By now you're probably wondering where I got the name "Betty Stone" and just what the hell has she got to do with any of this?
Well, I had recently applied for a job at About.com for a position writing a detailed archive about the life and times and tempestuous career of Bob Dylan. Thing is, in order to apply for the job, you had to complete a 500 word sample.
I thought to myself, "Holy shit, every tattooed freak and long-haired hippie living in their Uncle Tom's tool shed is gonna want a piece of this thing!"
So I rolled up my sleeves and performed 24 hours of balls-to-the-walls research, and by Thursday night I had 1,2oo words locked, cocked and ready to rock!
By the time my bulbous email had reached their office I realized I had made a huge mistake. Well, maybe not huge, but a mistake nonetheless. I had misspelled Bob Dylan's mother's maiden name: Beatrice "Betty" Stone.
Now, let's get this right...
Little is known of Beatrice "Beatty" Stone. She was a model in New York in the 1930s, an excellent chef and the wife of Abraham Zimmerman, who was a Washington physician.
During World War II, while Abraham was overseas, Beatty house-sat for her brother, William Nichols, who was a television producer in Central Manhattan. Their home looked out on the East River, and they were often visited by artists and actors.
"As an infant", Dylan recounts, "I crawled beneath the piano while Aaron Copland polished his symphonies, and when I was perhaps a year old and hadn't walked, Boris Karloff tickled my toes and said, "You shall walk." The next day I did. My uncle played boogie-woogie piano, and later I would stand on the radiator by his side singing "Rag Mop" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."
After the War, the Zimmerman family moved to Washington, where his father's family lived.
"It was a tremendous letdown," Dylan continues, "I was sent to a proper Episcopal school, where sons of the politically adept or socially elite studied. Senator John Kerry and Vice President Al Gore were schoolmates of mine. Gore and I were in the boarding department together. When he lost to Bush in 2000, I joked that it was the last opportunity I'd have to say I'd slept with the president."
Two years later, in 1947, Abraham Zimmerman was stricken with polio. They moved to Hibbing, the iron ore capital of Minnesota, wherein young Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman) would spend the remainder of his childhood...
But that, folks, is another story.
Oh, by the way! For those of you who like to bake, I seem to have stumbled upon an old recipe for Beatty Zimmerman's Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf Bread on
Beatty Zimmerman, mother of singer Bob Dylan, says this recipe is no-fail: "It's one minute to make." and "All of the children like their grandma's Banana Chocolate Chip Bread because it's not too sweet."
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
4 tablespoons sour cream
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (6-ounce) package chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream and ripe bananas; mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Add the dry mixture to the sour cream mixture, then fold in the chocolate chips. Divide the batter between two greased (8x3-inch) loaf pans. Bake for about 50 minutes. Turn the loaves out on to cooling rack or aluminum foil as soon as they're done.
Source: Sandy Thompson,
The Detroit Free Press,
July 7, 1999