Tags

,

OOMH

My Uncle Albert Hunsaker had sold his share in the railroad as it was going bankrupt, and I didn’t know how he was making a living. He and Mary had gotten a divorce. She and the four children still at home continued to live where they had at Yale, but Albert rented a room in an old boarding house nearby with three other guys. Grandpa had suspected that he was making his living by bootlegging, and mentioned it to me, but we did not really know what he was doing. He had lost his car, so he approached me for a ride. He said he had a job over in Indiana. “Could you take me in your Model A?”

I wondered what kind of job he was talking about, but he had helped me get to my jobs years ago, and he was my uncle, so I decided I could drive him where he needed to go. He loaded my car with his “gear and tools,” he called them, and we took off on Route 40 headed east. Meanwhile the Cumberland County sheriff had caught on to his bootlegging operation and came after him. He kept looking back at the road behind us, so I suspected something was wrong. Suddenly he ordered me to turn off the highway onto a dirt road, and he told me to look for a hiding place for the car and ourselves in a gravel pit that was at the end of that road.

“What’s going on?” I yelled at him. “I’m not going to break any laws,” I insisted, but he informed me that I already had. His “gear” included bootlegged liquor and, whether I liked it or not, I was an accessory, and the law would treat me as guilty as he was. We hid ourselves overnight. During the night, while we hid in the dark and didn’t dare even to light a fire, he told me about various trips he had made in recent years. He had carried liquor and made enough to support himself. Sometimes it was over the Canadian border between Detroit and Windsor. More often he carried between Illinois and a club in Indiana. He worked with people connected to the Chicago crime syndicates and Al Capone. He would be in worse trouble if he did not complete this delivery, so I continued the trip with him, and made it back without any further incident. I informed him that I was never going to do that again. “Don’t even think about asking!” I told him.

Advertisements