You probably have an idea of the picture… My father fancied himself as quite the ladies man, commonly known as a “Player”. My mother was uneducated, innocent, and completely inexperienced and unaware of the ways of the world…in other words naïve and not “street smart”. She was 18 and had the job of running the elevator in the club where my father lived. Back then there were no push button self contained elevators. She manually operated the elevator using a projecting handle located on a round casing that swiveled 180 degrees from the left to the right. The elevator would go up (to the right) and down (to the left). There were two sets of doors. The inside door was a metal folding grate and the outside doors were metal. Both were opened and closed manually. It took lots of practice to learn how to make the elevator stop evenly at each floor….level with the floor…so no one tripped.
My father was 35 and still a bachelor. It surprises me that they would have a female running the elevator in an all men’s club, but they did. This I know because not only did I hear the story from my father, but my mother also verified the same story.
My mother was very attractive and my father liked the ladies! After flirting with her for several weeks when he rode the elevator, he invited her to his room. He said he wanted to “show her something”. She went with him to see what he had. He had bought 3 very expensive dresses…which just happened to be in her size. I don’t know the exact words used, what was said or how he approached the subject, but it was clear that she could have the dresses if she would “date” him.
Our father told the four of us (their children) this story in front of her at my sister’s wedding. She sheepishly acknowledged to all four of us that she really wanted those dresses! I’ll always remember the look on her face, it was just priceless….adorable.
Nine months later, my oldest brother, Jim, was born. My mother was not married and back then such a thing was considered socially deplorable, so she left town to have the baby. She returned to Seattle with Jim and struggled to support and take care of herself and him. When Jim was about 2 he developed Rickets. She then turned to my father for help. He did come to her aid and my brother was nursed back to health. She started seeing him again, off and on.
When Jim was 4, Frankie discovered she was pregnant again. She begged Ralph to marry her but he wasn’t anxious to settle down yet. Somehow she persuaded him and when she was nine months pregnant with my sister, Beverly, they got married. She was 23 and he was 40. One year and one day after Bev was born, she gave birth to my brother, Bill. By this time they were living in a house as a family. This was just the beginning of her problems.