About four years ago, I asked Grandma to tell me some of her memories growing up in Boonton, but she struggled recalling any stories. So I got some post cards and began to send them to her with some very specific questions. Here follows my questions and her responses from one card.
1. How old were you when you had your first job?
I was 14 or 15 when I got my first job—on Main Street working for a lawyer. I did filing and didn’t like the job or the lawyer. He passed a comment one day that he didn’t like my make-up. In my youthful spunk I told him I didn’t wear it for him. He said, “I like you kid. You have spunk.” (Sounds like Ed Asner, huh?*)
2. Did you contribute any money to your family?
I don’t know if I contributed at home. I did later in my “career.” **
3. What kinds of jobs did your father have?
My father worked at Norda as a chemical something or other. He had been a rug or linoleum installer previously.
4. Describe typical meals your mother made.
Don’t remember much of what my mother cooked. There was always dessert after school. Don’t know how she did it on limited funds. Never remember being hungry. I guess there was a lot of macaroni and cheese. No take out ever.
Then she added another random happy family activity:
We used to have back scratching sessions. We’d line up on the couch for that.
*Ed Asner was an actor on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I know you girls did not watch this show, but it is an American classic. Check it out sometime!
**Grandma told me this story at a later date. I will only tell you now that when her father lost his job also working at Norda, Grandma contributed her entire week’s pay of $72 to her family and said she was happy to be supporting them. (They were horrible employers. If you read my first book, you already know, but if not, stay tuned for another episode.)