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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Hard Working ‘50s

By Tom Speaks

I really liked the now-and-then story about truckers and truck driving. I'm 67 so I'm more of a "then" person.

My Dad was one of those gifted people who could do anything. As a young man, he worked at a corner gas station/greasy spoon/garage/hang-out place. This was before car lifts, they had
a pit where they pulled the car over to change oil, etc. He would work on a car or "machine" they called them then, and then go in and serve lunch. I'm sure he washed his hands(?)

Anyway, he always was a trucker at heart. He drove for my uncle who had a brick hauling business. Back then in the 50s, the bricks were loaded by hand, no pallets, so hewould go to the brick yard, usually 50 or so miles away, load, then drive to the job location and unload by hand.

This was a semi-trailer so there were six-to-eight thousand bricks to be handled by the driver. Being a teen, I was assured a job during summer break from school. Back then it was not hard for a boy to find work. Nobody knew or worried about the word "liability". This was before the lawyers took over the country.

My uncle got a big contract for the brick for a huge manufacturing plant being built, about eight million bricks. My dad came up with the idea for my Uncle to purchase another trailer, so my dad would take an empty to the brick yard, have it loaded and drive it to the job, unload it, then return to deliver the empty and pick up an already loaded trailer.

This made for a long week. But, that's how it was back “then.”

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. Instructions are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Ah, yes - the good old days. The days when "work" was not considered a bad word. Today it's "work" to have to load the dishwasher or mow the lawn (with a power-driven mower). I enjoyed your story very much. I know "times have changed" but I'm not always convinced the changes are good for us.

Hi Tom,

Oh, yes, the "Good old Days". If I had known then that they were the "Good old Days", I would have enjoyed them more!

We were having a brick fireplace built and hundreds of bricks were stacked on our lawn by someone like your Dad. The fellow who was to build the fireplace got sick and the bricks sat out in the hot sun all Summer.

By the time the bricklayer was well, the bricks were so dried out he couldn't use them unless they were soaked in water first.

So, that was my job. I had four kids 5-3-18 months and newborn and I spent hours every day picking up bricks two at a time, one in each hand and lowering them into a huge bucket of water.You could hear the bricks "drinking" the water.

That was in 1957 and we still use that fireplace so I guess it was worth it.

Enjoyed reading your story. Your Dad was some guy and, by the way,my Dad called cars "Machines",too!

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