Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath
contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause?
Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine;
they that go seek mixed wine. Look not then upon the wine when
it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when
it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent,
and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange
women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea thou
shalt be as he that liveth down in the midst of the sea, or
as he that liveth upon the top of a mast. They have striken
me, shalt thou say and I was not sick; they have beaten
me, and I felt it not; When shall I awake? I will
seek it yet again.
Proverbs 23: 29-35 (The Bible
- King James Version)
marriage to Dorothy cannot be described as idyllic. Even though
Clarence had swept her off of her feet, Dorothy, with her close
family ties, had "swept" Clarence off on their honeymoon. She
swept him off to her sister Virginia's house in the City of
Yonkers, in Westchester County, New York.
and her sisters were, to say the least, very close. Clarence
complained that they did everything together. He said he didn't
just marry Dorothy. He also had married her entire family. In
spite of the fact he constantly complained about them, Clarence
recognized that Dorothy and her family had been instrumental
in his recovery, and Clarence was always grateful to Dorothy's
became and remained a periodic drunk for a number of years.
He and Dorothy moved to 1552 Baltimore Road, in Lindhurst, Ohio,
and began to settle down.
had friends, mostly Dorothy's. They had a home. Clarence had
a good job, working for the Mutual Loan and Guaranty Company
in the Discount Department. What happened next seemed to be
the next logical move. They decided that it was about time to
start a family.
became pregnant, and everyone concerned was overjoyed. The proud
father-to-be strutted around, pontificating about his "common-sense,
sane, domestic life." He strutted around, that is, until Dorothy
began complaining of problems associated with early pregnancy.
His "sane, domestic life" started taking on a different, if
not ominous, complexion. Dorothy stayed in bed for days on end.
She changed her diet, her sleeping patterns, and her room. All
to no avail. Dorothy's sanity was fading rapidly.
consulted a local doctor who recommended the use of "Porter
Ale." They tried this "cure," borrowing some of that ale from
one of their neighbors, an amateur brewmeister. It worked! Clarence
consulted with other local brewmeisters as to how he could go
about manufacturing this "cure" himself. He bought a six-gallon
crock, dozens of bottles, and various and sundry pipes, wires
and other apparatus necessary for his construction of his home
brewery. He began to put everything together and hoped his life
would return to some semblance of sanity.
was, however, not the end result. He not only manufactured
the beer for his wife, he also drank most of it for her
as well. He recalled, admiringly, "I made some of the best ale
that anyone ever had the pleasure to drink. After about two
bottles of that stuff, you would go home and rob your own trunk."
remaining uncomfortable, continued to complain. Clarence increased
his production capability. He went out and purchased a few ten-gallon
crocks and cases of bottles. These, he felt, would surely return
his life to sanity.
Dorothy's problems in early pregnancy, as well as her continuing
complaining, eventually stopped. But the beer production, and
the massive consumption of it, did not. They increased.
to continue drinking became more prevalent. Parties, card games,
and friends, were constantly invited over for coffee and cake,
but the events all became beer feasts. Soon Clarence ran out
of excuses for drinking, and he just drank. He then discovered
that: "a little shot of liquor now and then between the beers
had the tendency to put me in a wacky mood much quicker than
having to down several quarts of beer to obtain the same results."
So, now whiskey became the mainstay, and the beer just helped
to wash it all down.
then became the primary topic of discussion in Dorothy's family
gatherings. There was not much else to talk about concerning
the pregnancy. Besides, Clarence's drinking was a much juicier
than listen to these "busybodies," Clarence began to frequent
the local beer joints. This, he said, was: "to quench my ever
increasing thirst, and to complain to all who would listen,
about my wife and her meddlesome family." Clarence's increased
consumption did not help him to lose his resentments towards
those who he perceived were trying to run his life. He did,
however, manage to lose his job instead.
also about this time that Dorothy gave birth to their son, Charles
Richard Snyder. The son was named not only after Clarence's
father, but also for Clarence's brother, who had died as a child.
Their son was rarely called by his first name, but rather, was
referred to as "Dick" - the name that everyone had used for
got another job - this one at the Morris Plan Bank in the Collection
Department. The bank was closer to his home than the previous
bank; and Clarence now felt he could spend more time with his
wife and newborn son.
however, he began spending more time patronizing the local saloons
which dotted the streets on his route home. Four or five shots
of whiskey, followed by a few beer chasers at one establishment,
were but a beginning. If Dorothy happened to meet him at work,
and walked him home, he only stopped at one or two bars, rather
than the customary four or five. His lunches became the liquid
variety, and the dinners (that he would be invariably late for),
became non-existent as Clarence lost his appetite for real food.
Dorothy even came to give up cooking, other than for herself
and for their son.
point Clarence had become a daily drunk. He appeared drunk at
his initial interview at the Morris Plan Bank. He remained on
that job for three and a half years, all the while in a state
of constant intoxication.
remembered that the only reason he had gotten the Morris Plan
job was because of help of a close friend. This friend had worked
with Clarence for seven years at Clarence's previous bank job
and was now managing the Finance Department at Morris Plan.
In addition to managing the Finance Department, the friend was
also on the Board of Directors. Clarence related, "Joe knew
that I was the best man for the job despite my being a drunk."
Joe had also conveniently left out of his recommendation to
the Morris Plan that hired Clarence, that Clarence had been
terminated from his previous bank position for being drunk on
the job on a consistent basis. Clarence figured, the Morris
Plan had never seen him sober and wouldn't know the difference.
He was, in his own sick way, proud of this kind of alcoholism,
even though he did not, at that time, have a name for it.
opeined that he was a "chronic alcoholic, a daily drunk." This
was a diagnosis of dubious value to Clarence. But it was a characteristic
that he insisted upon and even took to his grave. Clarence had
disdain for the periodic drunk even though at one time in his
drinking career, he was one. "Periodics," he said, "are the
people that give us drunks a bad name." Periodics, he felt are
the type of people who "get a job, get a family, get a nice
home, get a couple of nice cars, belong to a couple of clubs,
and have a few kids. They also have some bills (dollars) in
the bank. And, for no apparent reason, all of a sudden, this
turkey gets drunk and down goes everything. Out go the wife
and the family, the house, the bank account, the two cars and
the furniture. Everything is gone and he's flat. Well, what
does this monkey do? He goes and gets himself another job; and,
what kills me with these fellows, is that they usually get a
better one than they had before. This is rather a jealousy on
my part. Then they get a new house, two new cars, a new wife,
a new family, new bank account, new club, more exclusive this
time, and away they go again. The next thing you know, BOOM!
The whole thing goes up. Now, no wonder alcoholics are looked
down upon. These kinds of people, you can't depend upon `em."
Clarence felt that chronics were dependable daily drunks like
himself. He said, "You always knew how they were going to be
Plan, Clarence - in a short period of time - had developed a
full time department, with the best finance people and collectors
that he could find and train. He was able, with his own system,
to recoup thousands upon thousands of dollars for the bank.
Eventually, he was promoted and made an officer of the bank.
came to work in the morning wearing the same clothing he had
worn the day before. He vividly remembered that he was "stinking
the office up." He would check his paperwork, touch base with
his "boys", and then he was off and running. This routine lasted
for about three and a half years.
this time, his drinking had became progressively worse, and
it was having a profound physical and emotional effect upon
him. He lost a lot of weight and began to forget even the simplest
things. At first, he forgot only minor thoughts, but later major
ones. Appointments began to be missed, opportunities to recoup
the bank's money and business in general began to slip. Clarence's
"boys" began to take advantage of his loss of memory.
was forgetting things he had said or done only moments before.
He began to have temporary blackouts. Often he would be sitting
at his desk and just staring into space. He would be talking
with a customer, stop in mid-sentence, and start doing something
else, completely unaware of what had previously transpired.
in his department talked with him, even attempted to cajole
him into quitting or even cutting on his liquor consumption.
All of this failed. He continued to get worse. Morris Plan didn't
want to lose him. He was the best manager they had ever had.
But nothing they tried worked. Soon not even Clarence worked.
Vice President _ whom Clarence described as "a strict Lutheran,
a fine gentleman, who wouldn't cause or do anything out of the
way" just blew up at Clarence one morning. The bank officer
had become so frustrated with trying to help Clarence with his
drinking problem that he just gave up. He started jumping up
and down and screaming. He told Clarence that he, Clarence was
the best in the business, if only he could stop destroying himself.
The Vice President pleaded for Clarence to look at what he was
doing to his job, his family, his friends and all those who
loved and cared about and for him. But all of this was to no
avail. Clarence was unwilling _ in fact unable - to listen to
the voice of reason. He had a bad case of tunnel vision, and
all that was in the tunnel was his alcohol.
President gave Clarence two weeks notice, that he was being
terminated. Clarence was even told he didn't have to report
in to work for those two weeks and that the bank would pay him
anyway. Clarence still didn't listen. He kept coming in to work
each and every morning. He was drunk and unable to stop. He
was afraid to stay at home and had avoided telling Dorothy he
had been dismissed. Afraid to tell her that this was yet another
position that had been taken away from him for being a drunk.
weeks quickly passed, and the fateful day finally arrived. The
Executive Vice President called Clarence into his office. Clarence
related, "He gave me my last hurrah. He told me all that crap
that they tell you when you get fired. What a talent you have,
much you wasted it. What you could have done in this bank...
my future was shot and I'll never have any now." He gave Clarence
his final pay check and told him to go upstairs clean out his
slowly walked out of the office, his head bowed - once again
a failure. He walked up the flight of stairs to what had been
his own office. Walked there for the last time, feeling dejected
and ashamed. The only thought that ran through his mind concerned
how much he wanted - no, needed - a drink.
arrived at his office, Clarence opened the door. SURPRISE! His
whole department was there, and so were many of the other bank
employees. The office was decorated for a party, and party they
of his desks were filled with presents and the other desks were
covered with bottles of alcohol. Clarence told the author "Now
who gets fired for being drunk and has a going away party with
presents AND booze? Nobody but some bloody drunk. That doesn't
happen to regular people."
Clarence left Morris Plan, he had several jobs which scarcely
lasted for more than a few weeks each. His last one was for
a finance company. He recalled, "I was supposed to dig up new
business." He would sneak in every morning before the other
employees got there. Only the switchboard operator would be
on duty that early in the morning. He would check his desk for
messages and quickly and quietly run out before any of the other
workers had a chance to arrive. The switchboard operator reported
to her employers that Clarence had indeed checked in each and
every morning. However, after spending three weeks on that job
and not producing a single bit of new business, or even servicing
any of the old accounts, Clarence was once again fired. Dismissed
for drunken behavior and non-productivity.
was "between jobs" after that for several years. In 1933, he
and an old acquaintance discussed going into business together.
Stan Zeimnick wrote Clarence, on September 18, 1933, suggesting
their going into the brewing business on a professional level.
Stan said his main concern was that, "some, or rather most,
beer-place proprietors say that naturally they expect a decided
slump in beer sales soon, but that they don't know much about
small towns; they may drink beer in the winter nearly as much.
Of course that's our gamble." This business venture never materialized,
and Clarence continued to retain his amateur standing as a home
brewmeister and, of course, beer consumer.
on interviews, answered advertisements in the help wanted columns,
and walked into store fronts to inquire about jobs. He begged
his former friends and business associates for jobs. He did
everything he could. Everything, that is, except stop drinking.
Even Dorothy, who was at that time the manager of the men's
department of a local employment agency, couldn't do anything
for her husband.
show up for job interviews drunk, reeking of alcohol, and his
appearance was, to say the least, disheveled. Quite often, his
reputation as a drunk had preceded him. He had no luck acquiring
a position doing anything.
was often the main topic of discussion at numerous family conclaves.
These occurred on a weekly basis, and he was discussed daily
over the telephone. Everybody agreed that he was a "great guy"
when he was sober. However, he was no longer ever sober.
one of these weekly meetings, Dorothy's family finally came
up with a last-ditch opportunity for Clarence. It was time,
he was told, to sink or swim. Either he worked for Dorothy's
brother, or he would be thrown out on to the street.
brother owned a tractor-trailer rig. He hauled merchandise over-the-road
between Cleveland and New York City with various stops in-between.
Clarence was to learn how to drive this tractor-trailer and
go into business with his brother-in-law.
prospect of this frightened Clarence. The thought of learning
how to drive one of those large trucks, with all of that freight
looming behind you, was unappealing. What was even less appealing,
and was the second most, but more important consideration, was
the thought of hard work "which this job reeked of." It didn't
sit right with him. But the thought that frightened Clarence
the most, paramount over all of the others - was the thought
that his brother-in-law would never allow him to have a drink.
Not even a single beer on the hottest of summer days after driving
a thousand miles.
was spelled out in no uncertain terms and in so many different
ways, Clarence could not find any excuse or loophole to get
around it or out of it: Swim or sink. It was the truck and the
open road or the street.
of being on the bum, with winter rapidly approaching, was less
appealing than the dismal prospect which now faced him. Clarence
agreed to take the truck job, though rather reluctantly. He
did, however, retain a silent reservation that, at the first
opportunity that was afforded to him, he would pick up just
one drink. Maybe two. Just enough to enable him to feel better
but not enough to be noticed by his brother-in-law as being
drunk. Clarence thought, in so doing, he wouldn't risk everything,
and being left on the streets, in a strange place, with no money,
and in the cold of winter.
of nights later, Clarence and his brother-in-law had begun their
trip to New York City via Albany and Buffalo. Clarence didn't
have any clothing to speak of, not even an overcoat. He had
sold most of it to purchase alcohol for his last hurrah. Out
of necessity, he had packed light. In fact, he had packed all
that was left of his clothing in a little duffel bag. He was
to sleep, it was decided, in the top back sleeping compartment,
the perch of the cab. His brother-in-law was to sleep on the
seat itself so that Clarence couldn't leave the truck without
being noticed. Even if the brother-in-law was asleep.
the preceding few days, Clarence had managed to save a small
amount of change in nickels and dimes. This small hoard, he
decided, was to be used in case of emergency. He had surmised
that an emergency would indeed eventually arise. He carefully
wrapped these few coins in a handkerchief and placed the handkerchief
snugly in the bottom of his trouser pocket. He made sure it
wouldn't move at all so the coins wouldn't make any noise, be
noticed and be confiscated.
had not been able to get away from his brother-in-law for even
a single moment. He had not had a drink all day. Before they
started the trip, Clarence had consumed all of the alcohol that
was hidden in the house, and his bags had been thoroughly searched
by Dorothy just prior to his departure. All the bottles that
had been stashed were summarily removed and dumped down the
kitchen sink in full view of Clarence and Dorothy's gathered
was in a bad way. Sick, shivering, coughing, and throwing up
out of the window of the truck. He was not allowed to leave
his brother-in-law's sight. When they stopped for breakfast,
Clarence had no appetite, but had to go into the diner anyway.
He sat with his arms folded across his shaking body.
point, Clarence became nauseous and bolted for the bathroom,
probably due to Clarence's watching everyone eating and smelling
the aroma of the food. His brother-in-law quickly followed him
in to the bathroom. Clarence was followed everywhere he went
and was watched at all times. His brother-in-law was under very
strict and specific orders and knew he would have to answer
to the family if anything went wrong.
in the evening they stopped for the night in Albany, New York.
Clarence's brother-in-law was exhausted from all the driving
and from having to watch each and every move that Clarence made.
He decided to pull over to the side of the street and catch
a few hours of much needed sleep. Clarence saw his awaited opportunity
and seized it.
his brother-in-law that he had never been to Albany and that
he wanted to see the Capitol building. He told the brother-in-law
that this was something he had always wanted to see. He even
offered to take him with him for security. He begged, and he
pleaded. He pointed to the building, which was all lit up in
the darkened night sky. His brother-in-law was so exhausted
he couldn't and didn't have the strength to argue any more with
Clarence. He eventually just gave up. He assumed Clarence had
no money and therefore couldn't get into any trouble. He mumbled,
"Good-by and don't come back too late." He then immediately
drifted off into a sound sleep.
did not have any intention of seeing the Capitol. He did however,
have what he thought, was a "capital idea." That idea was: As
he got out of the view of the truck, he would run as fast as
he could to the nearest bar. And this he did.
place Clarence came across was a little too rich for his blood.
He then ran a few more blocks to a "seedier neighborhood." He
quickly located something more to his stature and position in
society, "a dump." He carefully pulled out his handkerchief
and untied it slowly, with his now trembling hands, so that
none of his "bank" would fall out. He walked into the bar. He
said he "plopped all the change on to the bar in one loud clatter
and I ordered a drink." He quickly downed that drink and, without
waiting, ordered another.
Clarence's good fortune, he met a benefactor. He recalled: "I
met an angel, I think he was a fairy, but I'll call him an angel.
Because he started to ply me with drinks and he was putting
them up as fast as I could drink `em. This was great. But then
things started getting a little stuffy, and I thought it was
about time I take my leave. So I went to the men's room, locked
the door, went out the window, and headed back for the truck.
I imagine this guy is still waiting for me there."
did not run back to the truck. He was unable to. He walked as
best he could. By the time he returned to the place where the
truck was parked, all of the alcohol he had consumed began to
take its effect. He was not in the best control of his body.
trying to climb back into the truck and into his sleeping perch,
he stepped on his brother-in-law's face. Awakened with a start,
smelling the stench that emanated from Clarence's body, and
observing him weaving back and forth the brother-in-law put
two and two together. After much loud arguing and having to
restrain himself from beating Clarence to a pulp, the brother-in-law
explained this was to have been Clarence's last chance. He told
Clarence that as soon as they arrived in New York City, he would
have to put Clarence out and leave him there.
Never to return home to Dorothy or Cleveland, for that matter,
ever again. Regardless of how much Clarence begged and pleaded,
New York City was to be his last stop. Dejected and devoid of
all hope, Clarence crawled up into his perch to sleep, wishing
that this was all an alcohol-induced nightmare or hallucination.
they had arrived at the New York waterfront, true to his promise,
the brother-in-law dumped Clarence on the docks and warned,
"Never dare come back to Cleveland!" Clarence got down on his
knees and begged, crying with all of the earnestness at his
"good riddance" were heard and echoed throughout his head as
the big truck released its air brakes. It lumbered away and
faded off into the distant unknown and foreign streets. Clarence
was left there, on his knees, tears streaming down his cheeks
on to the cold and dirty concrete.
he was, no other clothing than that which was on his back and
in the little duffel bag. Winter was rapidly approaching, and
he had no money. The only person Clarence knew was his sister-in-law
felt: "She owed me plenty." According to Clarence, due to an
indiscretion that her husband had come home early to witness,
Virginia had been forced to flee Westchester County and to come
and live with Clarence and Dorothy. Clarence, who at that time
was still working, paid for all of Virginia's bills, including
one for an operation when she had taken ill. He fed, clothed,
and sheltered her. "She owed me plenty, you better believe that,"
began to make his way up to Yonkers, a suburb of New York City.
By the time he had gotten there, he remembered that Virginia
lived way up on top of a long hill. By this time Clarence was
very thirsty. So much so after his long ordeal, that he decided
he couldn't make it up the hill.
instead down another hill. Down into what he remembered as an
Italian neighborhood. He recalled, "This being bootleg days,
all Italians had wine. A lot of them made it. Some of `em sold
it. They all drank it. Some of them shared it with their friends.
So I went down there and made friends."
days later, exactly how many he didn't remember, he finally
managed to make it up the hill to Virginia's home. One of the
few things that he remembered about that visit was that he was
drunk. He was drunk, as usual, dirty, and probably smelled bad,
he thought. He also vaguely remembered that he was rolling around
on the floor with Virginia's two little girls. They were two
or three years old at the time.
Virginia came home, she did not take too kindly to this sight.
She told Clarence, in no uncertain terms, that he had to leave.
To insure this, she placed him in the back seat of her car and
drove him down to the same waterfront area in New York City
from which he had started. Virginia threw him out of the car
- rather, dragged him out, just as her brother had done previously.
Clarence once again begged and pleaded. He got down on his knees
and cried. He reminded Virginia that he had taken her in and
that she owed him, at least just this once. But this was all
to no avail.
admonished Clarence, not to return either to her home or back
to Cleveland to her sister, Dorothy. This time he was threatened
with being arrested if he dared to return. Virginia got back
into her car without looking back, slammed the door and drove
again Clarence was left on the cold, concrete street, tears
running down his cheeks. He had never felt so all alone in his
life. He had no money, no real clothing to speak of, no friends,
no family and no hope. "No nothing." He swore that he would
never pick up another drop of alcohol in any way shape or form
ever again. This he swore to the heavens above at the top of
his lungs. He had to exist, so exist he did as best he knew
the case in the mid 1930's, many of the truckers left their
rigs on the waterfront beneath the elevated roadway. They spent
their nights in cheap rooming houses or hotels to shower and
to get some needed sleep. Some of those who parked their trucks
were also looking for entertainment. The kind of entertainment
that a cab of a tractor-trailer could not accommodate. At least
men needed someone to watch their trucks. And Clarence used
all his best sales techniques to convince them he was indeed
their perfect watchman. He did manage to convince quite a few.
He was paid fifty cents a night to watch over their trucks.
In some, he slept snugly, insulated from the damp and bone chilling
in those days, Clarence bought his booze in a wallpaper store
for seven cents a pint. He recalled that his "special mix" was
comprised of "denatured alcohol, mixed with water and anything
else that I could get a hold of to mix it with. It wasn't the
best, but it did the trick. It knocked ya out." For the most
part he always had at least two or three pints of that "mix"
with him. So much for Clarence's swearing to the heavens that
he would never pick up another drink.
he was, dumped on to the docks of New York City. Not once but
twice. He had a warm place to sleep and plenty of booze. He
was earning fifty cents a day, and, at seven cents a pint, he
was saving money.
a survivor, he also found clever and devious ways to get clothing
to ward off the winter chill and thereby stay "healthy." He
also found ways of getting something to eat when he was hungry,
which wasn't very often.
services at the various missions around the city in order to
obtain the bare necessities of existence. This being the time
of the great depression, there was never any shortage of missions.
All he had to do was get there, go inside, get up, and sing.
however, stand their food. No matter how hungry he had gotten,
mission food was something that he had detested. The food was
usually overstocks, leftovers, or spoiled goods that were donated
by various establishments.
of its usually deteriorated condition, the food was always sprayed
with and saturated by, "bug juice." Clarence said of this insecticide,
"Everything is bug juice. You go in there. They spray you with
it, your clothing - they spray everything. Bugs are running
every place you look, all over, in and around everything. They
seemed to eat that spray. They got fat on it. They thrived off
of it, I think."
than eat mission food, Clarence devised another way to eat for
free. Clarence discovered the automat. He related, "The automat
was a place with lots of little square windows, walls of `em
with different foods behind each window. You put in your nickel
or dime through this little slot and turned the knob. The window
popped open, and you took out your food. One window for soup,
one for sandwiches, one for beans etc."
observed that almost everyone in New York City was always "on
the run." He found out from experience that, if you stood outside
of one of the large office buildings at noon "you took your
life in your hands." Everyone it seemed, would run out as if
in one big "swarm" in order to rush off to lunch. He said, "Some
of `em had as much as a half hour." They would then "gulp" down
their food and run back to work again.
watched these, as he called them, "idiots" for hours and even
days at a time. He found them very amusing to watch. Probably
some of those same "idiots" didn't find his antics so
as they would run into the automat. They wouldn't even sit down.
They stood at a counter or small table. He related, "A little
round thing there, there's three or four of `em at a counter."
Clarence watched them eating and talking. Some were reading
the newspaper and eating. Sometimes they were doing all of these
things at once. "They didn't even know what they were eating,"
he said. He then came upon what he thought was an ingenious
and foolproof plan - a scheme. He devised a plan to get some
of this food to himself for free.
this of his plan: "I went out to the curbstone and took out
one of my paws, and I rubbed it into the dirt and filth out
in this gutter and dirtied this hand up. I came in and stood
aside one of these guys and put this hand up in some guys food,
Now this takes a little crust to do this; but if you know human
nature, you can get away with it. This guy turns around and
sees this, and he wants to belt me. So, I look at him. I'm starving.
I have this look on my face. He can't hit me. He can't do it.
It's just too much for him. He gets so frustrated that he walks
out and leaves that whole damn thing."
would then gather the food and take it back to the truck in
which he was staying at the time. Sometimes this "foolproof"
plan didn't work out so well. Sometimes he would get punched.
Sometimes he would get thrown out. More often than not, though,
he did get food. Enough to satisfy whatever appetite he did
went on for some time. He had a place to sleep, food to eat,
clothing on his back, and booze to drink. He was still saving
money, earning fifty cents a day, and spending seven cents a
pint for his "mix."
all was happening around October or November 1937. Clarence
had spent the better part of a year living as a homeless person
in New York City. A place that several months earlier, had been
both foreign and frightening. This was just another indication
to him of his resourcefulness and his instinct for survival
in the face of adversity and absolute hopelessness.
as all good things must come to an end, Clarence began to develop
a homing instinct. He felt that something, he wasn't sure of
what it was, was calling him. Drawing him back to Cleveland,
up his meager belongings, counted the money that he had saved,
packed four or five pints of his "mix," and to set out for home.
He was unsure of what, it anything, awaited him. He did know
that he had to go home.
one of the truckers to give him a lift which took him in the
general direction of Ohio. One trucker took him as far as Erie,
Pennsylvania. Another took him to the outskirts of Cleveland.
He was back in the area where he had been thrown out of his
home almost one year earlier.
to someone who he thought was still his wife. Back to his son,
and back to Dorothy's family. He was still unsure why he felt
that he had to return, but he did know that he was glad to be
his life seemed to be lost and hopeless, and he was unsure about
how to regain it. He couldn't stop drinking. He had tried on
numerous occasions with little or no success. He wanted some
semblance of sanity back in his life. Yet he didn't know quite
how to go about getting it or even who to ask how to get it.
truly lost and he was sure that "home" was where he would find
what it was that he so desperately sought. He was in Ohio, home