28 March 2007

Odd Jobs of Short Duration

Odd Jobs of Short Duration

Picking Worms
Back in the 50s, my brother, Fred, and his then father-in-law, Les, would make a few extra dollars by picking worms and selling them to bait stores. Our equipment consisted of a flashlight covered with red cellophane, an old coffee can and waterproof shoes. We would go to Locust Hill Country Club in the evening, after the sprinklers had been shut off and look for the worms. They were usually completely out of their holes, so we merely picked them up and dropped them into the coffee can. The groundskeepers didn’t mind as long as we stayed off the greens. We sold the worms for about 50 cents each, sometimes a dollar. The bad part was that our backs would be sore for a while after an evening of picking.

Another job in the 50s was working behind the counter at the Bingo hall on Scottsville Road. The first few games cost 10 cents, then there was a group of games for 10 dollars, then back to individual games for 10 cents. The group consisted of games like make an X, go all around the outside, fill the board, etc. The challenge was to collect all the dimes for the first game before someone won. Usually, the players would have 10 and 20 dollar bills out to pay for the 10 cent game, so we would have to change all the bills in a hurry. Sometimes the game would end before we finished collecting, and one or two of the players would try to move to another table to avoid paying. Another trick they tried was to ask for a bunch of boards, looking for certain numbers, then not decide which board(s) to use until after the first number had been called; they wanted to try to find a board with that number on it. We just wouldn’t let them play that game. After a few nights, we caught on to which players to watch. The room was usually smoke-filled, but that was in my smoking days so it didn’t bother me. Today, I wouldn’t go near the place.


Daughter Gail starts a short series of chemotherapy on Friday, so if you have any unused prayers, please let one loose for her.

26 March 2007

A Correction

Smitty, my buddy since 8th grade, read my blog and wondered if 1951 wasn't the year we both took jobs at GM Rochester Products Division, and I have to admit that he's right. I was off by a year. So much for memory retention.
What happened in 1951 was that he and I went to be interviewed for jobs at RPD by a friend of my parents, who hired us. Night shift. I was at the end of the assembly line where I made up boxes for the inspected carburetors, then packed them for shipment. Well, the night shift interfered with my social life, so I quit after about a week. Not too long after that, I went to work for Kasiner Hobbies, a local retail shop and wholesale distributor owned by Norm and Marie Kasiner.
Norm and another fellow, Bill Kashler, had started marketing their own line of model railroad passenger car kits in O and HO gauge sizes. One of my jobs was to pack the parts in the kits, which I did in between waiting on customers. A while ago I saw one of the kits for sale on eBay, so I bid on it. I won and paid through PayPal, but the seller never sent the kit. I sent him an email that he had sold his soul and reputation for less than 10 dollars. I subsequently heard from another person that she had been taken by the same guy for over $200, so I didn't feel too bad after that news. But I hated to have him get away with it.

25 March 2007

Daylight Savings Time

I’ve always had trouble with daylight savings time, so I’m very happy to live in Arizona where we don’t mess with our clocks.

In 1951, I took a job on the New York Central Railroad, working for the summer with a bunch of other college students on the signal gang. Of course, daylight savings time was in effect, and I knew that the railroad didn’t operate on daylight savings time, so that meant there was a difference of one hour between our clock and theirs. My father couldn’t drive me to the job site the first day, so I had arranged for my Aunt Evelyn to deliver me. It was to Genesee Junction, off Scottsdale Road near where Black Creek feeds into the Genesee River. Starting time was 8 a.m. railroad time, so I calculated that to be, because of the one hour difference, 6 a.m. on our clock. Being a Math major in college, I was absolutely sure of my calculations. Well, needless to say, I went the wrong way on the clock, so wound up waiting two hours to report for work to my new employer.

So I’m happy to live in a part of the world where I don’t have that kind of pressure anymore. Is it “spring forward, fall back” or “fall forward, spring back“; see what I mean? I remember a movie with Jack Oakie (remember him?) where he was trying to stay on the football team and had to pass the history exam. The big question he was having trouble with was when did Columbus discover America. So his friends came up with a rhyme to help him: Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety-two. So on the day of the test, after hours of practicing the rhyme, the instructor asked the big question: When did Columbus discover America? Proud as a peacock, he answered: Columbus sailed the deep blue sea in fourteen hundred and ninety-three. See what pressure can do to ones mind?

More photos of the new paint job

Except for the bathroom, all the walls are the same color. The small painting setting in front of the fireplace is the last watercolor painting I've done. The desk in the bedroom is where Grandma creates her beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

New chandeliers

The wall color here is the same in both the entry and the family room. The ceiling in the family room is the same color as the walls. That's Grandma's computer desk on the left.

New color in the vanity

These are before and after photos of our vanity. The cabinets were whitewashed oak and are now dark brown, but will be repainted to match the trim which is a sort of cream color. The old light bar has been replaced with a new polished chrome 5 light fixture. The wall color is the lighter brown used on the ceiling in the kitchen. The color changes depending on the light.

21 March 2007

The Fastidious Ebenezer Hill

The Fastidious Ebenezer Hill (an original essay by Granpappy)

Ebenezer Hill, or Mister Hill, as he was known to us who lived in these parts, occupied a one-room cabin that he said was built on land that belonged to his family since “way back when”. No one disputed the claim because none of us had ever been here way back then to see the cabin being built, or by whom. He was a very fastidious person, keeping the cabin and surrounding area clear of all dust and debris. At least, that was the story told from time to time, whenever his name crept into the conversation, or when Mister Hill came striding into view. No one of recent acquaintance had ever set foot in the cabin, so there were no eyewitnesses to the fact of the fastidiousness of his domicile. But eyebrows were raised at the mention of the claim.
I remember not too long ago that Jonathan Whitehall reported a close encounter of Mister Hill, stating that his fingers had the look of a permanent brown stain of nicotine and that he (Mister Hill) was surrounded by the stinking aura of burned tobacco. Jonathan, apparently, had seen Mister Hill without his usual formal grey driving gloves, a rare occasion indeed. And to catch the odor of anything other than his bay rum toilette water was a near miracle in itself. Everyone down at Brinkman’s General Store wondered if perhaps young Jonathan hadn’t dreamt the encounter. However, we were soon to learn the truth of the matter.
It was the following Saturday that Constable Pike walked into Oliver’s Barber Shop for his usual beard trim and haircut. When he entered, Constable Pike looked as though he was just about bursting with some kind of news, so it didn’t take Mr. Oliver long to question it out of him. The way it came out was that a group of men, acquaintances of Mister Hill, arranged to meet at Mister Hill’s cabin to discuss some kind of business proposition. Against Mister Hill’s wishes, several of the men began to smoke cigars inside the cabin. Despite the importance of the business being discussed, Mister Hill insisted that the gentlemen smoke their cigars outside. Well, as happens occasionally, one thing led to another and finally Mister Hill ushered them all out, but not before he had crushed their cigars in his sink. Needless to say, that left his hands stained, and cigar smoke permeating his clothing. Shortly thereafter, Mister Hill arrived in town to consult with Constable Pike about possible repercussions over the incident at his cabin. It was during that trip that young Jonathan had had his brief encounter with Mister Hill and had made his report to all and sundry. To top off the incident, Constable Pike, in response to further questions, admitted the he had accompanied Mister Hill to the cabin to ascertain the gentlemen had indeed left the area, and was delighted to report to one and all that the cabin was certainly kept in a fastidious manner. Needless to say, not a few were disappointed to find their suspicions laid to rest.

12 March 2007

Ah, Spring

Spring has sprung; da grass is riz.
I wonder where da boidies is.

Twice in the past week, I've seen a robin in our yard. Probably on its way north, as they don't spend the summers here. And all the frost-damaged trees and shrubs are showing green. We've been eating on the patio at noon since the temperature has been climbing into the high eighties. Good to have it warm this week so we can open the windows and air the house out. The painter has been here all last week, and plans to finish by Wednesday. I'll post some photos of our "new" house as soon as we get it all put back together.