1955 — Cornet Stores
Came Close to Getting Fired—Again
Anyway, I had only been on the job for a few days when I came close to getting fired. Why? For working too hard.
I had heard that the owners of Vegas Village were a group of businessmen who were predominantly Mormon. I knew next to nothing about the LDS church, except that they didn't drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
Anyway, the first Sunday that I was there, I decided to go in and do some work. The odd jobs they had me doing had kept me from setting up my drawing board and doing any sign work. And I had spotted several places that definitely needed signs—mostly of the safety and directional arrow type—you know, arrows pointing to the Men's Rooms and Ladies' Rooms, etc. It was a big place that was easy to get lost in.
Well, I had just begun lettering a sign when one of my Cornet friends walked in.
"What are you doing?" he asked with a somewhat astonished look on his face.
"Trying to get caught up on some work," I replied.
"But this is Sunday."
"Mormons don't work on Sundays!"
"But I'm not a Mormon."
"That's not the point. Nobody employed by them is supposed to work on Sunday either. Look around. Do you see anybody else here?"
"Well, I see you."
"I just stopped by to pick up my took kit. You'd better stop and get out of here before you get caught. You could get fired for this!"
"Okay," I said, "thanks for the warning." So I saddled up and left.
Could Hardly Believe My Eyes
A few days later the last thing in the world I ever expected to happen happened.
I was working at my drawing board when all of a sudden Joe Cornet Jr. appeared.
"How do you like your job here?" he asked.
"Mr. Cornet," I said. "Hello. How are you? Uh—the job. Well, yes—I like it, but it's pretty hot here. I don't like that part."
"How would you like to come back to work for me?" he asked in a very matter-of-fact tone of voice.
"Are you serious?" I replied. "I thought you'd never want to speak to me again."
"Hey, I know this wasn't your idea and that you got swept up with the idea of working in Las Vegas. But I could use you back in Pasadena, and I can offer you better pay and benefits than you're getting here."
Well, talk about an offer I couldn't refuse!
So a couple of days later I was back in Pasadena and on my first day back on the job, Joe Cornet Jr. called me into his office.
Silk Screen Printing??
"Do you know how to do silk screen printing?" he asked.
"Yes, sir!" I quickly replied.
"I understand it's a process whereby you can make lots of signs all at once."
"That's right," I agreed.
"So if I gave you an area of the warehouse here, you could set up a silk screen printing shop and make signs for all the stores?"
"Yes sir," I agreed. "I certainly could."
"Okay," he said. "Follow me. I want to show you where you'll be working."
He lead me to a ground-level corner of the warehouse where there was a vacant room that would be plenty big enough to set up shop.
Then he handed me a signed, blank check and told me to go buy everything I needed to get started.
The nearest sign supply store was McLogan's in downtown Los Angeles. I used to get my lettering supplies there, and knew Fred, the manager. The first thing I bought was a book on How to Do Silk Screen Printing. I had seen it done, but had no clue as to how to set up a shop and get started.
So I sat down in McLogan's office and began reading. After an hour or so of browsing through the book, I decided I was ready buy what I needed, with some invaluable help from Fred.
I took it all back to Pasadena, and within a couple of days I had an operational silk screen printing shop. Joe Cornet Jr. could hardly wait to see it in action.
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Since I have no personal photos from my youth, I've used pictures found on the Internet to help illustrate some of the stories told on these pages. In a couple of instances I've used photos of people who just happen to closely resemble someone I once knew. However, if it's found that I'm using any images in violation of someone's copyright, please let me know and appropriate action will be taken.