So in last week’s post, it seems we missed a few interesting jobs in Bruce’s career. Some of them were random, such as working for Lansing Drop Forge, REO Truck Plant and Cook Coffee.
When Jerry comments that Bruce gained lots of experience from these jobs, Bruce replies, “Well, no one would keep me very long.”
And then there were other jobs that, in retrospect, formed a great plot in the timeline of Bruce’s life and those of his brothers. So from here, we’re going to take the story into a reverse chronology, just like they sometimes do on TV.
Before Bruce began delivering mail for the post office, he delivered milk for Lansing Dairy on N. Cedar Street. He was among the last of the horse-drawn deliverymen.
“My route was between Saginaw and Willow Streets, from Capital Avenue on up to the Beltline,” says Bruce. “We loaded on at 4:30 in the morning, and Bill Roggow, from our neighborhood on Beech Street, worked there also. He and I used to leave the dairy at the same time and race down Shiawassee Street to the (restaurant) so we could have breakfast.”
Jerry wants to know about the accident Bruce had with a milk truck (the truck he drove before he was relegated to the horse-drawn wagon).
“Well, I was just going down a gravel road, a washboard type road. And I was driving a little too fast, and bounced around a little too much off the shoulder of the road, and rolled the truck,” says Bruce. “When I rolled, a bunch of milk bottles broke and I got pieces glass all over my back. And because you rode around in those trucks with the doors open, I got thrown out into a ‘muck’ field. They wouldn’t even put me into a room in the hospital, they left me out in the hall.”
Jerry is a true younger brother and brings up important points that perhaps his brothers “have forgotten.”
He asks, “Duane, you drove a truck at one time too, didn’t you?”
This then, forces Duane to admit that he too once rolled a truck—a gravel truck. Gravel…milk…they’re all a shifty loads, aren’t they?
Jerry says he never tipped over any trucks, but he did run into the side of Benny’s Drive-In on Michigan Avenue with his 1940s Chrysler.
“There would be a carload of us guys and we’d drive around the drive-in and look through the windows to see if there were any girls in there,” says Jerry. “I ran right into the side of the building doing that.”
Which brings us to Benny’s…
Benny’s Drive-In was a big part of the Amos Boys’ teenage life. Duane and Bruce both worked there during their high school years (when the restaurant was called Matthew’s). Jerry worked there during his high school years as well, and it was the place to hang out for teens and young adults. The Amos Boys’ stories make the place sound just like Arnold’s from the TV sitcom Happy Days (although if you heard what they did behind those kitchen doors, you probably wouldn’t have eaten the food).
“Benny’s is where Duane met your mother,” Bruce tells me.
Apparently, Bruce and Coyla Jean had had a spat. So when Bruce and Duane went to a party, they took other girls. After the party, they dropped the girls off at their homes and cruised on down to check out the scene at Benny’s Drive-In.
“We were driving around Benny’s and Coyla and her friends were parked there,” says Duane. “We got out and talked to them. Bruce and Coyla made up and that’s when I met your mother. She was friends with Coyla and was visiting from Henderson for the weekend.”
And the rest is history. How cool is that?