He’s Your Boss

On August 13, 2020, I talked about how my father had developed the “Par Tube” — a system of using paper tubes to segregate golf clubs in a golf bag. The idea prompted my Dad’s purchase of a small company that made the paper tubes — Chicago Paper Tube & Can Company.

I was 8 years old when he bought the company. My folks both worked long hours during the week and I was a latchkey kid. My parents worked every Saturday as well – and that meant me too. My Dad would open the shades in my bedroom at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings admonishing that “the day’s half gone! Time to get up!” So we drove to the factory at 137 South Albany in Chicago (the building had once been a stable for Post Office horses) and I got to know the employees – all Black and Hispanic. And I would work on an assembly line of perhaps four people — gluing little paper caps on little paper tubes.

Shortly after beginning my Saturday tenure working in the factory, I got tired. Got up from my seat and walked back in the office and sat down. My father looked at me just as the foreman – Bill Pemberton – walked in the office. Mr. Pemberton looked at me and told me to get back to my job. I looked at my Dad who just shrugged his shoulders and said “Son – he’s your boss.” And so I slowly got back up and walked back to the line. As I walked out, my Dad gave Mr. Pemberton a thumb’s up. And that was that. . . . .

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