OUR STORY

MY FATHER

Page 103

My father was Rufus Albert Leach. He was born in Macomb, IL, the youngest of the four children of Bertha Jean and Albert Jackson Leach. He had two brothers, Clarence and Paul and a sister Florence. He used to tell me of his childhood. One of my favorite stories was how he had a job, when he was ten or twelve, lighting the gas street lights in the neighborhood.

My grandfather Leach was a paper hanger by trade and he taught my father when he was very young. He quit school when he was sixteen or seventeen and started working. This was a disappointment, I know, to his mother and father, who had wanted him to go to college like his brothers and sister. He learned to decorate the interiors of churches by not only hanging wall covering, but also painting, wood graining, imitation marble graining, etc. He was traveling all over the mid-west before he was eighteen. He did decorating and many more things before he went into the Army Air Corp in 1918. He ran for sheriff in one mid-west town and lost. Wrote a screenplay “And Baby Makes Three” for a movie which he never did anything with, and made real photograph postcards to sell.

After the war he continued as before. He had meet a girl in France who came to America to see him, he loved her and they were engaged to be married. My grandmother disapproved of the girl as she did almost everything my father did or wanted to do. The girl died in the flu epidemic and I know it broke my fathers heart.

After 1920 he did a lot of different things. He was partners with a friend in a lunchroom in downtown Atlanta. There was just the two of them and he said they were open twenty four hours a day. They worked shifts and did it all themselves. He said they never had a lock on the door the whole time they ran the place

In 1933 he decided to head to Florida. He was on his way when his car broke down in Fort Valley, Georgia. He was low on funds and found a job hanging wallpaper in the Fort Valley Hotel. He worked there until he had done everything there was to do in the hotel. He had fixed his car and was ready to resume his trip. Tom Hooks the hotel owner, who also owned the Lanier Hotel in Macon, wanted him to go to Dublin, Georgia, where he was building the New Dublin Hotel. He wanted him to hang wallpaper there.

Father didn’t want to go, he wanted to go to Florida. But Mr. Hooks, to my eternal gratitude, talked him into going to Dublin. My mothers father, Granddaddy Hansel Chester, was a carpenter working on the hotel.

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