SMILE WITH ME, AT ME

Big Book Podcast
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

And now the original story smile with me at me at the age of eighteen. I finished high school and during my last year there. My studies were dropping away to be replaced by dancing going out nights and thinking of a good time as most of the boys of my age did. I secured a job with a well-known Telegraph company which lasted about a year due to the I thought I was too clever for seven dollar a week job which did not supply me with enough money for my pleasures such as taking girls out at Cetera. I was not at all satisfied with my small wages now. I was very good violinist at the time and was offered jobs with some well known orchestras but my parents objected to me being a professional musician. Although my last year in high school was mostly spent playing for dances and giving exhibition dances. That most of fraternity affairs now. Naturally I was far from satisfied with my seven dollars a week wages so when I came across a boy neighbor of mine on the subway one night by the way I read in the newspaper that the same boy died four days ago. He told me he was a host in a celebrated restaurant and cabaret and that his salary ran fourteen dollars per week and he made fifty dollars a week in tips. Well think of being paid for dancing with the care free ladies of the afternoon and receiving all that some and me working for only seven dollars per the following day I went straight uptown to Broadway and never did go back to my old job. This was the beginning of a long stretch of high flying as I thought only to find out when I was forty one years old to be very low flying. I worked in this restaurant until I was twenty one. Then we went into the World War. I joined the navy. My enlistment pleased the owner of my cabaret so much that he offered me a good job at the end of my federal service. The day I walked into his establishment with my released from active duty. He said you are my assistant manager from now on. Well this please me as you can imagine and my hat from then on would not fit now. All this time I taste for liquor was constantly growing. Although it was no habit and I had no craving in other words if I had a date and wanted to drink with a girlfriend I would otherwise I would not think of it at all in six months time I found I was too good for this job and a competitive restaurant here or a chain of the best well known nightclubs offered me a better position which I accepted. This nightlife was starting to tell and show it's marks and together with the slump in that sort of business at the time. I decided to apply for a job with a well known ballet. Master who drilled many courses for Broadway shows. I was this man's assistant and I really had to work very hard for the little money. I received sometimes twelve hours or more a day but I got the experience and honor which was just what I was looking for. This was one time when my work interfered with my drinking. This job came to an end one evening when I was drinking quite heavily. A certain prominent actress inquired of Professor X my boss if I would be interested to sign an eighty week contract for a Vaudeville tour. It seems she could use me as a partner in her act now. A very nice woman Miss Jay. Who was office clerk and pianist for the boss overheard the conversation and told both Mr X. and ms see that I would not be interested on hearing this. I went out and drank enough to cause plenty of trouble slapping Miss J and doing an all round drunk act in the studio. This was the end of my high flying. Among the white lights. I was only twenty four years old and I came home to settle down in fact I had to. I was broke both financially and in spirit being a radio operator in the Navy I became in amateur radio. I got a federal license and made a transmitting radio said and would often sit up half the night trying to reach out all over the country broadcasting radio was just in its infancy then so. I began to make small receiving sets for my friends and neighbors. Finally I worked up quite a business and opened a store then two stores with eleven people working for me. Now here's where old barley corn hidden strength. I found that in order to have a paying business. I had to make friends not the kind I was used to but ordinary sane hardworking people in order to do this. I should not drink but I found that I could not stop. I will never forget the first time I realized this every Saturday. My wife and I would go to some tavern. I would take a bottle of wine gin or the like and we would spend an evening dancing drinking et cetera. This was fourteen years ago. I was practically a pioneer in the radio business and that must account for people putting up with me as they did however within three years time. I had lost both stores. I won't say entirely due to my drinking but at least if I had been physically and mentally fit I could have survived and kept a small business going now from this time up to about a year ago. I drifted from one job to another. I pedaled brushes destroyed jobs such as painting and finally got established with a well known. Piano Company as Assistant Service manager then came the big crash of nineteen twenty nine and this particular company abolish their radio department. For two years I worked for one of my old competitors who owned radio store he put up with my drinking until I was in such a physical breakdown that I had to quit all this time. My troubles at home were getting worse. My whole family blamed my failure on the alcoholic question and so the usual arguments would start the instant I came in the house. This naturally made me go out and drink some more. If I had no money I would borrow bag or even steal enough for a bottle. My wife fortunately went to business which was our only salvation. Our little boy was six years old at the time and due to the fact we need someone to care for him. During the day we moved in with my family now the troubled did start because I not only had my wife to face every evening but three of the elders of the family. My wife did everything for me. She possibly could i. She got in touch with a well known psychiatrist and I went faithfully to him for a few months. This particular doctor was such a nervous individual. I thought he had the Saint Vitus dance and I really thought he needs some kind of treatment more than I did. He advised hospitalization from three months to a year. Well this was all out of order far as I was concerned in the first place I had an idea that my wife wanted to put me away in a state institution where maybe I would be stuck for the rest of my life in the second place I wanted to go if anywhere to a private institution and that was far beyond our financial means in the third place. I knew that that would be no cure because I reason that it would be like taking candy. Out of a young child's reach the instant I would come out a free man. I would go right back to old elke again in this one thing. I found out later. I was perfectly bright. What I thought and wanted at the time was not to want to want to take a drink. This phrase is a very important link in my story. I knew this could only be done by myself. But how could I complex it? Well this was the main question. The point was always that when I did drink I wanted all the time. Not to and that alone wasn't enough. At the time I felt like drink I did not want to take it at all but I had to. It seemed so if you can grasp what I mean I wished I would not want that drink. Am I not or do you get me to get back to the doctor? If anything these visits made me worse and worst of all. Everyone told me I wanted to drink. And that was all there was to that after going to his many as six or eight other doctors some of my own friends advised my wife to make plans for the future as I was a hopeless case had no backbone no willpower and would end up in the gutter well here. I was a man with much ability of violinist radio engineer. A ballet master and at this point took up hairdressing so that added one more to the list. Can you beat it? I knew there must be some way out of all this mass. Everyone told me to stop my drinking but none could tell me how until I met a friend and believe me. He turned out to be a true friend. Something I never had until this past year. One morning after one of my escapades. My wife informed me I was to go with her to a public hospital or she would pack up and leave with our boy.

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