The origin story the president wishes he could tell...

We've all heard about how the Drumpfs came here and settled, leading up to the current president's stories great business acumen and why he alone could fix things.  Much of that story feels very familiar to me, with a few major divergences.

Back in the late 1800s, my great-grandfather arrived in the Boston area (along with two of his brothers and a sister; there were nine siblings in all).  He settled and opened a cobbler's shop, hoping to earn enough to bring his wife over.  To help him save as much as possible, he walked barefoot into town so as not to waste leather repairing his own shoes.  Eventually, he brought her over and they started a family.

Along with a family (four girls, two boys), N (as we call him) opened a dry goods store.  It grew.  He opened another.  And another.  Pretty soon, he had a chain of stores in the area that were the equivalent of Sears.  His children went to work for the company, as did my grandfather, a son-in-law.  It was a family-owned and operated company and N's word was paramount.  

That's where things really diverge from the other story.

At some point, N decided to buy another chain of stores, one that was better known and traded on the American Stock Exchange.  Suddenly his personal fiefdom was subject to the SEC and a Board of Trustees and stockholders.  N changed.  Because our family owned the majority of the stock, it was easy to put my great-uncle, B. in as President of the company while N became Chairman (oddly, like that other story, there was an early death, when N's other son died too early from a heart attack, pushing B into the leadership role).  Various cousins took leadership roles in the company, running stores or departments (my grandfather was the hosiery buyer and comptroller of the whole company until his death).  B moved into the Chairman role and a cousin took over as President.

My cousin tells the story of how one day he read the WSJ and found an article that said that corporate management didn't have confidence in the president.  Running into B's office, my cousin asked what was going on, only to be told that B himself had called the Journal.  At the next Board meeting, my cousin had to fight his uncle (and an aunt) for his job - my cousin won.  Luckily, they were able to separate business from family (much to another board member's surprise, during a break in this meeting, my cousin got coffee and a donut for his uncle, choosing the family connection over the business one).

For reasons too boring to go into, we sold the company in the early 80s and my cousins had to find jobs outside the family umbrella.  But because they'd worked for a publicly traded company, answerable to others, working in another company wasn't a shock.  They were prepared for the checks and balances of having to account for decisions both good and bad.  

Back in New York City, we all knew that the Trump Org was a very small, family owned and run company and the whims of one man were all that counted.  My prayer is that others have also realized this and that while it may work for a small company it does not work for a country.

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