Friday, August 28, 2009

Kennedy and the Royal Family

The Eastpointer

Kennedy and the Royal Family

By Richard E. Noble

One of my more successful and I assume politically active customers came bursting into my shop over in Carrabelle this one fine morning. He stormed up to my ice cream case and began yelling at me and jabbing his finger out in my direction.
“Did you see the news last night?”
“I think so. But I don’t remember anything extraordinary happening.”
“Oh you didn’t! You didn’t happen to notice that a U. S. Navy Destroyer was out there roaming off the coast of New England looking for one of them Kennedys!”
John F. Kennedy’s son had crashed his small plane into the Atlantic and they had been searching for him or any survivors.
“Oh yeah, I saw something about that. Did they find anybody?”
“Who cares?”
“Well, I don’t know. I would imagine that probably many people do. He was kind of a famous guy.”
“And if you or I crashed out there do you think that they would have sent a destroyer looking for us?”
“Well, my guess would be that the destroyer, if there was one out there, just happened to be in the immediate vicinity. I can’t imagine that there would have been any need to send a destroyer on that particular mission. There is plenty of Coast Guard and that sort of stuff that get paid to do that.”
“You don’t!”
“No I don’t.”
“Well, they did!”
“Okay, so what?”
“So what? Do you know how much fuel a destroyer burns per mile out there in the ocean? Do you know what it costs to send a destroyer out there hunting for some useless Kennedy?”
“This is all very interesting but why are you yelling at me? My name ain’t Kennedy. My name won’t be in the will of any Kennedy either. I never even met a Kennedy. There were no Kennedys living next to me in my slum tenement house up in Lawrence, Mass. either.”
“Yeah but you’re a Yankee.”
“If you are referring to the Civil War, I wasn’t there; my daddy wasn’t there and my grandparents weren’t there. All my ancestors were over in Europe somewhere digging up black potatoes or starving some place else. And if you are an American Indian, I’d like to clear the record right now - none of my family had anything to do with it. I never even saw a buffalo never mind kill one. All those typhoid fever infected blankets that you guys bought? None of my ancestors had anything to do with it. I heard it was the British.”
“Yeah, but you’re from Massachusetts ain’t ya?”
“I was raised in Massachusetts.”
“There you go!”
“There ya go what?”
“You’re one of them Liberals. You think them Kennedys are America’s Royal Family. Well, we don’t have no Royal families here in this country.”
I don’t remember how I got out of this conversation but I do remember that the guy went on and on and on. And long after that event I still remember his face and how angry he was.
What I can’t figure is what the Kennedys did that caused this man to harbor such hatred.
Joe Kennedy who all the Conservatives seem to hate committed the grave sin of somehow amassing as much money as many of their “kind.” He did it in the most evil way too. When all the rich WASPs were selling out America during the Depression, he was buying everything up. When they were all swindling everybody on the stock market, he swindled them and made bunches. He made a fortune saving the famous Yellow Cab Taxi Company from a plot on the part of the big boys to do them in. He even got hired by President Roosevelt to patch up all the loopholes and dirty tricks that it had taken others so long to incorporate. He later claimed that patching up the stock market was his greatest act of patriotism. Unfortunately, recent conservative dominated administrations removed all of Joe Kennedy’s “patches.”
He then went down into the Irish slums and ghettoes and opened up a bank whose policy it was to loan money to his fellow Irishmen.” It is in banking that his wife Rose claimed that Joe made the really big money.
But then that upstart SOB got one of his war hero sons elected president of the United State of America. Another of his sons died in a plane crash while serving in the Air force. I’ve read one book that alleged that he may have been on a dangerous, secret mission and his plane exploded prematurely and he was killed. Joe also had a daughter who was killed in an accident in Europe around the same time.
But have no fear some wacko blew his son John’s brains out in Dallas, Texas.
Not too long after that another nut cake killed another of his boys in the back of some restaurant.
And now the son of the assassinated president crashes in the Atlantic Ocean and is missing and this guy in my little shop is POed at anybody in America who he thinks might have even the remotest association with the Kennedy family.
What is that?
Honestly, I felt very badly when John F. Kennedy Jr. died in that tragic accident. I never gave the destroyer a second thought - maybe I should have. I don’t know. I really and honestly wish that nobody had to die - even Republicans – well … maybe “some” Republicans … Well, ah, certainly there is one Republican here and there that God in his infinite mercy might chose to salvage. I suppose anything is possible when it comes to the mind and infinite mercy of God.

Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are two books written by Richard E. Noble. They are now both available on If you would like to stock any of my 6 books in your store or business, e-mail me at for discounts and special offers.
The Hobo Philosopher

Joseph P. Kennedy

By Richard E. Noble

As Albert Einstein exemplified, perspective is a fascinating phenomenon. Being raised in the greater Boston, Massachusetts area maybe I can present a slightly different picture of that big S.O.B., Joseph P. Kennedy. My oral and street education went something like this.
Joseph P. Kennedy was the product of poor, Irish-immigrant, Catholic heritage. The Irish were basic European waste matter. “Send in the Irish”, was the typical British, military chant whenever they had a situation that required a waste of human life.
In the pre-civil war days of the U.S., the Irish were used where slave owners feared to tread. An Irishmen’s life at ten cents a day was a much better buy than a black slave who may have cost his owner five hundred to fifteen hundred dollars.
With this as his background, Joseph P. Kennedy committed the gravest of sins. He became one of the richest men in America. And how did he do that?
Well, for one thing, it seems that during the Depression when all of the established White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Republicans were selling out the U. S. as fast as they could, shipping $100,000 in gold bars alone, out of the country each week; that S.O.B., Kennedy, was risking every penny he had buying up abandoned America as fast as he could. He bought closed factories, and discontinued breweries (alcohol, an Irish Catholic traditional beverage that he knew would never die) and everything else that he could get his hands on. He became so knowledgeable of the stock market and all of its shenanigans that he was hired by the Yellow Cab Company to save their butt. He locked himself in a room with a bank of telephones and a bunch of ticker tape machines and by out-playing all the little rich boys at their own game he saved the Yellow Cab Company and the jobs of their thousands of workers.
He went on to volunteer to patch up the loopholes in the stock market for F.D.R. An act that surely didn’t please a whole lot of the little, rich boys who made their fortunes wallowing in those holes, but a job that has been successful up and until this new age of international and domestic swindling. Joe considered this act for F.D.R. his greatest act of patriotism.
After that the big S.O.B. opened up his own neighborhood bank, and loaned money out to poor Irishmen who would never have got a dime elsewhere to buy homes, businesses and barrooms all over the area.
His bank prospered and grew and he became one of the super wealthy.
He then went on to inspire his children with the malicious notion that this was the greatest country in the world, where even poor, dumb, maligned, drunken Irishmen could become rich and famous.
Two of these children died in World War II, one in a fighter plane and one by accident. Two of his other boys grew up to have their heads blown off by ungrateful, jealous Americans because of the Kennedy boys attempts to make their country a better place for all peoples to live.
There was a time in America when Joseph P. Kennedy would have been considered an American Hero.
So much for perspective, hey?

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer. He has published 6 books. Contact him at for information concerning sales, discounts and special offers.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A Memoir

By Richard E. Noble

The phone rang in our little kitchen. We lived in a tiny apartment in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I spent the first twenty seven years of my life there. It was a mill town with layer after layer of blue collar tenement houses. My mother rarely answered the phone. It was usually never for her but someone calling for one of us kids. We all rushed to her side, ready to grab the phone when she said for whom the call was actually intended. But we were all stopped short, as she hung onto the receiver and began to speak;
“Yes, I know who you are, Bobby. Yes, I know that it is your brother, John, who is running for president.”
“What the ...? Who are you talking to Ma?”
“She’s talking to Bobby; you know Johnny’s brother.” We all laughed, as she went on as if she were talking to one of our school chums.
“Yes, I realize that tomorrow is Election Day ... Oh yes, I certainly intend to vote for your brother. I understand ... Yes, I certainly will ... I will ... I will! I’m going to be there the first thing in the morning. I wish you and your brother the best of luck ... Oh, don’t you worry Bobby; you have my vote.”
Bobby Kennedy had called our house the night before his brother was elected President of the United States.
J.F.K was one of us.
An Irish Catholic, Massachusetts boy, was going for the presidency. This was as close to home as it could get; our little State, our maligned faith, our dumpy neighborhood, our blue collar apartment in the inner-city slum, and our telephone. It was unbelievable. My mother was talking to Bobby about the election; my mother who was probably the least political person that I have ever known. But, that next morning she donned her winter coat and hat and went prancing off with her pocketbook hanging on her arm. I ran out on the porch. I didn’t know whether to cheer, applaud or what. She looked like a miniature Eleanor Roosevelt parading down Chelmsford Street to the corner where they were all lined up at the voting station.
She had received her orders and was marching to her destiny which was to personally elect John F. Kennedy president. And she did it. It was the closest election of the twentieth century thus far.
Johnny won by slightly more than 100,000 votes. He was the youngest man yet to be elected president - the first Catholic president. And though I was just slightly too young to vote for him myself, he was my president also.
He was the president of all the young people. He was as sharp as a tack. He knew his ABC’s. He had all the answers. The press was no match for him. He was smarter than they were. He smiled, had a huge grin and told jokes about his dad and his wife and brothers and sisters. He was a big tease, just like your older brother, or your own dad. He was a hero during the War. I went to see the movie PT-109 at the local movie theater. I bought his book, “Profiles in Courage”. I still have a copy. It was a real book.
“Profiles in Courage” was no political biography book about how I was born in a log cabin. It was not about himself. It was about men in history who had acted courageously, even if it meant their political careers. John F. Kennedy was more than another pretty face.
“Profiles in Courage” was a book about ideals, about principles. It became a TV series. I can remember lying on the parlor floor with my head up against a hassock watching this week’s excerpt with the whole family. At the end of each episode there was somebody crediting John F. Kennedy, and some bit of his personal idealistic inspiration. If I’m not mistaken, he introduced the show, or signed it off - or something.
John F. Kennedy, the War Hero, who had saved his buddies; the intellectual and Harvard graduate, the Journalist, the TV show writer, the first Catholic president, the youngest elected president, the family man with a picture book wife and regular kids hiding under his desk at the White House, the little rich boy who had a feeling for the working stiff. John F. Kennedy, the man who was going to bring peace to the world at last.
By the time I got to college everybody was enrolling in the Kennedy Army for Peace. They called it the Peace Corps. They say that it was really Hubert Humphrey’s idea, but it was Kennedy who pushed and promoted it. Every student that I talked to was joining the Peace Corps. They were all making me feel guilty and hypocritical. Finally we had a president who stopped the tradition of talking about peace while making war; a president who was going to turn it all upside-down. He was going to actively make peace and try to keep the war mongers talking. The whole world got his message and everybody was cheering - except the Russians and Fidel Castro.
Then suddenly it was eyeball to eyeball. The end of the world was on the horizon. But this was O.K. It was all for one and one for all. It was no pull-a-name-out-of-a-hat deal. If we were going to die, we were all going to die at once - BOOM! And who gives a damn. It was a relief. No more hiding under the desks, or looking for a designated bomb shelter, or storing up supplies in the cellar, or contemplating a slow death by some kind of horrid radiation poisoning. If the world really couldn’t be saved, then let’s end it, once and for all. We would prove T. S. Eliot wrong. The world wouldn’t end with a whimper but a BANG! We finally got this chicken-chicken stuff over with. Khrushchev pushed, and Kennedy pushed back - the Cuban Missile Crisis.
When it was over Khrushchev had blinked. Russian ships were on the TV loading up their ships and heading home with their bombs and missiles. Kennedy had stood up to the bullies and they were tucking their missiles between their legs and heading back to their own school yard. If there was anybody who doubted Kennedy’s policy at that time, I don’t remember that they had time to voice their opinion. The missiles were there; we were on the brink of destruction, and then it was over. It was scary, but we all went through it together - holding our breath.
I have heard many say that Kennedy did it all wrong, we should have invaded Cuba and put Castro to rest. But information from the Russian Archives has since proved that Mister Kennedy and his brother were more than correct. The Russians had tactical nuclear weapons on Cuban soil and submarines off the East Coast of the U.S. with orders to fire if the U.S. had attacked. And due to problems in the Russian communications system the order to retaliate had been given by Khrushchev and couldn’t have been changed in time to stay a holocaust. The East Coast of the United States from Washington D.C. to Tampa Florida would have been gone - along with a heck of a lot more. The incident scared the heck out of both Kennedy and Khrushchev and they consequently had the infamous hot lines installed.
But, Kennedy was a president to whom the presidency wasn’t the culmination of his life and career. He was too young. He was just starting. He was going to really be something special. He would write history or be a movie star, or teach at Harvard. The presidency was just a stop on his way to bigger and better things and everybody knew it.
I was in my college History class at Northern Essex Community College. It was a renovated Haverhill grammar school. It cost me one hundred and fifty bucks a semester. I had a 1946 Desoto, fluid drive that had to be jump-started every day. I parked it on a hill outside the school and everybody watched and laughed each day as, my buddies and I, all pushed it down the hill to get it rolling and then jumped in when I popped it to a start. It was bright yellow, and we called it the Banana Boat. A phrase made popular a few years earlier by Harry Belafonte. This new junior college and the state-wide junior college program was one of Kennedy’s new ideas. A kid of my Class, and my finances, and my academic background had very little hope of getting a college education.
A young office worker stepped into our classroom, unannounced. He walked up to the teacher’s desk and handed him a piece of paper. The teacher read the note, silently. Then he looked up at the class, and spoke:
“The president of the United States has just been shot in Dallas, Texas. The class is dismissed.”
A boy in the back of the class jumped up and started mumbling something about his tuition and that he was paying that teacher’s salary and he wanted the class to continue. The teacher repeated; “Class dismissed.” Then he turned and started gathering things up from his desk. The mouthy boy kept grumbling. He grumbled all the way down the corridor and out into the school yard. In a matter of seconds he had a crowd around him and was in a fist fight.
In the cellar of the grammar school we had a small make-shift cafeteria. It was just vending machines, a small bookstore and a couple of TV’s. We were glued to the TV’s. The girls were all in tears and sobbing. Their eyes were all wet and raw and their noses red from the constant use of tissues and table napkins.
My father had died suddenly and without warning a few years earlier. This assassination was the exact same experience all over again. Once again I was waiting for the doctors to announce that everything would be all right and that he would live, but just as with my dad, this wasn’t to be the case.
I was stunned in the same way as I had been with my dad when they announced that the president was dead. But, I was steeled to the concept of death now. I had no tears. I had no whys. Death has no explanation. The Nation would go on as it did after Lincoln, after Garrison, after McKinley. It would go on as it has after all the different presidents who had been killed or who had died in office. We had a system, and the system would go on; just as my life had gone on after my father’s death. Just as everyone’s life continues and goes on after the death of any loved one. You have no choice.
But a lot of dreams would now die and be forgotten.
At my father’s funeral, they kept saying; - He was so young - and I thought, silently; does death have an age limit? Is anyone too young or not old enough to die? Hardly. Here was the hope of the world and he had just had his head blown off in Dallas, Texas.
Watching the funeral on the TV was tragic. Little John-John being prodded forward by his mother and saluting the coffin; the horse with no rider; the hauntingly slow, and penetrating cadence of the drums - a whole nation in mourning. The memories of those days never seem to die.
Maybe they’re not supposed to.
John F. Kennedy holds the unique distinction of being the only president to be assassinated more than once.
He was first assassinated on November 22, 1963 when he had his head blown off in Dallas, Texas. Since that initial assassination, John F. Kennedy has been slowly assassinated, day by day, by the written word in newspapers, periodicals, books, and documentary films in what seems to me to be an attempt to prove to us, the American people, that John F. Kennedy was such a terrible man that he really deserved to be killed in the first place.
I view this with the same attitude that I have learned to view rape. It doesn’t matter if she looks like a whore, acts like a whore, or even if she is a whore, no man has the right to take her without her voluntary consent.
Somebody murdered a president of this United States, and not only got away with it, but has since convinced us Americans that it doesn’t even matter.
John F. Kennedy, no matter what his character faults, did not deserve to be murdered. He may have been an S.O.B., but, as someone has said before me, he was our S.O.B. And if our government knows what happened, it is time that we were informed and the information, at least, made available to our historians. I feel that I have a right to know the truth before I die. The time is here.
The suspects in the murder of J.F.K. include nearly everyone. The only prominent person or group not yet accused of the crime, I think, is the Pope.
Things we know: The Warren Commission Report was a blatant cover-up. The autopsy was fudged. There was more than one gunman. It now seems that there were so many bullets fired, one wonders how innocent by-standers weren’t hit - Oswald’s nest, the grassy knoll on the right; the grassy knoll on the left; somewhere from the front; somewhere from the back; from the sewers. Assassins seem to have been all over the place. Shoplifters got better police protection than Oswald received walking up that ramp to his death at the hands of Jack Ruby. Who are they kidding!
To me, one thing does seem to be certain here. A whole bunch of prominent people have been lying on this matter. Why?
Americans have the right to know their own history. Open up all this secret stuff and, at least, let the academics in. Most everybody involved is probably dead by now. It won’t change anything, but it should be important to a people who keep making claim to be living in - the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hobo Philosopher

My Health Care Question

By Richard Edward Noble

Today we have a National Debt of approximately 12 trillion dollars. Nearly 80% of that debt has been created by Republican Conservatives administrations. Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 and their administrations are responsible for 9 trillion of our present 12 trillion dollar national debt.
Ronald Reagan in his tenure in office created more debt for Americans than all of the previous presidents of the United States of America – from George Washington to Jimmy Carter - combined. That includes Wilson and World War I, Roosevelt and World War II, Johnson and Nixon and Viet Nam. And Reagan manufactured this spending without a war of any necessity or consequence as an excuse. Reagan sponsored the greatest peace time military spending build up in all of American history
From an historical point most Americans agree, right and left, that our Great Depression which started in 1929 was cured by super massive government spending after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Massive wartime government spending in previously unheard of amounts was the cure for the depression not the problem.
When World War II ended, War time government spending was continued as a stimulus to counter the inevitable post-war recession. It was called the Cold War. More massive government spending was then added via the much praised Marshall Plan for the re-building of Europe and the generous GI veteran’s bill. These government spending programs are offered today as the causes for continued prosperity and the establishment of the middle class in the USA.
After this we had another massive military spending bill called the interstate highway system. This was proposed as a military necessity by President Eisenhower. This was followed by our Moon-walk program designed to counter the advancing Russians and Sputnik. All these massive government expenditures were not tabulated as costs but investments in American progress, safety, technology and well being.
At this moment our Military budget constitutes 55% of our national spending bill. We spend more on war promotion and prevention than all the other nations of the world combined. When asked about the massive government spending on our two most recent wars George W. Bush stated that spending on war did not cost Americans but put dollars into Americans pockets by creating and maintaining good paying jobs and viable industries.
My question is, if it is government spending on military endeavors that cured the depression, prevented the post World War II recession, improved technology and acted as a viable stimulus to job creation and in consequence - future tax revenues, why isn’t similar spending in the health and care of the American people just as viable an investment? Why do we not look at spending on Health Care as an investment in America’s security and progress rather than a cost? If war and war spending, even in times of peace with all of its destruction and waste, can be considered positive investments, why not health care – and as with war why not health care at whatever the cost? Certainly the American people will benefit more directly and more positively from a massive, investment in health care than could be possible from any similar inevitable and acknowledged destructive and wasteful war time expenditure. Why don’t we simply consider the health of the American people and their children a military investment and a National Security issue in the protection of America and the American people? After all we can hardly advance the cause of any future wars with an unhealthy population of young sickly soldiers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lawrence – My Hometown

Dr. Shea and Miss McPhee

By Richard E. Noble

Dr. Shea and Miss McPhee’s sojourns to St. Rita’s School house on the corner of Arlington and Hampshire Streets constituted the bulk of my medical care as a child. It really seems shocking to me today when I observe my nieces and nephews caring for their kids – and themselves. I would have considered my nieces and their children all to be little sissies. I learned that going to the doctor, any doctor, was a sign of weakness.
I was able to get passed Miss McPhee and her eye charts right up until the eighth grade. I would memorize what the kids in front of me were saying. I thought of the whole event as a sort of game. It was me against Miss McPhee. The last thing my mother needed to hear was that she had to buy another of her kids an expensive pair of glasses.
I really thought the eye chart thing was a joke. Were these other kids really seeing anything more than a big E? Some of them had to be seeing something. Certainly everybody was seeing more than I was seeing. But who cared? I had no intention of reading any dumb books anyway.
The eighth grade nun kept setting traps for me. First trick she pulled on me was to have me stand up in front of the whole class and read some scrawl she had written on the blackboard at the front of the room. What blackboard? Was she kidding me? I always sat in the last seat in a back row. All the girls and the teacher’s pets sat up front.
When she found that I couldn’t read any of the scribbles that she wrote on the blackboard, she ordered me to sit in the first seat in the first row. Oh man was that embarrassing. All the girls in the class giggled.
Her next trick was to make me read out loud to the whole class. When she saw that my face was so close to the page that I could turn the pages with my nose, she asked for my mother’s telephone number. I told her that we didn’t have a phone. She gave me a note to give to my mother. I knew that one – the note went right into the sewer on the way home. Next she asked me to tell my mother that she wanted to have a talk with her. Yeah right!
When she finally asked why my mother hadn’t come down to see her, I made up this story. “My mother says that she pays good money here to have you people take care of things. If she has to come down here every five minutes for one thing or another she wants her money back.” I made this statement in the classroom and all the other kids laughed. The nun then turned my case over to Miss McPhee.
I considered Miss McPhee to be like a junior warden supervising the St. Rita’s Penitentiary. She gave me an individual eye test – just me. I couldn’t see squat but I had the eye chart lines memorized. I rattled them off one after another. They were all wrong. Miss McPhee had switched charts on me. What a sneak!
Miss McPhee actually came to my house on 32 Chelmsford St. and told my mother that I needed glasses.
I got the glasses but I didn’t wear them. The eighth grade nun forced me stand up in front of the whole class and put them on. I was of the opinion that “real boys” didn’t wear glasses.
The glasses really improved my basketball game though. That net actually had a rim holding it up. Wow!
Then came physical examination day. The girls got the day off. All us boys lined up in the corridors and stripped down to our jockey shorts. Imagine a whole school full of almost naked boys, all nervous and sweaty. This was probably the first time ever that any of us had our clothes off in front of a woman other than our mothers. If I close my eyes and concentrate, the pungent odor that permeated those hallowed corridors returns to fill my nasal passages. Its memory is almost as repugnant to me as the odor of the corned beef and boiled cabbage that filled my apartment hallway on St. Paddy’s Day. Whoa, barf city! Being a combination of Polish and Irish, I was boiled-cabbaged to death.
When we got to Dr. Shea and Miss McPhee we had to do a number of stupid things. Like stand on one leg, touch our toes, and touch our noses with our eyes closed. Then we each had to kneel on a chair. Miss McPhee stuck her finger in our jockey shorts waist band and instructed us to lean backwards as far as we could. When we did Dr. Shea took a sneak peek at our dingies – Miss McPhee got a free shot also.
When I talked to some of the other boys later, they all felt the same way. Dr. Shea and Miss McPhee must have been some kind of perverts. Why else would they be sneaking peeks at all our dingies? And these people were supposed to be professionals – a doctor and a nurse for god’s sake. It was difficult to believe.
Today my attitude has matured somewhat. Nobody was charged for any of those health exams. I have no doubt that Dr. Shea and Miss McPhee received no hazardous duty pay for any of this business. Of course, in those days, the good nuns received no wages either. It seems ludicrous that my mother complained to me constantly about the cost of sending me to a “private” Catholic School. Dr. Shea and Miss McPhee must have been some very special people – not to mention the dedication of all those nuns. It should go without saying that I no longer think of either of them as “perverts.”

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on He can be contacted at Noble Publishing for bookstore discounts and volume sales.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lawrence - My Hometown

Route 1

By Richard E. Noble

For a time back in the 60s Route 1 became the place to go for laughs, entertainment, and the mingling of the potentially mature of both sexes.
Route 1 was a long row of eateries and nightclubs. Clubs like the Flamingo, the Wigwam, and Lennie’s on the Turnpike were broken up by restaurants like the Kowloon Chinese restaurant, the Hilltop Steakhouse and the Ship. And in between those places were auto repair shacks, truck stops, diners, trailer parks and junk yards. Restaurants and nightclubs went in and out of business. There seemed to be a new and different hotspot opening every other month – and it was the same with the restaurants.
Jack Sheehy, Frank Dutchnowski and I would wander around from club to club looking for love in all the wrong places until finally we would get weary – or hungry. Most often we got hungry. Nothing peaks a man’s appetite like a hundred and forty-six bottles of Black Horse Ale or three hundred gin and tonics. Consequently we would then go wandering up and down Route 1 hunting that “new dining experience.” We were of a similar mind and most often our quest ended at a diner or some greasy spoon type joint. But every now and then we would flip out – mostly at Duchy’s instigation. He was always searching for that unusual dining experience or that unforgettable once in a lifetime happening. He would leave no rock unturned, no door closed, and no passing female untormented.
At this point in our evening we had tormented enough females to call it a weekend and we - or should I say, Dutch - was into meeting the most exotic “food” dish of his life. He wanted to go “upscale.” He was tired of all the hunchback diner type waiting staffs and the gum-chewing, plastic bracelet waitresses. He wanted to go where the “rich” people go.
Jack was always rather indifferent to Duchy’s extravagancies. “You know,” he would say. “A chicken is a damn chicken. You can have a $1.95 piece of chicken or a $14.95 piece of chicken.”
One weekend the Three Stooges went to Chinatown in New York City. In the middle of Chinatown we went into a Chinese restaurant – of all places. Dutch and I ordered two unknown never experienced before Moo Moo Cow Pies and then came Jack.
“You got any American chicken in this joint?”
Jack had been somewhat turned off by all the unrefrigerated “Chinese” chickens dangling in the fresh air out on the sidewalks and in all the Chinese grocery store windows up and down the streets of Chinatown.
“American Chicken? What you mean American Chicken?” responded the frustrated Chinese waiter.
“I mean American chicken – you know raised here in America?”
“All our chicken waised in America. Eb-bee-ting here waised in America.”
“Could you go to the kitchen and get an American chicken that I can look at?”
“No lookie … you order or you get out … We American and we sell American chicken.”
“Okay, okay … don’t get your chopsticks all bent out of shape. I’ll have an American Chicken sandwich with extra mayo, light on the lettuce, hold the tomato, and I want that on American white bread, no butter. You got Wonder bread?”
“No Wonder bread. We got American white bread - no Wonder bread. You want Wonder bread get the hell out of here and go get Wonder bread.”
“No Wonder bread … can you believe this place?”
At the World’s Fair, Expo, in Montreal Canada in 1967 at the restaurant inside the Japanese Pavilion John Robert Michael McSheehy Sr. ordered the Pearl Harbor Special.
“What you talkee about? Dare no Pearl Harbor Special on dis menu?”
“I know, I know … surprise me. Give me anything that wouldn’t be considered poisonous in America, okay?”
I think Jack was the original model for the movie the Ugly American. But as hard as this is to believe Jack was the John Wayne, the Quiet Man of the group. He was very Garry Cooper-like. He didn’t say or do a whole lot but when he did, it was usually serious and often difficult for the average bystander to grasp fully. Of course, Dutch and I sat like mannequins. We always figured Jack spoke so infrequently that when he did, the moment should be honored. When Jack spoke … Jack spoke – and that was it.
So there we are wandering up and down Route 1 looking for Dutch’s new “dining experience.” Suddenly there it was. It looked like a mirage, something out of the Arabian Nights … or the Italian Nights or the Greek Nights. We pulled into the parking lot. It was snowing. It had been snowing lightly but now it was starting to accumulate. Jack parked his used, green, Ford Valiant with the large dent in the driver’s side door and the plastic statue of St. Christopher on the dashboard, between a Lincoln Continental and a fire-engine red Corvette and we went hustling up to the ornate, Ali Baba-like entrance. This was a real fancy joint.
“The chicken in this joint is probably $18.95,” Jack suggested.
We stepped inside the lobby and began stamping our feet on the royal blue carpet and dusting the snow off our Eisenhower style wool lined windbreakers. Dutch was just about to pull off his knitted black winter cap. His mother knitted it and Dutch liked it because when it got really cold he could roll it down to cover his ears. But before he even removed his cap or wiped his runny nose, the maitre d’ in his tuxedo with the frilly white, lacy cuffs sticking out of the sleeves was on top of us. He was a little guy obviously suffering from a Napoleon Complex. He rushed over to us and very aggressively grabbed onto Dutch’s arm and started ushering him to the exit.
“This place is not for you gentlemen,” our little friend remarked sarcastically rounding the three of us up like cattle. “There’s a nice ‘diner’ up the road that you guys would really like a lot better – lots of baked beans and greasy fried potatoes. This way ‘boys’.”
Dutch was suddenly inspired by the little man in the tuxedo. Without any hesitation, he removed the man’s hand from his arm and as he straightened his wool cap and wiped his runny nose on the sleeve of his jacket, announced.
“We ain’t here to eat, pally. We are here to get a couch. There it is right over there – that purple one with all the roses on it. You guys are six months behind on your payments for that couch. We’re here from the furniture company. They can’t wait any longer.” There was a fancy couch sitting in front of the receiving desk. There was another fellow in a tuxedo taking reservations over the telephone. “Let’s get it Ralphie,” Dutch instructed while looking towards me.
“Well, okay Alice,” I said to Dutch. And the two of us went over and each grabbed an end of the couch.
The little tuxedo ran up to the big tuxedo and the two of them began whispering to one another. The big tuxedo began dialing his phone like a mad man. The little guy didn’t know what to do.
We were half the distance to the entrance (and/or exit), with the couch in hand, when the little guy came running to Duchy’s side. “Hey guys give us a break. This is the weekend. We’ll straighten it out Monday.”
“Yeah, the boss said you said that last time. This time he told us not to accept any excuses. The couch is going back. You can call Monday and cry on his shoulder. But we got to get going. We’ve got two more stops before we can bring the truck back to the garage. The snow is already piling up. We got to get moving.”
At this point what appeared to be the entire kitchen staff, complete with cutlery and other weapons came strutting menacingly into the lobby led by the large tuxedo. Dutch and I had the fancy couch almost outside the glass French style door entrance. Jack had anticipated the eventual outcome of Dutch’s strategy and the get-a-way Valiant was puffing smoke a few feet away. We dropped the couch and jammed it against the doors from the street side. As the cutlery crew pushed and shoved at the blocked entrance, we hopped into the Valiant and Jack slipped and slid out of the parking area.
We decided that it would be wiser to proceed toward home and evacuate Route 1 as quickly as possible.
We stopped for chow at the Danvers’ Diner. We all had bacon and eggs, greasy fried potatoes and lots of Boston baked beans. Jack always put ketchup on his baked beans and Dutch liked to mix everything together like it was a stew or something. I liked everything in its own place and I got my beans on the side – no ketchup. I hate it when the beans touch the bacon or the egg yoke gets onto my greasy fried potatoes. It makes me want to gag.
And that little guy in the tux back at Abracadabra’s restaurant thought we had no class. I hope that we were a lesson to him – never judge a book by its cover or underestimate the ingenuity of three guys in windbreakers and one guy in his mother knitted wool cap that could be pulled down over his ears when it gets really cold.

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on He can be contacted at for bookstore discounts and volume sales.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Hobo Philosopher

One Nation - divisible!

By Richard E. Noble

An event took place in this century that represented one of the largest population movements in recorded history. It happened in India. For years (maybe decades or centuries) men like Mahatma Gandhi tried to unite the Muslim and the Hindu populations of India. But other of his countrymen claimed that this was impossible. They claimed that the Hindu and the Muslim populations were of different philosophies and maintained different customs and literature. These separatists advocated a partition.
They recommended that a portion of India, what is now known as Pakistan, become a separate Muslim state. On July 18, 1947 the arrangement was finalized and 14 to 20 million people found themselves in the wrong country. In consequence they packed their bags, loaded their families onto their carts or just walked east or west depending on whether they were Muslim or Hindu. Gandhi was shot to death by a fellow Hindu, Nathuram Godse, for his attempts to negotiate a compromise to the partition
I think it is time here in the United States for a similar partition. Our country is irreversibly divided by two uncompromising "religious" sects - the Republicans and the Democrats. Like all religions both the Republicans and the Democrats each have their dogmas, their traditions, their mythologies, and their unsubstantiated suspicions. All of which provide them with their uncompromising, and self-assured faith.
I have nothing against Republicans or Democrats but it is clear to me that they are incapable of ruling cooperatively. Neither group gets along entirely with their own members, but when placed against their opposition they become vicious and belligerent. It is only a matter of time before the slaughter begins.
Republicans and Democrats are of two totally different philosophies. They have different literature, different history books, different TV stations, and different and totally opposed solutions to every problem. It does not matter how big or how small the problem is the Democrats disagree with the Republicans and vise-versa.
Republicans write history books of The United States of America that do not even resemble the history books written by the Democrats. Their presentations of the daily news are totally different. If you watch the Republican news media you will have one view of what is happening and if you watch the Democratic news you will find the opposite. In the middle we have generic journalism and the generic news media. They do their best to be sensational, but non- educational.
On a personal and individual level, Republicans and Democrats do not communicate - even if they are members of the same family. If a brother or son is a Republican and you are a Democrat you talk about baseball, football or golf. Unless you are innately belligerent you do not talk politics. You might go so far as to tell your sibling or relative who you intend to vote for just to be annoying. Being annoying to one another is a part of the basic sibling rivalry or family tradition in the Hank Williams Jr. sense. Democrats speak openly only to other Democrats and Republicans do likewise. Both groups all speak out publicly hoping that there are some potential initiates out there who are neither Republican nor Democrats. This is considered missionary work or evangelizing. They are hoping to "baptize" the young, inexperienced, or uninformed and have them born anew via an epiphany. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are foolish enough to attempt to convert one another - they know better.
Republicans believe that Democrats are evil, pernicious, treasonous, and threatening to their security and their lives. The Democrats feel likewise about Republicans.
The two parties have not truly compromised on anything for decades. One of the two parties must be in complete control for anything to be accomplished. If the two parties are equally represented we have "gridlock". Gridlock is a recent term that means - nothing is accomplished. When something is accomplished within a period of gridlock, it is usually less than nothing.
What is even worse is the fact that whatever party does manage to gain control, the other party then seeks to undermine everything the party in power is attempting to accomplish.
When one party gains control and does manage to make some changes that are satisfactory to their principles, the opposition party regains control and then proceeds to dismantle all the gains made by their opponents. Consequently America is going nowhere and has been going nowhere for quite some time.
I suggest that the Republicans go west and the Democrats go east or vise-versa. Everybody can temporarily cash out of all their properties and possessions via a federal escrow program. When they get to their new promised land they can all cash in their vouchers and settle in. We will call ourselves East America and West America.
We were once upset when poor Germany had an East Germany and a West Germany that was divided by a wall, but we have obviously gotten over our aversion to dividing walls. I see no big problem today with an East and West America.
Can you imagine the joy, peace, happiness and contentment that you would experience if you lived in a neighborhood that was entirely made up of Democrats - or Republicans!

Hobo-ing America and A Summer with Charlie are books written by Richard E. Noble. They are available on along with several other books written by the same author. For volume discounts or special sales contact

Will the real American Nazi Party Please stand up?

Prescott Bush

“The American Axis” by Max Wallace

[The following is an excerpt taken from “The American Axis” by Max Wallace pp 349-350. I found this book researching my personal investigation into who financed Adolf Hitler]

“… One of the partners of the Union Banking Corporation, the man who oversaw all investments on behalf of the Nazi-affiliated owners, happened to be Prescott Bush, grandfather of the American president George W. Bush. Through the connections of his father-in-law, Bert Walker (George W’s maternal great-grandfather), who has been described by a U.S. Justice Department investigator as “one of Hitler’s most powerful financial supporters in the United States,” Prescott Bush specialized in managing the investments for a number of German companies, many with extensive Nazi ties. These included the North American operations of another Nazi front, the Hamburg Amerika Line, which was directly linked to a network set up by IG Farben to smuggle agents, money and propaganda from Germany. According to a 1934 Congressional investigation, the Hamburg Amerika Line “subsidized a wide range of pro-Nazi propaganda efforts both in Germany and the United States.” Both Walker and Bush were directors of a holding company, the Harriman Fifteen Corporation, that directly financed the line.
“Shortly before the government seized the assets of the Union Banking Corporation, in fact, it had also seized American-held assets of the Hamburg-Amerika Line under the Trading with the Enemy Act. A few weeks after the government seized Bush’s shares in Union Banking, it seized the assets of three other Nazi front companies whose investments were handled by Bush – the Holland-American Trading Corporation, the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, and the Silesian-American Corporation. The paper trail indicated the bulk of Prescott Bush’s financial empire was being operated on behalf of Nazi Germany.
“According to former United States Justice Department Nazi war crimes investigator John Loftus, who has investigated the Bush family’s considerable ties to the Third Reich, Prescott Bush’s investment prowess helped make millions of dollars for various Nazi-front holding companies, and he was well paid for his efforts. ‘The Bush family fortune that helped put two family members in the White House can be traced directly to the Third Reich,’ says Loftus, who is currently president of the Florida Holocaust museum.
“In his own investigation, Loftus discovered a disturbing trail connecting the Bush family’s money laundering efforts to the Thyssens and their role in building up the Nazi war machine. He believes these connections deserve more scrutiny: ‘There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet, and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered about the Bush family’s complicity.
“Fortunately for Bush, who was later elected a United States senator, his name never surfaced in the news when his Union Banking shares were seized by the U.S. government. The only media reference related to the seizure was a brief 1944 item in the New York Times announcing that ‘The Union Banking Corporation, 39 Broadway, New York, has received authority to change its principal place of business to 120 Broadway. The article neglected to point out that the company’s assets had been seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act or that 120 Broadway was the address of the U.S. Alien Property Custodian. If the news had been publicized, it might well have derailed Bush’s political career as well as the future presidential aspirations of both his son and grandson. According to Loftus, however, the potential scandal did affect the short term career plans of Prescott’s eldest son, George Herbert Walker Bush.
“As the government investigation into Prescott’s Nazi dealings heated up, Loftus reveals, the eighteen-year-old Bush abandoned his plans to enter Yale and enlisted instead in the U.S. Army in an attempt to ‘save the family honor’. Meanwhile, Prescott Bush, in an effort to avoid potential government prosecution, volunteered to spy for the OSS, precursor of the U.S Central Intelligence Agency. These efforts at cleansing his Nazi ties appear to have been successful. He was never indicted. In 1951, Union Banking assets valued at $1.5 million were released back to the Bush family.

[Go to Google search and punch in Prescott Bush for more information on this subject.]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The National Debt

With a “Noble” Solution

Richard E. Noble

A few presidents ago the National Debt was the most pressing thing that our political leaders and political hopefuls had on their minds. Ronald Reagan in his campaign for the presidency in 1980 told us all about a stack of dollar bills stretching from the planet earth to the moon. This stack of paper money was to represent the one trillion dollar mark in our advance to national bankruptcy. Our National Debt had not yet reached this benchmark in fiscal irresponsibility and Ronald Reagan was to be our knight in shining economic armor who would stop this catastrophe from happening.
Today this stack of dollar bills is probably bumping up against the planet Pluto but we hardly hear a murmur of the once prophesied impending catastrophe. I wonder why? Was the National Debt not really a legitimate problem? Was the Great Communicator merely communicating greatly or grandiosely? What the heck is the National Debt anyway?
The National Debt is the total amount that the government currently owes from all of its past borrowing. I guess that we could safely say that it is the mortgage that our governments, past and present, have borrowed on the United States of America. A budget deficit, on the other hand, is the amount by which expenditures exceed receipts in a single year. Today there is a simple way for the lay person to distinguish between these two things - the deficit is tabulated in Billions and the National Debt is now tabulated in Trillions.
In the two hundred years B.R. (before Ronald Reagan) the entire accumulated debt of all of our previous presidents amounted to 909.1 Billion dollars. So B.R., our country’s National Debt had not yet reached one trillion dollars - that stack of dollar bills had not yet reached the moon. Now, remember, that figure included all the debt accumulated from George Washington through Jimmy Carter. That 909.1 Billion dollars included all the monies borrowed for the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
By the time that Ronald Reagan left office in 1988 the National Debt was 2,601.3 Billion or 2.6 Trillion. In just eight years Ronald Reagan had more than doubled what all the previous presidents from Washington through Carter had accumulated in the prior 200 years.
Okay, let’s give Ronnie a break. Let’s kick it up a notch. Let’s go to George H. W. Bush - Number Forty-One, as he is so lovingly referred to today.
Number Forty-One is the Yale graduate who accused Ronald Reagan of advocating Voodoo economics. By the time Number Forty-One left office in 1992 the National Debt was 4,002.1 Billion or approx. 4.0 Trillion dollars. If Ronald Reagan was practicing Voodoo, one must hesitate to ask what Number Forty One’s economic principles were based on. And, you know, these presidents today have a Council of Economic Advisers. The only problem with the Council of Economic Advisers is that when a Council member disagrees with the president or speaks out publicly against a president’s economic policy, he suddenly finds himself in search of a new Council to counsel.
But this is all beginning to sound like Republican bashing. Let’s go to B. J. Clinton. In my neighborhood B. J. stood for something other than Billy Jefferson, but we won’t get into that. So B. J. came into office in 1992 and by the time that he left, the National Debt was 5,606.1 Billion or 5.6 Trillion dollars. So Reagan gave us 2.6 Trillion, Number Forty-One gave us 4.0 Trillion, and B. J. gave us 5.6 Trillion.
Everyone says that what B. J. accomplished was good. Well, when it is compared to what Ronnie and Number Forty-One did, I suppose? Sounds to me like saying; Well, my Grandfather was hanged, my Daddy got the electric chair and now I’m serving life in prison. Guess that I am doing better than they did, huh? - I suppose, but most of us wouldn’t consider life in prison all that much of an accomplishment.
Today we have Bush Number Forty-Three.
Number Forty-Three has the debt up to somewhere between 7 and 8 Trillion. It is estimated that by the time that Number Forty-Three leaves office the National Debt will be somewhere around 10 Trillion dollars - give or take a Trillion. Like some famous politician once said; “A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking some real money.” Billions no longer matter, it’s trillions now.
So there you go. And what does this all mean? I was listening to one economist on the TV the other day and he said;
“Economically, we are like the man who just jumped off the top of a one hundred storey building. The falling man passes the eightieth storey and a guy sticks his head out of a window and screams to the falling man; ‘How’s everything going?’
‘Everything is O.K. so far,’ the falling man replies.”
But, let’s not be pessimistic about this - you know - is the glass half-empty or is it half-full. Let us be “half-full” about all of this. It does no good to be half-empty because we are a lot worse off than half-empty. If we were only half-empty that would mean that we would still have something in our glass. At 10 Trillion dollars in debt we don’t even have a glass anymore. But whatever - let’s be positive.
Some politicians claim that the National Debt doesn’t really matter because it is money that we owe to ourselves. So even when the federal government just pays the interest on the National Debt it is infusing dollars into our economy - like giving a tax cut to the rich. But since Reagan, unfortunately, this is no longer true.
Before Reagan our government’s borrowing was financed by Americans. After Reagan our National Debt became so enormous that Americans didn’t have enough money to finance the Government’s borrowing - so we borrowed from foreign countries. Or would it be more economic to say that we sold our debt to foreign countries. In other words, we sold the mortgage, or foreigners bought our mortgage. Now countries like Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, the U.K etc. own a good part of our mortgage. If in the last few decades, it has appeared to you that your government has been acting like a foreign country, this may be a part of the reason.
But certainly, one day, we will pay off this mortgage and the American people will once again own their country?
This does not even seem to be in the realm of possibility. Politicians talk of balancing the budget as they did in the year 1999 for the first time in many decades. By the way, this supposed surplus that we had, momentarily, was only accomplished by pilfering money from the Social Security Trust Fund. Excess monies had been accumulated in the Social Security Trust Fund because of an increase in the Social Security tax in 1983. An increase was mandated to compensate for the baby boomers. From that year on, the Social Security had a surplus but everybody from Reagan to Clinton used the Social Security surpluses for other general fund spending purposes.
Balancing the budget - or having a year in which the government does not produce a deficit by spending more money than it receives - only manages to pay the interest on the National Debt. A balanced budget pays nothing on the principal or the debt itself. In order to pay down the debt itself, the government must create a surplus - spend less money than what it takes in every year. And then use those surplus monies to buy back Debt (treasury bonds).
Is this a possibility? Seems not. I have never heard a politician in my lifetime talk of paying down the principal on the National Debt. The political answer to the National Debt seems to be like our policy towards gays in the military - don’t ask; don’t tell.
So, I was thinking, why don’t we sell all of our mortgage to foreign countries and then claim bankruptcy. The only way these countries could get their money is if they have a bigger army than ours.
Or maybe these foreign countries who own our debt would forgive our debt like the World Bank sometimes does for under-developed countries - or like we did after World War II for a number of countries. But, of course, this is all ridiculous - we’re the richest country in the world, remember? Well, if we are the richest country in the world, why don’t we just pay everybody off?
Because we don’t have the money. So we are the richest country in the world but we don’t have the money to pay our debts - our mortgage anyway. I have many friends who are rich in a similar manner. How can we be rich and, at the same time, be the biggest debtor nation in the world? Are we rich, or aren’t we?
But don’t despair, I have more realistic solutions to this problem than depending on the charity of the rest of the world. I wouldn’t expect or hold my hope out for a European Marshall Plan for the U.S.A. either folks. My solutions are dynamic and they don’t involve raising taxes.
Today we have approximately 200 million working people, or tax paying people in America. These 200 million people pay about 1.2 trillion dollars in taxes each year. If we can increase the working population of the United States about 10 times its present number and we tax them all at the present rate, we would have a national income of 10 or 11 trillion a year. So then, if we could get our government to put one trillion aside each year, we could pay off the National Debt in about 10 or 11 years. I admit, this solution has its problems but, come on - is the glass half-empty or is it half-full? This would take care of any Social Security short fall also, I might add.
My second idea is even better. We don’t need any new taxes or new workers. This idea is a classic.
We simply continue with Number Forty-Three’s borrow and spend policies. As all of us economists know this can do nothing but increase the rate of inflation - but that’s good. If we can get the inflation rate to rise faster than the rate at which Number Forty-Three and his successors can borrow, one day we will have more pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on them than we have debt to pay.
This is that same idea that they told you about a few years ago. Remember they said; Buy yourself a big house that you can barely afford now, and pay off your balloon mortgage – twenty years later - with cheap, inflated money from your naturally escalating high paying job.
The Germans tried this print-more-money idea after World War I. It worked real well. They had a few minor problems. Like trying to figure out how many wheelbarrows full of paper money it would take to buy a loaf of bread. But so what, I mean, look at Germany today? They’re doing all right.
So there you go - is the glass half-empty or is it half-full. What me worry? Just call me Alfred E. Newman. To tell you the truth when I look at the past illegal immigration rate and the true rate of inflation over the last few decades, I think that my two suggestions are the government’s plan - or has been anyway. In 1974 I bought a Chevy van for $3,400, today a similar van sells for $34,000. I think that the inflation rate has been somewhat greater than the presently claimed 2.2%.
My advise to the next two generations of Americans is - buy wheelbarrows.
I have one other idea.
When the government spends more than it collects every year - it borrows. It prints up Treasury Notes and Bonds etc. Then it has the Federal Reserve - its personal banker - sell them to Americans and foreigner investors and foreign countries, at a specified interest rate. This is what makes our National Debt. This puts the government in a catch-22 situation. It can’t raise taxes - nobody likes that. It can’t charge tariffs on products coming into the country and put the cost of our government onto foreign countries and foreign manufactures. It could do this, especially when one considers that we now import 80% of what is sold here domestically - but it can’t, because we believe in “free trade”. Besides, most of our imports are from American based companies who went over seas to avoid paying taxes and hire cheaper labor in the fist place. Raising tariff rates would spoil their whole plan. So then how else could the government earn some money to pay its bills?
It could rent out rooms at the White House - but that is how we finance our political campaigns. So what can the government do?
Well, how about just printing up so much money every year and buying back some reasonable portion of our debt, without going through the debt making process of selling Treasury Notes, Bonds and Bills etc. via the Federal Reserve?
The first thing that everybody yells and screams about this idea is that it is inflationary. Yeah? And borrowing and creating more debt via the Federal Reserve and selling our country to China is better and un-inflationary? I suggest that we pass a law allowing only a certain percentage to be printed up in this manner - taking into consideration GNP and Inflation and the predictable population and economic growth.
The second problem with this idea is that it is against the Constitution. Yeah! So who gives a flying flip? This hasn’t stopped the last five or seven administrations from doing anything. Why should it stop us on anything as important as this? Besides, the Constitution on this particular point could very easily be reinterpreted - we wouldn’t even be forced to change anything or seek a Constitutional Amendment.
The next complaint with this idea is that when the American people and the other nations of the world find out about this shenanigans they will lose faith in our government.
I don’t think so - no one understands economics anyway. And if you think that will be the case, don’t tell them. As the debt miraculously goes down gradually every year, just tell everybody that it is because of good business management on the part of that particular administration - cook the books; or just add it to the total of taxes collected, nobody will know the difference; or tell everybody that it is a miracle. Everybody believes in miracles these days. When the press investigates and discovers that what is happening is economically impossible - just lie to them, like we do on everything else. What is the problem here?
As for the American people? What the heck do they care? They’re too busy trying to make a living to start trying to comprehend economics - least of all the Federal Reserve System. And need I point out that at this point in world economics – if the U.S. currency fails – the entire world economy fails. U.S. dollars are now used around the world in place of Gold. The U.S. dollar is today’s gold.
The bottom line is this: Printing money and skipping the Federal Reserve will no doubt create some inflation. But, using that money to buy back Treasury Bonds (Debt.) will be anti-inflationary. On the one hand, we are printing money to put into circulation, but using it to take money out of circulation by reclaiming debt on the other. If it is done properly - with due diligence - the one will cancel out the other and America will one day be debt free and it will cost nobody anything. This will not be a loss or gain - it will simply be a monetary transfer. We will transfer a bunch of one type of paper for another type of paper. If it is done right, nobody will know the difference. And if we want to add an additional check on inflation, when we start buying back our treasury bonds from the Federal Reserve with our “free paper”, temporarily raise the required reserve security demands. In other words, if the banks are required to hold 10% in reserve - raise that requirement to 12% or whatever. Then as time goes on and we see that inflation is under control, lower the requirement.
The last criticism that I can think of is that this idea would be putting trust in our government to do the right thing and keep things under control. In other words, somebody has to be sure that they don’t print up too much money every year. So set up an oversight committee - with the Federal Reserve Board, if that will make you happy. They will not like the basic idea in the first place - but they will just have to deal with it. As it is now, they (the Banks) are the only ones who profit from this National Debt business - so they like it; but if the debt is allowed to continue growing, it will mean possible bankruptcy for them and everybody else. As it is now the only hope for the world economy is continued projected economic growth, coupled with reasonable inflation. Today we have inflation and debt. With this suggestion we will still have the inflation - but we will eliminate the debt. And it is the Debt that will eventually kill us, not the inflation. The world can live with a controlled inflation - it has for centuries. And if this is done correctly we will have no more inflation than what is currently being created. Besides, there aren’t any good choices here; you can trust your government or you can trust the Federal Reserve and the International Banking community.
As I said earlier, facetiously, Germany did this but failed and bankrupted their country after World War I. But the Germans wanted to bankrupt their currency. They didn’t want to pay off their war debts and the smart money wanted to turn the middle class against the occupation government. So they simply printed up paper until it filled wheelbarrows. They did not use due diligence and have proper controls. They didn’t care. What they did was not a accident. It was a planned bankruptcy. You can be sure that the big boys in German currency had all their cash in something other than the Mark. Of course, there is the possibility that our National Debt is also planned. The design of the plan being to keep the general population thinking that they are broke, so that they won’t be suggesting any “free” social programs for the “welfare” state. I mean, you must have noticed that no matter how large the National Debt, we always have enough money for another war.


by Richard E Noble

I’ve lived in the South now for about the last twenty-five years or so. I’ve lived up in ‘Yankee’ territory for an equal number of years. In any case, I don’t ever remember hearing so much talk about Socialism as I have in the last few years. I don’t know if this is a new topic in both the North and the South but, regardless, I find the whole dialogue rather interesting.
I live in Florida - the southern part of Florida, which, as all of us Floridians know, is the northern panhandle. Southern Florida is where all them damn Yankees live. All us rebels are hiding up here in Tallahassee, and Apalachicola. Every time I pick up a newspaper in this neighborhood, somebody is screaming about Socialism. To tell you the truth, I really don’t think that most folks down here know what Socialism actually is. But from what I see in the papers and the letters to the editor, it seems to be something between pagan devil worship and Adolf Hitler. In any case, it is a very bad thing. And I hear about how bad it is from both rich and poor. It is the enemy of freedom. It’s the antithesis of individualism. It’s mediocrity in the work place. It’s ... why it’s ah, prostitution and selling drugs to children; and it is everywhere and it’s right here - right here in this little town where I live in the Florida panhandle.
Boy, this is scary! But when I analyze this little Panhandle community I now call home, I find all this talk somewhat confusing.
I live in what most would call a poor community - traditionally, very poor. Many folks around here are on what they call - disability. From what I can gather, most of them think that getting disability is like getting an inheritance from some long lost relative, or winning the lottery. At best, they think it to be an early age retirement program of some kind. Now I don’t mean to scare all of you folks downtown but that check that you are getting comes from the state. Now don’t run out and tell this to all of your independent Capitalist friends and neighbors, but you are participating in an act of SOCIALISM! (Is that a felony or a misdemeanor?)
Other poor Capitalists in this community, buy their groceries with food stamps, or they used to. That’s a big RED Socialist no no, my good friends.
Like a lot of children in this community, my mother raised me from age thirteen to age eighteen on a widower’s pension. Sorry kids - single mommies and daddies - you’ve just been Socialized! (That’s kind of like getting ‘slimmed’ I think.) Then again, if you are on ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) you didn’t even have to become a widow, or even get married, and you got all of us good capitalists sending money to support you and your little bastards. [Bastard = a child born out of wedlock.] This may sound strange to all of you young women today, but back in the ‘old’ days a woman used to be ashamed to have a baby without first getting married - and married to a MAN. How chauvinistic! Can you imagine? I certainly hope that our society doesn’t regress to such male-dominated, anti-liberated, freedom inhibiting, antiquated standards such as the above ever again.
Interestingly enough, the biggest single employer in this area is the ... government. Nearly anybody who is anybody around "these parts” is a retired General or Admiral from the Military service. Sorry guys and gals but MILITARY (American flags and all) means employed by the state - means salaries coming out of taxpayers dollars. From the good capitalist point of view, your service and wounds all aside, any of us good capitalists would have done whatever it is that you think you did, if we were ‘called’. Even our current president supports that notion. Besides, why do you people all think that you should get a check for the rest of your life for just doing what you were supposed to do in the first place? Yours was not exactly a sacrifice. It was your DUTY, not to mention a steady job and the pay check you got for all those hours of sitting around on your ass and doing nothing in peace time. (Capitalist point of view - not the author’s). What about all of those extra coffee breaks and the free board and room supplied by us ‘capitalist’ taxpayers, for all of those years when nobody was shooting? Talk about sucking the system dry! (PS: that was a conservative talking, not me.) Besides, you certainly couldn’t get more Socialistic than the all-for-one one-for-all military. If it ain’t Socialist, it is outright Communist. You don’t even get your “inalienable” rights when you’re in the Military. They decided that your Constitution and the Military are not compatible. You can’t have a democratic Military, for God’s sake.
The last prominent group here in my little town, are “good old boys” who left the farm, went to the big city, and have since retired from some union job. Well I don’t know if you would call ‘unions’ socialist ... you might like the word communist better. In case you have never noticed, the words worker and capitalist are not exactly synonyms. The whole socialist/communist movement in America was the brainchild of unionism. Workers are supposed to negotiate separately. Ganging up on the boss is not fair. What chance do the poor bosses have? It was the labor unions who were the first to be prosecuted under the anti-monopolistic Sherman Anti-Trust Act - it was not the big business Robber Barons, you know.
Workers joining together for better working conditions and better wages was against the law in this country right up until the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Before that, it was considered a conspiracy in restraint of trade and against the property rights of the bosses. It was unconstitutional.
And I hate to tell you this but “retirement” is no capitalist idea. You can bet your child labor laws that no red-blooded, American capitalist ever thought up the ridiculous idea of starting up a RETIREMENT FUND for lazy employees who think that they are too old to work - not without being pressured in one way or another by some Socialist/Communist union anyway.
What are you people crazy!!? Get your butts off them lawn chairs and get a damn job. As a famous ex-capitalist once said, let me make myself perfectly clear:
If you work for the State - pssstt don’t tell anybody, but you are engaged in a Socialist enterprise. And if you don’t like this arrangement, you can write to your congressman - but don’t mail it, because you certainly wouldn’t want to encourage that Socialistic postal system. Post office ... of the state, by the state and for the state.
If you are retired from some union, you’re not even good enough to be a Socialist, you’re a damn Communist and you know it! Everybody has known for decades that labor unions are Marxist, and that’s even worse than Socialist.
If you are retired from the Military you are just adding insult to injury. You had better just crawl up under your bed, my friend, because there is absolutely nothing democratic about the Marine Corps. As a soldier, not only are you a damn government employee Socialist, but you are also an active member of a right wing, radical, totalitarian organization - that kills people! No doubt about it, when you join the United States Military, you have just moved to another country. A country in which every dictator in the world would feel very much at home.
If you tell the Admiral that you wouldn’t follow his sorry butt to the latrine for fear that he would pee between the urinals, an you find yourself in the hole, or someplace worse, don’t waste your breath screaming about your Constitutional rights, because “they done gone, boy! We don’t have no Constitution he-ahh boy. And we don’t have no IN-DI-VID-U-ALS neither. You get me BOUY!”
If you are one of those who are complaining about living on a fixed income, and you want your COLA’s increased, you had best not fight for the abolition of Socialism here at home, because when they cancel your Socialist Social Security check, you will probably find yourself bagging groceries at your local ‘Hop and Stop’ in your new (bought with your own hard earned damn money) capitalistic, secondhand wheelchair.
Have you been to the hospital recently? Better check your Medicare. Whoops Medicare? Was that a capitalist program started by Henry Ford? You can bet your mass production, assembly line, sixteen hour day that it wasn’t, it isn’t, and it never will be.
You are out of work, and your unemployment checks are running out? Go talk to your Republican (I’m a capitalist) Senator, or Mr. Conservative (buy some bigger boot straps) news commentator, or newspaper editorialist, or rich radio talk show host. Unemployment checks? Why the newspapers are full of jobs. Turn in that Socialist government check and get a damn job. You probably belong to some damn union too. Socialist PIG!!
Speaking of pigs, do you work for the police department? the fire department? the Marine patrol? That’s all state employment. A no-no in a free capitalist society. By the way, do you work for the health department? the driver’s licensing burrow? the DNR?, the IRS? Urban renewal? the environmental protection agency, the J.P.T.A. (that’s Government funded, boys and girls) you’ve just been slimmed.
Did the boss give you a bucket of acid, instead of water and now you are collecting workmen’s compensation? Hang your head, my friend. Turn in that check, and get a job.
You’re receiving a Veteran’s check? A capitalist idea? I think not, Comrade! Turn it in! Get a job!
Your retirement is secure. You’re vested, you say. Another Henry Ford idea? Not hardly - Socialism, good buddy.
Is your book over due at the public library? Do you work at the public library? For God’s sake, become a capitalist and buy your own darn books, will you! Why should good capitalists like us pay out our hard earned dollars for books so that parasites like you can read for free? There is no free lunch, or book of the month, for that matter.
So you have a nephew who is a Forest Ranger? Your cousin works at a National Park - a STATE park? You enjoy having the family reunion at the COUNTY Park. Why don’t you and your Socialist-commie family celebrate in your own damn back yard, like all us good capitalists do. My God!!!
Are you a little behind on your college loan? Did you get your education through the GI bill? Are you in business due to a minority grant? Do you work at the Public Defenders office? Are you a Public Defender? Capitalist idea? In your dreams baby. Late for the PTA meeting at your neighborhood “public” school? Boy who thought up that tax gouger? Not an independent capitalist, that’s for sure.
Your Mom was a school teacher? Did she start her own school, and charge the neighborhood kids, like a good capitalist? Or did she teach at one of those pinko public institutions? I suppose that she belonged to one of those commie teacher’s union and is now retired and receiving her teacher’s pension check ... RIGHT ALONG WITH HER SOCIALIST SECURITY CHECK. Damn, what’s a good capitalist supposed to do?
A COUNTY hospital? Who the Hell is paying for that? State asylums? You have a COUNTY job? You work for the Federal prison system? the STATE prison system? the County jail?
Had your hospital bills paid by an Insurance Company? Work for an Insurance Company? Own an Insurance Company? The very idea of “insurance” is SOCIALIST or Communist inspired. Unions and worker fraternal organizations thought up that one. Today’s independent insurance company thought up how to take the not-for-profit union idea and turn it into billions for themselves. In the Capitalist world everybody takes care of themselves. They don’t “chip in” and share the load like a bunch of old time Communist Christians. Oh Yes, Yes Yes Yes - Christianity, original design’? Pure Communism.
You like the idea, “all for one, and one for all.” That is Socialism, MAN!
Love your neighbor as yourself? Don’t meditate on that too, too long you commie, socialist, pig!
Insurance is Socialist. The Capitalist part comes in when the owner of the insurance company claims bankruptcy, absconds with the employee’s retirement fund, or simply refuses to pay because your claim is too high, or too many of you “poor victims” have all claimed at the same time. That’s called “Laissez Faire”, pursuing one’s personal self-interest, or as any good Capitalist might say; Screw the woman and children, it’s every man for himself.
Had a disaster recently? One of them nice folks from the SBA or FEMA drop by? Give you a little money, did they? You’re employed by the SBA? Come on?! Have a little capitalistic pride. Turn the damn money in, and get a real job, man!
Just retired from running your own business all your life? Going to take your Socialist Security check and move into the government subsidized rent controlled apartment complex?
You know, before ya’ll start screaming “Socialist”, you had best scope out that signature on your own paycheck. It may be that you used to hate them, but now you is them. But please don’t blame me. I went to a for-pay private school to learn all of this, unlike most of you public school commies. And we weren’t chartered, either. You like Charter schools? Slimmed again.
Do we have to count the fact that my mother paid for my private education with her public Socialist Widow’s Pension?...Naa.
Hey, I think I have a new word. If not a pure-capitalist. I'm a rationalized-capitalist. (I certainly wouldn’t want to be an impure-capitalist.) A rationalized Capitalist - that’s kind of like a liberated-housewife, or a Baptist freethinker or a Southern Democrat.
PS: If you are employed by the Federal Reserve you should be intelligent enough to know that you are a Socialist. In fact, if you work in a bank – any bank – you are a Socialist. You are working for a Socialist organization. It is a perverse Socialist organization, I must admit, since only its failures are Socialized – the Savings and Loan fiasco followed by the Commercial banking failure. As long as banks are profitable they keep their profits. It is only when they go under that Socialism takes over. The Banking industry was bailed out by the American Taxpayer in the largest bank Collapse in World history. And they received this kindness with no payback required – no workfare for the wealthy bankers. It’s below their dignity, I suppose.
If you work for an insurance company – large insurance company – you have pretty much the same deal. When the profits are high the Insurance Company keeps them but when they become marginal the State or the Federal Government takes over – that’s us, the taxpayers.
Interesting to note; statistically the great majority of us do not get seriously ill until we reach 65. It is at this age that everybody is turned over to the Government Medicare System. Which means, that when the odds are good and the profits high the “Capitalist” Insurance Companies keep the profits, but when the pay-outs start, us Socialists take over? What a deal! Once again – no paybacks are required. We Socialist pick up the bill for the Insurance companies for free.
Railroads and Airplanes are also federally subsidized, along with farmers, tobacco growers and any large corporation that is deemed as “too big to fail”. We may inherit the entire pension plans of all of America’s past Corporate Giants – Ford, General Motors – whoever decides that they aren’t going to pay in the future.
It is interesting to note that Socialism has always been used to bail out Capitalist failures – the biggest contrived disaster in 1929 - But these Socialist activities are only ridiculed when they go to the poor or the workers, or the population at large. As long as these Socialists practices go to the wealthy, the Corporate Giants – even to the World Bank and the IMF, we hear not a peep from Congress or anybody else for that matter. By the way, when any bank in the WORLD has a problem – you’re going to bail it out, whether you want to or not.
Isn’t it time that us Socialists smartened up? If we are going to bail everybody out, back everybody up, take over their obligations and promises, subsidize, and finance the whole world – even our enemies - why don’t we, the general public, get a piece of the action WHERE’S THE MONEY! Where’s our money.

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and author. He has published 6 books. All his books are available on or can be purchased direct from Noble Publishing. A 40% discount is offered to anyone purchasing 4 or more books - postage paid.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Eastpointer

Welcome to Mississippi

By Richard E. Noble

We were hobo-ing our way through Mississippi. We stopped to enjoy the view from the banks of yet another beautiful Mississippi lake. While we sat on this giant boulder enjoying the scenery and wondering where they ever found a rock this size in Mississippi, a young man pulled up in a dilapidated pickup truck. He grabbed his fishing gear from the bed of his truck and strolled up beside us and started fishing. We chatted for a bit and then decided to hit the road once again. As we walked away the young man said, "Well, welcome to Mississippi. Have yourself a good time here and ya'll come back and see us again sometime."
When we got back to the van, I mumbled to the wife somewhat sarcastically, "Who the heck was that guy - the grandson of the guy who owns Mississippi?"
Being raised in an inner city slum, it would never occur to me to welcome a stranger to my hometown. I certainly would never suggest to anybody that they return. My goodness, that would certainly be adding insult to injury. Nor do I ever remember having the feeling expressed in the song "New York, New York what a wonderful town!" I never felt ownership of my area of the country. This kid in Mississippi felt that he was Mississippi. He was a roving, unappointed ambassador for the State of Mississippi.
In a K-mart parking lot in California, a lady came to her car that was parked next to ours. She smiled at us and said, "I love your orange juice." She had noticed our Florida license plate and felt the need to compliment us on Florida orange juice. I felt like saying, "Yeah, well pick up a gallon on me next time you go to the grocery store. When you get to the cashier, just mention my name – everybody in Florida knows me." What the heck is this lady talking about - she loves my orange juice! Here was another one of those who felt because a person lived someplace, they owned that place.
This nice lady then proceeded to invite us to follow her back to her home where she said that we could camp in her driveway and met the whole family. She explained that she and her family did a lot of camping and traveling and they had always wished that somebody would extend to them such an invitation.
Once again my city slicker background said, Is this broad nuts? We could be Bonnie and Clyde or two serial killers. It also occurred to me that she could be a member of the Manson killer family or one of them people-eating kind. Sure, why don't you join us for supper? Yeah right! Here she is inviting two strangers she just met in a K-mart parking lot to come back to her home and meet her family? What am I missing here?
Next we were at a campground in Michigan. We were cooking our breakfast over a wood fire. A camper who was camped up on a rise above the lake spotted us. He came wandering down to speak with us. He was fascinated by the fact that we were using wood to cook our breakfast. I showed him the bundles of wood that we picked up before leaving any campsite and strapped to our spare tire. We did this to save on Coleman fuel. He thought this was the greatest idea since sliced bread. He left and returned an hour or so later with his wife.
"Hey, hop in the car. We will show you around our town."
We climbed into the back seat of the vehicle and went on a tour of his hometown.
He took us over to see his parents. His mom and dad cooked us all breakfast. Then we went driving all over heck seeing the sights and meeting more of his friends and relatives.
I must admit, I have never felt this sense of ownership anywhere that I have ever lived. I still don't quite understand it but I know I liked the feeling when people bestowed this welcome on me. I remember every instance from my travels where this happened.
As a result of these experiences, every time I now meet a stranger, I become an ambassador. If they are from a foreign country, I welcome them to my country - just like I own the place. If they are from out of state, I welcome them to Florida and wish them an enjoyable stay. If they are from someplace else in the State of Florida, I welcome them to Franklin County and tell them to have fun. I do this not because I now somehow feel that I own America or Florida or Franklin County but simply because I remember the good feeling it gave to me when other people performed this rather strange ritual.
The next time you meet a stranger passing through, try it. Every time I do it I suddenly feel like I am the mayor of America or something. It is strange but, I don't know, it gives me a kick.

Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for 30 years. He has published 6 books. They are all for sale on If you would like to stock his books in your store or business he can be contacted at Noble Publishing offers a 40% discount on the retail price for any purchaser who will by 4 or more books.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Benjamin Harrison 1833-1901

President from 1889-1893

By Richard E. Noble

Benjamin Harrison is a victory for the old politically established, corrupt machine. He lost the popular vote by over a hundred thousand, but by graft and payoffs both in his home state of Indiana and in Grover's happy hunting ground back in New York he pulled out the Electoral College victory.
He is credited as being honest, but inept and without "charm." He hits the presidency on both popular barrels being a Civil War general and a lawyer. In 1862 he rousted up his own army of volunteers and was promptly placed in command as Colonel. By the end of the War he was a Brigadier General. He was a religious fellow. He taught a Bible school for men and was superintendent of a Sunday school. He was considered to be a moderately reasonable Republican, if such a thing is really possible. Tariffs and treasury surpluses were still plaguing the new post Civil War Government. Supporting Tariffs seems to be like being a Communist. At one time or another anyone with a heart, no matter what party, race, color, or creed seemed to be in favor of them. Only the consumer appeared to be universally opposed.
The alleged, corrupted James G. Blaine of New York and the extremely wealthy John Wanamaker of Philadelphia supported Benjamin. Blaine got Secretary of State and Wanamaker became the Postmaster General. Despite Harrison's Campaign promises of Civil Service reform, Wanamaker started firing Democrats. He fired over thirty thousand in the first year. They were all replaced by Republicans.
Harrison reversed Cleveland's Civil War pension ideas. He gave out pension dollars by the millions and passed a law making anyone who had served in the Union Army for ninety days or more, eligible.
Farmers, laborers and immigrants were pretty much ignored while businessmen, railroad tycoons, and industrialist were encouraged. The rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer once again.
A new concept in living was emerging ... the city. The Black Hand of the Mafia appears for the first time. Seven acquitted Mafioso are released and then lynched in New Orleans.
Lynching is rapidly becoming the most popular spectators sport in the South. The Civil War is over, slavery has been abolished, and suddenly nobody is concerned with blacks anymore. Certainly makes one think that the Civil War was a "white thing" doesn’t it?
Benjamin declared war on Chili. What the hell that was all about I have no idea. Queen Liliuokalani started acting up in Hawaii and Stanford Dole calls in the Marines.
The Populist Party appeared and among many other things demanded direct election by the people for Senators, rather than appointment by State Legislatures.
Benjamin capitalized on the "Old Log Cabin" campaign technique of his grandfather William Henry Harrison. It worked.
The Republican Party machine payoffs and train loads of wandering, itinerant fraudulent voters didn't hurt either.
By the time Benjamin left office the Treasury vaults were about empty.
Pensions, payoffs, and money problems over silver and gold continued to cause problems. I don't quite understand it but it seems that there was once a time when silver and gold had something to do with paper currency.
It does make one laugh to see what people in the olden days once concerned themselves with. In any case, by the time Grover Cleveland got back in office, the country is nearly bankrupt. The U.S. Treasury is on empty.
Interestingly enough Republican Herbert Hoover and Republican Ronald Reagan and Republican George Herbert Walker Bush and his son Republican George W. Bush all managed the same economic accomplishment. It does make one curious as to how the Republican Party gained a reputation for fiscal responsibility. My guess is that their personal financial status was in better shape after their “tour of duty” than the treasury of the nation they represented.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Lawrence - My Hometown

Nell’s Variety Store

By Richard E. Noble

Nell’s was one of our corner hangouts. It was a little variety store on the corners of Center and Exchange Streets in North Lawrence. Before it was Nell’s it was Contarino’s. I know because they had a pretty little daughter named Anita. We migrated between Nell’s and Walter’s which was on Center and Spruce Streets.
Nell’s was owned by the Shaheen family. One of their children, Peter, went to school with most of us. George was the dad and Emily was the mom.
It wasn’t until I was an adult and working for a buddy of George, Eddie Solomon, that I found out what a problem our little gang was to poor George and his family business.
Eddie Solomon had a mid-sized grocery store on Broadway. George used to stop in for a little afternoon libation a few times each week. I was a butcher and meat cutter and I was helping Eddie out part-time at his store.
I was really pretty shocked to find out George’s side of the story. Most of us kids thought that we were an asset to Nell’s Variety. After all, didn’t we run to the store to buy bread and milk for mom? Didn’t we contribute to their business buying soda, potato chips, candy bars and the like? Why there were at least 20 to 30 of us guys who hung out at that store on different occasions. We had to provide their little store with a lot of revenue, right?
Well, not really. It seems that we frightened more customers away than what we were worth. Many of George’s friends and relatives were afraid to stop at his store. Ten to twenty kids hanging around the outside of the store was intimidating to most folks. Even the folks who lived in the neighborhood would head to the opposite corner rather than pass through our ranks.
We would be flipping coins up against the wall, or sprawled all over the sidewalk playing poker or forty-fives. We’d sit on people’s steps and even warm up in a tenement hallway on cold winter afternoons. We didn’t think anything about it. We had done it most of our lives. Of course we never hangout in front of our own tenement houses. Our parents wouldn’t tolerate it. You would think that would have given us a little message. But no, it never even entered our minds. And when people in the neighborhood yelled at us or told us to go home, we just ignored them. Our attitude was that they were just grumpy.
George and Emily even moved their store to try to escape us. He rented a store up on the next corner. It was on Lawrence and Exchange Streets across from the Howard playground. When we all came down to the old corner and everything was closed up, we couldn’t figure it. Almost immediately we wandered up to Lawrence Street and started to hangout up there.
As usual the cops arrived on the scene. They always tried to break us up or chase us off. But we were accustomed to that. The cops were like a part of our hanging out tradition. They didn’t make a dent.
Finally instead of trying to chase us off, this one cop pulled up to the Nell’s corner, got out of his cruiser and came over and spoke with a bunch of us. After a long conversation where we supplied all the negative answers to his suggestions, he said, “Why don’t you guys just go across the street and hangout at the Howard playground?” We all snickered. We had been trying to hangout at the Howard for years. The cops had thrown us out time after time. The minute any of the neighbors on Birchwood Road saw us gathering on the wall or up around the baseball dugout, they would be on the phone and the cops would be there in an instant.
“Okay, I am going to give you permission to hangout over at the Howard.”
Was he kidding or what? The chief would have his butt in the office in two minutes.
“Okay,” we all said with a laugh. “We need your name so when the other nine hundred cops come wandering up here, we can tell them that officer so and so gave us permission to hangout at the Howard.”
He told us his name and he wrote it down on a piece of paper. I don’t remember what his name was, but every time another cruiser pulled up to chase us off we would all chant in chorus, “Go see Officer Johnson. He has granted us permission to hangout at this park.”
In the weeks that followed, we saw Officer Johnson many times. When the tenement dwellers and owners on Birchwood Road would call the police station, Officer Johnson would pull up in front of their home. We would watch him knock on their door and step inside their apartment. We couldn’t believe it, but from that time on the Howard was our hangout and George and Nell’s had a corner all to themselves. Officer Johnson even started an inter-corner volleyball tournament, and the gang from the Howard won. We even got our pictures in the Eagle Tribune!

Richard E. Noble was raised in Lawrence, Mass and is now a freelance writer. He has published six books - two of them with Lawrence as their setting, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. A Little Something is a book of poetry much of it inspired by life in Lawrence. Hobo-ing America is a workingman’s tour of the U.S.A and The Eastpointer is selected pieces from his award winning column about life in a sleepy fishing village in the Florida Panhandle. Noble Notes on Famous Folks is his latest production and it contains humorous essays on historical figures from Constantine to Bill Clinton.