Saturday, December 6, 2008

From the back of the unemployment line

Today the "labor department" released statistics that said 530,000 more people lost their jobs this month. This brought the total for the last 3 months to 1,250,000. How does one stand out amongst 1,250,000 other non-working Americans? This is how my dear old pappy did it in 1955.

I really don't like writing stories like these, they are too revealing and honestly not very funny. On the other-hand, this is a true story about me and my family that almost no one knows (even my sister). If anything, it shows why I will never give up and am so stubborn. My Dad, faced obstacles 10x what I ever will, and he never complained. For me to complain, would violate everything Dad stood for. I personally don't like this story, but it is true and probably needs explained. Here we go....

The View from the Back…………
Of the Unemployment Line

Long about 1955, a disabled Marine Corp Veteran stood at the end of the unemployment line in San Diego, California. He had just about given up hope on finding a job and carried a loaded 38 Special tucked in his belt and under the old jacket that he wore. The gun was there because this young Marine had planned to rob a liquor store; with a goal of stealing enough money to send his 1-year-old son to Northeast Texas on a Greyhound bus. He decided to try one more time to find a job, before committing a dangerous crime.

Along with the 38 Special tucked in his belt, he held his one year old son in his left arm at the end of that long unemployment line. The baby was sick and crying, and nerves were coming unraveled, both for the disabled Marine and the other folks ahead of him in the line. Just as things were about to snap in the young vet’s head, a man from the San Diego unemployment office walked up and said, “Private, can you drive a truck?” The young vet said, “yes sir!” and was told to report to the San Diego Box and Spring Company, for a job immediately as a truck driver. He took the baby back to his sister’s house, and reported for work at San Diego Box and Spring.

A year or two later, with his war wounds still haunting and hurting him, this same young Marine Vet, came back to East Texas with his bride and his son. Work was scarce in Northeast Texas, so he picked cotton, even with the mortar wounds and shrapnel still in his back. Many nights the pain was so great he laid flat on the hard wood floor, sweating and hoping for some relief. Next morning, he went out to the fields again to try and make a living for his family. I don’t know if he ever knew it, but he did a damn fine job.

You see, that young wounded Marine was a guy named Roy Glenn Roberts, and he was and still is my father. Probably because of all the pain and hardship my dear old Daddy had to bare, he had a major stroke when he was only 48; and died when he was only 60. But he left my Mom, and me, and my sister, DeAnna, with a huge legacy. Not in terms of wealth, money, or anything like that. He left us with a sense of pride, hard work, and determination. Moreover, he left all of us with a complete unwillingness to quit or give up. And for that, I am eternally thankful.

I hope I can show you a little bit of Dad’s determination in me; from the back of the unemployment line.

All the best,


By the way, today is Laura Zander Cole's birthday. Please join me in wishing her many happy returns. You can reach LZ here

All the best to the Cole Family - especially Laura,


No comments:

Post a Comment