My Life



Boy

My life in the big rig community for truck drivers has been sort of like a roller coaster with a lot of ups and some downers.

Ok how do I stay out of trouble

A good place to start would be around 8 or 9 years old when I was kind of a nuance around the house since my curiosity got the better of me by checking things out.
One day while playing with our terry dog named Terry, there was a old Briggs and Straten reel lawn mower with a cast iron crank starter built in the 1930's. It was 1951 at that time. It was buried in a junk pile in the corner of our property.  Pulled it out and worked on it for a few hours and got it started.

Looks like this one.


Lawn mower
Briggs & Straten lawn mower 1930


At the same time,  liked to venture out on my bike to see the world. My brother would have to find me sometimes for lunch or time to come home.

The bike looked like this.

Bike




One day, ventured a different way and got lost.
Stopped at a house and asked a wonderful widow lady for help. She somehow found out who my parents are and called them. They came to pick me up after she gave me milk and cookies. She then offered me a job working in her yard with my parents approval. Started up my lawn mower and sit on top somehow and ride it to her house. Would just reach back and engage the clutch an go. After cutting lawn, she had me move a lot of rocks in a wheelbarrow to where she wanted them. 


She also got me a job working for another wonderful widow lady down the road about a half mile from there.
One day coming home from work, there was a lot of smoke coming from our place with fire trucks there. My dad's big shed was burning down.
Before leaving for work to cut grass, played with matches behind the building. One of many ways that have hurt my parents and family.
Was very sorry but had a hard time to express it. My mother’s pastor invited me to a church summer camp for children. Was stricken by a pretty girl there, but I was too bashful to talk to her. Hoped to see her again after camp, but never did. During a tent meeting, I became a Christian and was baptized thereafter at a church.
Also in school would play hooky sometimes and head for a tree house over looking a creek to smoke cigars. This enrolled me into a special education class. The teacher was Mrs. Vitalli that was very strict. Her assignments were hard. She lived across the street from school. She would sometimes take us to her house after school for a outdoor picnic. Hot dogs, chips and beans with a dessert with our parents’ permission. One day she took us on a field trip to a grocery store to teach us commerce. There was a display of fruit outside in front of the store. It was there that a big red apple enticed me to sample. Someone cheesed on me after taking a bite. Mrs. Vitalli rushed at me like there might be a tornado about to approach. She grabbed me by the ear and pulled me to the owner of the store to apologize and say I am sorry. I think she paid for the apple. Will never forget her; will always have fond memories of her. Flew from Los Angles in my 20’s to pay her a visit and paid her respects for what she has done for me.   
So lets skip down the road a ways into my mid-teens, At about 15 years old, my parents bought me a paper route in West St. Paul, Mn near my high school. They paid  $400 for it. It was then your job and business to deliver twice a day and once on Sunday.  Bought another route a little latter. Kept me very busy. Delivered, collected once a week and paid for next bundles to be dropped at my corners. On Sundays, hired a friend from school that had a red wagon to haul the papers as we delivered the papers. Also earned some tips. Liked hanging around my friend because of his older sister named Maria. The parents came from Mexico. Hung around them as they invited me to many of the things they did in their culture. I enjoyed them very much and had fun.
The money earned from the paper routes went to clothing for school mostly.
Looks like a weeks worth of newspapers to deliver.

News papers

Newspapers to deliver.


Time for a break. This will continue. Boys Reformatory is next. A downer.



Boys Reformatory 

Back from driving break.
One day after getting up to do my paper route, I saw this beautiful Cadillac. They left the door unlocked and keys in ignition. Temptation got the best of me as a 15 year old teenager, went for a joy ride and delivered my routes. I decided to drive to school and got caught.
On my free ride in the sheriff’s patrol car to the Boys Reformatory in Red Wing, Mn, the tower scared me as we approached the complex.
Boys Reformatory
Spent one year there in one of the cottages. This is where I learned how to smoke. All the boys smoked. There were many rules. Allowed to smoke 3 times per day in cottage. Liked our house director, but very strict. We all slept on our separate cots. The dining room was big.
 
Dining Room
We all had jobs. No school. There was the farm, laundry, boiler shop, auto shop, hospital and shoe shop. Can’t  remember any more.  Was a apprentice as a cobbler at the shoe shop for 6 months. Was then transferred to the hospital as a trustee doing errands. To tell the truth, I liked it there.
Reformatory Side View
After a year of this, released under a year’s probation.  Never found a vocation in skills learned.
They found me with another borrowed car after 2 weeks out of reformatory. This time, learned new skills as if in the military, but worse. Was placed into the disciplinary cottage called Grant. At this cottage, you stood at attention for hours trying not to blink. The trustees used whips.  Most of these trustees were from a South Minneapolis, Mn gang. Wing tipped shoes, belt up on chest and bald heads. We did all the hard work on farm, shoveled snow, and washed and scrubbed the floor in the dining room as examples.  There was 3 to 5 rows of boys lined up in a roll across the whole room doing their jobs. Front row  tossed the water and soap from buckets. I was in 2nd row scrubbing floor with hand brush duck walking in the row of others doing the same. If you do not stay in a straight line, the whip will correct that.
Red Wing Formation Grounds
Released after a year and never returned. But still have fond memories of the boys, staff and institution. The whip is gone now, but they did me much good. Would like to visit them someday if that is allowed. Maybe if I offer it some good public relations.
Break time again. See you shortly.

Headed west

Back to work again.
Fiat

Finished school and bought a 1950's Fiat while working at a magazine store downtown St. Paul, Mn. The owner was also a bookie. He would be on the phone a lot while I stocked the shelves and took care of customers at the cash register.  
One day I made a illegal u-turn on University Ave. Was given a ticket by a nice police officer. I went home and packed up my stuff and headed west with $16 in my pocket. I had a fear of being locked up.
What can I say, I was a teenager. Stopped  in Omaha, Ne and found a job at a cafeteria slinging veggies behind the counter as customers pasted by with their plates on a tray. My schedule required that I work Sunday's, I refused and got fired.
Then headed for Denver, but failed to find a job after a month there. My mother sent me my last check from bookie and sheriff kept coming by the house in Mendota Heights to  serve me papers and arrest me. Flew back 10 years later for a visit at home. Flew back to Los Angeles 2 weeks later. 
Then headed for California and landed in Long Beach and stayed at my brothers house for awhile. He was a super salesman at a famous furniture store. 
After a few failures at jobs, found my dream job in Pasadena, Ca. At Golden's Magic Wand in a old building. The owners were Eddy and Barbara Golden.
Eddy Golden
Remembering Eddy Golden
GARY HYVONEN - For the North County Times
SAN MARCOS ---- Eddy Golden kept a lot of secrets in his life. He went to great lengths to protect many of them, despite being pressed at every turn.

Inquiring minds often hound a magician long after the curtain closes.

"It's a magician's code not to tell,'' said Golden's eldest son, Michael.

Eddy Golden grew up when the famous magician Houdini was popular and was fascinated by magic and the joy it brought to people all over the world. He loved to make things appear and disappear. He relished blurring the lines between reality and imagination. He delighted in astonishing people and leaving them bewildered.

His son said he was "very private and prudish'' and thus limited his performances to small groups and private parties. But he made a name for himself in the entertainment industry by selling magic paraphernalia to showmen all over the world.

Golden's Magic Wand started as a small retail store in Pasadena, selling such staples as whoopee cushions, fake vomit and magic kits. But over 75 years, it grew into one of the nation's largest suppliers, manufacturers and importers of magic devices, novelties, party gifts, jokes and costumes.

The business was in San Marcos from 1981 until Golden's retirement in the mid-1990s.

Golden died from cardiac failure Nov. 10 at his Lake San Marcos home. He was 92.

Michael Golden said his father was more than a magician. He said he was a "showman'' who had a gift for entertaining. He could sing, do impressions and tell jokes as well as pull a rabbit out of a big black hat.

"People loved him, and they loved to be around him,'' his son said. "He loved to create a lot of laughter for the people he was around. He was a lot of fun. He was a practical joker and told jokes right up to the end.''

Golden was a charter member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The converted 1908 mansion has been a showplace for some of the greatest magicians from around the globe for almost 50 years.

Gino Manari, owner of the magic store along Disneyland's Main Street, still displays one of Golden's original magic trick kits. The Dove Pan dates to the 1930s and features a copper bowl and lid, along with lighter fluid that when ignited, produces a dove.

There was, however, nothing secretive about Golden's impersonations. He never actually saw a tap-dancing alligator, but his impression of one provided many laughs for friends, family and audiences over the years. In fact, his son copied the move and often would drop on all fours and flop around to liven up board meetings.

"It just looks ridiculous, which is why people laugh,'' Michael Golden, 68, said.

Edgar Allen Golden was born on Aug. 22, 1917, in Hammond, Ind. He was adopted at birth by Jake and Josephine Golden and named after the famous poet. He moved to Monrovia with his parents when he was 12.

At age 20, he opened a beauty parlor in Pasadena at the urging of his mother.

He "truly despised'' the business, said his son, but his life turned for the better three years later when he married Lee Price and started his magic store.

During World War II, he worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena and was drafted into the Army in 1941 in which he performed magic acts for the troops at Fort Ord.

"I guess they felt he was more useful as an entertainer than a soldier,'' his son said, laughing.

After a divorce, he left the retail outlet in Pasadena to his ex-wife and started a new company focused on wholesale distribution. When he married Barbara Eaton Mathews in 1962, they added an import-export component to their business and began traveling around the world.

They moved the business to Corona Del Mar in 1965, then to San Marcos in 1981 when they took up residency in Rancho Santa Fe. After Barbara passed away in 1992, Eddy moved to Lake San Marcos.

Golden's "trademark'' was organizing group renditions of his favorite song, "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.'' After dining out with friends or family, he was known to gather everyone in the parking lot with arms around each other, singing lines from the Dean Martin classic.

His son said he was deeply touched when mourners performed the song at Golden's memorial service.

Golden is survived by son Michael Golden; daughters Cheryl Rodberg and Cathy Joseph; stepsons Dan, Ron and Tom Mathews; 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Two Seasons
A sampling of the many hundreds of products that we manufactured at his wholesale plant.
He stated me out on the drill press for awhile. Then he moved me to shipping and stocking shelves. He gave me clothing and offered me cash to buy a TV when I was looking for one. Turned that down. He was very generous with everyone. He told us that before we move to Costa Mesa, he put us up at motels there at the beach and entertained us at several parties for the weekend to see if we wanted to move with the company. Most of us did. After the move, Eddy promoted me to head team the assembly line. One day I fell 12 feet off a ladder retrieving product boxes off a top shelf and landed on my back and head. Had a fractured skull in 2 places. Eddy and Barb visited me daily in the hospital till my release. A cute nurse bathed me and helped me learn to walk again. In 1967, purchased a
1967 Mercedes
 new Mercedes, had a beautiful apartment over looking a pool and 2 bungalow apartments that I rented out in Lakeville, Ca. After 10 years working for Eddy,  was stupid and decided to quit in 1970. Made many mistakes, this was the worse. Best employer  ever had. Will never forget Eddy and Barb. They turned my life around for the better. They were always a lot of fun and they cared deeply about everyone they knew. They would wine and dine every customer from all over the states that would come and visit. We would then take them to the showroom and sell them twice as much. Eddy and Barb would then entertain them at their lovely home overlooking the ocean and put them up for the nite at their home. Was at a couple of the parties trying not to be google eyes staring at the inside of the home with his servants.
I know it is now to late for a visit and to say I am sorry for leaving. I had a lame excuse. They may have thought the same.
Will explain lame excuse after break.

Headed east

Eddy and Barb asked me why am I leaving. Told them about great offer up in Oregon in which I had no clue what the offer consisted of. 
The truth was a girl that I was interested in. She had multiple  personalities. She was causing problems for me at work. I was stupid and believed that I could change her. So sacrificed everything 
and sold all I owned. Decided to tour the country for a year to maybe help cure her.
Bought this pickup and trailer.
1957 Chevy Pickup
Camper
Headed for my parents house in Mendota Heights, Mn. It was too much for this 1/2 ton pickup pulling this trailer thru the mountains in the winter time.
Coming out of Colorado, stopped at a dealership in North Platte, Ne. The dealer was also the Mayor of that town. He sold me this:

1960 Ford Crew Cab

Being the naive one, his direction to switch plates was correct way to transfer title. So as we pulled out with our revised big rig, was pulled over 5 miles out of town by a state trooper. We were escorted back to town to wait for the DMV to open up after the 4 day Thanksgiving holiday till Monday. Strangely the dealer was closed entire 4 days. Since he was the Mayor, he had unknown privileges.
After we arrived at parents house, my mother was offended and struck by this girl during the time that mother was showing her how to cook Hungarian goulash. So she was immediately extracted from the house and we drove straight south to Texas. Somewhere in my fuzzy mind, we upgraded to a school bus camper like this.
School Bus Camper



This camper was fully loaded with a generator on the back platform.
A engineer designed and built a deep freeze that would maintain a constant -40 zero. Four maple wood built bunks in the back and all other necessities. 
Reached Dallas and was kicked out of town at high noon due to moonshine found in freezer. We believe that they wanted it since they did not book us and jail us. Otherwise the jug would have to be recorded as evidence. So, we merrily took off for Atlanta, Ga. Did not make it into town. Broke down on I-285 near Camp Creek Pky on southwest side of loop. Camped there for a week. Back then police did not bother. Made friends with a tow truck driver, that towed me off loop so long as I drove another tow truck and towed stolen cars off the freeway. After I pulled one out of the weeds, the owner saw it and followed me. Five minutes later, a drunk rear ended the car and damaged the crane on the tow truck. The owner was in tears because it was his collector car.The drunk had a broken nose and went off to jail.
Boarding house
Found a boarding house on Virginia Ave. in College Park, a suburb of Atlanta. Found me a job at Allied Concrete Sewer Pipe plant on Hwy 29.
Sewer Pipe

Loved this job. Need a brain break. See you soon.



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