Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It is now spring of 1939. I have traded cars and have gained more knowledge by experience. I bought the car from a loan company and they financed the difference on the trade. The payments were reasonable but after a few payments, I multiplied the payment by the time I found out I was paying 1/3 interest. I paid this off as quick as I could and learned to save my money first, then buy, and if I had to have something I didn't have money for, to do my borrowing at a bank where interest rates were much lower. I was still passing papers around the square and the first thing I did after getting my papers was check the want ads. One afternoon I saw an ad by Clark & Rile, the Buick dealers, wanting someone to wash cars and clean up around the shop and used car building. When I left their paper, I asked about the ad and was told I would have to see Mr. Clark but he was out on the farm. I finished the paper route and went to Mr. Clark's home here in town and waited for him to come home. He came in about sun down. He asked about my experience and wages expected. I told him I would have to give up a $9.00 job and couldn't change jobs for any less. He said he would think about it and let me know the next evening. The next evening he showed me a list of about seventy-five men and boys who had applied, some offering to work for $5.00 a week. I told him I couldn't work for less than I said, and got up to leave.

He said, "Wait a minute! I didn't say I wouldn't hire you. I just wanted to see how you would react. Come to work in the morning."

I heard later he hired me because I was sitting on his front step when he got in from the farm. I had wanted to be an auto mechanic for a long time. My uncle, Harlon Akin, had been a mechanic since I was eight or ten years old and had never missed a days work. This was before the day of the apple tree mechanic and people were starting back to work and making a down payment on an auto with their first paycheck. I saw this job as a door up for me into a secure future. I quit the NYA and was happy with my new job. The mechanics in the shop took a liking to me and soon started giving me small jobs washing parts and disassembling some minor parts. I was soon spending so much time in the shop that the job I was hired to do was falling short. After Mr. Clark coming into the shop several times and taking me off a job in there to clean up a used car, the shop foreman told him he would have to hire another man for his used cars, that he needed me in the shop. I learned the engine and body repair fast and was soon given a job to do without supervision.

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