Jobs, Driving and Happy Days


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?

19 thoughts on “Jobs, Driving and Happy Days

  1. VERY cool, Di! I thought I had heard lots of stories, but I never heard about Benny’s!! Amazing that after almost 60 years, I keep finding more about my dad and my uncles….thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh my gosh! These stories are hillarious! Vicki is right, we’re hearing so many stories that we never would have heard if you hadn’t started this blog, Di. And I guess I have to agree with JerriLynn that my dad was kind of wild!

    I want to know what the Beltline is. I know Saginaw, Willow and Capital Ave. Would the Beltline be Cedar St.?

  3. I remember Dad rolling the dump truck. If my childhood memory serves me, I think he was working a second job in the afternoons (saving money to build our house) and he slid off a narrow road as he tried to navigate around another dump truck heading in the other direction.

    I’m surprised Matthew’s was able to stay in business. Weren’t the cooks always eating all the shrimp in the kitchen?

    • I remember the same thing, Dave. I remember ‘overhearing’ Mom and Dad discussing it. (Mom was secretly glad Dad had rolled the truck because she didn’t like him working that second job!)

  4. That’s not all they ate (or did), according to what they’ve said. Amos Boys, perhaps you wish to share in these comments?!

  5. Jerry was the only one who worked at Benny’s. Matthews didn’t have shrimp. Joe Joseph was the manager of Matthews. He said that we could eat as much as we wanted as long as it was something different every day. He wanted us to learn how to make everything. Jan adds: What happened? He doesn’t cook.

    • Dad, did you stop learning how to cook once you mastered grilled cheese sandwiches? I don’t remember you ever cooking anything else.

      • Maybe that’s why I always asked for grill cheese sandwich, knowing that’s all Dad knew how to cook.

  6. Jan, he doesn’t need to because you’re such a good cook!

    On another note: I have to admit I rather enjoyed posting the driving fiascos of my parent’s generation. It made me feel less chagrined about my own (like rear-ending Glen’s ’67 Catalina with a big pickup truck).

  7. If we had only known what they did as teenagers we wouldn’t have felt so bad about the things we did!

    I remeber Dad reading Vicki the riot act because she burned her leg on the tailpipe of Ron’s motorcycle. Afterwads he pulled up his pantleg and was looking at this leg. He had done the same thing at some point!

    • Hey Jerry and Duane’s kids….did your dad ever tell you guys to go “stand on your head in the corner and spit nickles” when you were kids? Or – “go play in the traffic”?

      AND – we truely believed our dad was an official member of the “Dunkers Club” because he carried around a card in his wallet (which he wouldn’t let us see up close) and becaus he was and we weren’t, we couldn’t dunk cookies in milk.

      • I don’t recall Dad ever telling us to spit nickels, etc. I do recall “don’t make me stop the car” or “don’t make me have to get up”. Either our Dad was not as strict, not as creative a disciplinarian, or we were better behaved to begin with… ;-)

  8. I worked at Benny’s Drive-In from the seventh grade into the ninth grade part time, after school and summers. Younger kids did not usually work at night because it was often very crowded and wild inside and in the lot outside. Older kids cruising around in their hot rods looking for love, yelling and cursing, drinking and smoking, and occasionally fighting. Benny’s was an exciting place and very educational…and the curb girls were…what can I say?…almost as beautiful as my girlfriend Elaine.

  9. Pingback: Happy Birthday Jeanie! | Those (Expletive) Amos Boys

  10. Pingback: Happy Birthday Carol! | Those (Expletive) Amos Boys

  11. Pingback: Happy Birthday Duane! | Those (Expletive) Amos Boys

  12. Pingback: Adios 2012! | Those (Expletive) Amos Boys


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