Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dad's Memories, Part II

(Intro and Part I in preceding two posts.)

I did my junior year at Portsmouth High School (1932-1933). My aunt, Florence G. Cummings (she was always called Barbee), wanted my mother to stay with her for a year, so I went along. My dad stayed in Brockton and worked, etc. Violet, Pop's mother, had been living with Barbee for years, as she had had a mild angina attack years before and wouldn't be alone.

Violet wanted to go to Oregon for a year to be with her family, so my mother and I were the subs. She had money left to her when her husband died (he was an M.D., with a practice in Brewster, on Cape Cod). She outlived him by thirty nine years. So my junior year passed, and the depression was still only in the newspapers and the movies.

Vi came back and we went back to Brockton, and I graduated from high school in 1934. Pop wanted Vi (his mother) to come and live with him, as he needed someone to care for his children so he and Rena could work.

So this time the three of us went back to Portsmouth. My father's brother (Uncle Charlie to me) died, so I had his room.

My father worked part time for a tailor in Portsmouth, as did my mother from time to time.

I got a job in Portsmouth at Rowe & Voudy's Restaurant and Cafeteria at 25 cents an hour for a 60 hour week as a counter man. I think I was there close to two years. They went out of business and the next day I went to work at Bert's Diner by the Olympia Theater on Vaughn Street.

I think I was there a year or so. I bought a 1931 Chevrolet 4 door sedan for $60 from Tacetta, and it took me four months to pay for it.

I quit the diner (owned by a local cop) and the next day I took a ride down the road and wound up at Mickey's diner in Saugus, where I stayed for three years or so. Met your mother, got married, got you, and got a call from Civil Service to show up for a job, all in that three year (or so) span.
    (Jr here: The beginning of this paragraph begged
    for explanation, so I asked Dad why he quit Bert's
    Diner. He was annoyed by something, but he no
    longer remembers what. This did trigger some other
    thoughts, however. Mickey (Helen Riewinski's step-
    father sold the diner in Saugus to a Russian. The
    whole next week was spent by all in improving the
    appearance of the diner - scrubbing floors, varnishing
    the ceiling with rags, etc.On payday, when the employees wanted their pay,
    they were told, "Oh, no. You did that to keep
    your jobs." Dad went to work Monday. At the end
    of the day he took his pay from the register and
    never went back. Driving home, he thought of various
    ways to tell Mom that he had quit, although he was
    sure he could get a job at another diner the next
    day. When he got home, the Civil Service letter
    was on the table.)
November 1941 was the date of the Civil Service job call, and I had a choice of locations, so opted for the Naval Station in Portland, Maine, and after 30 years I retired, aged 55.

Bobby showed up in Portland, and I think it was 1948 when I was transferred to the Yard in Portsmouth. During the above time period I was drafted for about a year (boy, did I hate that shit). I have met guys in the service that knew the dates of all that had happened to them, and I never could understand why they cared. I don't think I could put an exact date on anything written here. It was never of any importance to me at the time.

In much of the above the depression was with us for sure. It was of minor concern to me, I suppose, because once I started to work, I was never a single day without a job, although the pay wasn't good until I got into Civil Service.

I usually worked part time at something else, from diners to the One Ten House. World War II ended the depression I guess, but I didn't care because I had never joined it . . . Ha . . . .

Dateless Dad


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