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As I told you, he had been a great lithographer and then sold
hosiery for my uncles for a while. Now he just went to baseball
games every day. I thought he was getting very unhappy
with nothing to do. I cooked up an excuse for him to come
over and help us out in Random House. I explained that we
were short-handed and could he just help out for a few days.
I knew that once he was there he'd never leave. He became
what we called the official critic of Random House. He grumbled
about everything that was going on. Everybody in the place
called him “Pop” and loved him. He was one of the gentlest,
warmest, dearest men. He knew the secret life of every girl
in the office. They would all come to him with their troubles.
For any kids who came in, he always had a desk full of little
presents he'd buy to give them--miniature tin automobiles and
suchlike. He would also criticize everything we did. “When
I was a boy, things weren't done that way.” Nobody paid the
slightest attention to him, but he enjoyed himself.
Did he have any kind of influence really?
Just being there. Everybody loved him.
But I mean he wasn't involved in the buying or anything
Oh, no. He did all kinds of odds and ends. He printed
beautifully. He had a magnificent handwriting. I still have
some of his folders. He'd make out records, and they'd all be
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