Of the two stores we had here, I performed at the Manhattan Beach store on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other five days of the week I performed at the San Pedro store which was in Ports O’ Call Village, right on the Ocean. Tips at the Manhattan Beach store were not much to speak about (Tourists and Business people are really stingy when it comes to tips) but in San Pedro, THE major Port for Los Angeles, there were two shuttle boats that brought Seamen from their ships to Ports O’ Call Village, and let them off right at JoAnn’s. It was perfect because the Merchant Seamen could park their gear at JoAnn’s, make their telephone calls home, get drunk, eat, etc., and depending upon the time they had for Shore Leave, they could have a ball at JoAnn’s and still catch their shuttle boats on time to get back to their ships. And believe me, Merchant Seamen on Shore Leave can’t wait to spend their money! I’ve never been tipped so well in my life! Talk about "spending money like a Sailor!" Ha, ha, ha, LOL!
The Merchant Seamen also added a lot to the entertainment at JoAnn’s. They really were perfect gentlemen, we almost never had any problems because they were so happy to be there. At the end of the each evening, when all the families with children had left, the Merchant Seamen would join in and dance Jigs, sing Sea Chantys, and it always ended with everybody joining in and reciting Limmericks. We really had a BALL!
I autographed so many Menus that JoAnn’s actually ran out of them the first month I was performing there. Also, there was one of those photo studios where you can dress up in period costumes and they would take your photo and it came out looking like an old time sepia print. The American Portrait Studio it was called. It was just across the courtyard from JoAnn’s, and I was always being asked to pose with the Merchant Seamen so they could take the photo back onboard their ships and hang them up in their cabins. They always gave me a copy, and I look at those photos now and wonder where all those handsome young men are today. At that time the Alaska Pipeline was still being laid, and a lot of the Merchant Seamen who frequented JoAnn’s were off of The Philadelphia Sun. They were going back and forth working on the Pipeline. [:X]Madame Joanne