BRIAN ALTER: Morris Jacobs immigrated to America as a boy. He came through Galveston, started out selling newspapers. He worked hard, and earned enough to open a little jewelry store in Texas City, but his store was destroyed in the great hurricane of 1915. He salvaged just enough to pay his debts. Morris always paid his dues. When oil struck in Port Arthur he took the train there and went to see the president of the Merchant’s Bank. He asked for a $2,500 loan to open a jewelry store, with no collateral, but he offered to pay back with interest and to split his profits. A year later Morris returned with three checks, he said, “Here’s your principal, here’s your interest, and here is a check for half my profits.” He did what he’d said. Bank president took the first two checks, then tore the third check in half. “I agreed to loan you the money,” he said to my grandfather, “I never agreed to take half your business.” That was the beginning of Alter’s Gem Jewelry, circa 1915. Gramps had just turned 21.