Women’s History Too


This is the second one that I promised you. 

It is for Women's History Month. It isn't about Jack, it is about his mother Christine. Everything that I know about Christine is from her journal and from Jack's memory. I think that you'll agree with me that she is an amazing woman.

I know that there are history making women in your life and in your history. I would love to hear about them.

I am using a picture of Jack instead of Christine because I gave all of those to her great grandchildren. 

Jack Hoerntlein

The first mentor that I wasn't related to was a man who I respected more than anyone I had met before. He was so smart, he was a businessman and investor extraordinaire! You've heard me mention him before. He has long since passed and I miss him everyday.

Some of this information is in other posts that I have written.

When I had my heart attack at 19 years old, my doctor and I decided that I should leave Los Angeles and move to a more rural area and lead a slower pace of life. This is when I met Jack.

I sold my business to an employee and off I went to an area of California called the central coast. It is not central California, it is half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I moved there because much of my family and friends lived there.

I didn't know what kind of business I wanted to create. I knew that I wanted it to be less strenuous. I had just met my mortality at much too young an age. I was mourning the loss of my innocence and youth. I had to find a way to say good by to all of that. Three of my friends decided that a summer of travel would be a good move.

That's not what this is about so I will only say that it was more wonderful than anyone can imagine. More young people should do that.

This man, this mentor that I admired so much, taught me the basics and some intermediate and a little bit of advanced lessons about business and investing. I actually carry his last name. We were doing a lot of joint ventures together and I ended up teaching him many things that I was learning. He decided that I would be featured prominently in his will. We discovered that at the time, non-related people were penalized with higher taxes. So, he adopted me. Those laws were changed before he died.

He told me many times that he would not have become as wealthy as he was if it weren't for me, that I knew more about business and investing than he had ever learned. Of course I did well for myself too, becoming a multi-millionaire.

His mother and father both moved from Chicago to San Francisco where they met. They married, had Jack and divorced. At the time of their divorce, they both worked at The Emporium. His dad was a floor walker and his mom was a buyer.

As Jack grew, his mom, Christine decided that a more rural area would be a better place to raise him, does that sound familiar? So, she moved to San Luis Obispo and opened Christine's Emporium. A store downtown that carried clothes for the entire family and specializes in women's and children's.

Jack worked in the store as he was growing up. He was not a great communicator, his vocabulary wasn't great and he was shy. In high school he was voted least likely to succeed and his guidance counselor told him that he would most likely go through his mom's money pretty quickly and end up broke.

His mom was very sick at that time. She had leukemia. She continued working in the store and teaching him some things but not everything. He was an excellent buyer and did wonderful window displays. In fact his window displays were good enough that other merchants hired him to do theirs.

She continued to work in the store until her death when he was 21 years old. Even though she had been sick for a long time, it was a shock to him. She was such a hard worker, he hadn't realized that she was that sick. The rest of the story would be about Jack and his failed marriages, raising three families. Meeting me and on and on. Since this is about strong women in my history, I will stop the story here. I will write another one continuing from here another time.

To put a sharper point on this. Christine got a divorce long before it was really okay to do that. She got divorced because her husband was an alcoholic and she didn't want to raise her son in that crazy kind of home.

She moved with her son to a strange town to begin again. She created a very successful business, successful enough that it succeeded through the great depression. Successful enough that Jack was able to take it and make it even more successful, it takes a strong business for that to happen.

True, I never met Christine but I never met the matriarch in my own family either. They say that there aren't any accidents. Even though Jack was many years older than me, I was able to see a kindred spirit and gravitated to him because of our shared histories of strong women. So, I have to agree with that old adage.

Rob Hoerntlein
 

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