Saturday, 12 February 2011

part two of the long story...

He had been a wilful child, and when Mother; as she insisted on being called, the head of Wilson’s home for dispossessed boys could no longer deal with his tantrums and outbursts, she sent him to work in the kitchens of the local Titan’s. When Bob visited the hotel, so impressed had he been with Jerry’s quick wit and ability to spin, he had immediately promoted him to his personal intern at the head office in Chicago, where he then worked for the next eight years, learning the business and taking everything Bob told him as gospel. This was his first stroke of luck! Bob had originally offered to pay for Jerry’s college career when he was just fifteen. They had a blazing row, reminiscent of those that Jerry imagined he would have with his own father had he been living. Jerry refused the offer of a free ride through college.
“It’s all well and good knowing the business Jerry,” Bob had said “but without that little piece of paper, it’s worth shit!” But Jerry was not, nor had he ever been the sort to take anything for nothing.
“I’ll go to college when I can afford it, I’ll work two jobs if I have to!”
“Why would you want to do that? Why would you want to make life so hard for yourself, I’m offering you nothing but the chance to be all you can be!”
“Would you have taken it at my age?” Jerry asked, staring hard into Bob’s eyes.
Bob knew he was beaten, of course he would not have taken such an offer. He was as proud and stubborn as Jerry now, and as wilful as Jerry when he was a boy. He had never even attended college because of the cost, but it was a different time and that piece of paper had meant so little then. He could see so much potential in the young Jerry Dawson so, despondent; Bob gave Jerry a large raise and told him to save.
Of course all that had changed upon his mother’s death, and Bob, being one of the few people who knew about Jerry’s past had been delighted, writing the Principal of Stanford University immediately upon hearing the news, insisting that Jerry would be the finest and most dedicated student who ever studied there. Jerry was elated when Bob promised him a new position as VP of the whole North West division, seven hotels and two casinos including the celebrated Titan Royal in Chicago, where the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stayed during his visits to the city. As promised, Jerry was a highly motivated and active student of the University, sitting a numerous committees and the king of the Debate society. He was also one of the most popular boys at the college, having inherited the rugged good looks and suave charm which had sent Mavis running into Jerry Sr.’s arms twenty years ago, though he never knew it. He had girls falling at his feet from day one and flirted constantly with the female members of staff, actions which had him in the Dean’s office almost weekly.
“You must stop this Jerry, you’ve got Betty swooning every time you walk in,” Dean Peterson had said, referring to the young cashier in the dormitory dining hall, “She keeps messing up her register and we’re losing her three hours a week while she puts herself back together!”
Jerry left a rose for her on her cash register and a note apologising for his behaviour and telling her that she was beautiful, but he needed to concentrate on his studies and he had not the time to fall in love. So eloquent was the note that Betty could not even be mad or upset, and she reasoned that, as long as he kept winking at her in the mornings at breakfast, he would eventually find the time to take her out.
When he left college, as promised, he was given an office at the Chicago Titan, and the key to the safe along with a $25,000 a year contract. Jerry had finally realised the potential that Bob had seen all along. In his first year as Vice President, Jerry increased profit margins by twenty three percent, and met the President of the United States who commented that he was a fine young man with outstanding business acumen. Jerry, modest at the best of times, had been so enthralled by this commendation, that he had passed his ardour onto his staff, giving them a 70¢ per hour raise.
By the time he married Doris, he was almost thirty and over the next few years, Bob’s started to decline. This man who now served, not only as a mentor, but as a father, a business advisor and a friend was dying. Frequent bouts of influenza had left his round body exhausted, and when the Cancer got him in 1950, death was inevitable. It was still a shock when, 6 months after his diagnosis, he fell asleep after supper, and didn’t wake up. He was only 52, and the business world mourned. 

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