A Risky Business
The year was 1922 and I was feeling as if my entire adult life had been one long run of misfortune. An early marriage had led to the birth of my three children who had a consistently absent father. I worked at a miserable mill job that paid low wages and kept us one step away from living on the streets. My marriage was a loveless one and the inconvenience of my husband’s untimely death caused from drunkenly falling overboard at sea stopped me from receiving his support checks. That money plus the meager amount I made in the mills was all we had for our survival. I knew he had a military insurance policy that would surely help make ends meet, but as luck would have it after my divorce from that no good drunk, he evidently changed his life insurance beneficiary from me to his two greedy “old maid” sisters. They knew the insurance money had been intended for the children and yet they never turned over a red cent of that insurance money over to us.
At that time I could barely buy the basics we needed to get by, let alone afford to fight those two old crones in court to get that insurance money back. I needed to change my life in a way that would ensure we’d never be helpless or dependent on anyone else like that again.
Desperation can provide you the nerve and determination you need to do things you never thought you could do. Prohibition was in full force and had been for a while. I for one could not believe I was even considering doing anything illegal to make a buck! Yet all around me, a good many respectable people were making this illegal gin and some of them were even bootlegging it! Almost everyone you knew back then had fallen on hard times. People tried to help each other anyway they could by sharing what little they had. But most times nobody had anything to share. It was an awful time to live. A decision needed to be made and so I made it. I was going to make illegal gin. Those days everyone was...