My Bethel Experience Part 7
People would ask me "how long do you plan on staying at bethel" I would say "forever!.....or 4 years whichever comes first"
Besides the about 48 hours you worked there a week, you would have other duties too. There was dish duties. Since the waiters worked about from about 6 in the morning to about 4 in the afternoon, they needed someone to do the supper dishes. About once a month the bethel family got that privilege........Funny thing is you NEVER saw the heavies go them. They we fun especially in the summer time. The worst job was working the dish washing machine "HOT END" there was 2 brothers loading the front end and 2 guys taking the 140 degree dishes off the back end. Your hands were on fire. That is where I first meet Dave Borga. He was Jim Pipkorn best friend and roommate. He was the waiter that was in charge that night...........He put me on the HOT END......by myself.....he just set up on a counter laughing.......It was like that "I LOVE LUCY" show where she is in the factory with a conveyor belt, any way that was the last dish duty for me.
Then you had the night watchmen duties.........Once every 2-3 years in the home, you pulled an all night watchman duty. It started about 9 p.m. The Watchman would get a day off and you would fill in. It was very creepy. It was dark and you had to walk through all 3 buildings 119, 117 and 124 (not the 129) and their basements too. You did this loop three times and punch the time clock you had with you.
At about 3:00 a.m. in this dark basement of the 124 all of a sudden this guy jumps in front of me and SCREAMS. I thought I saw ghost of Charles Russel, I could have died. Guess who it was? It was Peter R......the real night watchmen, he said "he couldn't sleep.......and wanted to have some FUN with me!" What a JERK. About 2 years later, he was asked to leave (kicked out) bethel........It seemed he liked to sneak into the sisters bathrooms in the 117 building at night (they only had one bathroom per floor, Knorrs Idea on how to save money) He would lock the toilet door and do some free PEEPING, as the sisters were taking showers. I guess all those long nights by himself finally got to him. Good news…..he is an Elder in Salem Oregon now.
There was another guy, while I was there, who could beat that one. He would sneak into a married couples rooms (in the middle of the night) and lay on the floor next to the wife ....and copped a feel. Now you know why Knorr hated bethelities.
Anyway we got side tracked.......back to dish duties. Why do a dish duty? When you could get someone else to do them for you. So we would trade them or sell them. There was this one guy Allen Richards who would do your 2 hour dish duty for .89 cents, that was the price a 1/2 gallon of "Canadian Ace" beer.........the worst beer ever made. I bet he felt great the next day! So if you could get some poor schmuck to do it for .89 cents and you could get some side job for $1.75 an hour? Do the math!
Which brings us to the next subject of "G" jobs. NO ONE really knows were the name came from. But it is, any job you did to make more money....outside of the 22 dollars a month bethel gave you. You spent anywhere from $12 to $14 a month just on subway tokens.
They were many different types. Some guys in the press room ran "the paper route" it started at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. I did it once......not for me........Some guys did cratering jobs at weddings, great tips plus you could keep all the half-drunk wine bottles, when it was over. There was a waiting list, to work there. Some guys painted apartments. My friend Jim Pipkorn.....worked a funeral home in "the village"...........The stories I could tell you about that place. That would be a whole 2 page thread in itself. Dave Borga, turned into the King of all "G jobbers".....They still talk about him to this day in the "new boy talks"..............He had a FULL TIME job working the night shift at toy factory in Jersey. That’s right almost 90 hours a week of work! Needless to say he didn’t last long, at that pace, with only 3 to 4 hours sleep a night.
I was a dish washer I washed pots and pans in and high end restaurant 3 blocks from bethel in "the Heights"....To this day, I will not order turkey and dressing in a restaurant. They would serve these little loafs of bread in there and people would eat half of them.....they would put out their cigarettes butts in what was left of the bread......the waiters would bring them back to the kitchen and throw them in a box, on the floor, next week it was? You guessed it! Turkey and bread dressing day.
I also so worked in two liqueur stores one in "Inwood" and one in "The Heights" ........Hey $1.75 an hour is GOOD money. I was making only .08 cents an hour, working for Jehovah.I guess Jehovah doesn't believe in minimum wage. The extra 10-20 bucks a week made a BIG difference, in making your life a little more comfortable there. So even if the sisters forgot your dinner at the KH. Once or twice a week, you could get a "Hero and a Quart of beer" down at Pioneer deli. If you were really rolling, you would buy a chuck steak and frozen French fries and cook it up in your room, on your electric skillet.....THAT MY FRIEND WAS LIVING!
One day at lunch on Doctor Dixon's table the whole upper dining room was pretty quiet. One table was really loud, it was the tour table............he keep looking over and giving them a look like "how dare they disturb my eating......I said "You tell they are NOT bethelities".....he knew what I meant.......and said "I think you have a bad attitude about bethel"............I said "I have a bad attitude about New York City." He said "Are you kidding, look at all the great things you can do here, you have the plays and the fine dining!"
I said "Brother Dixon, I don't know your New York City. Our New York City is a hero sandwich and a quart of beer once a week, if we are lucky."
I knew a guy who was mugged in New York.......The guy put a gun to his head and said "give me your money or I'm going to blow your BRAINS out!" The man said "YOU better shoot........because I know one thing about New York, you can live here without brains....but you GOT to have MONEY!"
P.S.......that is the only story, I have told that is NOT true.
Thanks New Boy. I've really enjoyed reading your Bethel experiences
Another fine story. Makes a person count their blessings. Some of the Bethelites seem like they'd be a lot of fun to cook for or offer a few home baked goodies. Regardless of a life choice, a person who commits to working for another should be fed decently. To think a hero sandwich and beer was good eats is sad. The food service and lack of enough food was just wrong. And unchristian.
I like reading about these Bethel experiences, as to what actually goes on there.
Keep going .........! I feel a book comin on here !
It's just ironic that Bethel is the place where a lot of people ''wake-up'' of sorts. It's ironic in a way that Dubbies exert themselves so hard core to get to that ''place'' most holiness then see things for what they are. Then they fall away, fade away or become inactive.
New boy, I have been gobbling up these bethel stories. I don't want them to end! Several close friends and family of mine are/were in bethel. People don't always share their stories, but when they do I am never disappointed. Please tell me you have a part 8.
Excellent thank you.
Thank you for these stories!
It is fascinating to read about what happens at the "House of God" (bwhahahaha!!) - to peek behind the curtain, to peer into the most holy of holies, to see a side of the great Org that many of us never get to see.
It is looking into a sweat house of politics and disregard for basic human rights. To see how Jesus Christ's own "brothers" on earth treat each other (the "brother" claim is theirs, not mine!)
Thank you, and also to other ex-bethelites who share these eye-opening stories.