Sunday, January 14, 2018

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                                   The Robert Dorsey Story



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Cabin Watch Fine Time Wear, was created by a former U.S. marine, name Robert Dorsey.

also known in on-line social circles, and to clients, and customers as Rodor1960.

Born in West Philadelphia, PA.  Robert attended John Bartram high school, class of 1979.

Robert always' knew the marine corps was one of the paths in his life.

During the early 1980's. Robert was stationed in Okinawa Japan, serving in the United States Marine Corps(1979-1987). 

He always' made it clear to his comrades that his head was in two places, his families past, and the Marine Corps.

He was always' reading something about watches and jewelry.  At times Robert would go off the deep in , and buy a hand full of cheap watches and necklace jewelry.

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Then, he would go in the town of Naha city and simply give them away.  When asked way he would do that,  He would respond, because my grand father and uncle where known in the states for there sales of watches, and jewelry.

The marines would say, but, they sold the jewelry!...  you give yours away.  Why?

His answer was always' the same. He told them he like the look on his friends, and strangers faces when he give them something for nothing.


Plus, he wanted to see if what he was thought as a kid would really work, and most of the time it did.

It was that same look our grandfather got when he would present a watch to a client for barely nothing.

Our grandfather's watch collections always stood out with Robby, as a boy. 

Our grand father's shinny gold bracelets, and watches he kept in his stuffed jewelry box on his dresser.

 When he grow up, he was going to have a shinny timepiece/watches just like our grand father and uncle George had.

In fact, he would say, I'm going to make my own watches.

You will?... My grand father would always' say.  Well, to this day He still hasn't made his own timepieces yet.

But, I feel in my heart, he will.

Our grand father, and uncle Georges dream, was a local dream in South Philadelphia.

Even though our grandfather, and uncle George were known local names in south Philadelphia, mainly among the blacks and Italians of the time, that came to the south street area's during the late 1930's and 1940's.

Pete's Dance Hall, saw famous people like Cabcalloway, and Lionel Hampton.  Some of the performers would drive up in there fancy cars, just to see these two men they heard of for so long, and had high quality jewelry right on a table outside Pete's dance hall.

Rob was not born yet, but we were amazed that high class black performers, and yes, some whites would drive and walk the few blocks just to buy a timepiece from our family.

This was when the old Earl theater was still around and many other forgotten theaters during the 1930's, and 40's.

Rob's been hearing the stories all his life during the 1960's and 70's, mainly how once in a while band members and celebrities found themselves at Pete's Dance Hall after a show.

And yes, the people in the audience would follow them.  Can you imagine that seen in a small area like that?

It's strange because when Rob's friends and him started getting into the entrepreneur thing over seas. It had nothing to do with watches or any kind of jewelry...

 His main product was simply T-shirts, And guess who was the star of the T-shirts?

Yes, it was Robby

My brother Rob.  Yes they came up with and idea of putting himself and our family in some usual situations on a T-shirt, and give them away to the kids in Okinawa japan.  This was long before the timepiece and jewelry came in to play.

Well, that didn't last pass eight months, because taxes were becoming a problem when they started selling them.

His command intervened and the dream was over.

The days' my mother and her friends talked a bout her father's jewelry stand that drew hundreds to there corner stands and dance hall.

As a child, Robby could tell how proud our mother was of her father and uncle.  So she would always tear up when telling the story, and not just my mother!

Also, her friends would be crying to, as they sat in the living room reminiscing of a long by-gone era.  They would always say any body can make a living if they just use there heads.

By know our grand father and uncle had passed on in the mid 1970's. 

Robert knew my mother's dream, that what she saw in her life time as a young lady, could have been much bigger.

But, our grandfather and uncle were satisfied with where they were in success, and plus they didn't want to bring in problems with other merchants of the area.

Remember, this was during the great depression, and the yearly years of the first world war.

If you walked the streets of South Philadelphia and ask any elderly man , or woman about Pete's dance hall, you would hear a story, of a by gone era.

Like he told my grandfather as a boy, and told my mother, and great grand mother. one day I will recreate what grand pop and uncle George started.

My mother would always' say, I know you will, but you do what makes you happy, and what you can put your name on.

He told my mother, but mom...!  This is what I want to do, and I will!

My little brother started going to the library with my mother, and grandmother.  He always picked out the same book ( the Watch Makers Closet).

But this was a book that didn't really teach you about watches, but the life as a watch maker. 

It was our father, years later who brought my little brother his first book on making a watch/timepiece.

He read this book from age eleven until he was about fifteen, several years before going in the marine corps. 

He clearly knew the different medals played in the valve of a watch.  Even the wheels and pulleys, the weight of a watch, and what water proofed a watch.

What was the meaning of certain thicknesses of the rubber washes placed in the watch casings.

My mother just didn't want him to be an every day watch peddler. She wanted him to be known for his product if he was going into that line of work. 

She wanted him to know how to walk, talk, and practice his body and hand movements to present the item that he was selling.

Always' wear a suite, a tie, and tie clip that is in the right position. 

Most of all, your shoes should be of a high quality and to this day the shoe was the jet black wing tip.

For several years my mother would show him off to relatives in the manners she created in him.  Speaking was a big part of a presentation, speaking firmly and getting out all your word endings.

He was starting to look more like a movies star, or a male model, then a jewelry dealer.

My mother would From time to time, tell him to look at that photo of your uncle George, Now look at the photo of your grandfather.

He never noticed before,  They were standing in the same position with there one arm extended as people a poached there stands, or entered the dance hall.

Because he carried these habits into the marine corps. He seemed to be animated in some ways to his friends. 

Robert always' looked like he was getting ready to do a commercial. 

The guy's thought he should put his left hand on a T-shirt, since he was always waving, long waves at people, But, close to the end of his tour in Japan, the T-shirt business was doing find. 

Seems like the kids Of Okinawa took his designs pretty well, never made much money, he mainly gave them away after a point, because it was rotation time coming, back to the states..

And believe it or not, that is what he did, and that was the first time he experienced being a small celebrity on an island in Japan.

It was the photo of his hand first, then his face, and the name Rodor was born.

That was what the kids started calling him when they saw him and his friends off base.  The real reason was because they couldn't remember the name Robert Dorsey, so, he told them just call me Rodor, and this took off in the town, around Naha City.

Then, his military career took a shocking turn some years later.!

Doing the Reagan  era, he and his friends found them selves smack dead in the middle of a place called the streets of Beirut Lebanon, 1983.

From there history was made in the world of global Terrorism, , They were in real combat.

Something that wasn't suppose to happen, but it did.

Marines were killed, PLO members were killed and months later 247 marines were bombed, and killed.

Not to forget, which is rarely mentioned.  There were 110 CIA, marines, and naval personal who were bombed and killed as well.

So, his life became a life long commitment to the Veteran Hospitals. 
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After being honorably discharged, stress and thoughts did motivate his decision to leave the marine corps.

Now, after nearly a decade in the marine corps, he was on his own, back on the streets of Philadelphia.

A few people took interest in the Beirut bombing stories, and for a good while they were looked at as heroes.


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He even got his first job at: Bryers Ice Cream company in Philadelphia, just because he was a Beirut Veteran.

Also, Mayor Randell, Public affairs officer, Bill Gray, and the Vietnam veterans took him under there wing in the Veteran Hospitals around the country.

To this day my brother is still an out-patient veteran. 

He was awarded a service connection. Employment was the least of his worries.

He meant his wife (Wandoria) in Delaware 1992.  They were married on March 7, 2000.

While he was still trying to make a name for myself in silk screening designs he learn in Korea and during his marine corp days.

We watched the era of home computers develop in the early 1990's.

His wife was starting a new business on the intranet.  It was the first time he heard of ebay, and she was right there making it work.

She sold shoes and all kinds of things.  It caught Rob's attention, but yet, it scared him, because the thought of a computer, something that was looked at on a television?

Shows, like: Star Trek, and Star Wars, and Lost in Space.

A couple of years passed, and his wife introduced him to the intranet. 

After he got pass his ego, and fears. He started to see what his wife was doing to make money. Her interest was in the fashion industry.  She was getting paid, for real....!

Then, she did countless runs to the post office.

She encouraged him to try and make this media form, work for him.  First he had to remember how to turn the computer on.

So, he would wake her up in the dead of night, and apologized, over, and over again.   She would drag herself out of the bed to turn on the computer for him. 

Then he had to learn how to draw a straight line to continue a new way of creating a picture T-shirt.  But, now, he has no idea how to get the drawing out of the computer!

Well, his wife put him though a long drawn out course on all he needed to know.  It took her 2 months to get his head understanding the computer.

Now, this was a leader of men in his marine corp days, and yet......?

Now was the time to think harder about that watch/timepiece business that abscessed him most of his life, and my mother's biggest dream he never forgot.

I knew watches, and there history, much better then silk screening.  Not a shop on the corner, but, on the Intranet.

But, running a watch business was another thing.  He felt his timepiece knowledge was pretty much out of date.  He knew how to disassemble them, oil them, and replace pulleys and  springs.

But, the timepieces of today was like breaking down a car engine, and reassembling it.

But did he really know if today's watches carried the same concepts of old?

He had to find out, and he did!

Robert want out and brought a 200.00 dollar techno master watch, and took it a part.  His wife and I thought he was losing his mind.

Well, that 200.00 dollar watch is still sitting in his jewelry box to this day. 

4 years later, he brought a Timex watch, and yes, he broke that down to,  Guess what?...  He rebuilt it and modified it with other watch parts from the techno master watch.

And, that's not all.  The neighbor down the street wanted to buy it.  Yes, it was a Timex with a techno master face deal he cut down...  It was amazing.

He told the neighbor just what he did, and how old some of the parts modified were, and still, the guy wanted it and was willing to pay him 165.00 dollars.

Here is the real kicker!  My brother gave it to him for free. 

 Rob changed his battery for him two years ago and it is still as accurate as the day he excepted it.

He knew how to determine a real watch brand from a fake one.  He knew the importance of weight, and the different medals that were used in developing springs and gears.

All he knew was what our grand father and uncle taught him when they commonly repaired watches during the 1950's and 60's

Pete's dance hall shop was something he only heard of in our family as a child.  Other then hearing it from my mother and the neighborhood from time and time again.

the pride she had in her father and uncle as they would buy, and sell timepieces.  Always' made my brother feel like that was his legacy.

Cabin Watch Fine Time Wear,... was born!
Since 1996
Gerald Dorsey
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