Friday, March 30, 2012

Sepia Saturday 119 My Aunt at WORK

1951 Aunt Virginia,aka  Jinx with the  PPG Forklift
This week, Alan plucked us from leisure with that 4 letter word that makes me shudder in retirement land, work. I have  many photos I could have contributed, but this week, I feature one I have previously shared of Mom's sister, my Aunt Virginia (Konesky Irwin) who worked over 40 years at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) factory in Creighton, PA.   I particularly like this photo of her with the forklift because of the story she shared with me  to encourage me to never back off from learning something new nor shirk responsibility.  I was blessed to have a forward thinking strong, independent  woman like her in my life, but then our family was filled with such women.   She  volunteered to learn to operate the forklift  because she knew that whatever she learned could only benefit her in the long run, the more skills the better off she would be. She was working in a factory and making good money for herself but she was ambitious too.   While the rest of the factory workers, predominantly men by that year,  declined to  do anything extra, she was eager.  But, as she related, her new skill generated lots of ill will towards her, especially from the women who thought she had over stepped her boundaries.  She never accepted  that because she explained during  the war, the women ran the factory while most of the men were off fighting and so why wasn't she just as capable now, especially when no one else wanted to do this.  But   jealousies and bickering can be part of any workforce,  factory or office.  Jinx figured she could  make more money at this and it would be easier than some other tasks.

I found this clipping among her photos after she died in 2009.  This would have been in 1945 by the reference to her age and address.  I never heard this story and would have been a baby when it happened.  I thought it interesting that this accident would have been reported in the local newspaper.  I also found this photo with "ready to go to work at PPG" on the back, from 1943.  I remember those dresses in the 1950's as a kind of chambray.  I don"t know how the women worked in those, but perhaps they had coveralls that they changed into at the plant.  
1943 Virginia "Ready to go to work
at PPG"

1971 PPG Virginia, left with a friend, right, at  their shop floor Christmas Party
 Above is another of my aunt with an unknown woman in 1971, at the potluck Christmas party that they enjoyed on the shop floor.  I cannot determine  what the other woman is holding up near her head because this photo is not very clear.  This was the year that Jinx played Santa  adorning herself with full costume because no one else would do it.   Jinx never weighed more than  100 pounds and was about five foot  six inches in height, she was strong, muscle and bones.  That makes it all the more humorous that she would be Santa, but she did.  Again, doing what no one else would do, not learning more but just doing this for some fun.   So here is "Skinny"  which was one of her nicknames all her life,  as Santa.  She certainly worked hard at a nontraditional place for women, but she could enjoy herself too.

Skinny Santa 1971

Click here to go to the Sepia Saturday site and enjoy others posts about work.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sepia Saturday 118 Girls Night Out

Long ago --back in 1962-63 my first year of Allegheny college I was really looking forward to being away from home.  The Campus was coed but  we lived in an all girls dorm, South Hall  and had room mates assigned by the college.  My roommate, Janet was also from the Pittsburgh area and we were similar but different,  as outgoing and busy as I was she was more cautious and serious. I was a Spanish major and she French.  I was experiencing the world around me and she was intent on studying and frequently reminded  me that was our purpose. I'd burn the midnight oil and she was an early to bed and rise. She would dutifully hike to town even in the snow to Catholic mass while I announced that I could  do just as well at the college chapel, which happened to be Methodist.  This really gave Janet fits, "but we are Catholic, that's another reason they put us together..."  Well, it was the start of my questioning many things, religion and faith among them. It was the 60's I would do many strange things, stretching my wings. Allegheny was  a top notch recognized Eastern college with vast curriculum emphasizing Liberal Arts, Foreign  Languages and pre-Medical.  It was a big new world for me, first time away from home. 

1963 Allegheny College  Ann, Janice, Janet and me
The two girls (well we were only 18) across the hall,  Ann  and Janice were from Maryland  and about as opposite as us, Ann more earthy and Janice far more worldly. Most of the time  the 4 of us experienced everything together but Janice and I seemed to push the edges more than Ann and Janet.   Here in a January 1963 photo  are the 4 of us girls headed somewhere for our girls night out.  You can see that Janet standing next to me was an unwilling participant but  at least weekly we would drag her along. I can almost hear her telling us that we had to be back on time.   Ann was being particularly playful  behind Janice' head.  I suspect this was a Friday and who knows if we were movie bound or what.  It was a way different time, we dressed to go out and to attend class; no jeans, no casual very different. In those snowy cold frigid winters with snow blowing off Lake Erie, we still were bound to wear skirts and dresses to classes, no slacks.  That really was dumb.

There were curfews at the dorm and often Janice or myself would find something to engage useven if it was only talking too long at the bidges across campus, but we'd  miss the door locking so one of  our roommates had to come down the side steps and let us in. The signal was pebbles tossed at the window. We must have been on the  4th, top floor because I noted  girls on 4B on the back of this photos, that was our dorm floor and section and we even had a jingle we sang, that went  something like, "we are the girls of Section 4 B---guys never get in our way, so give a great big cheer for the section of the year, Section 4 B we're OK..."   It got  to be easy to reach that  upper level and then again, our roommates came to expect it, we couldn't toss pebbles too high or we'd risk racket and breaking windows ans that would have blown our cover.  This was all in  prehistoric times, no cell phones, not even phones in our rooms, there was one phone a pay phone down the hall, no cars on campus and none of us had one anyway  and rules, OMG the rules.  Here I was looking forward to freedom from Mom's iron hand and there I was in a girls dormitory which could have been run by nuns.  It was strict.  To make matters worse, the floor warden, who was a senior  lived right next door to us and so although our room was near the stairway, she often had her door open and that challenged sneaking in and out.  I suppose she knew the tricks and had been through this same  freshman shenanigans.  Janet my roommate was the least devious of all and would let me know that  the next time I was late I could not count on her to sneak down the stairs and let me in,  Janet always threatened to leave me outside till morning but she never did.  And she was never late, ever.  We are still friends, in touch with each other, she was Steve's Godmother,  and  is still teaching French at a private school and lives with her husband near DC.  Don"t know what ever happened to Janice or Ann. 

This is my first time back with Sepia after a  busy time.  To see other posts on the international community, click here

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where time goes , tempus fugit, and other excuses

One of our many inherited antique clocks
Rolf-Dietmar Erhardt said   " All of us are aware of the phrases: "Well, that took a long time!", "That went fast!", "How much longer will that take?" and so forth. No conflict arises with the physical term of time, since we do have scales to monitor time, as we know it, with explicit accuracy. But, does time exist without the existence of a human being, who interprets what time is - with his human consciousness? Simply put, does time exist without someone reading the clock?"

What the heck is this thing we call time?   
     The one-after-the-other-correspondence of things.
     The succession of happenings, to be experienced as an irreversible sequence of events.       
       A  longitude of change,
       Incidents in nature and history.
        Something to be viewed, depending on scientific (philosophical) views, as finite or infinite, homogenous, divisible continuum, which      under specific points of view and appropriations act as a scheme of order.

All I know is I have been extremely  busy since we returned home  first of the month and have not been on blog which tugs at  me, but time is limited and I  have never been able to stretch a day beyond 24 hours. Someone might simply say, "oh use a planner, don't agree to so many things, and so on...."    Jim Croce sang about it in  1973, remember the ballad--Time in a Bottle also used by the Muppets in a comical routine..  sing along with me now,,,
If I could save time in a bottle  The following is an assessment of how time flies daily for me,  for those who wonder, (as I did in the past)  how can a person who is retired run out of time?  For one thing, I no longer arise at 4:30AM and get almost double the sleep I lost in the past.      
The first thing that I'd like to do Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you. 

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them...... and that is my ear worm of the day.

Begin with the 24 hours  each day                                                                         24

Slumber, "to sleep perchance to dream", 8 to 9 hours  or more, depends on how physically demanding  the day's activities have been                               -9
Each evening  1 or 2 hours pleasure reading                          - 2  

Now we are down to a balance of 13 hours available from which hours deplete --

-1 Waking up each morning, meditation/prayers, personal hygiene, Keurig brew, dressing for Curves workout,  making the bed prior to departure,  Jerry conversations
-2  Checking email, Facebook and reading my online newspapers                  
-2  Business papework our Financials, Estate work, business of and the like (can consume lots more time)  
-2.5 Working out/ and walking to do so  ( 1/2 this time if I drive)      
-1.5 Showering  after work out and dressing for the day 
-2.5 Our wonderful early spring weather means substantial outside  work  
-1.5 Domestic tasks like laundry, ironing, vacuuming, changing bed linens, unloading dishwasher, swabbing kitchen floor, dusting, etc.  I try to do a minimum daily because I have a fetish for a clean domicile and I do not have the attention span for  more time at that. 
-2 Planning/preparing meals, unless we are eating out 
-1 Eating and clean up afterwards 
-3.5 If  grocery or other  shopping beckons driving to and accomplishing    
-1.5  Nursing home trips for MIL, delivery laundry, other personal items, etc.
-1.5 Even a quick additional stop uptown to  post office/library while I'm  there  invariably expands with a conversation with someone about something  
-2.5 Special projects like the design of a book cover,  correspondence or photo sorting or closet or drawer clearing or research through records or online 
-2 Occasional  TV watching some evenings, varies depending on programs, March madness or a great NBA game or watching a movie/DVD 
-2  Visitors and this includes phone calls which I do ignore at times when I can't tolerate an additional distraction  

And well, there goes time despite multi tasking an hour here, a couple hours there and pretty soon the whole day is gone. I could use a 34 hour day. This is my free time, the time of my life, the time I coveted when career and family were all consuming and still there is just not enough of this thing we call time.  Frequently over the years others have told me that they cannot keep up with me--starting with my Mom when I was a child, that I do too much.  I suppose I do possess hyperactive tendencies,  all I know is I set a good pace of constant activity.   Any typical day is not typical to me and any day I always have a deficit of hours which is not inclusive of husband time and interruptions.  Ah time....there is just never  enough and I am careful to decline offers to  join many activities or organizations where there would be meetings.  I do  limit my time in the ones I to  which I belong . 

This was a clock from Uncle John which is very similar to
one my grandparents had...we have many clocks
just not enough time ever.
I also pledged to fix some of the genealogy particularly with  my female ancestors as March, honors  Women's History.  My ancestral tree/limbs/leaves on Ancestry has expanded so that  one log  in and  two to four hours vanish  along merrily as a fat worm pulled  from the wet springtime mulch by a robin.  March is filled with Birthdays for cousins and friends.  I spent  quite some time with greetings and a project for the  60h birthday for cuz Paul in  Colorado, for whom I  had old  photos copied and wrote  accompanying familial history he"d otherwise not know.  I have a new  found  cousin on my Ostrowski side (maternal grandmother) or Ostroskie as they spelled it, in CA of all places.  It has been great fun but time consuming meeting that limb through the photos Jacquie supplied. It occurred to me that as I wrote for Paul and as I fix my link that I really am the family historian.  Much is on my  blog where people can discover for themselves and a great deal of that effort is attributable to Sepia Saturdays, which I really have missed first whilst traveling and now through NO TIME.

Currently I am engaged in another ongoing project that is  taking hours of time, the online class on the Constitution and Principles in which I have enrolled through Hillsdale College.  While lectures online are  about  an hour and the Questions and Answers another  30 minutes, the readings demand  more hours each day than I have been able to garner, putting me  sadly behind on the  research.  This is a most interesting course and something I have wanted to do for a long time, but never considering the time dedication involved.  I could just skim and do online readings, but that has never been my way as a student; my alter ego,  the old girl, Patty emerges hands on hips--""well you're not gonna skip over this are you?  Remember you need 100% on tests?"  And she goads me on to continue reading--it has probably  been  48 years since I last read the Federalist papers.  Grades and perfect scores mean nothing to me now, but still I  persevere.   I recall much of history teachings from earlier college and high school years  but am learning more such as  our founding fathers understanding of the true human nature...and the fact that they all  had a solid base in the same educational experiences whether self taught or schooled--they knew the classics.  They shared a similar foundation.  We do not have that today.  Oh,  I have been  getting all the questions  correct on each  quiz.  No one knows my score but me and Patty and she is quietly pleased, dancing her little celebratory hop  when that perfect score shows online. 

My thoughts  increasingly nag to get back to the blog especially before March departs because this is the  100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts.  I have more to say about that tomorrow.   Here is the link to the Girl Scouts Blog where they claim that 2012 is the year of the girl. Hey, let's hear it for the girl

Oh yes trying to  compose in blogger which is acting up with a vengeance.....timeless.