woensdag 22 oktober 2014


How love can bring you to crime.

The crisis in the western world in the thirties was felt by everybody, but in the cities it was the working class that got hit the most. One job per family was often not enough to get a proper meal every day. For the baker’s delivery man it meant that there was sufficient bread for all six members of the family, but often sandwiches “with love” were given to the children. Twice a week there would be some meat with their dinner, some bad weeks only once.
The delivery man was not happy with this situation; he wanted his loved ones to have the best there was in the world, but he was not even able to give them what they really needed.
On a nice Sunday he encountered a man while angling in the canal. The man was drinking a sort of brandy from a milk bottle. The man offered him a sip and it was not bad at all. Maybe the taste was a bit sharp, but the second sip was really nice. You had to get used to it.

The delivery man bought distilling equipment the next week. It was not very hard to find what you needed. And the ingredients were very cheap. So soon it was his turn to sell some to neighbours and family. The extra income was very welcome; he made his wife very happy.He made this himself from methylated spirit, he told the delivery man. He explained the process and what you need to be able to do this. According to the man he sold some of his brandy to other people. Only problem was the police: you really needed to do things a bit hidden.
When his next birthday was almost there, they decided to have a big party. The whole family and street was asked.
A lot of people knew how to make music with harmonicas and accordions. So soon half of the people were singing along with all these well known songs. The others were playing cards and gambled. They all really had a great time.
The party got disturbed by two uncles who got into a fight because of the cheating of one. The others just grabbed them both and threw them on the street. Cursing and shouting they went home, promising they would never return to this godforsaken house.
The situation became more serious when one of the cousins got into a delirium. Foaming and shaking he lay on the floor. The others were afraid of losing him forever. A doctor was needed, that was clear. What to do?
They decided to bring him home on the carrier tricycle of the delivery man. His home was at the other side of the city. They hid him under a blanket and he was brought home where neighbours got a doctor for him.
In the meantime the party broke up. The delivery man decided to take some safety measures and brought his distilling equipment away. He didn’t even tell his wife where he was hiding it.
Within a few days a big police force came to the house of the unlucky cousin and searched the house. They were looking for the distillery. Somehow they must have got word about the delirium of the cousin.
After not finding anything they searched every house in the surrounding streets. Pamphlets were hung asking for tips of the people about the whereabouts of the distillery and there was an announcement on it what sentences illegal distillers could get.
When everything seemed to be forgotten the delivery man tried to find his equipment again. It was gone. So he came home empty handed.
The wife pleaded him not to buy new equipment. She could see herself raising the four children on her own while he would spend his days behind bars. He agreed not to start distilling again.
But that party became legendary in the family; it was never surpassed.

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