Richard Bostwick Reminiscences

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Welfare Office Stories
Part 1
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Cab Driving Stories
The Way It Was - 1930
The Gambler And His Gal 1927
The Last One To Know 1926
Just A Couple Of Hustlers 1925
Cash On Delivery 1923
One Born Every Minute 1923
Fun Is Where You Find It 1923
An Ace In The Hole 1922
And A Little Child Shall…
Gold Tooth Murphy
Aiding And Abetting 1929
Buried Treasure 1927
The Good Samaritan
Just A Country Trip
The Prodigal Son
Occupational Hazard
Four Bags Full
Overtime Pay
Above And Beyond The Call
Fourth Down And Ten
Let There Be Light
Take It Or Leave It
Double Or Nothing
The Champ
Three Of A Kind
My Silent Big Spender
N.P.R.R. (Northern Pacific Railroad) Mr. Moody


Prohibition Stories
A Little Competition
Some Did Burn
Last Words


The Champ

There were several roadhouses within a radius of 4 or 5 miles of our town. There were country dance halls that served food and some of them also served drinks. Us drivers were always anxious to get a call to one of these places, for it meant a larger fare than an ordinary trip within the city limits. Some of these places were real nice. Others were real gyp joints.

On this particular evening, I was parked at the head of the line and I had not had a run for some time due to the nice weather. During the summer months, the cab business was usually slow. Any exception was due to rainy weather or Saturday night revelers. Well, it wasn't raining, and this was Saturday night. But as yet I had not seen any so-called Saturday night revelers. So I, like my buddies, was taking it easy.

Just then a call came in and the dispatcher sent me to the Metropole Hotel. As I pulled up to the curb in front of the hotel, a young fellow came out. As he crossed the sidewalk, I thought I noticed a little unsteadiness in his walk. As he got into my cab, I smelled liquor on his breath. This was none of my business. But when he told me to take him out to the Cantina, one of the better places of its kind, and also one that did not allow admittance to anyone that had been drinking, I felt it was only fair to tell him of the ruling.

He said he didn't care about their ruling-that's where he wanted to go. So, that's where we went. This place was a one-story building that covered quite a large area and had an uncovered porch running clear across the front end. When we arrived I pulled up in front and noticed two big bouncers who guarded the front entrance, looking my passenger over as he disembarked from my cab.

This young fellow paid me off and started up the four short steps to the front porch. When he got there, one of the bouncers noticed him stagger a little and stepped over in front of him and inquired as to where he was going. I pulled over and parked, as I was pretty sure as to what the outcome would be.

As I expected, the bouncer refused to let my passenger in. An argument started and my passenger was thrown down the stairs. Now, ordinarily, this would have ended it for most guys, but not this one. He charged back up the stairs, grabbed one bouncer, spun him down the stairs and knocked the other one down. All three of them wound up in the front yard. You talk about a free-for-all; this young guy was giving those two bouncers all they could handle. Several times they thought they had him pinned down. Then he would get an arm free, belt one of them, regain his feet and it would start all over again. Each one of them was bruised and bloody, their shirts almost completely torn off.

The odds against my passenger-two bouncers and all the booze he had consumed-were too much for the young fellow. He eventually was over powered. I loaded him back into my cab and drove him back to his hotel. I helped him into the side door of the hotel and up the stairs to his room. I laid him across the bed and got a cold towel and wiped his face off, which helped to revive him.

Boxing at the Winter Garden, Fargo, N.D. 1926 (2005.1.p31)

I have always admired courage, and this guy had more than enough for two. During the fight with the two bouncers, I couldn't understand how this guy had the stamina to keep getting up when most guys would have stayed down. While wiping his face off, I noticed a tattoo on his right forearm which read, “Welter-weight Champion, U.S. Navy, 1920-24.” Then my passenger sat up, shook his head and paid me off. I left him then, realizing I had seen a champion in action.


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Updated: 7/30/2007