It was junior year of high school and summer vacation was fast approaching. After spending many summer vacations in the Catskill Mountains in a little cabin near Woodstock, NY I really wanted a job.
I was hoping for summer employment on Wall Street – which in those days most people thought was an admirable aspiration. But I knew that to get a summer job on “The Street” you had to have some connections – and I didn’t.
Then one day, mom came home from her shop with some good news. A new customer had come into the store and had asked that mom deliver her purchase to her husband’s office. Her husband was the branch manager for the stock brokerage firm of E. F. Hutton & Co. a few blocks south of my mom’s store on Madison Avenue.
Mom delivered his wife’s purchase to him and told him that she and dad were thinking about opening an account (although she explained it would be a very, very, very small account).
Without showing any disdain for this minor potential piece of business, this man treated her with the utmost respect, handed her his business card and said that if she and dad decided to open the account, he would be pleased to handle it personally.
Mom was extremely impressed with his cordiality and warmth. (It was the same way she treated her own customers).
That evening she and dad talked about opening their account with E. F. Hutton and several days later they did. They brought me along with them and while they did the paperwork I sat in one of the firm’s comfortable chairs and watched the electronic version of the ticker tape go by on the wall in front of me.
Mom, dad and the manager, Mr. Holschuh came over to me. Apparently, mom had mentioned that I was hoping for a summer job and had also mentioned that by the time I was 12 years old I had memorized the ticker symbols of virtually all the stocks that traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
I think that both surprised and amazed him, so he gave a brief oral test – giving me the names of three companies and asking me for their symbols and then three symbols asking me for the company names. I aced the test – 100%!
A broad smile came over Mr. Holschuh’s face and he said, “I think that there is always room at E. F. Hutton for someone with this young person’s interest in the market. Let me make a few phone calls.”
Mom came home the next night and told me that Mr. Holschuh had been true to his word and that I had a job that summer in Hutton’s headquarters at 60 Broad Street in their “teletype department”. I didn’t know what I was going to be paid or what I was going to be doing – but I was going to be doing it on Wall Street!
Ecstasy – pure ecstasy.
The Monday I was to start finally came and I embarked on my new and exciting career. Dad always said that you should be early – so although I was supposed to start at 8:30 a.m. – I was there at 7:15. I was there by myself and had to wait 20 minutes until the manager of the teletype room came in. He was a large and friendly man by the name of Harold.
I introduced myself and he explained my duties. I would be receiving messages from E. F. Hutton’s offices all over the country on the teletype machine in front of which he had placed me. My job was to put these in the correct slot on the color-coded conveyor belts that were next to my station to make sure that they were sent to the correct department.
He gave me a chart for the color-coding and showed me where on the message I would get the information to know where each message should be directed. It sounded pretty simple and it was.
I soon settled into my new position.
Friday that week, Harold passed out the paychecks around noon. He came over to me and said that I was doing a very fine job and he was glad I was part of the “family”.
He handed me my paycheck in its envelope and moved on to distribute the rest. I was so excited that I was being paid that I didn’t even dare open that envelope until I got home.
But that night at dinner I finally did. It was for $90 (minus deductions) – for only 37-1/2 hours work. I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
I was a Wall Street Tycoon!