Dad's Memories

Working Downtown - NYC

- 08 May 98 - 12 September 98

When I graduated from NYMA in 1931 and came home to Brooklyn, it was in the midst of the Great Depression. Things were BAD all over - including at our house too, something that I had not known 'till I returned from school. At NYMA we were in our own little world, so to speak, and were isolated from things going on "outside". Poppa's good Hospital Supply business had gone "belly up". The NYC Hospitals, his prime customers - didn't any of them pay their bills. So - no cash flow - no more flourishing business and just like that - Jim (Poppa) was now a salesman. Selling the same products for one of his former major suppliers, the Goodyear Rubber Co.

From '31 to mid '41 I worked downtown NYC in an Insurance Co - The Royal Liverpool Group, Three Company's - Eagle, Globe, and Royal Indemnity Co. Hired in the midst of the GREAT DEPRESSION, the employment offices were crowded all day with Jobless people making the rounds daily in hope of getting a JOB, any job at all. My school record must have looked good cause The first agency I went into sent me out to interview a lady at Globe, who told me to report right away, sent me off to see the boss in Statistics and there I was -working already yet.

When payday came around, every two weeks, twice a month actually, I learned that my pay was 50.00 bucks-a month. Oh well , I had a JOB!! After a month or so - promoted to a group checker, I was responsible for the accuracy of a group output - 4 or 5 girls running statistics on all kinds of Workmens Comp experience - Premiums & Losses. That meant pounding out an adding machine tape for, say - every company having Workmans Comp coverage for Welders, or Carpenters,etc. and those adding machine tapes for any class of coverage ran like to 10 ft each. Thrilling job - at least I didn't have to spend the day pounding out the tapes anymore. A promotion in name only- same pay more responsiblity, until along came a General Notice of a 10% company wide paycut, ouch. 50 bucks meant stretching to eat lunch every day ( 25 cents at Horn & Hardart) a cut to $45 really hurt. So - off to the Employment Agency to look for something else, only to be told - "you already have a job, we can't help you".

So FDR came thru with his minimum wage law -$65.00 per month minimum- HAPPY DAY. And Globe must have figured - if we must pay him more, we ought to give him more to do - so, promoted to the Accounting Dept ,then Audit Group, and working for the Company Actuary over the next few years was a bit more interesting even though it still meant cranking out numbers on a Calculator for a week or so to come up with "A NUMBER" that became an entry on the Annual Statement. At least the Actuary was a nice man who opined I did good work. Along the way, raises came along, never more than another $5 a month & after nearly 10 years of tough work I reached the century mark, $100 monthly.

Langdon's at Haddam Neck - October 12, 1936

Dad-22, Aunt Catherine-20, Granny-56, Aunt Jeanette-27, Uncle Art-25

By this time, Grace & I had been going steady for about 4 yrs - and we were talking about getting married. Grace was working downtown, at The Bank of N.Y., in the credit dept. and made $110 a month. So much for the male ego. But all our friends were in pretty much the same boat, times were still tough all over. So-took the plunge, became newlyweds on June 11,1938 at Grace's Church - St. Rose of Lima in Brooklyn, found an apt. for $35 a month and managed just fine. Even had our own car, a '34 Chevy that set us back, I think, $95. It ran fine and parked outside on the street. Then we got fancy and "stored" it in a nearby lot for $2 a month. Only drawback, there were so many other cars in the lot sometimes you might be "locked in" when you wanted out.

Dad & Mom - Christmas 1937

In the spring of '41 we took a weeks skiing vacation up to Lake Placid. Befor this our ski experience was mostly in Prospect Park Bklyn & daytrips up to Bear Mt. N.Y. where they had ski-jumps and all like that, a real ski area. So, up to the Mirror Lake Inn at Placid, lots of snow on the ground, with a crust on top outside the Inn. Had to test the New ski's grace gave me for the trip, steel edges, good harness - and would'nt you know I caught a ski in a big "sitzmark" and snapped a skitip - first day. Was able to rent a pair at a local Ski-shop, who volunteered they could repair the broken ski, fit a new tip, good as, or better than new.

Mom & Dad - Lake Placid, March 1941

Rope Tow - thru a new snowdrift

"Breaking Trail" - thru new snow

Now "this" is spring sking !!!

Come next morn and snowing, and snowing, for four straight days. The buildup was deep enough that the tow rope up the hill went thru a tunnel dug thru a snowdrift. Lots of fun, great skiing, met some nice friends on the slope and at the Inn. Good food-loved their "popover's" in particular. Had a great time, so good we decided to call the bosses and stay over for a second week. We stayed on for more of that spring ski stuff, the weather was warm enough to go out in shirtsleeves, and they really did repair the ski "better than new" for the second weeks fun. (Tow ropes - they had not invented chair lifts yet - you just grabbed on to the moving rope, had a series of ropes to get up higher on the slopes, tough on the arms if not in good shape too.)

Stopped off at the farm in Haddam Neck, Ct. on the way home to Bklyn - My sister Catherine & mother were then living there. Kay was working at Pratt & Whitney up in East Hartford as Secretary to the Plant Mgr.- said they were hiring - expanding due to the way things looked in Europe - & why don't you go up and see about a job there. So I did. The Employment office sent me up to see the Comptroller who said he could use me in a new group being formed - if I didn't mind working out in the machine shop all day, paid 67cents an hour, with some overtime available too. So we called the bosses - informed them both we'd be resigning right away - went home, broke the lease, packed up and became Nutmeggers (thats Ct. residents).

Dad's Memories Index| HOME

This page created with Netscape Navigator Gold

This page has been visited  times.