"The Raid"

Everyone at the business publication I worked for in San Francisco had worked on dailies at one time or another either in the advertising department or editorial.

The senior partner, Roy, was a good deal older than the rest of us, had been in the U.S. Navy in World War 1 and then moved on to advertising sales. This story he related to me occurred after the dark days of 1929 and before Roosevelt returned the nation to sanity with Repeal.

At the time Roy was newly married and working as an advertising salesman on commission but business was terrible. His new wife worked at a smart women's wear shop on Geary Street and to be honest about it was really supporting the two of them.

This was still during the days of Prohibition and like everywhere else San Francisco had its share of speakeasies. Roy was pretty depressed with the way things were going financially and so took to hanging out some afternoons at a speakeasy in the Tenderloin district along with other business types, some employed, some just looking.

Now the S.F. Police Department probably knew about the place for years and didn't do anything about it but more for show than anything else, they staged a raid. To do this with as little inconvenience as possible for all concerned the raid took place in the afternoon and it was just Roy's misfortune to be there at the time.

The Police scooped up both employes and customers and loaded them all into two Paddy Wagons and with a good deal of fuss and noise came down Geary Street, then to Kearny and on to the Hall of Justice.

As Roy tells the story he was seated in the rear of the Paddy Wagon and had visions of his new bride, looking out the store window, getting a view of her new husband on the way to the Slammer, which fortunately didn't happen. The only amusing aspect was, according to Roy, the fact that all the occupants were dressed in suits and ties, probably the best dressed group of passengers that Paddy Wagon ever had.

And the thought that his employer might not think too highly of this sort of behavior also came to mind. Here Roy's luck turned to the better.

At the Hall of Justice they were all "booked" and then summarily released on their own cognizance. And nothing more was ever done about it and the Speakeasy was back in business in a few weeks.

But Roy admitted that it wasn't till Repeal was truly a reality that he lost his dread of Police raids and Paddy Wagons.

There was never any mention, at least to me, that he gave up speakeasies.

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