Key To The Highway, Chapter 12: Always Something New

We began to move everything from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport to  the Edivere estate. The publishing company. The recording companies. The film production companies.

It was all to consolidate everything. Centralize it all in one area. Even my eventual corporate offices would be moved here. 

There would be a company in every field. Scientific research. Medical research. Tech research. Educational research. Food service. Entertainment. The automotive industry. Construction. 

I would eventually branch out into every industry. I would even become an investor in numerous private startups. But I would make money faster than I could ever use it. 

I had made friends among club owners and restauranteurs. Several would help me start my teen club chain, others would help me with the nightclubs. And still others would sell out to me. Especially the more famous venues.

I knew a good thing when I saw it and I ended up with most of what had been the chitlin circuit as well as many clubs that had refused services to black bands during the days of segregation. These I bought mainly out of retribution for refusing service to some of the best musicians of the decades they had operated as segregated establishments. 

I would rename them, then reopen them. I would make them open to all artists and pay well. I would begin to tear down walls. 

To many in the south, I became known as a force of nature. I represented an end to their once proudly held way of life. An end to their tightly embraced hate and fear. 

I was a symbol of change. A sign of changing times. An omen of what was to come.

Most of all, I represented a change of ideals. I made them look at themselves for a change instead of at those around them. My perceived innocence revealed their hidden guilt.

I was a force to be reckoned with and I was only two years of age. I frightened the adults. I gave the children something to aspire to. 

A small community began to grow around the Edivere mansion. My home. These loyal employees would remain with the companies for decades. Even after I disappeared, they would remain loyal. 

***

The facilities in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans were turned into museums with gift shops. The warehouses would remain in use until new ones could be built later on down the road. Die hard fans would continue to send to the warehouses for replacement copies of worn out tapes and badly scratched records even after I disappeared. 

While I was never really a fan of the 8 track, I sold quite a few of them. I preferred vinyl and, later, cassette to the 8 track. Perhaps it was the cumbersome design that garnered my dislike, I don’t know.

In my heart, I knew that the 1970’s were the last years for the 8 track.I also knew that vinyl was coming to an end. At least for the mainstream. There would always be those who would collect vinyl. Just as there would be those who collected 8 tracks. 

But I knew that any entertainment company worth its salt would have to innovate with the rest of the industry or die. Hell. The best would be at the forefront of innovation. 

I intended to be at the forefront. Whenever there was an innovation, I would be among the first to adapt. If I had to leave for any reason, I would make sure that whoever took my place, for however long, would carry out my wishes. 

It was just good business to be adaptable. Something the oil and coal industries were unwilling to be. Something the automotive industry was unwilling to do as well. 

But I had learned a lesson their CEOs had not. I had learned that greed destroys everything it touches. Including the person who put their trust in its emptiness. 

The knowledge had been what had kept me grounded. I cared nothing for wealth. Or privilege. Or position. 

To my employees, I was just another one of them. An average person willing to work alongside them. Someone willing to learn every aspect of the business. Even at the age of two. 

And as such, I would earn their loyalty. Their trust. Their love.

I would never have need to advertise for new hires. My employees would remain and their children would become employees. I had no policy against hiring family, as we were all family. We were all one big family even though we weren’t really related.

***

I was unaffected by the free sex culture of the 70’s, I was too young. Hell.  I was still too young to be affected by the drug culture. 

I suppose that was why I was able to emerge from the 1970s relatively unscathed. I was too young for all the decadence. I was also surrounded by very responsible adults, despite my being exposed to people in both of those scenes.

Even with exposure to both scenes, they were so distant from me in my mind that I had little interest. I only cared about my work or, as I saw it, play. And my vision of changing the world for the better.

Sure, I was naive in many ways. Or perhaps simply blissfully and willfully ignorant. But it did not yet personally affect me. Not yet.