Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician

Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician

Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician

Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Politician

Excerpt

SCHOOL DAYS. FATHER'S DEATH. TENDING BAR. HUNTING A JOB. PLAYING BASEBALL. ENTERING POLITICS. BOOMING AL SMITH. MEETING ROOSEVELT. SMITH VERSUS HEARST. BIG- TIME POLITICS. THE NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY. THE BOXING COMMISSION. ELECTIONEERING FOR ROOSEVELT.

PERHAPS half the youngsters of America had a childhood similar to my own. My parents, of course, were poor but honest. The place of my birth was Grassy Point on the shores of the Hudson River about thirty-five miles above New York City, a village small enough to make everyone feel comfortably acquainted and large enough to provide the companionships, the interests, and the excitements which figure so largely in the career of a growing boy.

I received my education in the public schools where I did enough studying to get by, excelling in those studies which appealed to me and doing indifferently in those which failed to strike my fancy. After all, school was secondary to most of us; our main delight was in the hours after class when we ran, jumped, tussled, swam, played baseball, and otherwise worked ourselves into a state of healthy exhaustion. The youngsters in the neighborhood were pretty good lads. The games we played were those indulged in by youngsters everywhere, especially by children brought up in humble circumstances and compelled to provide their own methods of amusement. A few childish incidents that were a bit mischievous cling in my memory, but on the whole there was nothing about "our gang" that marked it as being any better or any worse than the average group of normal children.

Perhaps the one thing which impressed itself on my early years more than anything else was the Hudson River itself. As it flows by Grassy Point and near-by cities and towns, the river named after the ancient explorer is truly a majestic stream, with a channel both wide and deep, a current already influenced by the tides sweeping in from the Atlantic Ocean, and a jagged riverbank . . .

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