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West Side Stories


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When I first met Vince he was working in this solder factory, somewhere around 22nd and Indiana. I used to meet him on the corner by the Lexington Hotel at 22nd and Michigan. Is that still there?

He used to like to tell the story of how he got this job. One day he saw an ad in the paper for a laborer--this was 1937. So he was planning to apply. But he slept late, and when he got up he took his time and had breakfast. When he's finally ready to go, it's about noon and his mother is berating him. She said, "You'll never get a job if you don't go early."

But he goes anyway, and the man interviewed him. Then he asked him, can you lift a hundred pounds? Because he had to lift these big blocks of solder. They made the solder, and they poured it into molds. It was heavy work and hot work.

Vince says, yes, he can lift a hundred pounds.

The man says, "Well, you've got the job. I had 175 people here this morning. Now I can't remember who's who."

There'd been a line of people down the block in the morning, and he had applications all over his desk. But now he couldn't remember which face went with which name. So he hired Vince. And Vince went home and told his mother that he got the job because he came late.

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