Friday, May 3, 2013

Death Of A Timekeeper

When I worked at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. back in 1977 one of the timekeepers was
a man named Smallwood. Everyone called him "Speedy" because he was so slow.

I liked the guy. He was very friendly. He was an old retired Navy man easily past 80 years of age.
He liked to drink wine and to play the ponies. He used to brag and show me his uncashed paychecks  5 at a time. He had retirement from the Navy and Social Security and possibly other incomes.

I used to see him when I came in to work. He worked in a small little room where all the employee timecards were kept. Someone would ask for their card and he would give it to thoem and they would punch in and give it back to him and he would put it back on the rack with all the other cards.

   One morning he got off work at 7am after having worked the 11pm to 7 am midnight shift. It was a bitter cold January morning. He had the hood on his jacket over his head as he went to cross 28th Street and Calvert Street in front of the hotel. He had the walk sign saying WALK and he paid no attention to the traffic and he could not see what was coming since his hood was over his head. A flower truck came flying along and ran a red light and ran over and killed Mr. Smallwood.
Click on the above picture to enlarge it. Smallwood was run over in that road in the upper
right hand corner of the picture.
Below is another view of that corner.

   I made a point of going to the funeral home in Arlington, Va. where his family had gathered.
I did not know any of them and I don't think any of them lived anywhere near the D.C. area.

There were three sisters of his in the room when I went in. They all looked exactly like Smallwood. Every family has one face. You can see this at funerals where the family all look alike. They all have the same facial features.

After a few exchanges of small talk I told them I was a friend of his.
They asked me if I knew where he kept his money. They said they couldn't find it.

I said no. In fact I didnt even know where he lived. I did know that he lived somewhere in the Adams Morgan section of D.C.   Smallwood was a very secretive man. He was a loner and liked it that way.

I felt sad for Speedy. Run over and killed by a flower truck.