lanterman House. He was the father to Frank and Lloyd. Husband to his beloved Emily.
He was also a physician — a graduate of the University of Maryland and of Johns Hopkins Medical School. He founded a relief hospital in San Francisco after the earthquake. He was appointed coroner for the County of Los Angeles.
"Gee whiz," I thought. "I didn't know Roy Lanterman was a Terp."
Then I saw the clipping for December 18, 1907, and the four-word caption: CORONER ATTACKS WOMAN AND IS JAILED.
According to the Los Angeles Times, during the early morning hours, Dr. R. S. Lanterman was arrested on the charge of drunkenness "after creating a disturbance in Ida Hastings' house of ill-fame." There was "a struggle in the house" between Dr. Lanterman and Miss Hastings over two photographs depicting Dr. Lanterman and a letter written by him. Items in the possession of Miss Hastings.
Bruised and bleeding, Miss Hastings ran to the police station and asked for help.
"Help!" cried Miss Hastings. "Dr. Lanterman has attacked me and I am afraid of him."
The beat reporter took the story from there.
"When the police arrived, Dr. Lanterman was found in the bathroom and refused to come out … He was taken out by Patrolman Gifford and searched. Two revolvers were found in his possession."
Not one revolver, but two. Two guns. Why did Dr. Lanterman have a gun in each pocket?
Redundant? Perhaps not.
Dr. Lanterman hired a lawyer. And another.
Dr. Lanterman explained that he had not been drinking. He went to the Hastings residence "to attend to a person in distress," a version disputed by both the arresting officer and booking officer, or as Desk Sgt. Willard Smith put it: "He was drunk, good and drunk."
By the next day, the charges were dropped, or as the Times reported:
LANTERMAN NOT PROSECUTED — CORONER'S SERIOUS LAPSE IS A CLOSED INCIDENT.
Dr. Lanterman later blamed his bad press on political enemies.
I began to look at the other clippings. There was more …
Anita Susan Brenner is a longtime La Cañada resident. She is a partner at Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena.