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FAMILY SECRETS & LIES
BEFORE BONNIE AND CLYDE THERE WAS GRAMMA AND GLENN
By DJ EVERETTE
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013DJ Everette
All rights reserved.
"Alright, Sarge, I'll be on it right away" was the answer Corporal Brady Paul gave Sergeant M.J. Crowley of the Pennsylvania Motor Police when he received the order that would send him to his death.
The blonde, good-looking, young man straightened his back, squared his broad shoulders and prepared to take action. It was December 29, 1929. He clinched his teeth in reaction to what was to be done and this emphasized his square jaw, and strong chin. He had enlisted in the Pennsylvania Motor Police on January 7, 1926, when he was 20 years old. He had now served several years on the force. He was at the peak of his manhood. This officer was 6'2", and well built. When he spoke, people listened. He was his job. Brady was proud to be in law enforcement.
He was in his prime, seasoned, and had proudly participated in the arrest of a counterfeit gang on the Plank Road in the spring of 1927. He had experienced quite an adrenalin rush during these events. He always asked himself "what if I can't top this?" after the arrests.
Brady loved being a part of the large Law Enforcement Family. He had a small, but loving family. Brady was from Hickory, Washington County, Pennsylvania. He was the last child in the Paul family, born in November 1904—making him about 25 years old at the time. His Dad and Brady's Mother, Vinta McGugin, had married in Woodrow in 1893. His Dad was gone now. Brady's dad had died when he was ten years old. His brother, Vincent had come along the next year, followed four years later by his sister, Mary Ester Paul. Another little brother was "still" born. They had named the child McElroy Paul. Brady was now the baby of the family, and they were all very proud of him. They all supported him. He was their hero. Brady was not going to let them or his fellow officers down.
Brady thought about his family, as he grabbed his ammunition. "Vincent is gonna love this", he thought to himself. Brady's brother, Vincent, who was ten years older, had provided Brady a lot of leadership and had addressed the young Brady's needs growing up without a father. Vincent had interested Brady in the force, as he had once been interested in joining the police department himself and had taken steps to join—but later he had chosen to do other work at the factory, the largest tin plate mill in America. His wife had worried so much about him. Her fears had forced him to leave behind the excitement of the police force. She had told Vincent she felt alienated and lonely. She said she was concerned constantly about his security and the future of their family. Now, however, the new strip mills were automating work without a man doing the usual manual tasks. Nevertheless, Vincent was still thrilled by the police stories.
Things had happened so quickly, thought Brady. The 1929 Depression had hit New Castle hard and sudden. New Castle was located along a river at the mouth of a creek. Looking out the window briefly to check the weather, he could remember smoke stacks, buildings, chimneys always belching smoke over the houses. He saw some neighbors walking now together down through the row houses, past Hornings beer/restaurant, going to fill their thermos with coffee. They were still working, but didn't know for how long. These men, clothed in worn jackets, smoking cigarettes and smoking a pipe were decent, fine workmen. Their hands were well-trained, all good men.
However, Brady thought, the strip mills can make their products all cheaper, produced more goods with the machines now and the owners were bringing them in. Displaced workers did not have time to learn new skills. Brady recalled in the past how he could hear the busy train whistles. Now it was silent. Factories were built of concrete, glass and steel—"Men Wanted" signs were everywhere for work in the factories. Watching the men he knew walking on the street, he thought -Russell used to make carriages, now he works in factories, but was being laid off. Bill Johanson used to be a brakeman, now he was turning out parts for diesel engines, but didn't know how long his job would last either.
Brady spied Mrs. Cavanke's laundry hanging on lines. He knew her husband was looking for work in Pittsburgh and not even home. He recalled a conversation not too long ago with her when she said "I can't stand to look at his face. He cried last night" she'd reported" When do I work?" She said "I add up the pennies and there are never enough. What happens when the savings are gone?" she had told her husband. And, then he had left New Castle.
Brady had no answers. Everyone was scared. Regularly he was called to homes where water was leaking from the roof into a pot under the table, and babies were crying from hunger. Poverty and hopelessness were replacing the happiness of this once bustling town. The machine booms had kept the economy going. At one time, he recalled steel rolling mills had hired over 3,000 jobs at once. Now steel and paper mills, foundries, a bronze bushing factory and car construction plants sat idle. Even the Shenango China Factory, who created fine china for the White House and other wealthy people, was a mere shadow of its' former self. We thought prosperity would last forever, thought Brady to himself as he turned from the window recalling the plentiful trains and busy railroad crossings in town. It was always busy. But, the wheels had stopped. Now it was over. Store windows were broken. Empty buildings were for rent. Torn awnings were plentiful. Men had been idle a long time. "I never thought I'd see this", Brady sadly thought to himself. "2/3 of the town is unemployed." Crime was at an all time high. Prohibition did not help matters. Brady had seen more than he wanted to see about how poverty changes good people, and causes them to do things never considered before. The worst of humanity seemed to feed on the plight of the rest. The speakeasies were full. Hardly a day went by that Brady was not called to raid one or stop bootleggers on the roads with their liquid treasure.
This thing was bigger than one mayor or one town. So many workers were idle and their skills were being allowed to rust. Vincent had been retraining for a new job with more versatile skills, but he was one of the lucky ones. Things were tough. Brady was glad to have his job. Vincent and his police family had taught him how to deal with intrusive or critical comments about the police that always were a part of the life of a police officer. Brady kept the tone humorous and light whenever he would get pigeonholed at parties and inappropriately asked for advice or if he had "ever killed anyone"? He had schooled himself with prepared responses to tell whoever was asking he could not help them because he only dealt with the "easy cases". This would get a laugh and him off the hook.
Brady primarily hung out with other police officers and his sweetheart when he could. The professional bond that links cops everywhere makes one cop's trauma the property of all of them. He had learned that to function effectively on the job he had to annihilate, smother and suppress normal emotions like fear, anger, revulsion and even compassion. To do otherwise was to invite overwhelming doubt or hesitance when decisive action was required, not to mention the razing of the guys. After four years on the force, he had become somewhat cynical and overprotective about those he cared about in an effort to keep them from the gritty realities of life. He had come to believe that most human behavior is motivated by selfishness. He was so young, and yet he expected nothing good from people and was rarely disappointed. This came from the prolonged exposure to the worst in people's behavior. He saw that a lot. People lie to cops about everything ... who they are, what they have been do
Excerpted from FAMILY SECRETS & LIES by DJ EVERETTE. Copyright © 2013 by DJ Everette. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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