Saturday, November 8, 2008

Civilian Life

There were so many chores for S. He had left a good looking set of clothes at the house when he joined the Army and his brother, who was ten years younger than S, had pretty well shot them to rags. Before getting a job, he had to get a new wardrobe. He had been attending Lehigh University in Pennsylvania (his father's school) before getting drafted and he had no clear idea of where to start looking. The friend who had convinced him that the future was in Bat Guano had tried it in Lima, and changed his mind.

S.s father was an engineer in Maine, when he died suddenly in the 1918 Flue epidemic. Sam was then two years old. He and his mother moved back with her family who lived in Hillsborough. In 1920 or there about, she fell in love with a British Army Officer who had friends in San Francisco. After a couple of years they moved to England, where S. who was eight, was sent to boarding school. There, the favorite disciplining was done with a cane. Luckily S. was a great runner and won many silver cups, and became popular with his fellow schoolmates. The family returned to America after the crash, when his stepfather had lost his job and all his investments. A cousin of S.s mother paid for their trip back to the USA and formed a partnership with S.s stepfather and had an office on Montgomery Street where they recouped some of the lost money. S. was a Jr in High School when they returned.

S had an English accent when he began his Jr Year at San Mateo High School. His Track and Field prowess and his accent made him popular with his fellow students who elected him Student Body President. He was also courted by Stanford University. And then he got mumps and never ran again. What a blow.

When I was working at Dibble General Hospital I got to know an elderly man who spent a lot of time working with all the patients. He owned a plant, manufacturing Model Airplanes and Model War Ships, etc. He would give his wares to any wounded soldier and come back and help him assemble the parts. He was a fine man. I spent a lot of time telling him how fine S was. Since he had no children he bewailed the fact that he had no one to leave his company to when he had to retire. He made me promise that S. would get in contact with him, when he returned to civilian life. S. who had too many left thumbs was loath to call him. He finally did, but only because I had promised. S. liked the man and agreed to work with him. He met the man who was the book keeper there, and when a few months later this man told S that he was also the book keeper for a furniture Co in dire need of a salesman, S went to work for them, and he was in the furniture business until he retired forty years later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

G.--Your blog has become part of my life. I grew up in a small farming town in Calif., very boring. Reading about your early life is such a joy for me. Much more fun than I had on the small farm near Bakersfield.
I look forward to every new chapter. Thank you. Blake