into more detail about some of my escapades growing up in Hopedale.
AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE - 1947
What would a multimillionaire, a bartender, a salesman and a gambler have in common ?
Do you believe that some small occurrence you do today can affect your life 10 or 20 years later?
If you read my story, "Paradise,"I write about a fabulous deal I made in Drapers. I bought $80 thousand
dollars worth of emery cloth for $5.00 and sold it for $25 thousand dollars. This was back in the day when
the average pay for a Draper employee was around $4,000 a year.
The unholy foursome was:
1. Ben Draper, multimillionaire, a big shot in Draper Corp.
2. Angelo, who owned a small bar on Rt. 140 in Bellingham.
3. Roy, a salesman for an emery cloth manufacturer from Quincy, Ma.
4. John Cembruch, a gambler from Hopedale. (Me)
This story begins in 1947. Angelo's bar, in Bellingham center, very small with 2 or 3 booths. If you were a
gambler in those days, the only casinos were in Las Vegas. If you were what gamblers call "looking for
action, " that's some place to find a gambling game. You had to know the right people and you had to be a
standup guy. (Someone that the gamblers trusted)
I found Angelo's by accident. Angelo loved to play cards, (gin rummy & hearts) for big money.
After playing gin rummy there for several weeks, Angelo introduced me to a guy that I'd seen there a couple of
times. When we played cards, he was a lousy card player and always lost. This guy was always well
dressed, well mannered and loved his tea, (booze) and drove an expensive car.
Angelo introduced him to me as Ben. (Most gamblers used their first name only in those days.) From my
observation Ben and Angelo were very close friends. After several weeks of gambling, in a conversation with
Angelo, I disclosed I was from Hopedale. Ben happened to be in the bar that day. Angelo asked me why I
didn't know Ben Draper. When Angelo called Ben over and told him I was from Hopedale, I told him my last
name. Ben said,” the name was not familiar to him". I immediately replied I knew the Draper name but had
never met or seen a Draper and was not sure that any such person existed. Ben and I had a good laugh over
Roy, the salesman, stopped at Angelo's a few times a week only to have lunch. After finding that Ben
frequented the bar quite a bit, Roy started showing up 3 or 4 days a week. Ben wasn't receptive to Roy's pitch
on emery cloth. Roy was already selling emery cloth to Draper Corp. (Angelo after the fact relates their deal to
Roy came up with a scheme. He offered Angelo half of the commission he got if Angelo helped him get a
large order from Ben.
One afternoon when Ben was feeling a little happy, they got Ben to sign an order. Angelo told me he didn't
even know how much emery cloth Ben signed for.
Angelo almost had a heart attack when 2 weeks later Roy told him he had sold around 3500 cases of cloth.
(A freight car load). Selling price around 3/4 million. Roy commission around $70,000. Angelo's half around
$35,000, a small fortune for that day.
For the next month, Roy told Angelo he was still waiting for his commission. Then Roy disappeared off the
face of the earth. Angelo tried reaching Roy for several weeks with no luck. Finally he called the cloth
manufacturer in Quincy, Ma. They told him Roy had quit his job a month ago and was buying a small
manufacturing company. On this, Angelo got two stories. One, Roy was in South America and the other, he
was out in California. Angelo never found Roy or got his money. All this transpired in 1947-1948.
Now, 20 years later, working for Draper, I'm told to go to the storage room in the foundry, load around 400
cases of emery cloth there on pallets and take it to the dumping area where the junk from the shop is loaded
into dump trucks to go to the dump.
If you read my story in "Growing Up In Paradise," you read how I bought this so call "junk cloth" for $5.00 and
sold it for $25,000. (worth $80,000)
My question I asked in the beginning of the story, Do you believe things in your life intertwine with each other
and affect your life ?
I leave it up to you to answer this question. My part of this story I wrote is fact. As for what Angelo told me, I
believe to be truthful. He was not someone who exaggerated the truth. But if there is anyone around who was
familiar with this event, I'd be more than happy to hear from you.
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