As I Remember, Chapter 19

This entry is part 19 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 19

      Before fruit harvest time in the fall of 1945, we moved into our new building. Dewey’s Box Factory at little rock. We bought a nice little home in Emmett and moved in. Everything was going great. There were lots of orders coming in and we were making lots of money.

      Then come another memorable day, Sept.2, 1945. The United States dropped the first atom bomb. Soon that long terrible war would come to an end.

      Then along toward spring, one cold, dark night, the box factory caught on fire and burned down. Only cinder brick walls were left standing. All the saws and everything was burned beyond repair. We had taken out some insurance on the building but not nearly enough for us to rebuild. Dell and I were both out of a job and had to figure out something. Close to the main box factory, we had built another building, a cabinet shop. It had not burned. After cleaning up the mess, we decided to see what we could do in there. We had small saws, shaper jointers, sanders and a lot more things. This had been more or less, our play house. In this we went to work.

      We built knotty pine furniture. Our best sellers was a hope chest and a gun cabinet. We built a lot of them. But we were hardly making enough money to survive. Dell was a very ambitious guy. Always dreamed of making millions. And Lillian was just like him in that way. She loved that money. One day, Dell said to me; “We got to do something. Every day we are going behind.” Finally we come up with what sounded like a great idea. Turn this cabinet shop into a night club. Everywhere they were opening up and doing a big business. This is how they operated. In Idaho at that time, liquor could be bought only at State owned liquor stores. Selling it by the drink, was illegal. To get around this, you formed a corporation. For members only. The member would bring in their own bottle and you mixed their drinks and charged for the service. Of course if the guy’s bottle went dry, you could always pour him one out of your own. Dell really went for this idea. “Why don’t we open up two of them.” he said. “You run one and I will run the other.” We decided to do just that. We would call them PINK ELEPHANT. No. 1 and 2. This location was ten miles west of Emmett, the other one should be the other side of town. We bought a lot out beyond the cemetery and started building. We would build the thing where it could easily be transformed into a regular house. Just in case something happened.

      Then we had our grand opening. The one at Little Rock was first. The other one would open a week later. That was one hectic night. One that I will never forget. There was hundreds of people showed up that night. We couldn’t get them all in the building. Among them, was a group of trouble makers. Toughs, that worked at the Emmett sawmill. They decided to wreck the place. One of them kicked a hole in the wall. Another, upset a table covered with drinks. We threw out the trouble makers. Then outside, all hell broke loose. A big fight started. Women were screaming. We run everyone out of the building and locked the doors. The big concrete slab where the box factory had been was in a turmoil. A regular mad house.

      There was a light switch on the pole that had the yard light on it. I decided to turn that light out. Put them in the dark. I opened the door and made a run for it. But I had not been quick enough. A man in front of me, come stumbling backwards and landed on the back of his head on that concrete slab. It sounded like dropping a ripe watermelon. Several women screamed. Inside of a minute, the place was vacant. Cars pulling out in every direction. Dell and I picked the guy up and rushed him to the hospital in Emmett. He was pronounced dead when we arrived.

      So our career as night club operators lasted exactly one night. We never opened again and the other one, we began changing it into a house the very next day. We had all of this that we wanted. I made a deal with brother Dell. He would keep the house, I would take the club house at Little Rock. I bought ten acres of ground down close to New Plymouth and moved it down there. I remodeled it and it turned out to be a nice place. One that we would move into later.

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