Tivoli Hotel Clerk
This was to be a fast transition, because in 10 days time I was to fill the position as a clerk in a resort hotel. I was to be a room clerk, cashier, (for front office and dining room) switchboard operator, typist and whatever it took to fill the position of Front Office Manager. It was nice to be back in the business world, but it had to be worked out. My brother Glen had taken over a bankrupt hotel and he and I had to work 24 hours a day every day until we could afford to hire additional help. I managed to fill the position, by eating my meals back of the desk and sleeping on a cot behind the desk. For this I was to receive $50.00 per month, with all meals, room, laundry and dry cleaning, taxi fare free, and green fees free at all golf courses - if I had the clubs and the money to do so (Smile). I liked to have gone bankrupt, too, as I had to buy clothes and shoes and stuff to be able to act like a real clerk. As an added thought, clerks and people who worked in resort hotels are forbidden to associate with guests staying at the hotel. In regard to that, here's an interesting story: The hotel had an 18 ft catboat that I used sometimes, so one evening a very pretty young lady, from a very wealthy family asked me to take her sailing. So I told her I could not, however, she insisted and went and asked her mother, who said OK. This was not enough for me as I went and asked her mother and she gave her consent (her father was not available). So we went sailing for a few hours. On our return her father was waiting on the pier and he was very angry and said "If you have harmed my daughter I will see you later". This was a very touchy situation. He later apologized to me, and told me if I lost my job he would give me one at his place of business. This situation was an interesting one as his daughter was serious about the matter, and didn't forget the matter for some time. (Smile - just a Summer Romance)
Now back to my story -
Our biggest problem was putting up with the people who had stock in the hotel before it went bankrupt. We were working for the man who was the current owner because had paid the taxes for the past few years and he along with us was trying to recoup his losses. As for those prior stock holders who tried to stay at the hotel for nothing that was quite an affair. We seemed to have held daily sessions on the subject, but we lived through it - after a few months.
After about 6 months of this I found myself in the Biloxi Hospital, with an appendix operation, and along with it I had peritonitis, which means my appendix had been infected and ruptured. I was packed in ice for a day and guess who showed up for my rescue none other than Capt (Dr.) Bolton of Biloxi MS, the surgeon in the CCC Camp. He was a fine man but recommended that Dr. George Wallace do the job. I lived through this but was in a wheel chair for a month or so and finally got back to normal. After a year or so my brother Glen decided to move on to a better job in New Orleans, and Mr. Walter Read took over as Manager, and after a year he was replaced by a new owner - a Mr. J C Hunt of Dyersburg, TN . Now before Mr. Hunt bought the place he came in and asked me to show him around the place and he said" If I buy this place, will you work for me?" and I told him I would. I thought he was joking but he wasn't. He bought the Riviera Hotel on Lameuse Street - other places owned by him were furniture and appliance Stores.
Fishing and Sailing Were Good at the Tivoli
Captain Pete Herman on Left - Alfred Stillman with a Big Mackerel Catch
In front - Amberjack
The Tivoli Facilities Were Great
Tivoli Golf Pro Alfred Stillman with Joyce Fountain and Henry C. Palfrey
During the time I worked for Mr. Read in 1938, I met his secretary, Miss Marie Hengen. In 1940, she was working out at the Edgewater Gulf Hotel, so I proposed that we get married, so we did. And here I will mention that Marie and I went fishing and hunting and sailing (and I will mention that while we were sailing I asked her to pour water into the centerboard - so the boat would work properly, and when she found out I was playing a joke on here - she like to never forgave me -smile) and had a wonderful relationship. Mr. Hunt was going to give us a big wedding at the Hotel, but we did not want that - so we were married by Rev. E. A. DeMiller, at the Episcopal Church on April 18, 1940. We spent or had our honeymoon at the Montelone Hotel, in New Orleans, as a guest of the manager, Mr. A J Spatafora. Prior to that Mr. Hunt was going to arrange for us to have a big wedding at the hotel, but we did not want that. Then, he gave me a promotion in pay to $100 or more per month. At that time we moved to an apartment with the Bowens at 608 East Howard Avenue.
Marie Ann Hengen…Alfred William Stillman
Marie Ann Hengen on the Switchboard
Alfred William Stillman…Marie Ann Hengen Stillman
I had several escapades while working at the desk
One - Managing the desk and switchboard for incoming calls of the U S Narcotic Squad while they conducted business, they hired the night clerk and his wife and they haven't been heard of since. Except they wished they had not done so (Smile).
Two - While working for Mr. Hunt; One day I noticed a Coast Guard or Naval Officer sitting in the lounge across from the desk, so I asked him: "What are you doing here" and he told me that he was arresting a young lady that had rented a sailboat from the hotel and that the boat did not have life preservers in it and she was liable for the fine amounting to $300. I told him I would look into the matter. The family was trying to gather up the $300 fine. I quickly called Mr. Hunt and asked him to take the desk and that I was up to something and (he was not responsible for my actions). I had called the City Police and they were on the way. Then I told the young officer that I was going to help him solve his problem - the Police were on the way. He bolted for the side door and I was behind him and then the Police Car showed up and I jumped on the running board of the car and he headed north toward Howard Avenue and then we followed him to under a fig tree behind a house across Howard Avenue at which time he reached to pull out a handkerchief - I was directly in front of the crew - we thought it was a gun (that was a close one) and then the police handcuffed him and took over. Later it was found that he had been in a Coast Guard Cadet Corps, down on the Point, and had been dishonorably discharged for things "Unbecoming to an Officer".
Three - Back when Mr. Hunt first took over - at the end of the first week - the new crew that had been hired came to me late in the evening and asked me to join them in "On going on a Strike - for more money". I told them I refused to do so because all of us "had just been hired, and that he could replace any one of us at any time. However, they threatened me, and I told them I was armed with a gun, so they decided not to strike. They were desperate in their language, but I talked them out of the idea.