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Who was it?


Part 1

Many years ago, when I was 22 years old, I left the factory and became an insurance salesman. I had a territory in Louisville, called a “debit,” or group of several hundred houses. My habit was to park my car on a street, a 1956 Ford, two-door hardtop, turquois and white, and walk my debit of people who had insurance payments. My debit except for those in Audubon Park, were people who worked with their hands for a living, just like mom and dad, both of my grandfathers and most of my aunts and uncles. Fran and I eked by, happily in our salad years. At the time, I cleared about $60.00 per week, not much money now or back then. One of my collections were made from the manager of the Albert Pick Hotel, on Arthur Street near U of L., as he gave me the premium, he asked if I knew anyone who needed a job. He was desperate for a housekeeper, and it just so happened I did. One of my insured was a woman who lived in a run-down house with no screens on the windows, and very young children. She told me how hard she had looked for a job, but to no avail. I told her I would keep my ears open. I left the Albert Pick and drove to her house. With a big smile on my face, I told her she had a job interview. Then my enthusiasm was dashed. At the mention of a job, she said she was not trained in anything. I said, “Yes you are, you can make beds and sweep floors.” She replied, “I will lose my welfare.” She didn’t want the job or even know what the pay and benefits were. Later I began to work for the Louisville Water Company as an Engineering Clerk, and then Convenient Industries as a draftsman, estimator and construction coordinator. I was about 30, when I began work for Convenient. Every day, I took a walk to go to lunch. I usually ate in a little diner called the “Ham and Egger.” It was located just north of Fourth Street at St. Catherine and there was a bus stop on the northeast corner. As I approached the bus stop, there was a rather dirty looking man, unshaven and shabbily dressed, begging each bus passenger for money to buy food. Some ignored him while others told him to get away and leave them alone. I stopped a few feet away and watched until the passengers were gone, and he was left waiting for the next bus. I approached the man and when he asked for money, I invited him to eat lunch with me at the Ham and Egger, and he told me he would rather have the money. I urged him to join me for a good meal, and I would pay. That’s when he showed me his middle finger and told me in no uncertain terms, to do something with myself I thought anatomically impossible. Those experiences jaded me, and it lasted time for a long time before I offered help anyone doing the same thing.

(See Part 2 next week, and see what happened to me)

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