Post these rules before you give the facts.
- Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
- People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
- Tag your article as meta; 8 things and Uncheck ALL OF NEWSVINE.
- At the end of your blog, you need to post it here... http://8things.newsvine.com
- I was born in Beth Page, New York, Charles Bernard Courtois, into an august heritage that I will never live up to in this lifetime. On Dad's side my great-great-grandfather,
the source of my middle name, discovered Iodine in 1811 in France. He also sold ammunition to Napoleon. On Mom's side she traced her lineage back to William Henry Harrison, our former President. And, my granddad on Mom's side was from Nova Scotia who immigrated to the U.S. to attend Brooks Business College in 1884. He went on to become a very prominent attorney in the State of NY, and the Judge Advocate for that State as well.
- My mother and father were multi-lingual, Dad, being the linguist, spoke French and Arabic fluently, and German conversationally; mom studied and learned French in France. I followed suit with French as a child, German as a young man, and Spanish the last four years. My German was fluent because of attendance to the university there. My Spanish is self-taught and I have developed a reasonable fluency being a translator for Latinos currently. During World War II Dad was put under house-arrest because he worked for the French Line. That occurred when the Vichy government in France was taken over by the Nazis. Dad became a special translator for the American shipping industry with a full-time body guard. His job was to translate steamship freight charters from Arabic into English and French during that period in New Port News, Virginia.
- I learned to play bridge on my first roundtrip passage from New York, to Le Havre in 1950 on the USS DeGrasse, a French Line Passenger Liner that had been just reconverted back to a passenger ship from a U.S. troop ship during World War II. We sailed from pier #88 on the East river for France in June and returned in August after touring many cities throughout France, spending a goodly portion of the summer in La Ciota, a small Mediterranean seacoast city, about ten kilometers west of Marseilles. Although a child of thirteen the two voyages, about nine days each, between New York and Le Havre provided me a full measure of bridge expertise which would lead to my participation in duplicate tournament bridge at national and international levels. My father was the Director of Freight for the French Line at that time.
- I made several attempts at formal university study but the knowledge I learned there ended up being things that I wanted to learn and was particularly interested in at the time. In all I have a cats cradle of university courses which were geared toward entering medical school. My wife became pregnant in 1961 and the medical school dream went away. I settled on being a hustler for a living - - - selling, buying, and making deals all over the world. World travel was more interesting to me than burying my head in university libraries.
- Although brief in time compared to my lifetime I worked for some excellent companies that shaped my business acumen. Once I decided to abandon medicine I chose to learn my trade from some key companies. I began with McGraw Hill as a sales and advertising, straight-commissioned Director for Germany, after my discharge from the Army in Europe. I was recruited away by an American-German Import Export Company as Director of Sales for Europe and the Far East. From there I was recruited by the Magna-Tape Division of one of my clients to be U.S.A. Director of Franchising. This company was competing with Minnesota Mining (3M) tapes that had the lion's share of the market; I returned to the U.S. and was fired after six weeks. Not because I wasn't productive, I was fired because I chose not to carouse around and participate in the senior management's debauchery. In desperation I went to work as a sales representative at Max Factor in Hollywood, California. I was promoted above my Peter Principle, quickly, to regional vice president of the East-Coast. Shiseido, and Chanel were just two brief last stops in my employment for somebody else. I was an entrepreneur from then until seven years ago when I sold my company.
- The most important person I ever met in my life was Winston Churchill. Not only did I get to meet him, but I was able to play bridge with him when he was the guest of honor at a friend of my mom's, one-fifty room castle in Stockholm, Sweden, just before his death. In the twenty's Countess Gunilla Hamilton, the second family of Sweden, and mom were roommates at finishing school in Paris. I was a guest in their home for two weeks while I was stationed in Gelnhausen, Germany in the Army. I had already begun to play tournament duplicate bridge and I was playing on the Dutch team in Frankfurt at Goethe Universidad attending night school. Christmas dinner was served for over a hundred guests in solid gold. There was a servant behind every chair, and naturally I was in complete awe forever more
- That I became the water melon king, Wassermelon Koenig, of Germany in the most daring entrepreneurial endeavor of my life, is an understatement. In 1963 I represented AGREXCO, the Israeli body which sold fruits and vegetables to Europe and it had been very profitable until I bit off more than I could chew. I purchased for my employer, Diversified Marketing International, five steamships full of watermelons, 100+ boxcars full. The melons came packed in eight-hundred kilo wooden boxes, and when I received a wire of their arrival in Trieste, Italy the ship captain's had dumped the whole lot on the pier there. It took eight or nine men to move a box - - so I had to fly fork-lifts in from Switzerland. By the time it was all said and done, I had lost $40,000 dollars, plus $18,000 in duty which court said I had to pay, despite the fact that the carrier delivered nothing but juice, maggots, flies and rotten melons to every major wholesaler in Germany. And, that wasn't the half of it.
- As a result of experiencing my first merger and acquisition first hand, Norton Simon, buying my employer, Max Factor just when I had been promoted to a regional manager, VP, position of the east coast, I bravely ventured out into my own self-employed venture. In little of no time I represented over forty companies, was manufacturing sun glasses under license from Italy, and I had become a part of a newly formed cosmetic manufacturing venture called Monica Simone. After W.T. Grant collapsed into bankruptcy, Sear Roebuck and Penny's discontinued all items under $5.00 dollars retail, a newly formed public company, Monica Simone, suffered a humiliating demise. After trying more schemes than I care to go into, I vowed never to sell another thing again. For the next twenty-two years I sold concepts and ideas - - - very successfully, and at a lot more profit than my watermelons or cosmetics.