Image Union, episode 0829: My Mother Married Wilbur Stump

A documentary/video diary of a widowed woman's late-in-life romance with musician Wilbur Stump, the "dean of San Francisco pianobar entertainers." The woman, who is also the videomaker's mother, recalls how she met Stump, Stump's alcoholism, and their life together; friends and colleagues remember Stump's music and his relationship with his wife. The video consists mostly of current interviews; some home movies and videos are shown throughout.

00:00Copy video clip URL Slate.

00:18Copy video clip URL Image Union opening.

01:08Copy video clip URL “My Mother Married Wilbur Stump” by Skip Sweeney, 1985. Opening of video. Rolling text tells the background story of Sweeney’s family and his mother’s courtship with Stump.

02:57Copy video clip URL Sweeney’s mother, Bernardine, talks about meeting Wilbur Stump at Jimmy Britt’s, the bar across the street from her summer cottage. “First it was just kind of a joke–this old, toothless, known to have been married seven times, known to be an alcoholic–it was unthinkable that I would fall in love with him, but I did.”

10:40Copy video clip URL Jimmy Britt reveals that before Wilbur Stump met Bernardine, he had been told by doctors that he wouldn’t survive if he kept drinking. “When he met Bernadine–why, it just seemed to change his whole life.”

11:06Copy video clip URL Ed Plute, a piano bar player, and Al West, a music collector, remember Stump’s career.

11:59Copy video clip URL Mike Nevin, whose father patrolled the area around Stump’s nightclub as a young police officer, has fond memories of the man. “There was something special about your mother,” he tells Sweeney. “She let Wilbur Stump be Wilbur Stump.”

13:00Copy video clip URL The Sweeney family argues playfully about what happened after Bernardine and Wilbur eloped. Peggy Sweeney remembers, “I thought, oh my God, she’s lost her mind! Not because of who he was or anything else, but because it was so sudden.” They talk about the death of Bernardine’s first husband and the initial reactions of family members to her new marriage. Later there is footage of the 1972 family Christmas and a story about a dispute.

22:00Copy video clip URL Bernardine talks about Wilbur’s alcoholism. “I was afraid that he might just end up in the gutter, after we had fallen in love, if I didn’t marry him.”

26:43Copy video clip URL Head clog, brief cutout.

28:02Copy video clip URL End credits.

28:43Copy video clip URL Image Union credits.

30:01Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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