Jake and the Old Gent

One night in 1940 Jake Sparling of Bay City, Mich. sat down and wrote a letter to the President. Things hadn't been going too well for Jake. Always a good mechanic, with a natural-born feel for machines, he had made the mistake of branching out into contracting. His contract to build the Bay City waterworks proved disastrous—he lost his home, his machine shop, and all his possessions. Now he had only a small wooden shack near the railroad tracks where he was making pulleys. Even that business had gone sour. Jake modestly asked the President for some defense work.

The letter...

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