Good Morning Gentle Readers,
Mike, you know how much Japanese love to smoke and cigarettes were hard to come by in camp.
Akira (I called him Ike or Aki) volunteered for several work details, the fruits of which were a pilfered pool table and a pickup loaded down with stolen cartons of smokes. Both came from a lodge near Jellystone that was shuttered for the duration of the war. No gas, no meat, no tires, no customers. Think about that the next time somebody tells you that the war ended the depression.
Ike was pretty good with a wrench and he found gainful employment at S-M-G Garage, 2122 Clark Street, where the back wall was still riddled with bullet holes on account of Moran's Boys being mowed down by gangsters in police uniforms back in 1929. He loved telling that story.
The building met up with the wrecking ball in 1967, but the brick wall was taken apart and stored for a number of years, eventually forming the wall of a men's restroom in George Patey's Roaring Twenties themed nighclub. The club wasn't profitable and when it closed, Mr Patey sold the salvaged bricks for a grand apiece. Legend has it that those pockmarked bricks have brought nothing but heartbreak, financial ruin, death, and all kinda misfortune to those who bought them.
Hope your St Valentine's Day is better than Moran's boys was.
During the course of research for this piece I found Ike's records in the National Archives database. It was a stunning find for me, bringing forth a flood of memories and a profound sense of loss.