Attractive Statue Honoring Deserving Local Icons Bewilders Fremont Residents

The unveiling of an exquisitely-crafted bronze statue honoring a pair of admirable local stars triggered widespread panic and confusion among residents of Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood Sunday afternoon.

The superb level of detail and craftsmanship in the statue titled “Late for the Interurban” mystified residents, accustomed to crude concrete depictions found in such local treasures as the Fremont Troll and “Waiting for the Interurban.”

“I don’t understand,” said Fremontite Jim Thurston. “How can it be art if it doesn’t look like it was formed from leftover construction materials?”

“Late for the Interurban” depicts J.P. Patches and Gertrude (played by Chris Wedes and Bob Newman), stars of the beloved children’s program “The J.P. Patches Show,” which aired on KIRO from 1958 to 1981. As the longest-running locally-produced children’s program in American history, it holds a permanent place in the hearts of thousands of long-time Puget Sound residents.

The deserving nature of the local heroes now enshrined in bronze also served to upset and bewilder the locals. Home to a contentious statue of communist leader Vladimir Lenin, Fremont has long maintained a sense of community pride in its ability to embrace art that would ordinarily cause any self-respecting American to throw up a little in their mouth.

“This J.P. Patches statue doesn’t seem controversial at all,” said Patty Hayburn, who has lived in Fremont since 1989. “If it doesn’t offend people with outdated traditional moral values, then what’s the point?”

Thousands of “Patches Pals” from every corner of Puget Sound (except Fremont) packed into Solstice Plaza for the unveiling Sunday.

“Look at all those smiling faces,” said visibly disgusted Fremonter Patrick York as he stood a safe distance from the cheerful ceremony. “This statue is going destroy the character of our neighborhood, drawing a steady stream of happy, carefree people—every one of them a kid at heart. It’s sickening.”

Outsiders can use this "Patches Pals" checklist to ward off Fremontites when visiting the new statue.
Courtesy J.P. Patches↑ click to enlarge ↑Outsiders can use this “Patches Pals” checklist to ward off Fremontites when visiting the new statue.

An especially agitated group of Fremonticans began circulating a petition Monday morning, demanding that the sentimental statue be either removed or modified in some way to make it more distasteful. Suggestions on the petition include changing the smiling faces of J.P. Patches and Gertrude into bitter scowls, severing one or more of their appendages, or somehow adding a toilet to the sculpture.

“I just can’t believe we are honoring a character that stands for such blatantly anti-Fremont values like washing your hands face neck and ears or sharing your toys,” said York.

Unfortunately for York and other concerned Fremontese citizens, the playful sculpture is in Fremont to stay.

Good-natured Puget Sound residents interested in inflicting additional unwelcome cheer and happiness on Fremont can find the statue on the south side of North 34th Street in Fremont, half a block east of Fremont Avenue.

About the Author

Frigyes Karinthy
Naked Loon Neighborhood Correspondent

7 Comments on "Attractive Statue Honoring Deserving Local Icons Bewilders Fremont Residents"

  1. Grady Lemoine | 2008-08-18 at 11:39 PM |

    I like the article, but as a Fremont resident, I have to say that I find the statue not at all out of place and very much in the spirit of the neighborhood. It’s quirky, silly, and fun — what more could you ask for?

    Now how much longer until we get a statue of John Lennon to go next to Vladimir Lenin?

  2. How about a ststue fo John Lennon kissing Vladimir? Wouldn’t that be unique!

  3. This is quite interesting! I was at that event and it was truly wonderful to see all those Patches Pals there honoring JP and Gertrude. The thing I did notice afterwards when I was leaving was the mystified faces of the local area folks as they drove by. Several asked me, “What the heck was all the excitement about?” as I was walking away from the event. When I told them I noticed some of them seemed to grimace and choke back a scowl. NOW I understand why! Thank-you so much, oh great Nude Loon! I learn sooooooooo much at this great site!

  4. [Editor’s Note: Um, wow. Semi-coherent, 700-word rant deleted. Sorry, but angry rants are not welcome.]

  5. Dear Naked Loon (love the name!) and readers,

    Being the sculptor of the ‘Late for the Interurban”, tribute to my childhood pals J.P. and Gertrude, I thought I would add my comments for those uninitiated to the J.P. Patches phenomenon. If one where to look more closely, there is more than a bit of irony expressed in the sculpture. It is (amongst other things) a platform for Fremomtonions, or anyone else for that matter, to express themselves by hanging buttons on the many loops on J.P.’s vest. This was meant to be a constantly changing canvas reflecting the individual, the community and the times. Use it, explore it and come back frequently. Maybe one day, someday you’ll get that these guys (and the sculpture) are about much more than just clowns.

    Patches Pal forever!

  6. My comments dear readers were not against the statue, but was aimed at the minority, that were ignorant of the Patches pals, all the good things that JP contributed to Seattle and it’s children will go on honored through out the years and Patches Pals memeories!

    The work and support that this staute from the many donations goes twords childrens hospital to help those less fortunate to become the future citizens of Seattle.

    Reminder they raised $72,000.00 twords the hospital, this is a positive outcome from this gift that Kevin Petelle has given to Seattle.

    This comes from a true blue Patches Pal, who was upset by the comments of some of the minorities of the Fremontiers.

    JP will live in memory forever in the hearts of the 1000’s of Patches Pals in the NW!

    Thank you Kevin Petelle, and Patches Pals!

  7. Whatsamattayou | 2008-09-01 at 3:27 PM |

    What’s “twords?” Is that like “swords,” “two words,” or “two roads?” I am so confused! Sorry, I digress, but when will we see a bronze statue depicting those great American unsung heroes who counted King County ballots over and over and over until Gregoire victoriously prevailed? By the way, I can get you a photo of a statue here in Vancouver, WA that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that no one has been able to figure out yet! So there you proletariat Fremonticans!

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