This funky finch could hardly believe his feathered ears. On the other end of the horn was New Times reader Rose Hartman, a neighbor of none other than William Windsor, Phoenix's own beloved "Baby Man," whom New Times profiled in a 2005 cover story of the same name. And the sad news Rose had for The Bird was that Windsor had gone to that Big Crib in the Sky.
"I call him Diaper Man," chirped Hartman. "He's lived near me for two years. The mailman said he hadn't picked up his mail in a couple of weeks. And when he went to check on him, all he could see in the windows was flies. Big, fat flies."
The mailman reported this to the Phoenix Police Department, which responded on January 30, finding Windsor — a former country-Western singer, Broadway actor, heir to the Popular Mechanics fortune, and full-time adult baby/diaper lover — dead in his modest home at 1422 East Weldon Avenue. Phoenix police spokesman Luis Samudio told this pecker that a death investigation was under way but would divulge no further details until an autopsy was concluded.
Gayle Millette, a flack for the Medical Examiner's Office, informed this magpie that the body was "in a state of decomposition" when it was found. The determination of a cause of death was pending the outcome of a toxicology report, which may not be ready for weeks, she said.
Millette couldn't say whether Windsor died with his diaper on.
Windsor was a few months shy of his 58th birthday and had been spotted in early January attending a local performance of the musical Hair in full baby regalia. According to writer Joe Watson's 2005 profile of the diaper lover, Windsor had once starred in the musical's lead role, Claude, on Broadway in the '70s.
The cigarette-smoking, beer-swilling pacifier-sucker told then-New Times writer Watson he'd been obsessed with his odd, infantile fetish since he was a tot. But it wasn't until his father's death in late 2003 that he threw away all his adult duds and adopted the AB/DL lifestyle 24/7. Being the great grandson of H.H. Windsor, the founder Popular Mechanics magazine, didn't hurt either. When Windsor's pop passed away, his share of the fortune came to around $1.25 million.
The Bird had seen Baby Man in a local Fry's once, in bib and diapers, loading up his basket with Gerber's and milk. But it was Watson who tracked down the wanna-be toddler, meeting up with him at a local dive bar, where Windsor appeared wearing "a pink bonnet over his golden locks," a pink dress, white bobby socks trimmed with lace, patent-leather shoes, and of course, a diaper. Windsor reeked of baby powder.
Windsor was once married and fathered a son. But he eventually gave up the square life, and was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment when Watson discovered him. A true eccentric, Windsor slept in an oversized crib, sat in an oversized high chair, had trained himself to go number one and number two in his nappies, and occasionally hired women to wipe and "mother" him. He also re-christened himself "HeidiLynn."
He eventually became a legend, with fans (and detractors) worldwide. He made a memorable appearance on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, dedicated to infantilism. And he maintained a Web site, which detailed his personal appearances and interviews. But to hear his neighbor Hartman tell it, he had become more and more of a recluse within the steel-barred confines of his home.
"He never came out in the daytime much," Hartman told this hawk. "He only came out at night."
This curious quacker couldn't help but stop by 1422 East Weldon to check on Baby Man's now-desolate abode. In the driveway, next to a couple of empty cat bowls, was Windsor's tan Buick with the license plate "DIAPER1." Out back, several frilly nighties hung on a clothesline. And through the kitchen door, The Bird could spy, in the bedroom, the giant crib Windsor napped in.
Certainly, Windsor was not alone in his diaper-fixation. The fetish site dailydiapers.com features thousands of regular chat-room visitors, some of whom were already honoring their friend online shortly after her death.
"Flamboyant, sharp, and always funny," wrote Mean Mommy of Windsor's HeidiLynn persona. "She will be missed."
ARIZONA ABU GHRAIB?
The prisoner rights activists over at the Quaker faith-based American Friends Service Committee in Tucson are taking credit for scuttling Terry Stewart's chances of taking over for former Arizona Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro. Schriro, you see, recently resigned her post to go join ex-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where Nappy's now the top dog-ette.
Stewart ran the ADC from 1995 to 2002 and currently works as director of administrative services for Maricopa County's Justice Courts. (The Bird tried calling Stewart for comment, but the erstwhile prison head has yet to respond.) And where Schriro earned a reputation — rightly or wrongly — for coddling convicts, Stewart has the exact opposite reputation. In fact, as the AFSC was quick to point out in its e-mail campaign warning of Stewart's possible return to the ADC, Stewart was one of several advisers to the Justice Department on the rebuilding of Iraqi prisons following the U.S. takeover there.