Thursday, February 13, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xiv)

In September 1971, Greff Fabrics was located east of Fifth Avenue, on one of the cross streets in the 50's, between 51st Street and 59th Street. After I entered its street-level showroom, in which Greff Fabrics sold drapes and some fabrics to the wealthy white customers who walked into the store, I was soon greeted by a fashionably dressed white woman who looked like she was in her late 50's, who then introduced me to the head bossman, whose name was Mr. Hamilton.

Mr. Hamilton was a beardless white man who dressed in an expensive suit, expensive dress shirt and expensive tie and looked like he was either in his late 50's or early 60s in the Fall of 1971. Something about him made me feel that he was probably a loyal Republican who had voted for Richard Nixon in the 1968 U.S. presidential election. But since I was initially clean-shaven and didn't start growing a beard and stop dressing in my cheap suit, cheap dress shirt and cheap tie until the week after I received my first paycheck, he didn't seem dissastisfied with the latest college graduate sample clerk that Snelling and Snelling had now provided him with. And after briefly introducing himself, Mr. Hamilton then led me from the showroom down the stairs to the basement room in which the Greff Fabrics sample room was located, where he then introduced me to the sample room clerks' immediate supervisor--an African-American guy in his late 20's or early 30's, whose name was also Bob.

Bob didn't seem interested in either talking about current events and politics or the state of the Black Liberation Movement in the early 1970s, but he was an easy-going, friendly guy, who was planning to get married in early 1972; and he was a lenient, but, efficient, immediate supervisor. And after Mr. Hamilton went back upstairs to the Greff Fabrics showroom and his office, Bob showed me what work the sample room clerk job entailed.