the value of a $2 bill

By John D. Ferguson 

Growing up in the 1950s, my father, John A. Ferguson, would bring home from work around Christmas time an envelope with the card inside addressed to me. 

The card was from B.A. Bridgewater, who was my dad’s boss as the sports editor of the Tulsa World. Inside the card was a crisp, brand new $2 bill. 

My dad would always force me out ages 7-, 8- and 9-years-old to call Mr. Bridgewater and thank him for the gift. I was reluctant, but did it anyway. 

After my ninth birthday, Mr. Bridgewater approved my dad bringing me to the Tulsa World on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was like “Bring your son to work day.”  

After getting an early tour of the office and back shop where the paper was put together, I got pretty bored. Little did I know that my boredom would soon be broken.

I was told to answer the phone and give out basketball or football scores as requested. Scores came fresh off the AP machine in the soundproof room next door. When you walked inside you heard the cacophony of the typing terminals spewing out reams of rolled paper. 

I learned quickly that the scores of the game were less important than the point spread. I went from saying “Notre Dame 27, Maryland 20” to “Notre Dame by seven.” The hours flew quickly with my new assignment, all thanks to Mr. Bridgewater and my dad. 

And, yes, I got paid for these eight hours of work. I received yet another $2 bill. 

B.A. Bridgewater hired John A. Ferguson as a Tulsa World Sportswriter. Both are being inducted posthumously into the 2020 Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.