Jun 30 2008
07:22 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers, Our fifth annual RHS Classmates Reunion is now history, and with around 350 attending, it was the biggest and best ever. The food was great, weather couldn't have been better, and the fellowship was unbelieveable. So many good comments and as I said at the Reunion to our classmates, "Welcome Home."
Let's continue this week with some of our jobs during our teen years, and this time we will hear from a few of the ladies. Wanda Thomas, (Class of 1958) had this to say about her first job. " My first job was picking strawberries. As I recall, I got paid 13 cents per quart cup. Those strawberries were a challenge, as you had to sit on the ground and scoot around all day. I recall wearing a wide-brimmed hat but I still got sunburned. Sitting in the sun and picking strawberries was a challenging job for a thin-skinned person who lacked color. But the 13 cents per quart came in handy for a treat."
"I also picked blackberries. We didn't have to scoot on the ground because the blackberries grew on a vine and you just had to bend down and pick them off the vine. We would pick a galvanized tub full of blackberries and can them so we had blackberries throughout the winter. They sure were good." Thanks Wanda, how well I remember picking blackberries along the old Tennessee Central Railroad tracks and down behind Ms. Lindsay's house. That blackberry jelly sure smelled good a'cooking.
Jeepie Childs Driskell (Class of 1958) told me about her first BIG job in Rockwood. Jeepie said, " I began work at Lay's 5 & 10 before it opened in June 1959, the work began with setting up and stocking the shelves. When the store opened, I became a cashier. I recently found an envelope with pay slips in it. I made 45 cents an hour and one week after working very long hours for 6 days, I brought home $24.80 after taxes and thought I was really in the money. I enjoyed working there as several of my friends worked there also. I worked until I married in January 1960. Before working at Lay's, I did babysitting for my spending money." Thanks Jeepie,
And how about someone who did both, picking strawberries, and working at the ten cent store. Jo An Howard Gaines, (Class of 1953) sends this email all the way from Hawaii. Yes, "Rockwood Memories" goes worldwide. Jo An added this on her "resume." "My first employer was Mr. Rayder, who lived on North Chamberlain . He had a big strawberry patch and let all the children help him pick the berries when they were ripe. I remember, we had to be eight! We were paid a penny or two for each little wooden container. We loved it ! How I would like a photo of that scene."
" I always did baby sitting for about twenty cents an hour. One summer when I was 13, I stayed with three children who lived next door, while their mother worked. I arrived at their house at 6:00 A.M. when she left for the hosiery mill. She came back at 4:00 P.M. The pay was $5.00 a week."
"After that, I worked at the Emery ten cent store. I was tall so I did the candy counter. I worked after school and on Saturday. The pay was about twenty cents an hour to start. That was a favorite job. I got to assemble all of the Easter baskets and decorate the store for holidays. I especially recall the Wednesday Trade Days. Saturday was a big day and the streets would be filled with cars as people visited...almost like a tail gate party. Mr. Burl Swanner was the manager. "
I ended my Rockwood working days at the hosiery mill, working the summer before college. The work was very hard and I have great respect for those people whose only job was the mill. My pay was .75 cents an hour and the year was 1953. Work was a big part of all of our lives. We learned great lessons about ourselves and about life." Thanks Jo An.
And thanks to all of you who chose to share your memories with us. Besides the Rockwood Times, and The Roane Reader, this column goes out weekly to 1134 readers. Some of them have never been to Rockwood, but feel like they were raised here thanks to all of you sharing your stories. Next week we will continue with more teen jobs.
Until next week.....Ray

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.