I have been forgetful lately about one of my pledges here on RJsCorner and that is to write stories about my past. Sometimes I just seem to get too locked into what is happening in the world around me today to remember to step back and celebrate my early years. I know I have some nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews who at least casually follow me here and they have told me they love my stories. So here is one to you guys and I hope everyone else enjoys it as it as well. Maybe you can relate it to some of your life.
Dad had many jobs while I was growing up. They all pretty much paid minimum wage but he took what he could get to provide for his family. While Mom was still around in the early years they were a two income family. Mom worked part time in a doctor’s office, I guess she was a receptionist of sorts. After she left us we depended solely on Dad’s income of probably $40 – $50 a week.
The first job I remember Dad having was working in a small sand casting shop making those little post office doors you still see in your local post office. I’m sure he made thousands and thousands of them. They were made of brass and as a result he regularly got what he called “brass chills”. That is when he was over exposed to all the brass fumes coming off the melting material. His “chills were frightening to me, he would wake up in the middle of the night with the bed totally soaked with his perspiration! It would take several hours to get past an episode but since he didn’t get paid if he didn’t show up he always managed to be ready for work the next day. Even though he really didn’t like the work he would drift in and out of this job over the years when nothing else available.
Another job that I have fond memories of was he was a milkman for Banquet Milk in Indianapolis. He would get up at 3:30am six days a week to drive a milk truck on his assigned delivery route. I remember when I was probably seven years old and he announced that I was going to go with him on his Saturday deliveries. I was so excited about it that I really didn’t get any sleep the night before. My job was to make sure all the milk was properly iced down with the twenty pound bags of ice. I was supposed to shift the bags from one crate to another. They weighed almost more than I could handle but I never let Dad know I was having trouble. As the day went along more and more empty crates stacked up in the back and before the day was over I managed to crawl on top of them to take a nap. That was my first day of doing a “man’s work”.
The milkman job only lasted a few years and then it was on to selling chainsaws and finally to a factory job that was far less tiring. He worked the factory job for 17 years and managed to get a small pension along with his social security for his final years.
I was and still am proud of his blue collar roots….