Great Jobs 15-Home And Mom Is Finding Jobs For Me
(That’s a Switch)
Well I was home by October 1945, and I guess I was having a ball for a while, hittin’ the nite spots and stuff like that. Doris had to do some time in the Army Nurse Corps and I guess we sorta’ lost track of each other. Beside that mom, a Catholic, and Doris’ father, a Baptist, sort of had words in my absence.
“No daughter of mind is marrying a Catholic.” were her father’s words.
“And, my son is not marrying a Baptist.” was mom’s retort.
Heard about all that after I got home. Oh, well. I sure as hell was not 4F anymore so finding a new girl friend was not a problem at all. As the old saying in those days pointed out, ‘Miss a street car, and another will be along in 5 minutes’.
But, those nite spots led me to a new love, Audrey Mae Ripperdan, a real long legged, long blond haired, exotic dancer in a joint just off Broadway. Wow, love at first sight, at least for me. She seemed to take a bit longer, but then she had lots of admirers (no big deal, I learned at an early age how to take care of myself), in any event we could raise a lot of hell together. She also had some unlikely pals that were into everything. Daryl Dickerson and his wife for starters. They had just quit jobs at the Small Arms Plant, and were into everything, mostly not good and usually illegal.
Since it was just after the war, cars were not yet back in production, but I did find an old ’37 4-door Dodge, and did manage to find some decent tires for it. My ‘mechanical ability’ helped me soup it up a bit and I could get about 80 out of her. In those days that was fast enough to out run the ‘mounties’, and believe it or not my driving ‘skills’ were as good as when I first got my license, and I since had learned to do a ‘wheelie’ when a fun thing was required of me.
So, we devised a money making scheme. Arkansas was a ‘Dry State’, Daryl told me so. And, all we had to-do was load that big old Dodge up with as many cases of half pints as we could get in it from 905 Liquor Store. Run ‘em on down 67 to Arkansas and peddle them off at 5 bucks a half pint. Good money since they only cost us about 95 cents each. 4 bucks profit and a wild weekend.
Well, as time passed Audrey and me were an item. Bob Green, my cop buddy, informed me of her ‘bad girl’ status, said he had seen her around the joints in town, and my mom hated her because she was a bad influence on me.
“Gee mom, a bad influence on me? I can do pretty well on my own”.
After all, I had spent the best part of 2 years in the Merchant Marine, and worked on River boats before that so by now I knew ‘where the action was’, and my vocabulary was ‘sailor’ which mom blamed on railroaders and ball players.
Well, I wasn’t working so I was ‘making runs’ and squiring my new love. Finally mom said she had a job for me. I think she called in a few chips at work to get me off the street and into a ‘settled’ life.
Well, she convinced me to take a job at International Shoe Company, at the Cherokee Plant, in the Maintenance Department. So I took the job, after all it was something I liked, electric motor repair, rewinding motors, working on electrical switching equipment, and good stuff like that. I stayed at that job for some time and still had time for a few ‘runs’.
And, on one of those runs, me and Audrey Mae got married by the JP in Corning, Arkansas. Cost us 10 bucks, and Daryl and his wife were our best man and maid of honor. And I even gave the JP a half pint of Four Roses. He thanked me for that, said he usually had to go to ‘the bluff’ (Popular Bluff) to get that.
That was August 15, 1946, and mom considered that the worst day of her life. She informed me of the significance of that day, a feast day of the Blessed Virgin, she said.
“IF (mom’s emphasis, remember that) you intend to ‘LIVE’ with that girl, you are going to get married in the Catholic Church,” said mom.
Well that happened too, but one year later, since Audrey had to become a Catholic. We didn’t want to change our Anniversary Date, so on August 15, 1947 we were married again. Bob Green was best man, and another friend, Mary Aita, was maid of honor. All that took place at Saint Aloysius Church, where I had also spent some time in grade school at that parish school. A lesson to all those little girls from grade school days who used to taunt me.
And, by then mom and Audrey were good pals too, more or less.
Watch for Helmer's next chapter on Great Jobs in the March issue.
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