Marge was one of my favorite people in the beverage industry. She was secretary to the executive secretary of one of the industry associations. I often played in golf tournaments with her boss but she was a very special person in her own right.
We became fast friends and sincerely liked one another and enjoyed each other's company. She was also a great news source for me, wonderful at keeping me up to date on happenings in the business, personnel changes, new brands in the market, etc.
If I was downtown I often would drop by to visit and if her boss was out of the office, and he frequently was, I would take her to lunch. Marge was in her fifties, gray hair, short dumpy figure but she was wonderful company despite the big age difference. I was in my early thirties at the time. She had a dry sense of humor which could be sharp when directed at someone, often me. She liked her toddies and could hold them as well as any man.
One day I dropped in before lunch and Marge said I had just missed the boss. He was off to a legislative hearing for the rest of the day. And then asked why I wasn't covering it. To this I just made a sour face. She knew very well, that of all assignments, I hated Hearings with politicians sounding off.
Well I said that means you and I can go out and have a nice long, wet lunch together. I remember we went to the Secret Harbor, then a popular restaurant on Wilshire Blvd.. It was also popular with people in the beverage business and I told Marge if anyone saw us we would just say we were having an affair.
As I said earlier Marge liked her cocktails and we spent quite a long time at the bar. Up to that time I did not know much of her history or background. She had already gone through three different bosses at the association.
Over lunch I asked her about her marriage since she always used Mrs. with her last name. She said yes but that she finally had to divorce him.
"He was very intelligent and talented. Together we handled political campaigns either for individuals or propositions, some on the local level others statewide. I handled the office which is where I learned about associations.
"Unfortunately it was a 'feast or famine' business, sometimes we had a good income then it would dry up after elections. These slow times were very hard on my husband. He would get bored, become anxious about money and go to the bottle for help. Of course his work required him to be circulating constantly with politicos, labor leaders, lobbyists and the like but the drinking got more and more out of hand.
"After his second 502 for drunken driving I had to chauffeur him around for months until he got his license back. He kept saying he would stop drinking but he never did. His birthday was coming up and I arranged a party for him at a local restaurant. I invited about 50 people, many of them important in what they did. He never showed up. Then about midnight I got a call from the police department. He had been picked up once again on a 502 and was in jail.
"The next day he called me asking to bail him out of jail for $1200 until his trial date. I didn't post bail and he spent six months in jail. Then I filed for divorce. After that it was all downhill for him. He was living with a like minded woman and they would begin drinking for breakfast.
"I got the job I have now with the association and so here I am."
I asked if he was still alive. She said no, he had died of a stroke five years before.
I could only say," Marge you are a strong willed woman". She laughed and said you bet. With the afternoon just about over I drove her to her apartment rather than the office. As she left my car she said "thanks for lunch and when I find out from the boss tomorrow what went on at the Hearing I will give you a call. Then maybe you can write a half way intelligent story on what occurred".
That was Marge.
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