Farmers and Merchants Bank at the corner of Sprigg and Good Hope, with its strong brick walls and huge columns, looked like a bank should look. Dad had an office for his construction company on the second floor of the building, and we always thought it was neat that we had a key to the front door of the place.
My first savings account was in that bank. I was really disappointed that it didn’t look like Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin. And, I was even more disappointed when I found out that they didn’t keep all the money I gave them in a separate place so I’d get back the same coins I gave them. When I got my paper route at 12, Dad set up a checking account for me, and I wrote checks from that day on. I carried a copy of my birth certificate for ID.
Like Cher is Cher, Dutch was just Dutch
The fellow sitting in front of the bank is Dutch, a laborer who worked for Dad. Long before Britney and Paris and Cher and the other one-name celebs, Dutch was Dutch. I know he HAD a last name, but he was always just Dutch. Now that I think of it, most of the core workers were one-namers. There was Sylvester the mechanic, Fred (Robinson) the heavy equipment operator, Doc the carpenter and Dutch and Peewee, the laborers.
I’m not sure where he and Dad hooked up, but he’d keep Dutch on the payroll well into the winter, after all the construction jobs had wrapped up for the season. He gave him his own hammer and his own shovel, and you’d have thought they were gold-plated.
Dad didn’t like union jobs
Dad generally didn’t like to bid on union jobs. He had no patience with all the jurisdictional stuff that went along with them. “If I truck a dragline to a union jobsite,” he griped one day, “I have to have a Teamster drive the truck. When it gets there, I have to have a laborer lay down timbers to back the dragline off the truck; I have to have a union crane operator run the dragline and an “oiler” who stands around in case it needs any kind of maintenance. If I’m in a non-union area, I can get by with two men – one if he’s really good.”
Anyway, Dad came home from work one day really ticked off. “Some union carpenter threatened to shut down the whole job because he caught a laborer – Dutch – carrying a hammer on his belt. When I told Dutch he was going to have to take it off, I thought the man would start crying.”