It was Graham's widow, Zeldine, who gave Otto new reason to live. "We'll rebuild the racer," she told him. "We'll set that record ourselves."
Zeldine had four children to care for and so little to support them with that a newspaper had held a fund-raising drive in her behalf. Her decision was criticized sharply by people who felt she was spending on a racer money that should have been reserved for her children.
Zeldine was undaunted. Somehow she kept finding people who would put up a little money for the restoration of the car. Two years after Graham's death, the car was almost ready. Last summer it was hauled to the Flats, where Otto drove it in a test run. It zipped along. Everything, except for some blowouts, seemed to be going well. But they had agreed not to try for the record until 1963. Otto wasn't feeling well anyway.
Back in Salt Lake City, he felt worse and entered a hospital. Finally, they told him. Otto had leukemia. He would never get well. No one had to tell Zeldine. She had known it since shortly after her husband's death. She had wanted Otto, with so little time left, to have something to live for. Last week Otto Anzjon, only 20, died with his dream unfulfilled. But, thanks to a gallant lady, he had dreamed it until almost the very end.
TALE OF SOME TAILFEATHERS
New Mexico's state bird is G. californianus, which is just about what might be expected of a member of the cuckoo family that whines like a dog. He is more generally called the roadrunner, which is appropriate, too, because he would rather run than fly. When you stare at a roadrunner he will stare back with one eye, then flip his head around and stare at you with the other. If this doesn't get a laugh he raises and lowers his fright wig of head feathers. That is surefire.
New Mexicans, accustomed to roadrunners whining down their fireplace chimneys or running along their adobe walls, flaunting any lizards they may have captured, have fondly nicknamed the bird El Paisano. El Paisano is now the subject of an art controversy.
The New Mexico Game and Fish Department commissioned a portrait of the roadrunner this summer and hung the painting in the governor's office, where it was instantly denounced by roadrunner fans. Sensitive to such matters, they insisted that the upward tilt of the tail was too acute. Campaigning against the painting, they organized" TAILFEATHERS, short for The Amalgamated Illustrious Loyal Federation Engaged Actively To Halt Elevated Roadrunner Stance. They, and less well-organized opponents who think the painting is just fine, have been running around the state taking home movies of roadrunners with their tails up. And the Albuquerque Tribune has been moved to verse:
There's something very much alas,
When birdy's tail drags on the grass.
Chances are the painting will remain as is. The game department is adamant.