A Story About How to Win Friends & Influence People, Three: Old Man Zodos and Winston Churchill

by Megan M. on February 14, 2009 · Comments (Blog) |

The beginning of this story, told to me by my Dad, can be found here. The next part is right here.

Mac had already married Mina by the time he hit his thirties, but they hadn’t had my father or my Aunt Joan yet. They were waiting for the Depression to end before having children.

“What was their life like?” I asked. “Were they poor? How hard was it when he’d quit a job?”

My Dad told me: “He would quit a job, come home, tell my Ma, and he’d say, ‘Mina, I just couldn’t do that.’ And she’d say, ‘How much money do you have in your pocket?’ And Dad would say, ‘I think we’re down to the last ten dollars!’ and my Mom would say ‘Good, let’s go to Radio City Music Hall and afterwards we’ll buy a steak!’ And that’s what they did.”

Something would always come up, he explained. Mina had gone to secretarial school, and if one of them wasn’t working the other managed to find something. For a long time, Mina was the secretary for the president of a large medics company in New York—Zodos. She was the secretary for old man Zodos. There was always a little bit of money coming in one way or another, during World War II.

Old man Zodos was not a very nice person, Dad explained. “Except for some reason,” he said, “like the women in that family, my mother was little but fearless.” They were just not afraid of anyone, Dad said. “I don’t know exactly why. They just didn’t have that gene.” So somebody like old man Zodos—very wealthy and intimidating—just did not intimidate Mina at all. “You know how little she was,” Dad recounted.

My grandmother was very little!

One day there was going to be a parade, and Mina told old man Zodos that she was going to take two hours for lunch. She wanted to see Winston Churchill in the parade. Old man Zodos said, “Eh, if you take two hours for lunch, don’t you dare come back here!”

So Mina went out for the parade.

She was standing on the corner, and right as Winston Churchill was going to pass by, the parade stopped. Right at the corner where she was standing!

She looked wide-eyed into the car, and right there was Winston Churchill.

Then the parade started up again.

As you can imagine, Mina felt quite vindicated in terms of her choice to take two hours for lunch and go see the parade. When he was younger, my Dad asked her, “Well Mom, did you lose your job?” And my grandmother said, “Oh now, I didn’t lose my job. I just went back there like nothing happened and when I came in, he just gave me some more work to do.”

  • Judy Vorfeld
    You have a way with words, Meg. Never stop.
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