Jack Remembers: No matter what your age, an older sister has your back

By Jack Hackley

Back in the late 1960s, Bill McCoy, who was a close friend and business partner, and I were trying to market an insurance policy to a nationwide association with headquarters in New York.
We made several trips there.  Bill’s sister, Mona Lee, worked for TWA in New York and lived in the Gramercy Park area.  On our first trip to New York, we stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel near his sister’s apartment.
That first night, Bill and I met a couple of guys from Iowa who told us about a “hot” nightclub that naturally we had to check out.
The taxicab dumped us out and turned his light off as he sped away.  That should have told us something.  It was about 1:30 a.m.  When we walked up to the door, it was locked.  The place was closed.
We couldn’t find another taxi, so we started walking at a fast pace down the middle of the street when we saw a light about a half mile away that looked like a business of some kind.
The problem was getting there.  There were old brownstone apartments on both sides of the street and people were standing and sitting in the doorways on this hot summer night.
Pretty soon a couple of guys started following us.  One of them grabbed hold of my coattail and said, “Gimme your money, white boy.”  I told McCoy “Get ready to run, because I’m going to turn around and let him have it.”  Just as I turned around to hit the guy, he wasn’t there. And neither was anyone in the doorways.  I looked and there was a policeman on a horse, who had just come out of a side street.  He chewed us out when he found out where we were from, but he followed us to the All Night Café.
The next morning when we told Mona Lee, she informed us we were in the Bowery and it was one of the roughest areas in New York.  She told us she felt responsible for our safety and we were not to leave the hotel at night without first checking in with her.
Can you beat that?  Thirty years old in New York City and we had to have a chaperone.

Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or  Visit

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