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    Entries in Central Liquors (1)


    Jack Little and Watergate

    The young man on the left in this newspaper clipping is my old boss at the Weiner King, Jack Little. I cannot stress enough that Jack was the best boss in the world, with an incredible work ethic, and I’m positive I’m not alone in that regard.

    Jack got his degree in economics (if my memory serves me correctly) at Wooster College in Ohio, so he was a natural when it came to running a business that only handled cash. His years at the restaurant are legendary.

    Back in the 1970s, I was Jack’s right hand man and many people who were customers remember me from those early days in Flemington, NJ. To me, the Weiner King was the center of the universe, but I recognized that so much more was going on around me, especially in the news.

    In June of 1972, burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington, D.C. For the next two years, that break-in and the Vietnam War were what dominated the television screen. President Nixon and many of his closest advisers obstructed justice, especially Nixon, when he chose to pay off the burglars to keep them quiet. He almost got away with it; almost, that is, until his White House council, John Dean, testified in front of Congress. Right in the thick of the cover-up, he chose to tell the truth, and the rest is history. Nixon resigned in August of 1974.

    What’s Watergate (or better yet, John Dean) have to do with my old boss, Jack? While everyone knew about Watergate, including him, he didn’t get to pay much attention to it because he worked sixteen hours a day, almost every day. He had a small B&W television in the back room that was primarily for sports — the Mets and the Jets — and every so often, we’d put Walter Cronkite on.

    My second nature was, and remains, to saturate my mind with current events. That included Watergate. One afternoon, I asked Jack if he had seen any of the John Dean testimony that was taking place in June of 1973. It spelled doom for the president.

    “No, but my roommate at college was a guy named John Dean.”

    That statement, all of a sudden, piqued my interest and I went on a mission to find out if there was a connection between Watergate and Wooster. Wooster and Watergate.

    But how was I supposed to find out? In those days, we were many years away from the Internet, let alone Google. I had to look the old-fashioned way… by going to Higgins News Agency on Main Street in downtown Flemington. A friendly place, the family had no problem with people browsing through newspapers and magazines. A neighborhood hub, there was no other store like it. I don’t remember how many titles I searched through — Time magazine, the New York Times, the Courier News, the Easton Express — the list could go on and on. One day, I found it.

    The Watergate John Dean was Jack’s college roommate.

    I couldn’t wait to tell him the exciting news. “Jack! That’s the same guy!” I brought proof to show him. “Is this him?”

    He paused to look. “Well, I’ll be darned. Yup, that’s him.” And he went back to work. (Later on, we did talk about it.)

    I guess I could have simply shown him a picture instead of doing all that work, but I needed to do research, just to prove it. Of course, I never doubted Jack from the beginning, but it’s part of my makeup. It’s part of my work ethic… the one Jack Little taught me.