This is just a little tale of a part of my life.
About 1978, after going to school at what was then TSTI in Waco, I returned home, to work for my dads company.
While I was at school, he had hired a manager for the diner we owned. The managers daughter came to visit her dad, her mom and dad where divorced, and one thing lead to another and I ended up in Baton Rouge LA.
After I had went through about $300 of my $700 of cash on hand, I applied for, and was hired by Automatic Music Company in Baton Rouge, for all of $5.25 a hour.
In the 9 months I worked there, my pay was raised to $7.50, which was considered outrageous by my co-workers.
They had us “street mechanics” on a shift work schedule, week one, 8 am until 5 pm in the shop, second week, 8am until 5pm on the street, third week, 2pm until 10pm on the street, fourth week, 5pm until all calls where finished, sometimes as late as 4 am.
Some interesting things happened on the street work.
I went to the Al Green lounge on East Blvd.,(yeah, the singer owned it), where a employee waited to meet me outside and the sign on the door said , “No guns or Knifes allowed.”
There was also all the LSU college bars, the Tigers Lair, the Brass Rail, where a butt naked guy was getting hazed by his fraternity brothers and soccer was being played with a empty beer keg as the ball.
There was also the version of a Louisiana redneck bar, where a drunk lady told me, “if you don’t fix this jukebox, I’m going to squash you behind it.” I did fix it.
Then there was the gay bars, more than one believe it or not, one only a block away from the LA capitol building, where the Village people songs played over and over, at least while I was fixing their machines.
There was also the little truck stop on Airline Hwy, they also had motel rooms, while I was fixing the pinball machine, the owner, I guess, answered the phone, talked, then said… “That damn Cherry, every time she fucks a guy she wants fresh sheets, what makes her so special?” Yeah it was a “cat house”, like the one across the river in Port Allen, that had one one jukebox and 43 walboxes s , one in every room, $2 a hour for the room don’t ya know.
And of course, the little Italian restaurant, I fixed the jukebox and the owner say “Come, set with me, you want something to drink?”
He says to me… “I know you work for the New Orleans family (true, that was who owned AMC), I come from New York, and I am friends with the family there, can I get a newer box?” I passed his request up the chain of command.
When I decided to come back to Texas, my boss in Baton Rouge offered me his job because he was getting promoted to New Orleans.
That was one of those crossroads moments in life. I have wondered more than once, how my life would have been different if I had chosen the other path.
Don’t get me wrong, working for that company, no one did anything illegal, other than do a favor for a Baton Rouge city councilman for a favorable zoning ruling ;).
It was a great time to be a 20 year old, lots of fun, and if I would have taken it, a complete change of my life.