Part III of My Story continues.
Today, we continue on after the Bank of America was graced with my presence for the first time. Working the night-owl shift was a real hoot. We got there at eleven o'clock, at least that's when we were supposed to get there, but the first night I found out the “owl-shift” had some leeway. There were about 100 women pounding on IBM machines that had a rotating tumbler with a slot for each bank, and my job was to correct the type o's and balance each tape. Work ended when we were balanced, e.g., all one hundred machines. Sometimes we were done at 4:00 A.M. and sometimes at 7:00. Suffice it to say, everybody was quite curious why someone my age was working the midnight shift, and I remain a mystery for the whole three years I worked there. Easy money, for sure, and the people were just hard working stiffs like me.
The location of my National Guard battalion was downtown LA, and there came a time when Dick and I found another apartment there. He worked in upper Pasadena during the day, and I was close to the Hollywood area. So, after several months of day and night work, it began to take its toll and I had more and more trouble waking up in time to get to my day job if I got through early, I tended to oversleep.
One day, we got the bright idea to take junket to Las Vegas with a deal you couldn't refuse...roundtrip airfare, $10 dollars in gambling chips, when you went to a down town casino, since there were only the casinos on the strip, The Sands, The Desert Inn, and I think the Aladdin and a hand-full more (see an old clip of Vegas from 1956); but, nevertheless sparse compared to now with hundreds. I was illegal, but I got by OK,downtown, and with $25 dollars and $10 in chips, we both pooled our money, because I wasn't supposed to gamble, so, since my roommate was of age, we managed to parlay our pittance into five grand that afternoon; then, we wired the moo-la back to our joint bank account we had set up to pay rent, utilities, etc.
Now the kitty was looking pretty fat, and we went out on the town to the strip for fun to the Desert Inn, and the highlight of my night was meeting Keely Smith, the singer, and hanging out with her in between her singing performances. Oh my goodness, I was in love. The problem was she had a rich boyfriend, Louis Prima, who later and she became his fourth wife. Dick and I were on cloud nine for our trip back to LA, only because we both had to be back at the banks at 11:00. Vegas became an obsession for us, however, we never gave back what we won, but we tried over and over to figure out how to make a living there. It never worked!
That we had a spring in our step, is an understatement. We talked a good bit about how to invest our money, and one day, on our bank day off, we were in Pasadena at on old haunt, Fosters Bar &
Grill. Right across from the restaurant there was a Union 76 station where we had traded and knew the owner. This day the owner, Fred, offered to buy us a drink at Fosters, and that is when he told us about his divorce, and having the need to sell his station. We were hooked, made a deal, and tried to run the business with the existing staff. Fortunately, we didn't quit our jobs, because neither I, nor Dick, liked being grease monkeys, so, we owned the station from May to August that year. Sold it, and got our money out of it, no pain no gain.
Not long after that, we heard about a bowling alley out by the Santa Anita racetrack, and as luck would have it, we were able to make a deal, and unbelievably I was a partner in a thriving operation. No sooner than I got over the euphoria of my good fortune the A.B.C., the alcohol licensing people, came knocking on our door. Bad news for the kid, the rules were that since I was a minor, and we sold alcohol on the premises, I could not be a partner. I decided to buy back my share of the part of the partnership, and Dick and I parted ways.
Part IV – Buying, selling a house, bringing my mom and sister from Ohio, renting an apartment and much more. The gold was not glittering as much as it had before but life continues. See you tomorrow, if you're still with me. :-)