A piece of Grandpa's prewar story

Cut-and-pasted from an email written a few days after Thanksgiving

I'm very lucky, I have living, lucid grandparents and I get to have some laid back sitting around time with them. Tonight over the last ot the apple pie, Grandpa was telling me about 1941 and his first job in Tulsa.

This part of the story I already knew: It was 1941, Grandpa was seventeen and done with high school, and he was fighting with his dad every day. His mom's folks had visited over the holidays and invited him to come stay in Tulsa and get a job at one of the aircraft plants. One day he'd had it with his dad and decided to go. He asked the Tobias, Nebraska greengrocer (also a neighbor - Tobias, Nebraska is six blocks long and four blocks wide) if he could get a lift when the grocer drove to Lincoln the next morning for produce. The greengrocer told him yes, and five minutes later called my great-grandpa Dick. Dick counted to ten (or whatever parents did in 1941) gave Grandpa permission to go, and put him on the train to Tulsa himself.

Here's the part that was new to me tonight: Grandpa had to take some classes before he qualified for a job building airplanes. In the meantime he was assistant frycook at the city bus terminal for thirteen dollars a week and his evening meal. He went in at five and assisted the cook until eleven, when they shut down and he started to scrape and scour the grill. He finished work just in time to catch the last bus at midnight.

Prohibition was still going strong in Tulsa (god knows why) and people came into the bus station to get hookups with bootleggers, through the bank of public phones and through the staff. My grandfather's grandmother was a member of the Women's Christian Temperance League and never knew that her husband, a finish carpenter, had a little flask tucked into the back of his car behind his toolbox. (It helped with his rheumatism, apparently).

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