Monday, August 2, 2010

After graduation, I went to New Castle where I got a job changing beds in a greenhouse. There were three beds about five feet wide and the length of the greenhouse with aisles between them. My buddy was about four years older and a hundred pounds heavier than me. Our job was to remove the top six inches of old dirt and replace it with new from a large pile outside. We had two wheel barrows. While one was filling one the other would push the loaded one out and dump it. We started out him loading and me dumping. I would get back with an empty wheel barrow and have to wait on him to finish loading. He decided I had the easiest job and wanted to trade. This was okay with me because we were getting four dollars a bed and no money was made while standing around. By the time he got back with an empty wheel barrow, I had one loaded and waiting for him to get back. he complained about me loading them so heavy and I told him if he got back quicker I would not have time to load them like that. He decided dumping was easier than loading so we spent the summer this way. We only wore pants and shoes. It was only 135 degrees inside and after a half hour our pants were wet and dripping into our shoes. By late summer or early fall we had all the beds changed and our job was finished. I had been staying with mom's cousin Martha (True) Chastain and her husband Elbert who had stayed with us in New Castle when he was a young man. Now that my job was done, I drew my money out of the bank (I hadn't done any running around and had saved most I had made except for the little I paid for room and board) and started home. As I was walking through town I passed a car lot that had a Model "A" Ford roadster that caught my eye. I ended up buying it and drove it home instead of hitch hiking as I had planned.

Shortly after getting home I started passing papers around the square and a block each way off it. Shortly after I started this job, as I left a paper at the Val-U dress shop, the manager asked me if I would be interested in any job and took it. After the store closed it took about an hour and a half to clean it up. It paid $8.00 a week and I could do it after I completed my paper route. Sometime during this fall, 1937, I started delivering Sunday papers through the country. They call these Motor Routes now. This route took me to Budah, Rivervale, Lawrenceport, Bono, Tunnelton, Fort Ritner and Sparksville. I earned enough at this to buy gas for the week. Sometime in the early spring of 1938, I went to work on the NYA, a government youth program similar to the WPA. If I remember right, we worked 24 hours per week and was paid $18.00 every 2 weeks. I was lucky in that I was holding down four jobs and none of them interfered with the other. My first job on NYA was to plot all the veterans' graves in Greenhill Cemetery. After this, another young man was sent to the Avoca Fish Hatchery to paint the large 2 story house there. After this was finished I was sent to a large grout pile (huge blocks of limestone that was not good enough for building stone. This was before the time of veneer.) between Oolitic and Avoca to cut these blocks into small building stone for the shelter house at the Fish Hatchery. These blocks were split by drilling holes, about ten inches deep, by one man holding a drill upright and turning it while another would strike it with a sledge hammer. After a row of holes were drilled across the block slips (a tapered piece of steel) was put in each hole then a steel wedge inserted between the slips. These wedges were driven down by sledge hammer lightly at first for the length of the block then go back and drive them a little more after a few passes down the row. The desired portion would break off for the depth of the block. This portion was cut up into the approximate size the same way. Each stone had a size and number. These smaller pieces were then finished to size by holding a stone chisel in one hand and hitting it with a heavy wood mallet in the other hand. After a short time I was made foreman, receiving a $3.00 every two weeks raise.

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