He was drafted into the
Russian Army, which discriminated against Jews
much as African-Americans were discriminated against in America at the same time.
So he talked his mother into coming to Rochester, New York,
where her sister, his aunt, lived. He worked in the sweatshops in Rochester.
He contracted TB (tuberculosis), but recovered.
Thereafter he was a peddler (travelling salesman).
His peddling took him south to the State College area of Pennsylvania,
where his brother lived in the small town of Bellefonte.
He decided to purchase
and operate the General Store in Ralston.
Jacob Janet's daughter,
Marie (born 1914), and son, Samuel (born 1920),
both remembered Skip McLaughlin vividly in 2002
(when they were aged 88 and 83, respectively!).
According to Marie, "Skip
was a regular customer at my father's Country Store.
He was from a very nice family. His father was a railroader.
Earl was tall and lanky and wore glasses.
He never really had any musical inclination that I was aware of!".
However Skip, like thousands
of other Americans,
had become interested in Hawaiian steel guitar playing,
wildly popular since the 1915 Pan-Pacific Expo in San Francisco.