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So my father came back to New York City to pitch in and help the family finances and to learn how to earn an income.
It must not have been an easy time in the depth of the depression.
For those of you who do not know, putting on a hair shirt was a popular tradition in the Middle Ages when monks like to walk through towns whipping themselves on the back with chains and sharp, pointed steel balls.
These same fellows, not content with bleeding to death, wore hair shirts in an effort to increase itching and to cleanse their souls while fleas bit their flesh and gave them the plague.
You could say they were working out their frustrations.
I am not quite sure how successful that system was.
These were larger format ads usually with both words (copy as it is known in the trade) a pictures (art, as it euphemistically described).
“That was when your father put on the hair shirt,” said my uncle Francis.
That agency, which had its offices at 699 Madison Avenue in New York City, enjoyed success and eventually grew to employ over 100 people.
My father first specialized in newspaper and magazine advertising, but also became proficient in radio and TV advertising.
25% of the population was unemployed, banks were failing everyday and his parents, my grand parents, were having to move from one grand apartment to another every 6 months for lack of funds.
Fortunately, apartment buildings took a desperate view of the situation and decided it was better to let a good family pay almost no rent, at least for a short time, than to let crime ridden criminals and other low-lifes into the building at full rent. My father got his marketing and advertising training by selling advertisements at a time when almost no advertisements were being bought.