My Father

Here my father started a battery and radio business. His written slogan was "If its batteries C Coogan". With the winds of change, speedometers had become standard equipment factory installed on all automobiles. The need for technicians became passe, Periodically someone would ask to have their speedometer turned back. Of course the law now forbids such activity. The dwindling speedometer income was replaced with batteries. All home radios at that time were powered with a six volt automobile battery, the type that ate holes in the rugs and floor. Father learned to rebuild batteries, recharge them, paint them green and apply a number identification. The batteries had a life of possibly a week. Father delivered batteries to homes on a weekly basis; much like a paper route today.

In front of the store were two Texaco gasoline pumps. One was painted red and sported the Texaco star globe on top. The other was silver and the big globe read - Fire Chief.

I recall father arguing with the Texaco salesman who objected to a Gulf oil tank between the pumps. It seems Gulf oil gave a better profit margin than Texaco oil. Dad gave the salesman an ultimatum to match the Gulf price, but he never did.

The principal of the elementary school brought in two tires one day. He had bought them elsewhere and wanted them mounted on rims. He returned hours later and screamed because they had not yet been mounted. He hollered so loud he couldn't hear mother's explanation, so, she rolled his tires out into the street. He was still hollering as he chased after the tires.

My fears of school the next day did not materialize. God generally answered my prayers.

I entered school at the age of six in the first grade on the advice of the family doctor. I never attended kindergarten. Was I a problem child? I certainly didn't think so, but no one ever asked me. I do know I wet the bed till I was ten. Try as I may and faced with threats of all kinds, I could not help myself. The doctor said it was not unusual and that I would outgrow it. He was right

It was in first grade I had my first exposure to romance - not with a peer pupil, but with my teacher, Miss Gile. I can still remember her most beautiful features and manner with which she seemed to hypnotize the class. Throughout school I had many fine teachers, but none ever equaled Miss Gile.

My mother had a very strong maternalistic attitude of protection toward me and I played the game of mom against pop. Mom might have finished elementary school before going to work in a cigar factory. My father had graduated from The Christian Brothers Academy in Albany which gave him a greater appreciation of education. When my school marks were faltering and my father strongly reprimanded me, my mother would interfere.

As a result I would be off the hook so to speak. My education was mediocre at best, with no real understanding of the wonderful doors that could be unlocked through college.

My three great talents became art, mechanical drawing and technical writing, but these flowers didn't blossom till my much later years

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