The Only Time We Were Robbed
Uploaded by Gotskillz on Jul 04, 2004
THE ONLY TIME WE WERE ROBBED
In my last story, I mentioned that my dad always kept a loaded gun in the store because there were occasional armed robberies in our neighborhood. We were only robbed the one time; but before I tell you about that, I need to tell you about some other stuff, or else you won't know what I'm talking about.
Our side of 51st Street was all small stores and taverns, while the other side was all factories and railroad tracks. The factory that was right across the street from us was called "INTAG", where they did something with steel 55 gallon drums. For some reason, INTAG employed a lot of colored people, even though none of them lived in our neighborhood. Now this was the early 1950's, so civil rights hadn't been invented yet. The colored people in Chicago had a better deal than the colored people in the Deep South, but they weren't nearly as equal as they are today. Many of the businesses in Chicago had a sign on the wall that said; "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone", which was a polite way of saying; "No colored people allowed".
One day, a delegation of colored people came over from INTAG and asked my dad if he would allow them to shop in his store. My father said that, as long as their money was the same color as everybody else's, he didn't have a problem with it. They were real pleased about this because there weren't a lot of places in the neighborhood where they could go for lunch and they were getting tired of baloney sandwiches, which tended to get kind of limp in their lunch boxes since it was very hot in INTAG. They wanted to call my dad "Mr." followed by his last name, but my dad said; "Hell; I ain't no 'Mr.', I'm just Charley the Butcher". As a compromise, they decided to call him "Mr. Charles", which is what they always called him after that.
At first, they just bought lunch meat and bread and took it back to INTAG to make their own sandwiches. After awhile, my mom got the idea that they might want some variety in their diet, so she started cooking up a big roast or ham every day and making up hot sandwiches to go. This was a big hit, and not...