When I was a young lawyer and lobbyst I accompanied Bob Wilmouth, the President of the Chicago Board of Trade, who had been summoned to see Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas. Brooks had been summoned Wilmouth to see him because the Texas Hunt brothers had tried to corner the silver markets in 1980.
Brooks started the conversation by saying ”Aunt Sally has the red eye out for you. Those dirty SOB Hunt brothers (Republican oil tycoons from Texas) have cornered the silver markets in Chicago and run up the price of silver. It got so high that thieves have broken in and stolen Aunt Sally’s silverware”.
Wilmouth, a former banker, was taken aback by this outburst and did not know what to say. However, I thought I saw a twinkle in Brooks’ eyes and found it mildly amusing.
Years later I accompanied Brooks on a trip to Chicago to visit the three exchanges, the CBOT, the CME, and the CBOE. We sat beside each other on the airplane and he inquired about my life. I related to him that my wife had recently died.
Brooks immediately softened up and adopted a fatherly tone. He said, ”That’s alright son, you are going to be alright”. He then proceeded to tell me his life story. He had been born dirt poor near Beamont, Texas. He recalled that he wanted to date ”that beautiful little girl who lived in the mansion on the hill ” but he could not because he was too poor.
However, this was only Brooks early life. He represented his Texas District for 42 years. This was after he had served his country well in the Pacific theater as a Marine officer in World War II. He got through college on the GI Bill. Like my two uncles he was a part of Tom Brokaw’s ”Greatest Generation”.
He also had a good home life. He loved his wife Charlotte, and they had three children.
I strongly recommend reading the book about his life ”Jack Brooks, The Meansest Man in Congress”.
Michael R. McLeod