I kept this article in my wallet for many, many years. The purpose was to remind me to keep my big mouth shut. When I was living with them I wasn’t told that the fact that Mingus had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease – ALS) was a secret. No one was supposed to know he was in a wheel chair. No one told me that it was a secret.
I came home from a rehearsal around 2PM. The phone rang. Mingus was asleep and Sue was gone. It was a reporter from the Daily News. She said that she was the one who interviewed them yesterday. I said I didn’t know anything about that. She said yes, well, um the article is going to press in less than an hour and she needs some facts straight. Mingus is having a big concert this weekend and she has to get it right. I said no one is here to take this call. She insisted it was urgent and they will be very upset if they don’t get this press they wanted. She just needed to know what was the name of this disease he had. I relented and told her. I told her it was amazing how he could still compose by dictation without the use of his hands.
Within an hour all hell had broken loose! I had been taken. Sue worked hard to fix the damage. I was no longer allowed to answer the phone. It was truly terrible. So this little article served as a reminder