The Log of “Jason” Glasscock
of His Voyage of Search
for the Golden Fleece
part 5

by Wilmer Newton Glasscock

Jan 1878 - May 1966

 

TUESDAY, May 1, 1934

  I see now why the New York Times is reputed to be the best newspaper in the United States. All of the important news seems to be there from all around the world. There is an entire absence of “slant” and propaganda. The write-ups are ample and complete and studied. The editor adds, in some instances, explanatory paragraphs and references to previous events. One recognizes them as editorial additions for the reader’s information. And so on. It is a satisfaction to read the Times

    The Jonathan Club was established in Los Angeles following the presidential elections of 1894, named after Jonathan Trumbull, confidant and advisor to George Washington. It is one of the most prestigious social clubs in the United States.

  I arrive at Mr. March’s office, via the subway, at 9:48, but he is in an official conference and does not get to me until 11:00. He is a white-haired, simple, amiable gentleman. He said, “Let me see, what was the name of the officer of the Pioneer who came to see me a few years ago -- a promoter type of man?” (“Goodness me, there is something wrong here. What is the answer?” I think to myself. “I know of no Pioneer officer who has been in New York during the fast few years, and none of them can be called ‘a promoter type of man’.”) Then a ray of light comes, and I ask, “Could it have been the Security Title Insurance and Guarantee Company? It could not have been our Company.” He presses a button and says to his secretary, “Please bring me the Security Title Insurance and Guarantee Company file.” He looks through it and begins to talk, “That’s right, it was the Security, and it was back in 1928. They were expanding their business, and he came to see me and made a lot of promises of the wonderful service his company would give. We did give them the business in one county -- Riverside, I think. But I did not think too much of them on the whole. Here’s his name; it was Lackey.” I told him I had never heard of him. He stated he understood he did not stay with them long. Then he read me two letters, about which he chuckled, trying to honor him with a non-resident membership in the Johnathan Club. He had replied that he had never been in California and did not know that he would be, and would have no use for a membership in the Johnathan Club. He added, however, that he and Mrs. March did go out the next year because their boy had gone into scenario writing for the movies and they went out to visit him. They had a good time, but never thought of the Johnathan Club. I told him it was a very nice club. He responded in a manner to indicate that he had resented the obvious effort to get at him on his social side for business purposes. (It is something to remember that if one undertakes to “cultivate” another, he should develop skill and finesse for the task before he begins.)

  I had a real friendly and nice visit with Mr. March. He said we were handling their business quite all right, and added, “If you were not, we would tell you.” He referred to California as being the “most title companied State in the Union,” and mentioned Stuart O’Melveney in a friendly way. He worked out directions for me to get over to the Standard Statistics office by the subway. Then we chatted a bit about a thing or two, and I departed. I was able to let him lead the conversation and fit myself into his “line,” which is always an advantage.

    The Standard Statistics Company combined with Poor's Publishig Company in 1941 to form Standard & Poors. .

  At the Standard Statistics Company I first meet Mr. Crane, who outlines to me the scope of their organization and something as to how they function. He takes me to their library (it fills a very large room), and tells me they examine and clip 300 daily publications and 200 others which are printed weekly or monthly, and have assembled here the periodical reports of the corporations whose stock is ordinarily dealt in openly, whether on the stock exchanges or otherwise. We see Mr. Shaw, who is the editor of their principal weekly report of a general nature. It is certainly interesting to talk with these men who know so much and have such a fine facility in expressing their ideas. I may be from the sticks, but I feel comfortable with them. They offer to arrange to get me into the visitors’ gallery at the Stock Exchange, but I explain that my time is short and there is something else I would rather do. What I have in mind to do is to get back into the part of the city where the Communists and Socialists are having their parades. I want to see for myself, and if there is going to by any rioting I want to be there to see that too. So I “subway” back to a certain place and come up out of the burrow and look around. I take my bearings and walk over to Broadway and turn to the right

  Sure enough, there is the parade. I push my way through the crowd so I can see better. They are nearly all what we call “foreigners,” and those I see are more than half Jews. Perhaps they appeared so because the first I saw were garment workers. They were shouting and raising their banners and placards up and down to attract attention. The strictly Jewish groups had banners with lettering in both English and Yiddish. There were dozens and dozens of different groups from different industries. Those groups which were labeled as “Unemployed” did stir my sympathy. Then there was a group of small children singing words to the tune of “John Brown’s Body.” I could not make out whom they were going to hang on the sour apple tree. But they were shouting it out lustily under the leadership of a man who kept them in line. The parade moved slowly because it moved with the traffic, and had to stop whenever the lights changed against them. A large contingent of police officers kept the parade going smoothly. The crowds on the sidewalk were quiet, and outnumbered the marchers several to one. I saw no indication from the onlookers of either sympathy or disapproval. I noticed bits of torn paper fluttering down from some high buildings. That used to be the way New Yorkers celebrated a parade. Now there is a law against it because of the expense of cleaning up. I saw one long strip of bath room paper floating down. Some very thoughtless person must have done it, for this is no time to start a fight.

  I went on and walked around through Macy’s great Department Store. It was like the Christmas rush at Harris’. Next day I read the merchants were complaining about the parade being permitted because the jam outside hurt their business! Macy’s sells for cash, and advertises, “When you see a garment marked Macy’s, you know it is paid for.”

  I deliberately allowed the subway train to carry me off in another direction so as to come up out of the gopher hole and look around. It proved to be 72nd and Broadway. There are no really tall buildings here. It looks like they were neighborhood businesses (for New York). I go down in the hole again, and come up at 50th Street. Even though the hotel is on 50th Street, it is quite a walk from here. So I fix my eye on the Rockefeller Center, which I identify by the “Radio City” sign, and start.

  My train leaves at 5:30 Eastern Daylight Saving time, or 4:30 Eastern Standard time. I rest awhile in my room, finish reading the morning paper and leave, thanking the lady floor clerk and telling her how surprised and pleased I have been. She’s Irish and enjoys the talk, and says they are trying to make the new hotel as much as possible like the old Waldorf in hospitality. There is plenty of time, so I decide to walk the twenty long blocks to the station.

  On Madison Avenue and on another street I run into the parade again. I cannot tell whether one or the other is communist or socialist. The two groups are at loggerheads, and are holding separate meetings, one at Union Square and the other at Madison Square. There are bands playing snappy military tunes, and men, women, and children are stepping lively. I remember they have been going for hours too. Here are Poles, and next Estonians, and Lithuanians, and Czecho-slovakians. Now comes a band playing the stirring French national anthem. That is a wonderful tune. It will make anybody move. Here is a small group carrying a card reading, “Support the Chinese Soviet Republic.” There is not a Chinaman among them.

  But I go on, moving and stopping at the signals, and come to the railroad station. There is half an hour yet, so I walk on for three blocks more. I find myself in the wholesale fur district. The places are mostly small, and the sorting is all done (in the small places especially) in the front window. The furs have already been processed and dyed and “doctored.” I watch the handling of the furs in several places. Evidently the men are sorting and classifying lots. All of them look alike to me, but the men will feel and rub them and lay them one by one in separate piles.

  When I go toward the great lobby in the depot I see swinging doors opening and shutting as people go through them. I have the faintest possible suggestion that there is something different about the action of the doors. I approach and just as I react to the thought of putting out my hand to push, “click,” and the door snaps open, holds, and when I am through, “click,” and it closes. I look about, and cannot see anyone operating them. I look at the door again and see people going through both ways. Here are small iron guard rails to guide people toward the door aright to avoid congestion, -- Ah Ha! Hawkshaw solves the problem! There are “electric eyes,” one a light and the other dark on the metal standards supporting the guard rails. Of course! The electric ray from the photoelectric cell on one side shines or is projected across to the other side. When any object is interposed the mechanism which depends upon this ray instantly reacts in a certain way, and door opens and is held open until the object passes through and cuts off the ray on the other side of the door, which caused the mechanism to react the other way, and the door is instantly closed. I did it again to verify my memory of the process, and thus added something more to my education.

  Crossing New Jersey and Delaware too, revealed to me how it happened that the term “Jersey mosquito” originated. There are innumerable small swamps all over the [two] States. Doubtless there are rock or other impervious strata near the surface in this [part of the] country, and there must be some sound reason why either they cannot be drained or draining them is unprofitable. The soil looks very poor to me, for the most part. The natural trees show it. A storm some time ago has uprooted a noticeable number of trees all along the trip, and no tap root appears.

  Back in Washington at 8:30 in the evening, and I find the package from the office, mailed last Saturday, containing the copies of articles, by-laws and resolutions. Perhaps the statements of earnings and expenses for the past five years will be here tomorrow.


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May 2-3, 1934

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