It was around 1955 when I became acquainted with Bob Gurst. He was a big, strong black man who worked doing stream cleaning on automobiles.
He also detailed and polished cars. He did a lot of work for car dealers making their cars look as good as possible.
He had a lot of stories to tell especially about WW2, and his time working at the shipyard.
One story was about another black man who worked with him; this man partied and spent his money as fast as he made it all during the war.
Bob would chide him, and urge him to save his money for the future.
The man would say you never have any fun; you don't know what money is for, it is to enjoy and that is what I am doing.
Bob would say these good jobs won't last forever to which the man's answer was, "This war is going to last a long time."
Some time passed and the Atomic Bomb brought the war to an end and the shipyards laid most everybody off the next day. With the wars end guys had to scramble to get any kind of employment and Bob ended up working for himself.
Three years later Bob was washing his car when the man came walking down the side walk, and when he saw Bob he said, "I know you" we used to work together.
Bob hardly recognized him but they talked over old times in the ship yard.
The man said whose car is that you are washing and Bob said it's mine and it's paid for. The man stared down for a minute he asked, where do you live. Bob answered; I live here in my house which is paid for.
The man stared down for a minute and said could you let me have a couple of dollars. Bob gave it to him and the man walked on shaking his head.
It was then Bob thought of the words the man had said to him when he was trying to get the man to save his money, "This war is going to last a long time."
Bob went back to washing his car as the man disappeared down the street.