This is R-rated. You knew what they were. Just seemed polite even though they probably thought I was being a bratty kid making fun.
Great hair, bright smile, and a giggly immaturity that had to be as obvious as the reason they were standing on the corner wearing a top-and-skirt combo that left little to the imagination. On those evenings, our travels always seemed to take us over the Main Street Bridge that connects the downtown district to Center Wheeling. We heard you could see hookers on the streets of Center Wheeling, so we cruised them. We wanted to see what sex looked like, and we saw it. Some of us — at least I did — felt compassion for those women, wondering what path led them there, to that corner, waving away, just trying to get a trick.
Cocaine was the most popular party favor beginning in the s, and then later in the s the abuse involved crack, pills, and heroin. Truth be told, the green-door dates and potential parking lot rendezvous were once as much an attraction to young folks from the tri-state region as were Jamboree USA and the race track on Wheeling Island to Canadian tourists. Former FBI special agent Tom Burgoyne explained federal investigators spent the majority of their time in Wheeling attempting to crack down on gambling and drug distribution, and allowed the local authorities to enforce state and municipal laws that covered prostitution.
Burgoyne and his colleagues knew the illegal activities were taking place and often worked cooperatively with lawmen from Wheeling and Ohio County, but only because there existed a link between drugs and prostitutes. Do not suggest to him, though, that he was a pimp or a male-version Madame.
They only care about the money. I know that because some of them came to me and wanted to live with us because they wanted away from those stupid goofs. Centre Market is thriving today with several new businesses and many staple shops. Back in the s, it was easy. Finding love-for-cash, Uncle Marion insists, was as basic as going to the right place any night of the week. Those who wished to pay for in-person porn did so in bedrooms, backrooms, back seats, and even bathrooms.
When you were with one of them, the clock was always ticking because time meant money. Anyone wishing for longer than the five or 10 minutes had to dish out more. I just had to make sure the bro were where they were supposed to be, and to make sure they stayed alive. And the drugs had to be obvious. I know it was to me. At times, Uncle Marion admitted he was forced to intervene during services inside rooms within his ased brothel because of time constraints or unruliness.
Initially he would knock on the door. If that hint was lost on the customer, he would enter the room. Those guys were never happy when I had to step in there, but if I did, it was all business.
He shared a lot of stories, like the one time at a truck stop when two of the women disappeared, and he had to brandish his handgun to a few people before finally finding the females in a sleeper cab. When the prostitutes emerged, he could tell they were frightened, so Uncle Marion believes the trucker was trying to abduct them.
Some of those truck drivers were pretty f-ed up, and when they took the girls no one ever saw them alive again. And when they needed to go to the hospital, I took them to the hospital. And other times the guy got rough and hurt them and they needed stitches or something. That stuff was all taken care of by the family back then. I feel sorry for those girls now.
Route 2 erased several houses that once served as brothels. They walked those lots and worked those crowds, and there were the occasions when gamblers would get in on the action during breaks from high-stakes card games staged in steak houses. They were usually all going in different directions trying to drum up some business.
They followed the rules, then we had no problems. I never cared who they were.
People higher up than me made those decisions. I just did my job, but that part of it always did make me feel bad.
I was quiet about stuff like that. I had my own bills to pay. I did what I did to survive. Wheeling Police officers conducted raids on occasion, emptying establishments and houses where they believed the hookers lodged. When officers did apprehend a prostitute, the addresses the women offered law enforcement always led them to vacant lots. They wanted to be anonymous, and they were. And every single time they arrested one of the girls, their address came up as a vacant lot.
Poof and they were gone. Robert Delbrugge, a plus-year veteran of the Wheeling Police Department, patrolled the Center and South Wheeling neighborhoods often enough to investigate alleged activities and make the resulting arrests. During the day these sections of town were bustling industrial areas, but at night the nature of these neighborhoods darkened with nightfall.
They were very good at keeping that staff out of sight. But so many people hear them and immediately think the police had to just let it all happen.
At least no one said a word to me about it. I did my job and then went home to my family, and there were some nights when I was real happy to get home. Once she decided to cooperate with authorities, she moved away to Stark County in Ohio.
She knew how everything worked. She was murdered. Her neck was broken just like we thought.
She was silenced. It made me think about what I was doing. This was an amazing read. I would like to know more.
Also if there is a chance I could get in contact with any of you just to shoot the breeze about wheeling back in the day. Bobbies always had between girls — and they were ALL good looking! I was stationed in the Army at Oakdale Pa. My roomate was the son of a Youngstown made guy.
On weekends he took me to Wheeling, down near the R. She opened up, we went in, here I am a 19 yr old baby faced kid, who had only been laid twice, at least 8 beautiful women stood up in bathing suits, and introduced themselves, and Pepsi was one of them. They then proceeded to sit down besides us, like we were old friends, and converse. If you did, you had to tip, to keep your downfall upstairs, or they would announce it to everyone downstairs. From what my roomate told me they work in Wheeling months, then move back to New York for the remaining 9 months.
Those were the days!!
You are really missing so much about center Wheeling. Such as the meat rack, and buds Club as well as big Berthas and the tin pan alley which went from a regular to a homosexual bar!!
Not to mention the club quarter, hoots, buddy club, and susies? She was actually a very nice person my instructor always reminded us where those tips came from I hope she was not the Madame that was murdered. The tall redhead was not murdered. She moved to New Jersey and died of lung cancer in I know this because she was my mother.
I bet it felt good to see the comment made about her being beautiful and nice. Just read all three parts, back to back. Very good stuff. Well written and definitely kept me engaged.
I only wish there were another three parts! Many more chapters to come! And thank you for the kind words! Very interesting. My grandfather used to work for Mr. Elias at the racetrack. I remember we heard stories about the activities. Really enjoyed reading your articles.
I like to inform you that Mr.