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September 1999

Put the Plug in the Jug

Prohibition, in theory, outlawed the sale of liquor. The law was evaded by bootleggers who made bathtub gin and whiskey from homemade stills. I started drinking at the tail end of that era, around 1933, when I was thirteen or fourteen years old and living in Oregon. I joined the army in 1939, met a girl, and got married. The base pay at that time was $21 a month, hardly enough to support a family and a booze habit. My drinking continued to get worse and became more important than my marriage. My wife eventually kicked me out. I was given a hardship discharge, and I tramped around logging camps, usually lasting one or two paydays, before the booze won out again. This went on for nine or ten years.


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