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Archive for Wednesday, May 3, 2006

He’s still tan after all these years

John Schneider, also known as the Tan Man, continues to catch rays in Lawrence

May 3, 2006

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The Tan Man lives.

For years he was a Lawrence icon, frequently seen running around town shirtless while soaking up the sun, even during cold weather, or lounging on the grass in summer shorts near Wescoe Hall on the Kansas University campus.

"It was a lot of fun," John Schneider said as he recalled those days recently from his northern Lawrence mobile home.

Now 63, Schneider - better known as the Tan Man during the 1970s and 1980s - lives in shirted obscurity. But he still spends at least an hour every afternoon without a shirt, just standing on the sidewalk, catching the rays outside his home.

"I don't go up on campus," he said.

Schneider was a town favorite as the Tan Man, though many people who recognized him never talked with him or knew his real name. There were numerous newspaper and magazine stories written about him.

John Schneider - better known as the Tan Man during the 1970s and 1980s in Lawrence - now lives in shirted obscurity. For years he was a Lawrence icon, frequently seen running around town shirtless while soaking up the sun, even during cold weather, or lounging on the grass in summer shorts near Wescoe Hall on the Kansas University campus.

John Schneider - better known as the Tan Man during the 1970s and 1980s in Lawrence - now lives in shirted obscurity. For years he was a Lawrence icon, frequently seen running around town shirtless while soaking up the sun, even during cold weather, or lounging on the grass in summer shorts near Wescoe Hall on the Kansas University campus.

On the walls of his living room and bedroom are framed black-and-white photos from his Tan Man days, sitting in the sun, walking or running or riding a bicycle. Another photo shows Schneider sitting on a beach in Corpus Christi, Texas, a place he'd just as soon forget.

In 1977, the Tan Man left Lawrence to take a job as a janitor in Corpus Christi so he could have year-round warm weather. A little more than a year later he was back in Lawrence. The shirtless act didn't impress Texans, he said.

"The police were always stopping me and interrogating me," Schneider said.

Back in Lawrence, Schneider posed in photographs with smiling young women in print ads for Pyramid Pizza when it was below The Wheel Cafe, 507 W. 14th St. Ad slogans proclaimed "I get it hot."

"I used to see him up around Wescoe Beach," said Rob Farha, a KU student in the 1980s and now owner of The Wheel. "He was well-known around campus. I won a slice of pizza in a trivia contest because I knew his real name."


John Schneider, also known as the Tan Man, displays several photos of himself taken by people over the years on the walls at his home. Schneider now lives near Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he works the night shift - which leaves his days free to soak up some sun.

John Schneider, also known as the Tan Man, displays several photos of himself taken by people over the years on the walls at his home. Schneider now lives near Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he works the night shift - which leaves his days free to soak up some sun.

A couple of KU students made greeting cards that featured a picture of the shirtless Tan Man on a surfboard superimposed on Potter Lake. "Don't Ski Nebraska, Surf Lawrence," the cards read.

Today, Schneider keeps a low profile working as a night janitor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. When he's not working or out on the sidewalk getting his daily dose of sun, he spends his time watching television or movies or listening to music.

"I like the 1950s music," Schneider said, looking toward a poster of Chuck Berry on his living room wall. On another wall is an Elvis Presley clock.

A photo from Schneider's scrapbook shows him in a familiar perch outside Kansas University's Wescoe Hall.

A photo from Schneider's scrapbook shows him in a familiar perch outside Kansas University's Wescoe Hall.

Even on overcast days Schneider will still stand outside, shirtless. He said he doesn't get upset or depressed if there is no sun. "I take it in stride," he said.

Just like when he was younger, it has to get "really cold" to make him put on a shirt before going out in the sun, he said.

Schneider has no real explanation for his love of the sun, other than to simply say, "It feels really good."

The long-held rumors that he is a military veteran who developed his tolerance for sunlight and ability to withstand the cold because of a bizarre war wound are not true, he said.

A postcard from Schneider's scrapbook shows him as a mock surfer at KU's Potter Lake.

A postcard from Schneider's scrapbook shows him as a mock surfer at KU's Potter Lake.

Despite all those years in the sun, Schneider has not had skin cancer. But the sun has taken a toll on him. He gets checked regularly by a doctor and has had to have some lesions removed, he said. And he has to wear sunglasses when he's outside because of problems with his eyes.

People still recognize him - even after all these years, even when he has a shirt on, he said.

A few years ago, Lawrence resident Tim Baxter saw Schneider outside his mobile home and knew immediately who he was. It was the first time he'd seen the Tan Man in years, Baxter said.

"He's aged, just like we all have, but I knew it was the Tan Man," Baxter said. "He's kind of a local legend."

Comments

CJConard 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, I remember CJ and I know what he did when he left Lawrence. (wink wink)

I landed in Berkeley and ran a private school campus for a few years. Then was recruited by another private school near San Diego. Moved to Escondido, CA and have been living there since 1991. Am now working as the General Operations Director for an Autism services company in San Diego. (11/07)

Thanks for remembering me, I'm honored you did.

CJ

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Pywacket 6 years, 5 months ago

I could get behind a Tan Man Day! He was a fixture of my KU days.

I, too, remember Blue Jane, as we used to call her--talking to her at the Union at lunch time. Very intelligent and interesting.

Anybody remember CJ Conard? Wild & crazy guy. Gave the best Halloween parties ever and brought a lot of interesting people together. He was a perpetual HDFL grad student, but KU finally made him graduate and I believe he headed for the west coast after that.

Dejady~ Funny you should mention (Strawberry) Fields. I just spoke with Kim and Sheila today. They're doing fine. Have a new car (for what that's worth!). Fields closed this last year, btw..

I used to frequent Moody's, Sgt. Prestons, and other night spots whose names elude me. Loved Quantrill's, bought unmentionables at Undercover (and observed it "nuked" for The Day After), and read those wacky William Dann diatribes in the paper... Midnight movies downtown. Weekend movies on campus. Anybody remember the ones in the Natural History Museum building? All the antelope and elk heads watching from their plaques on the walls? Then hitting Joe's after the movies, on the way back to student slumville.

Ah... Youth.

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jashu 7 years, 11 months ago

How about Bill Dan? Dann? He would always run advertised advertorials in the Journal-World.

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jashu 7 years, 11 months ago

Chinese Restaurant - House of Hupei She would always say Hupei - You pay!

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blabylon 7 years, 11 months ago

How many of you whippersnappers remember "Carols Patio" at the south end of the bridge? Great 2am cheesburgers! How about the Thunderbird nightclub at 23rd and Iowa? How about the Jayhawk Plunge with it's 30' slide? "Tony's Pizza" downtown that cut their round pizzas into small squares? The Old Pool Hall downtown across from the OTHER old poolhall downtown? What were the names? The original soda fountain in the small front corner of the Eldridge Hotel? By the way, "Rightthinker is such an oxyMORON...!

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BigJayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

1989 - 2001 Lawrence Resident (then moved to NJ with my wife) -- The LJ World is STILL our "local paper"!

Honestly, I always thought "The Walking Man" was "The Tan Man." Always heard Robert Gilmore ("That's My Dillons") called "The Bird Man" because he CONSTANTLY fed the birds and talked as he walked (i.e to the birds because noone else was with with him). I actually had a booth at Quantrill's Flea Market where I sold mostly sports cards to put myself through school. Pyramid Pizza, Yellow Sub and (sadly) Mr. Goodcents (I know it was a chain), Plum Tree/Panda Garden (still haven't found a decent Chinese restaurant in NJ), Sonic (another non-East-Coast chain), and Hereford House. (Not to mention the real-estate prices -- I MISS LAWRENCE!) Anyone remember Captain Ron singing Margaritaville at Duffy's in the Ramada??? What's he doing these days?

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jayhawk8085 7 years, 11 months ago

easy mark,

Opera Man - his name was John Alexander. He used to ride the bus to class, was short, had major greasy longish hair, dressed somewhat like dracula occasionally, was very pasty white, would talk to himself and was no doubt a genius.

I graduated in 1980. I came back in about '98 and was went to the Riverfront when it was still a mall, and there he was... it was truly a thrill to see a legend!

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jashu 7 years, 11 months ago

Campus Hideway was still open in the very early 80's.

Does anyone remember Jessie who used to hang out at OFF THE WALL HALL? Older gentleman who could lift his head.

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dejady 7 years, 11 months ago

Wow! Great old establishments, interesting people. Tan man was one of a kind. He used to go to "The Harbour" downtown every night for a coke and a bag of chips---on the house! My kids knew "Phil"--he sat in the park next to Watkins Museum---where I used to go to pay the bills for my mom when I was a kid. I think it was was a "City Hall" of sorts. "Teller's" used to be our bank (1st Nat'l.). Leo Buerman sat outside of "Varsity Velvet", the ice cream shop next to the bank. That man must have eaten more ice cream than anyone in town. My dad always bought him a cone when we went in. I'm sure he wasn't the only one who did that. Remember the original "Strawberry Fields"? One of the first hippie shops in town. Now it's the conservative "Fields Store". How about "Rock Chalk Cafe", "Sandys"," Allens Drive In" the "A&W" on 6th, the " Jayhawk Plunge" pool behind it, the "Sanctuary", "Mothers", Fathers, the "Voo Doo Hut" and "Ducks" on Mass. St. I could go on and on.......By the way--Bill McCain owned the "Red Lion" and you had better known what you wanted when you walked in....or be booted out. It was safest to order "the special". Signs around the cafe said "eat and get out--you are taking someone else's seat" How about Vern Miller and unrest on campus and at LHS? "Shooting the square, and sneaking into the "Sunset Drive In". The "Salad Bowl" and the "Big Eat" and sadly, Viet Nam. Like I said---Wow!

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susancspacedog 7 years, 11 months ago

I remember Tan Man and Blue Lady very well. I would also talk to Blue Lady at the student woman, and she was fascinating. Her full name was Jane VanMeter.

It was an interesting time in an interesting place

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boomer51flood 7 years, 11 months ago

when I was at KU in the late 60's and early 70's, you couldn't go to a party without seeing Tan Man--my favorite 70's TM memory was sitting in a theater in KC watching "Linda Lovelace For President" (which was filmed at least partly in Lawrence of course), and who appears on the screen but Tan Man himself--the whole audience yelled Tan Man all at once--best wishes to you John--

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easy_mark 7 years, 11 months ago

Even before the tomato crisis..there was 5/$1 night. Then 4, then no tomatos for a long time, that sucked. Things changed rapidly over a short time.

Tiffany coke glass giveaway. Aw yes..good days.

Pizza Hut..Cheap Thrill bumper stickers. They were everywhere.

The invention of the Big Mac, then the Quarter Pounder.

McDonalds had NO DRIVE THRU! Remember? Only one McD's in town.

Remember Raney's Hillcrest candy counter. (And the fountain and seats) The cigar glass counter? And Duckwall's (?) around the corner, where you could go when your mom was buying groceries?

The tobacco shop in the what was is..the magazine place downtown..Town Crier!.next to Pizza Hut. The tobacco smells were so neat.

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geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

wednesday evenings was three tacos for a dollar at Taco Grande!!woohoo!! How about Quantrill'sFleaMarket? WarPony,remember the Four Winds?Party!!

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JoshJayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

If you all want to comment on various characters around Lawrence that's fine. But you should leave mentioning their family members (and facts about where these family members may or may not live) out. They have a right to their privacy. I doubt that any of you that have mentioned these family members have been given permission to post their names. Please respect their privacy.

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kcwarpony 7 years, 11 months ago

easy_mark, From your list I can tell we both lived in the same world! Oh, to be able to time travel...but I can't make up my mind...Alfies or Griffs for lunch?

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holygrailale 7 years, 11 months ago

easy_mark:

You're making me mist up there pardner.

You left out Off the Wall Hall, The Opera House, The Sycamore at Potter's Lake......

======

I'm getting veklempf......

Talk amongst yourselves........

Beer always tastes better when you're underage.....

Discuss

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thisiknow 7 years, 11 months ago

Jane (Blue Lady) was a very special person. The colors she chose to wear were the Virgin Mary's colors. She had made a prayer to god concerning a medical problem with her daughter. The outcome was her wearing the colors. She was very interesting and years ago her and her husband used to be involved in the literary world. They knew Hemingway and alot of the best authors. She was so easy to talk to and it was a gift to have known her.

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easy_mark 7 years, 11 months ago

riverdrifter..great story, thanks.

paladin, I used to live across from the wheel.

yankeelady..I have original issues of Mr Natural and Zap comic books...if I die and my kids find those, they are going to think I'm the weirdest person in the world! Those are some BAD boy comics! They HAVE to be illegal now!( And my kids think THEY are so cool.) ROFL!

And JPT. he was never half dressed..he was just like any other construction worker with his shirt off, he just did it all year around! There was nothing lewd about it.

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seattlehawk_78 7 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of unusual characters, what's the story behind the owner of the Red Lion?

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Hoots 7 years, 11 months ago

I used to talk to Tan Man in South Park when I was a kid going to St. John Elementary. I have fond memories of him going way back. You'd see him all over town. I thought he was gone but am so happy to learn he is still here, alive, and a productive member of our community.

I'm all for making the first day of summer Tan Man/John Schneider day. I have thought of him on many a sunny day and wondered where he was. He is a true symbol of summer here.

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riverdrifter 7 years, 11 months ago

I worked off and on as midnight train order clerk from 1977 to 1988 at the Santa Fe station. We got them all, the street folks, down there. One night, I don't know what year, it was a few days before Christmas and after the 15 and 16 Amtraks met at 120 am, I let several 'streeters' in the lobby since it was freezing rain and miserable out. Locked the doors and turned off the lights of the lobby. Forgot to read the lineup and a half hour later two brand new GP6-8 (I think) locomotives, brand new, with three business cars pulls up at the platform and off the rear car steps Harry Briscoe, General Manager. I about fainted. Harry comes in the office, makes a phone call (pre-cell phone days) and turns on the lobby lights. The Hat Lady sits up and indignantly barks "Kindly turn off that light." Harry looks at me, looks at her, turns off light and walks out to his train. After a few minutes the radio crackled and he ordered me to board Business Car 58, which I did. I thought I was fired. He handed me nine 10-dollar bills. I said "For?" He motioned to the lobby window and said "Them. Now get off my train!" They hi-balled and through the cogmill they went. Everybody got their $10 at first light in the morning when they left. Harry counted well. I think Hawkes, who is now retired and lives in Lawrence, was hoghead on that train that night, so long ago. I remember the Tan Man well. Rules!

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Silence_Dogood 7 years, 11 months ago

Eaxctly, drewdun. Wrongthinker has a pretty sad existence.

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yankeelady 7 years, 11 months ago

And we definitely need a Tan Man day.

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yankeelady 7 years, 11 months ago

What a great stroll down memory lane--Campus Hideaway and the Stables were fantastic. One of the tan man legends I heard was that he was a shell shocked veteran (or to be P.C. had PTSD). This was probably '74 or so. Remeber going into Strawberry Fields and Bokonon? Lawrence still has some of the uniqueness, but it is rapidly becoming Overland Park--or as it was sometimes called "Shawnee Mission Far West."

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drewdun 7 years, 11 months ago

Knew rightthinker couldn't resist turning this into politics. DOUCHEBAG. 32%.

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

I miss Campus Hideaway for the hot chocolate and the ambience. I miss walking to the movie at the Granada or Varsity a couple times a week for cheap. I miss Alfies. Vista? I miss breakfast at Drakes. I miss all my friends. I used to work at the Stables, and I can't say I miss that. I'm sure I don't miss Ace. I also worked at the Wheel and I do miss that. And, I do miss John W. He was a good man. It was a good time. Unlimited possibilities. Unlimited hope.

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easy_mark 7 years, 11 months ago

And don't forget Opra Man! John something.

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easy_mark 7 years, 11 months ago

I miss: Campus Hideaway ! the original Taco Grande ! Stables and the streakers! Gammons..the tall drinks with the giant slices of fruit Granada Varsity Drakes (for their french fries!) Griffs..remember the Giant Cheeseburgers? Alfies Dairy King Margaret's Cafe Burger Chef

And remember when a large cheese pizza at pizza hut was $6.00. 1978.LOL.

(And I have to throw in a plug for the Clown on the Lake! Nothing like grilled cheese or a burger, with ketchup and pickles that have been sitting in 100 degrees on a picnic table all day! Yummm )

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

In our minds, it was a better time. Safer and freer and more human and more forgiving and certainly more tolerant. These people are symbols of that time and of our youth. What's wrong with that? They were all, as far as I know, good and harmless and well-meaning and in a large sense innocent, not mean or cruel or hateful. And so were we. And, what's wrong with that?

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princess 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh come on jocoboy and rightthinker...

I thought that Lawrence was terrible to the homeless. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jan/12/coalition_lawrence_2nd_meanest_city_homeless/?city_local

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princess 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey Smitty

Thanks for the links on Robert. That was at the end of 2004 though. Has anyone seen him around lately? I wonder if he has gone to live with his family yet.

Regardless I hope that he is doing well.

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rightthinker 7 years, 11 months ago

by jocoboy:

'Lawrence, what a great place to live - NOT. I have an idea we should ship all the whackjobs across the country to Lawrence so ya'll can take care of them!'

jocoboy---they're already in Lawrence...we commonly refer to them as "Liberals".

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jocoboy 7 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence, what a great place to live - NOT. I have an idea we should ship all the whackjobs across the country to Lawrence so ya'll can take care of them!

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galfromku 7 years, 11 months ago

What about the guy named Harold?.. He used to spend the entire day just pushing shopping carts in from the parking lot at Gibson's about 25 yrs ago. He used to live at Cherry Manor. He was obviously "not right" in the head.. but when I worked there in high school... he was always so nice and polite. He used to tell people he worked there... so we let him....

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smiles 7 years, 11 months ago

MJ was in Neverland the last I heard!! Wearing his red jacket and glove!!

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drewdun 7 years, 11 months ago

Sorry to change towns, but there are some legendary characters in Wichita, where I am from. The most famous, who virtually everyone on the east side of town knows about, is Crazy Mike, aka Sex Symbol Superstar. He has very long hair, wears cutoff jean shorts (true Daisy Dukes) knee high athletic socks, two pairs of sunglasses, and headphones everywhere (supposedly tuned to static to block out the 'voices'). He is known to cruise Rock Rd. on his moped or in his old Cadillac limo (with the steer horns on the grill) all day long. We also have The Guy On The Bike on the east side, who has perfectly styled grey hair and who rides his bike constantly. Unfortunately, he is not very friendly.

Back here in Lawrence, who is the guy in the beret who is usually standing at 9th and Tennessee flashing peace signs to everyone who passes? That guy is awesome.

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OrangeCat5 7 years, 11 months ago

Good to know Tan Man is still around! I remember Robert Gilmore (aka Simon, aka 'That's My Dillon's' Guy) from my student days at Watson Library. Back then he was much more lucid and we called him Count Bob 'cuz he checked out lots of books on vampires, werewolves and the like. I also remember Thomas David, chalking the sidewalks when it was frowned upon and sometimes being disgruntled with library policies. His daughter is a friend of mine. Though Hippie Guy (Rob, I now know) is indeed a friendly sort, I've seen him being somewhat aggressive and angry, from when I used to work downtown. Maybe it was just a bad day.
I love the characters in Lawrence! Though I think Hemp Guy is a loser, but that's JMO.

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PYT1984 7 years, 11 months ago

Strike up a conversation? Say Hello? I was always in my car when I saw her. It would be a little difficult to do that. She was always very colorful, though. Pink socks, green shorts, blue shirt. Oh well, maybe we are talking about two different people.

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cowgomoo 7 years, 11 months ago

The Tan Man and Brother Jed with Sister Cindy...sigh back in the 80's...good times...good times.

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kcwarpony 7 years, 11 months ago

As a kid I always envied Tan Man. Outside enjoying the weather, watching the world go by, didn't seem to have a care in the world and I never heard an unkind word from him. Yes! We need to have a Tan Man Day!

Oh, and I'm still envious :)

God Bless You John.

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meggers 7 years, 11 months ago

PYT1984,

I think we might be talking about two different people. The person I'm referring to is indeed very sweet- of course, you probably wouldn't know that if you never said "hello" or struck up a conversation with her. And she has never seen the inside of a mental health facility, nor does she need to. I don't know about the boyfriend thing. She had a guy friend here- more of a platonic friend, really, but I don't remember her ever going to the pool, either with him or without him.

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smitty 7 years, 11 months ago

John the Tan Man Schneider got a case of the flu this past winter and wore his coat until it got warmer. Not much warmer but it was a good winter for him due to the unsually high temperatures.

He's as honest as they come too. After a trip to the grocery store John had a jar of dill pickles that he didn't buy. Called me to make sure they weren't mine. On the very next trip to the store John took back the pickles instead of keeping them as most of us would and as I had suggested he do.

blue73harley thanks for setting the record straight. John is just not the type. He's a good, gentle man.

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Azure_Attitude 7 years, 11 months ago

I got here in '75 and The Campus Hideaway was open then. It closed before 1980 I think.

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JPT 7 years, 11 months ago

Technically speaking, a man in shorts only.....is for the most part.....naked, yes.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

"Campus Hideaway"? I'm getting some idea how old ljreader must be. Didn't the Campus Hideaway close around 1975?

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smitty 7 years, 11 months ago

"That's My Dillions" red shirt guy is the same man known as Simon. Robert Gilmore is his real name. He is the man who sleeps in front of Weavers and has been in and out of county jail. It's been all over the JW this past year.

A story about Robert from his friends: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2004/dec...

Another story about Robert and his family: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2004/dec...

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ljreader 7 years, 11 months ago

I think Centron (Oldfather Studio) did the Leo documentary. I have the postcard of Johnny (tanman) surfing Kansas. He used to walk around in the dead of winter with shorts, no shirt, but hat and gloves. That was back when he worked at Campus Hideaway. The hat lady, who always had a shopping cart full of her possessions, was originally from Ft Scott Kansas. I know someone who lives there, and said she was brought back there for awhile, but hasn't seen her for sometime.

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frowns 7 years, 11 months ago

Anyone remember the guy who always wore the "Michael Jackson" red leather jacket with all the zippers?

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PYT1984 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh and if she did move to Virginia, I hope she took her scary a$$ boyfriend with her. I used to see him at the pool in his spedo. He'd walk around in the pool with only his face in the water. Frightened a lot of little children, not to mention me.

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jayhoxrock 7 years, 11 months ago

Speaking of Leo, does anyone remember the documentary about him? I believe it was made through the film company associated with KU. When I first saw Leo as a small child I thought he was kind of weird but after seeing the documentary I had great compassion for that man. It's a great documentary and I would love to see it again.

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PYT1984 7 years, 11 months ago

She was sweet? I honestly thought she escaped from a mental institution somewhere. Quite frankly, she scared me. Always staring and grinning as she ran in place at the stop lights.

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princess 7 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the article about Leo.

Wow!

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jayhoxrock 7 years, 11 months ago

I grew up in Lawrence and remember as a kid hearing all sorts of weird tales about "The Tan Man" and why he'd ride his bike all around town without a shirt on in the dead of winter. Thanks for the article and setting the record straight. Does anyone remember the lady who use to walk around downtown in a wedding dress? It was the mid to late 70's.

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meggers 7 years, 11 months ago

smiles,

Petite woman? Smiling while she jogged, usually west of Iowa? If so, I think I know who you're talking about. She moved to Virginia quite some time ago- very sweet person.

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princess 7 years, 11 months ago

Okay, I love this story. Hey LJW you should totally make this the first in a series. Just look at all of the questions it has spawned about our other colorful locals.

We use to call the Silver Haired guy The Blanket Man because he was always carrying his with him.That was when I was in school back in the early 90's. I believe that he died in the mid 90's. Didn't know much about him. I would love to know more though. (hint, hint LJW)

The last time that I saw the That's My Dillon's guy was several years ago. He was walking down the middle of 9th Street wearing a shirt that said, "Human Target" instead of his usual attire. I have always wondered if he became the target or not.

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blue73harley 7 years, 11 months ago

JPT - a guy wearing shorts is "half naked" huh? The Tan Man was actually fairly modest compared to some on campus - especially these days. You obviously weren't around back then. The Tan One did not exhibit the lewd behaviour that you suggest.

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Ken Miller 7 years, 11 months ago

I think the J-W needs to do a series on all of the "characters" mentioned here. Despite what some may think of them, I want to pay them the highest compliment I can - that they were NEVER boring.

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offtotheright 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes..I see them all the time, and smiling jogging men, .......

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smiles 7 years, 11 months ago

Has anyone seen, or know what I'm talking about, when I say the smiling jogging lady?? Updates are appreciated.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

I encountered peace sign hippie dude for the first time last night. I assumed he was tripping on something.

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Jimmy 7 years, 11 months ago

And how about the Walking Lady? She always has on bootleg jeans, usually a backpack, has silvery hair in a pony tail, and walks all over. I see her almost daily.

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fabian_zimbabwe 7 years, 11 months ago

Does anybody recall a tall, thin guy with glasses who often walked along Naismith Drive with a red T-shirt that read, "That's My Dillon's!" I remember him from the late 80s.

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consumer1 7 years, 11 months ago

oscarfactor, the walking guy passed away, his son may still live in Lawrence, looks allot like him.

Jane was a wonderful woman, very easy to talk to, could always enlighten or brighten your day.

Of course everyone knows, "Thats my Dillons" gone way off the deep end now, spends much time out at the county hotel.

Let me be the first to mention Leo Baurerman. Probably the most notable of all the Lawrence icon's.

Leo was a small man, I believe at the time it was okay to say he was a dwarf. He was almost blind, drove a tractor to get around, used a lift to get himself hoisted up to the tractor seat. Leo used to sit at the corner of 8th and mass where teller's is now. He would speak to everyone who walked by, he was really a sweet guy loved everyone. He sat in a little cart that he made, it had wheels from an old tricycle so he could scoot himself around. He sold pencils to folks walking by, if you didn't have any money he would make you take one for free, on him. What a sweet example of true love, strength, and courage. there is still a brass plaque on the side walk there showing his picture. YOu should all stop and check it out. This little man was a picture of diversity and challenge. Before we have a day for John, we need to celebrate the awesome courage of Leo Baurerman. Of course Leo was on the scene just a while before John showed up. The Leo Center is named after Leo Baurerman. P.S. I hope I am spelling his name correctly.

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JPT 7 years, 11 months ago

Okay, if you look up at that black and white picture of him just wearing a pair of shorts and sitting on that bench......read the small print below it, if you can!! Some of you made need to put on your glasses.

It's says (in part), "....from there he can watch the people as they pass by."

My question is....what's an almost nude man sitting on a bench on some college campus doing "watching people" (Staring??!!) as they pass by?!

That sounds kind of creepy, if you ask me!!!

Something tells me that it's a good thing that he was sitting down...........if you know what I mean!!

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Ken Miller 7 years, 11 months ago

yeah, silver hair - looked like he could have played an aboriginal in the Crocodile Dundee movies. And yes, I heard college kids would sometimes taunt him and he would get beligerent.

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dirkleisure 7 years, 11 months ago

Walking Guy -- with the silver hair? I recall a news story about him. He was also responsible for several bizarre messages written in sidewalk chalk throughout campus, and was known to get belligerent at times.

He had a very fancy blanket. I wish I had a blanket. Blankets are warm. And liberal.

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offtotheright 7 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence pulls in all of the crazy's!

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Ken Miller 7 years, 11 months ago

What ever happened to the "Walking Guy?" We used to see him all the time walking on Iowa and Clinton Pkwy - I heard he died a few years back, but nothing more. He was even tanner than Tan Man...and ALWAYS was walking - I heard he would consistently walk to Ottawa and back. Can anyone enlighten me?

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm pretty sure the Hat Lady moved to KC and worked for the US Government. She continued wearing hats, but passed herself off as a Black woman, with the help of shoe polish and a bit of determination. I'm not making this up.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

my cousin went fishing with his buddy down in arkansas. as they were driving through one of those winding mountain roads, a beaver ran out in front of his truck and got hit. thinking they'd be smart, they went back to see if they killed it - thinking they could have it stuffed at the taxidermist's if it was in good condition. the beaver was lying motionless, so my cousin picked it up by the tail and held it up in the air. 'no blood, no guts,' -my cousin thought it was a perfect specimin. just then, the beaver woke up.

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lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

whatever happened to the Hat Lady? i don't recall the blue lady, the hat lady, yes.

i'll never forget the shirtless tan man cruising mass on a bicycle in the middle of winter. everyone thought he was a nut.

speaking of nuts, did i ever tell about my cousin getting his nipple bit off by a beaver?

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

I remember they wouldn't let Tan Man in the Union and used to run him out. He violated the dress code, I guess. Ha. Ha. I used to sit and talk with the Blue Lady at Tad Hoff's table in the union. Her name was Jane something. And she would tell of living in Paris in the 20's. About working in a bookstore and being a friend of Gertrude Stein and of being one of Hemingway's girlfriends. He always told her she looked the most beautiful in blue of that shade. He broke her heart, evidently, as he did others'. She came to KU and slipped on the ice out in front of Strong Hall and was injured. Part of the settlement was that she would receive free tuition for life. She took them up on it and was here, and auditing classes, for many years. I expect, until she died. I miss her.

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pundit 7 years, 11 months ago

Great article. Great nostalgia. Thanks LJW. This is real news.

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Reality_Check 7 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see the update...I always wondered what happened to him.

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audvisartist 7 years, 11 months ago

Here's a shot I took of Rob (now that I know his name) last summer...

http://www.raymondmunoz.com/images/gallery/peace.jpg

Seems like a fun guy!

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smitty 7 years, 11 months ago

Ralph, John lived in the same court you lived in but on the other side. Sorry you missed him at the time. He enjoys people remembering him from years gone by.

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OKjayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

I've always wondered who that hippie was! One day he walked past me and said, "God bless you!" He's always smiling and waving. Does he have a name?

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smitty 7 years, 11 months ago

That would be ROB. Rob enjoys down town, coffee at the Prima Tazza, a cigar, a shot of whiskey at Tellers, and all those snazzy hats. He's generally a happy man.

On many occasions Rob has drawn a colorful picture for me signed "precious love Rob".

Take the time to talk to him.

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Ralph Reed 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad to see Johnny is still kicking. I remember him from when I was a kid. He's a great person.

Congratualtions on 25 years with LHM Johnny. WooHoo.

(I've not heard of the Blue Lady for years.)

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audvisartist 7 years, 11 months ago

So, since there's a Tan Man and a Blue Lady, what's the story on the hippie guy that throws peace signs at everybody that's driving downtown?

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consumer1 7 years, 11 months ago

I was just speaking of John to someone the other day. I am glad to hear he is still alive and soaking up the sun. He is truley someone those who know love. I am glad to have known him all these years.

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paladin 7 years, 11 months ago

He's alive! Thank you, God. A genuine Lawrence icon. There should definitely be an official Tan Man Day. I'm glad to see he finally got some sunglasses. Wonder what ever became of the Blue Lady.

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audvisartist 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey Tan Man...

Being originally from Corpus Christi, let me apologize on the city's behalf! But ya know, it's best to keep the toplessness on the beach when you're down there. ;)

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SAHM2tylrnathan 7 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the great memories! I am glad to hear that John is still soaking up the sun. The world is a better place when those Tanman vibes are happening!

Tanman Day sounds like a winner to me, and the first day of summer is perfect! If they can do it for Dada, they can do it for the Tanman!

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smitty 7 years, 11 months ago

If a TANMAN DAY was created then it should be the first day of summer, June 21st.

John just (un)celebrated his 63rd birthday with his sister and brothers from out of town. Because of his love of hot weather and the sun John officially celebrates his birthday on June 21st except for the April rememberance by his family of his actual birth date.

During this past year LMH honored John for 25 years of work. John is proud of the number of years at LMH.

Sol!

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blue73harley 7 years, 11 months ago

Great article. Characters like this make Lawrence an interesting place to live despite all the bans and other BS.

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Byrne 7 years, 11 months ago

Not sure about "shirtless day," but Friday is already No Pants Day ...

http://www.nopantsday.com/

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

The rumor was that skin cancer got him. I guess the tan man is like any other true legend: they never really die. Tan Man was to standing out in the sun in freezing weather with no shirt on what Mad Max was to lost causes in a post-apocalyptic Australia.

Tan Man lives on. Wherever there is injustice [among the fringe campus culture of middle-aged sun worshippers], Tan Man will be there.

Boog was around campus in the Tan Man days. If we can have a city proclaimation for "silliness", surely we can rally for a "Tan Man Day" in Lawrence. Give him a key to the city. Declare a citywide "shirtless day".

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