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"The News Hawk"
S., Akron, Ohio.
(OM, p. 254 in 1st edition, p. 251
in 2nd and 3rd editions. Titled "Travel, Editor, Scholar"
in the 1st edition.)
newsman covered life from top to bottom; but
he ended up, safely enough, in the middle."
Jim's date of sobriety was
July 1937. He was described as tall and skinny, and a real
He was born in Australia,
and it is uncertain when he first came to America. He received
a liberal arts education and apparently married while in
college or soon after.
Jim had itchy feet and soon
after college, estranged from his family, he went to Great
Britain where he became a bookmaker's clerk on the British
racing circuits, and was far better off financially than
the average professional man. When money was missing he
was fired and he sailed for New York, knowing he was through
among the English "bookies."
He continued to travel far
and wide, working at a variety of jobs in many cities in
this country and abroad, and he also spent some periods
as a hobo. On one occasion he left his wife and baby in
Scotland and sailed for New York.
Many of his jobs were with
newspapers, the first one in Pittsburgh. While working on
a newspaper in Ohio he stayed sober for two years, except
for a one-night drunk in Chicago, and kept a quart of medicinal
whiskey in his apartment to taper off the occasional newspaper
alcoholics who were sent to see him. He stayed sober for
a total of four years, the last two during World War I when
he served in a Canadian regiment.
Discharged in 1919 he made
up for his dry spell: Quebec, Toronto, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh,
were the scenes of man-sized drunks until he had gone through
his readjustment discharge pay. He again became a reporter
on a Pittsburgh paper.
He was working in a large
Ohio city when his wife came over from Scotland to join
him. The new job lasted five years. He quit that job moved
to Washington, D.C., then Texas.
Washed up in Texas he returned
to the town he had left five years before. His wife made
several attempts to get him to stop drinking, but without
While working in a small
bookstore Jim was called to a hospital to see a friend with
whom he had once worked. (This man was probably Earl T.,
"He Sold Himself Short"). His friend had insisted he visit.
He was hospitalized for alcoholism and was already reaching
out to help Jim. A few days later another man came into
his shop to talk to him about a plan for recovery and invited
him to a meeting. But Jim insisted he was on the wagon and
It wasn't long before he
was on another bender, which lasted until his friend from
the hospital picked Jim up and put him in the hospital.
In the interim he may have
lost his job at the book store, since one report says that
Dr. Bob found Jim on skid row selling hair oil and panhandling.
But according to Jim's story, he didn't meet Dr. Bob until
he was in the hospital.
After Jim's recovery began,
knowing he had been a journalist, Dr. Bob, asked him if
he would help the Akron and Cleveland members write their
stories. He took on the job gladly, urging them to get their
stories on paper, and nagging them when they dragged their
feet. He edited and rewrote some of the stories, but tried
to keep the flavor of the original version.