I was given the rest the day off and told to report to housekeeping Monday morning. Everything would start on Monday the day I was supposed to have arrived at Bethel. Every new boy was assigned to a house keeper for three days before they got their work assignment. This way they could learn the proper care and maintenance of their assigned room.
In 1970 there was two congregations that met at Bethel, King’s County and Brooklyn Heights. I wanted to go to the memorial that night at which ever one Brother Knorr and the other Bethel heavies were going to.
I was told by Gilbert that this wasn’t a good idea. “It’s going to be packed there, with standing room only. There would be overseers and the friends of overseers from all over the city there. You should come with me to my Hall instead.”
So I took my first subway rides to Gilbert’s congregation that night. Over the years I would detested the thousands of hours wasted on these trains. Summertime was the worst since most of the trains back then had no AC. You were dressed up with suit and tie, heading to one of your five meetings a week. It was ninety degrees or more in the tunnels with ninety percent humidity. There could be a little breeze coming through the windows. Then the train would stop dead on the tracks for no apparent reason for what seemed like an eternity. When you got off the train you would literally soaked to the bone with sweat. For the book study it was a two hour train ride for an hour book study.
So that night we headed to his Kingdom Hall called Midtown in Manhattan. It was a strange congregation back then with over eighty Bethelities in it. There was about thirty publishers there and the rest were these young guys who all looked like me. Kids from all over the country. If I remember correctly, the Hall was above a liquor store, pretty convenient. I met James Pipkorn that night who would end up being one of my best friends for over forty years.
The memorial was pretty much like most of the memorials I’d had been to in my life with one or two people partaking of the bread and the wine and the rest standing by. Funny thing is the numbers of partakers in 1970 was just over ten thousand. Last year it was over fifteen thousand partaking. These numbers should be going down after forty years but they are still raising.
For around 70 years it was held that the 144,000 were fully assigned by 1935.
"Logically, the calling of the little flock would draw to a close when the number was nearing completion, and the evidence is that the general gathering of these specially blessed ones ended in 1935." Watchtower 1995 Feb 15 p.19
Just one more of the many “Catch 22s” That the society can’t seem to figure out but really this is one of the least of their problems.
Anyway, I couldn’t wait to find out what my “privilege of service” was going to be. No matter if’s cleaning toilets or working on the mighty printing presses all jobs at Bethel are “privileges of service” they will tell you. I would preferred the printing presses for sure, but would do the toilets. Anything to serve my god. I actually found out later that cleaning toilets was really a pretty good job there compared to the hell of the dreaded machines they could put you on.