Legal secretaries. A girl gets a job working as a stenographer for an attorney. After she arrived home from her first day at work, she excitedly told her family everything that happened. But, her father had just one question. "Did that lawyer take the Lord's name in vain?" She replied, "yes, sir." Her father, a quiet, unimposing man, then went over to the lawyer's home. He informed the lawyer that his transgressions were unacceptable. When the lawyer refused to change his ways, the father beat up the lawyer. Unfortunately, when she reported for work the next day, she was informed that she was fired. The year was 1900. Most of these jobs had previously been held by men. That made the girl a pioneer in the field.
Things happen every day. Big things. Little things. Lots of things. Things you don't even know about. Things that probably don't affect you. Most of it is probably insignificant to the workings of life. Some things make it into the news. Most don't. But, do you ever wonder who is behind the scenes making things happen?
Runaway train. Go back in time. Chicago. An old railroad company. A former governor -- the number one man. A legal scholar -- the number two man. Hordes of lawyers, each with their own secretary.
The old railroad company was once considered a powerful iron horse that had the run of the land. But times had changed from the early days of the iron horse. The railroad was in dire straits. If drastic measures weren't taken, it was sure to vanish from the face of the earth. So, the old railroad filed for protection from creditors with the United States Bankruptcy Court. And the former governor was appointed by the court to save the railroad. They called him the trustee. And the trustee called upon the legal scholar to figure out clever ideas to save the railroad. And they called him the lead counsel to the trustee. And the lead counsel to the trustee gathered hordes of lawyers, each with their own secretary, to do the work while he thought up clever ideas to save the railroad.
One day the legal secretary to the lead counsel to the trustee decided she couldn't take it anymore. The pressure was too great. The work was too demanding. The long hours were too consuming. She was frazzled by the magnitude of the case. It was too overwhelming. So, she stepped aside.
Another legal secretary was brought in. As she sat across from him at his desk, fielding his questions, he was twirling his hair, and she found herself twirling her hair. He was quite concerned that she had had no formal education. She assured him that she was very capable of doing anything and everything including things she'd never even done yet. When he wanted to know what kinds of things she hadn't done yet, she simply told him she didn't know because she hadn't done them. And with that he hired her.
She quickly made herself indispensable to the legal scholar. She was able to free up his time by taking many tasks off his hands, including the handling of the hordes of lawyers and their secretaries. She translated his ideas to commands for the hordes of lawyers to fulfill. And things started happening. The hordes of lawyers would come to her for direction. And she gave it to them without batting an eyelash. She was allowed to sit in and contribute to brainstorming sessions. They gave her an office at the railroad company where she would spend a couple hours each day working in the financial center. And she learned the about the financial workings of the railroad.
One of the ideas brought forth by the legal scholar was to sell off some of the assets of the old railroad company. One of these assets consisted of 2500 miles of track in Canada, just above the U.S. border. But the sale had to be approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission. They worked day and night preparing a brief to present their case to the ICC. The legal scholar would pick her up at her apartment at 7:00 in the morning and drop her off at midnight in a limousine. And they would brainstorm in the back of that limo.
They sent her to Washington, D.C., to file 100 copies the brief with the ICC. It was a Friday night, cold and rainy January. They printed the brief in the basement of the train station. It was massive. The 100 briefs completely filled two trial brief cases. One of the cases was so overstuffed that it wouldn't close. So, one of the lawyers from the hordes took off his belt and strapped it around the case. While they were all standing around waiting for the printing presses, one of the lawyers went up to the street to find a taxi cab. He brought the cab down to the second subbasement, below the printing presses, to wait for her. It was getting very late. Time was of the essence. A whole entourage of people, including the president of the railroad company, escorted her and the briefs to the cab. The president instructed the cab driver to get her to the airport in record time. And he gave him a hundred dollar bill as incentive to speed and so she wouldn't have to be bothered with paying him at the airport. The driver dropped her off at the door to her gate.
As she approached the gate, two airline workers came running up to her to take the heavy brief cases off her hands and so she could run. The plane was ready to leave. It was waiting for her on that cold wet Friday night in January. As soon as she was seated, the plane left the gate. As she finally exhaled, she realized that she'd been running on adrenalin for the last few hours.
When she got off the plane, there waiting for her was a limo driver. How did she know he was waiting for her? He was holding a sign with her name on it. And the other passengers looked at her and thought she was important.
In the back of the limo on the way to the ICC building. She told the driver she was going to make her midnight deadline by more than an hour. The driver explained to her that if her plane had been even a few minutes late, it would have been diverted to Baltimore since no planes were allowed to land in Washington after 10:30 p.m. When they got to her final destination, the driver carried the brief cases up the steps to the ICC building for her. She left the briefs with the guard on duty. Her task was finished. She was finally able to relax.
The limo driver wanted to know if she wanted to go out and party. But she was exhausted. So he took her to her hotel.
When she woke up the next morning, she had an odd feeling about her. She opened the mini-bar and drank a V-8. She checked out of the hotel and treated herself to a little walking tour of Washington. She wished that she could ditch the empty trial brief cases as she was admiring the French renaissance paintings at the Smithsonian. She went over to the National Air and Space Museum where she admired the old planes on display. She wandered into the Omnimax theater to watch a movie on the history of aviation. And she fell asleep in her seat. When someone woke her to tell her the movie was over and she had to leave to make way for the next crowd, she realized she was sick. Jet lag. She wanted to go home. But her plane wasn't leaving for another four hours. She didn't want to just go to the airport and be sick, so she called the airline from a pay phone. Yes, they could get her on an earlier flight if she could get to the airport right now. So she did.
When she got back to Chicago on Saturday about 5:00 p.m., there was white fluffy snow on the ground. She took a cab to her apartment, where she immediately fell into bed and slept until Monday morning.
There's more to that story, but I'm super tired. Ending for now. Will finish another time.