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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grandma and the Prince - Part 10 - Barbara Bretton

<==Grandma at 19

I'm going to pick up where I left off in my Grandma's story. This is a transcript of the tape I made back in 1976. Grandma and her sister Edith (Dede) are off in search of a new job.

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Edith and I – there was a place not too far from here. The factory needed help. The sign said "Girls needed. Glove making. " We go over and hired us immediately but he put us in the wrong places. He put me on gloves and Edith on the sewing machine when it should have been the other way around. I had to form the gloves. You see there were two metal hands, heated, and after they sewed the gloves, you put them on the hands and shaped them. You look to see if there are any holes. If you find a hole you use a piece of paper and you send them back.

Edith worked by the hour – she had to do the sewing over and over again. They docked her most of her wages. I used to dread getting a bundle from Edith because I knew Edith could not manage her sewing machine. So one day the manager said to her, "Miss Dimler, I’d like to see you before you go home. "

She said to me, "You know, I think he’s going to sack me."

"So what, Edith," I said carefree as you please. "You should be on what I’m doing and I should be doing what you're doing. How about we don’t go back?"

So we didn't. [laughter]

I don’t know what we said to mother but I know there was a terrible row.

Then I get another job. I don’t know how I found it but it was another factory. I was so ashamed, coming from rich people and all. My mother didn’t know what I was doing. So I went to this job every morning where they had piece material in bulk. My job was to make sure that when it winds around the spool that it’s even. A man would come around with a big bin and take them away. But then the floor man comes around one day and takes a shine to me. He wants to take me out and I tell the other girls.

"What did he say to you?" they asked.

"He asked me to go out with him," I said.

"You're not going out with him! Don't you go out with him, Elsie!"

Well, Barbara, I got scared and told my mother about him. She came to my place of business to meet him, saw where I was working and was shocked. She said, "That's the end of this!"

[I ask if my great-grandfather was working.]

What did Grandpa do? He was manager of Bohack. Great-grandpa. He walked right in off the street, off the boat, and got the job. The women were crazy about him. My father was very handsome and they all flocked to Bohack for meat. He had quite the following. He was a devil, he was. He was a devil with me and my mother wasn’t far behind either. I can tell you plenty. I can tell you plenty, my dear. Your hair would uncurl.

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And here I am thirty-three years later, still curly-haired, still wondering what she meant by those last few sentences.

to be continued next month

PS: I'm Barbara Bretton and you can find me here and here. I'm happy to say that LACED WITH MAGIC is on the stands this month. I hope you'll take a minute and visit my website to read an excerpt. I think you'll like it.

6 comments:

Mary said...

I love hearing stories about my grandparents and their parents. It's an interesting way to get to know your family.

Estella said...

I am enjoying the stories about your family.

Emmanuelle said...

Me too ! How lucky you are to know so much about your Grand-parents youth... wish I knew as much ;-)

penney said...

Thank you for being here, I been following and love the blog.
Penney

cheryl c said...

This has been a fascinating story!

Michele L. said...

Hi Barbara,

I really enjoyed reading your latest entry about your grandma!

Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely loved your book LACED WITH MAGIC! What a fantastic story! You are such an amazing writer, Barbara. Your books are forever on my keeper shelf! :-)

Thanks again for sharing your family history with us! Always fun to have you here!