By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
I was “home” just long enough to earn plane fare and some new clothes. They say “home” is where when you go there, “they” have to take you in. Well, here I am three years later right back in North Branch, but not for long. The nearby town of Jeffersonville, aka “Jeff” offered the only local chance of a job. I convinced the owner of Seager’s Coal and Feed that I knew how to drive a large truck. You know—8 or 10 speed stick shift. How hard could it be? Right?? After a few misadventures, I was able to fake it for three months, long enough to save the money needed. I delivered chicken and cattle feed to farmers and using a different dump truck, delivered coal to families. For those of you who have never had a coal-burning furnace the coal was loaded in a dump, truck which backed up to your basement window. Then I attached a chute to the truck with the other end going into the window to the coal bin. Viola! All went well except for one very minor mishap when I knocked the front porch loose from the house. It separated about 8 to 10 inches. So, I simply backed the truck up to the porch and pushed it back into place. As of this writing, I don’t believe it has been discovered.
By early November, I was ready, a new suit case filled with civilian clothes and a plane ticket to California. I flew first to Oakland to visit my older brother for a few days. Then, being overly anxious, I took the train to LA.
At the academy
The money I’d saved was a Godsend as I was running out of funds and had been eating several day-old bread and cheese whiz. We were sworn in and began the learning process to become police officers. Also in progress nearby was a class of “policewomen” recruits, about 8 or 9. They were kept apart from us and we only occasionally caught glimpses of them (no comment).
We learned of the law and evidence, physical training—and we ran. We learned traffic codes, penal codes and more codes—and we ran. We learned how to arrest, when to arrest and who to arrest and we ran some more. We learned how to shoot; when to shoot and who to shoot and we still kept running. We fired tear gas and as it drifted into the heavy brush, we watched as illicit “lovers” ran away crying and still we ran.
Part 3 of Ed Meckle’s Improbable Journey will post here on December 7th, 2016.