Saturday, September 20, 2014

My prayers (6)

Things began to settle in - a new apartment, eight ground level units, we attended church occasionally and even felt confident driving the old Packard up to see the grandparents.

And we had added a little brother to the mix.  The girls adored taking care of the baby and when Christmas came along, it seemed that Santa had gone of his way to shower gifts on the youngsters.  I had to wonder about that, but it was easily explained by suggesting Grandma had gone out of her way to bless the children.

Then, the bomb hit.  I got a call at the office that the Police had arrested my wife.  What?  It seemed as though someone had stolen mail out of our neighbors' mail boxes and used the Credit cards to buy Christmas gifts.  There was a signature on the receipts.  It was my wife's.

We found a lawyer who suggested it would be best for her to plead guilty with the probability that the Judge would give her a stiff sentence, but allow her to go free on probation and a warning that if she would commit other similar crimes, she would serve all of the ten years of that sentence.  He was not kidding.  I learned that by showing up in court without a suit jacket (on a very hot day) and he almost ordered me out of the court room.

What was I to do?  I suppose I should have been more curious about the Christmas gifts, but I thought we were doing well, considering all that we had been through - together.

There was a change at the office.  I had been going to lunch with the "brass" - the bosses, and I began to notice, I was no longer being invited.  I had discussed the hospital bills with the Comptroller, hoping he might understand my real needs for a raise.  My boss, my friend, had only ignored my suggestions that I had earned a substantial raise, he claimed it was not his decision, but "management's".  Then, I was chastised for my threats against the hospital without hearing a full explanation.  When they hired an "assistant" I realized my future was no longer as bright as I had imagined.

We had a salesman calling on us asking about the possibilities of our using temporary help when we had needs and he knew me from the past.  I made a proposal to Management to make use of his services that was ignored and so, one day we went to lunch together and he offered me a job, helping him to establish a new office.  It meant a raise and a car.   I took the offer.

It meant moving back to Los Angeles and I learned, there was another baby on the way.  That made the job offer even more interesting as their insurance covered the delivery of children.

The job was in East Los Angeles and our "help" primarily consisted of Hispanics, and a few blacks, most of whom had problems with alcohol.  Most employers were reluctant to even try our service as they had problems with such people, or so they claimed   I made sales and even developed some regular customers, but I could understand the fact that unless we could build more business soon, they could not afford to employ the two of us in that office.  When the President of the company took me to lunch one day, I suggested that they close this office and reassign us to the "clerical" ales office.  He took me to meet their Comptroller and the three of us discussed some ideas that I had to offer and plans they were considering and it appeared we were all thinking along the same lines.

I had placed an executive with a "mail" house that I knew could effectively use temporary help and we had lunch, where he listened to my suggestions and we agreed that he would start using us as long as I was in charge of selecting the people they would use.  That went well and another of the sales people introduced me to a company that constantly, had need for "temporaries" and I made another big sale.  In fact, these two companies started employing more "warm bodies" than the main office was assigning skilled people.  With that, we formed a new company and I thought I would be rewarded by making me the Chief Executive.  I was wrong.  They hired another person who had experience in the the highest levels of the industry.

Meanwhile, at home our second son, our fourth child, was born and we moved to the San Fernando Valley where my wife felt more at home.  And I thought we had made a good deal by agreeing to collect rents for the company that owned the apartment complex where we had moved.  It would help us financially, I thought and once again, I assumed we were doing very well.   Certainly, I was doing well with my employers.

We had opened our own office - away from the downtown "skid row" offices where the competition was concentrated and we were doing very well.  Not only were we taking care of area employers, we had customers as far away as Orange county and we were constantly, profitable.  What could go wrong?

It happened at home, again!   Somewhere in the rent collections, $400 was missing.  It had to be my wife; I seldom collected rents as I was too busy at the office, often working 18-20 hour days.  But if she was guilty, surely the courts would be reminded of her earlier conviction and she would have to serve the original ten years and possibly more, if they were to try her for this loss.  I would like to say I know - or knew, what actually happened, but I decided since they could not prove that I took the money, I would plead guilty and take the focus away from her.  I asked for and received cooperation from the District Attorney's office to investigate the owner's records and we discovered no evidence that either myself or my wife were responsible for the missing money.  I went to trial charged with grand larceny and on the advice of an attorney, asked to be tried by the Judge.  He listened to the plaintiffs, then put me on the stand to be questioned by their attorney.  They did not prove their case. I was acquitted

I might as well have been found guilty as my employer - somehow, came up with the idea of money missing from an area of my responsibility, before my trial - expecting the Judge would hear their claim as well.   He did not, so my employer had me arrested, but again the District Attorney was not interested and the claim was dismissed.  Of course, I was out of a job. 

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