A menagerie of characters can be found in Bob Petersen’s Wall Street stories: A lady’s man and his unbelievable safe deposit box contents. The mysterious beauty who stopped Wall Street in her tracks. Investors relying on racing results or astrological signs.
Bob worked on the New York Stock Exchange back in the Fifties, and he’d regale his wife and friends with tales of the shenanigans he witnessed on the Exchange Floor or ones he heard about after work at his favorite bar, The Caboose. His wife, Marilyn, found them all typed up in his desk upon his death. She sent them to a literary agent but Marilyn passed away before they could be published, but Bob and Marilyn’s daughter has given me the approval to share them here.
Bob was no John Cheever, whose lyrical eye captured the sometimes desperate lives of Fifties businessmen in hats and topcoats. No, Bob’s stories are more Everyman, and they are funnier than Cheever’s while still quite poignant, and like Cheever, he brings that time alive again for us now. I suspect much of what Bob recounted still goes on, with only the width of the tie and length of the skirt having changed, many times over.
These stories reflect the times and they are not politically correct. You may smile and cringe in equal measure, but the legends of the regulars at the Caboose live on in these, at times, tall tales. Whether to cement their bonds or exaggerate their deeds, the men and women of bar known as The Caboose shared these stories with each other, and Bob got them down on paper.
These stories are supposedly based on actual events. In recounting these tales, Bob would tell his wife and friends, “And it’s all true. It really happened that way.” Let’s see, shall we? The first story tomorrow.