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How Grover proved, or almost proved, a legend about Picadilly Circus

A moderately charming anecdote from the annals of World War II
By Ed Waggener

When he was a boy, Grover Cleveland Gilpin had always heard that if you visited Picadilly Circus in London and looked around, you'd see someone you know within 30 minutes.

He almost proved it. Or maybe he did.

As a soldier on leave during World War II, he visited the busy London, England, intersection with the famous aluminum statue of Eros. He was there specifically to test the concept, and was initially disappointed.

"I didn't see a soul I knew," he remembers. No one from Adair County. No familiar faces from his other old haunts in Chicago, Greensburg, Mell, or Gresham. No famous person. Not Churchill. Not Eisenhower. Not Monty Rey Yarberry

He gave up and went to a bar

"I gave up and went to a bar," he re says. "I remember the name of it. It was called 'The Horseshoe Bar.'"

"The first person I saw in the bar was Wallace Hancock, from Columbia," he says. "We spent three days seeing the sights of London."

Both returned after the war to Adair County. Grover, as everyone knows, became famous as the owner of the G&M Grill, as a Democratic politician, and as a leading dairy farmer.

Wallace Hancock became a salesman for a leading hardware company. "His company was in Knoxville, I believe," Grover Gilpin says.

This story was posted on 2006-05-07 07:34:25
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