Brokerage Days: From Penny Ante Alley to A “Wirehouse” – Part 5

New-York-Stock-Exchange-Quotes

As a high school student, I worked for the brokerage firm in my home town. This was before the wirehouses had opened offices in every village and burg in this great country and many small towns, including my own, had a local stock brokerage firm and that was it. That firm was not a member of the New York Stock Exchange but had what was known as a “Corresponding Broker” who was a member and executed our trades.

Henry Sims owned the local brokerage firm. He was a man who was very good to me and the Sims family are one of the fine old families from Orangeburg. He married my first cousin, Nonie, which was his second go ‘round and they had two children. Those children, now both grown into strapping and very cool young men, are my cousins. To be formal about it, they are my first cousins, once removed. (When Southerners sit around and talk, we spend hours discussing who is related to whom and how.)

However, Henry had five children by his first wife, all of whom I knew but they aren’t my cousins, which can lead to endless confusion. One of his children, Cindy, is a faithful reader of my blog which I didn’t know till a few months ago when she emailed me about something. I emailed her back and she emailed me back thinking I had been annoyed by her question. I hadn’t been annoyed in the least I explained to her and we were almost related since her two younger half brothers were my cousins. (Hello Cindy!)

My first cousin, Nonie, if you are following this, owned a travel agency, Travel Incorporated. I worked there after school and in the summer. We had fun and the business was located in my grandfather’s hotel. While talking to a friend on the phone one day she said, “It’s an unusual sort of travel agency. My best agent is fourteen.” That reference being to your servant.

When she married Henry, she sold her travel agency and I went to work at Sims Securities because I had a genuine interest in the financial markets which I still have today.

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Hotel Eutaw in Orangeburg, SC. This photo was taken by the SC Historical Register in 1986 when the building was declared of historical significance. Harry Mett’s Hotel Eutaw barbershop was the last shop on the left of the photograph. My cousin, Nonie, later opened her travel agency, Travel Incorporated, in the storefront which has the tacky sign saying “Loans”. If you are familiar with Orangeburg, SC, this photo shows the main facade of the Eutaw which faced Russell Street, the main street in Orangeburg.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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