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January 20, 2015

Second Job

Roy Meachum

My old Frederick News-Post colleague, Ike Wilson, trotted out the first job since I entered the employment market. To put it concisely, the South wasn’t ready for the organization of labor, maybe off in Atlanta – the big city in Georgia.


Otherwise, I got fired for putting forth a union for the Memphis tennis club. The members already paid too little to the “ball runners;” at 13, I was compensated 15 cents for “the set.” Sometimes the set dragged on. I figured two-bits for the exercise. Anyway, I got fired.


Lloyd Baugher owned the saloon, which he enlarged to a “bookie” joint; he had lawyers and occasional judges from the federal court. It sat across the street. The employee was me! Other than the waitresses; they looked at me with hungry eyes – in the middle of the war. I was over six feet and had blonde hair.


Duties consisted of me making a very clear One, Two and Three over the horses that ran frequently. I visited a “wire” – in the days before television; it was an office in the business district. Funny thing, I never saw a human being around the office.


When my mother figured out the strange markings; she had experience in parlors around New Orleans. She insisted I stay home from Lloyd’s place. It was a lonely summer. Missing the camaraderie from the shop; I yearned for the talk from lawyers, judges and droppers-in. They almost treated me as equal; I was 20 years younger.


The next summer I worked for WJBW, which led me to the American Forces Network in Germany, and Hoechst and the castle; I have the print from 16th century on my apartment wall.


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