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Miss Sue Remembers

Memories of my husband, Tiny Tim.
by Susan Khaury, ©1998

Tiny and his thrid wife, Miss Sue, at the altar, August 18, 1995. Photo courtesy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Two months later I got a call from a friend who was visiting Tiny in Las Vegas. He told me I better get out there right away. Tiny was in congestive heart failure. He refused to be admitted to the hospital, and the hospital refused to treat him as an outpatient. He couldn't walk thirty feet without stopping to catch his breath, and coughed constantly. He couldn't lie flat because his lungs filled up with fluid, and he hadn't slept in three or four days. He had told me he was "a little under the weather". I normally didn't travel because of my own poor health, but I got on the next plane and spent the whole flight making threatening phone calls to the hotel, telling them not let him on stage. I found a doctor who was willing to treat him, and soon he was stabilized on the drugs. He never missed a performance. However, when we got home, the doctors told us he would probably live only 3 to 5 years, if he were careful.

He spent a month at home for Christmas, as promised. My parents gave him an electric blue robe covered with gold stars, which he put on immediately. My brother gave him a clock that looked like a wolf playing the saxophone. When the alarm went off, it said "Hey, hey, its time to get up, so you can get down, whoooooooo!" He pressed the button over and over to hear it talk like a little kid. I gave him a nickel plated, bell brass dobro- uke with a built in electric pick-up. This was his dream instrument. We had a big holiday dinner with lots of friends. They all gathered around to hear an audio tape of Tiny doing a TV show in 1968 with his childhood idol, Bing Crosby. Then Tiny told stories about it. My parents and their friends were all about Tiny's age, so they all liked Bing. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with Tiny. It was a joyous time.

But trouble came in April when the album "Girl" was released. It had been made years before. It was produced by the president of Tiny's fan club, a guy about my age called "Big Bucks Burnett." It was dedicated to Stephanie Bohn, a girl that Tiny had a crush on before we met. He told the press that he still felt she was the most beautiful girl in the world, the "eternal princess" that he had looked for all his life. He said he wanted to be with her in heaven. I had heard this before, but I thought if I were a good wife, he would be so content that he wouldn't have these fantasies. I tried to laugh it off, but one day I started crying, and couldn't stop. We tried counseling, but it didn't help. He said he wanted to be buried in Texas, to be near her. He looked at me as if he were testing me. I steeled myself and said, "You aren't getting rid of me that easily. I love you and I'm here to stay." We kissed and he said, "You are some kind of woman." Then, after months of marriage, he finally gave up his room in Des Moines. But there was another disappointment when he went back on his word and didn't stay home in June. I accused him of lying, and he tried to say that it wasn't a lie because he meant it when he said it. I said if you don't do what you promised, that makes it a lie. He angrily denied this, but I remained determined to love him, and he continued to be amazed. I think he finally saw that I would never leave him, ever.

One day I asked him what happened after the wedding to Miss Vicki. He described the inevitable break-up, for which he blamed himself. He was much older and set in his ways. She was a modern girl and didn't understand his old-fashioned ideas about birth control and women staying home to take care of their kids, (as his mother had not). It was hard

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