Mon
Jul 21 2008
07:43 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers, A recent trip to the post office brought me a letter from our good friend Pelea Meador (Class of 1944). It is always a pleasure to hear from Pelea, as she has such wonderful memories to go along with her fantastic drawings. Let's open the letter and see what Pelea has to say... "Each article you write, whether it be about the flag, hog killing, tobacco, or jobs, brings back memories of growing up in Rockwood. My many jobs were all interesting, sometimes hard, and varied."
"The first job I had, for which I was paid was raking leaves from the large yard of Mrs. Mable Proffit, who lived a block from our house. I was paid a whole dollar and I was only 9 years old ! Later, I would clean her sun room windows, (about 12) with "Bon-Ami", wax the floor, and buff it on my hands and knees for one dollar."
"The summer after 8th. grade, I was 14 years old and, for 6 weeks, I baby sat 8 hours per day, 6 days a week, and earned ONE DOLLAR a week. Now, that was hard ! Then I worked for Ross and Audrey Shultz the rest of the summer. They had two lovely children and paid me $3.50 for five days work. I ironed their clothes, bathed the children, and had a supper of fried potatoes, pinto beans and a pone of cornbread each night for them and loved it all. I was so proud of myself at 14 years old. I saved every penny and bought my own school books, material for two dresses and a pair of boots, (for wading snow to school), for my first year of high school."
"All of my spare time was spent at babysitting jobs. One of my favorites was sitting for Aileen and M.F. Phillips' baby. There I could have a dessert, put Tommy to bed, do homework and read their Redbook magazines."
"One night, someone tried to break-in. I was scared of my shadow, so I called Mama. Folks who knew my mother, knew she would "fight a tiger" so she high-tailed it over to the Phillips' house and the fellow ran. He had done some damage to the window screen and shook up one teenager pretty bad, however; it did not curtail my babysitting with Mama as "back-up".
"The summer that I was 16, I went to Mrs. Ellen Montgomery Johnson's house on the lake in Spring City to help her after she had surgery. It was almost like a vacation, because I was also a companion to her daughter Arlene. We got to go in the water everyday and Miss Ellen taught me many interesting things. She later taught in the Rockwood school."
"That year during Christmas vacation, I worked at the 5 & 10 cent store, (Emorys, I believe) and earned 13 cents per hour. From there I went to Dewey's Department Store to work after school and on Saturdays. I don't remember what I earned, but I got my clothes for school at a big discount. Miss Margaret Millican was a mentor of sorts. Later, i found that we were kinfolk. She inspired me so much."
"Now in my junior year, I went BIG TIME ! One day a week, I would clean the librarian's (Miss Adelaide Muecke) room for seventy-five cents. Also after school on Tuesday and Thursday, I would work folding clothes at the laundry for twenty-five cents per hour. That was great fun, and $2.50 each week to save for clothes and school. Bobbie Ables, two teenage boys, and I would work from six until eleven pm, then the delivery man would let us pile into his truck and bring us home. We laughed and giggled for four hours, as we folded those red hot clothes that the boys put through a large mangle, ( a machine for ironing clothes by passing them between heated rollers.) "
When school was out, I worked that whole summer. A laundry is a busy, busy place and we had a lot of storms that year, so I'd get down under the shelf where they stacked clothes (when a big bolt of lightening would hit). The grownups would laugh at me, but I laughed all the way to my secret place, where I saved my money for school."

We will have to leave Pelea for a week and pick up her story where we left off. Thanks Pelea, I am looking forward to next week...Until then keep the emails coming in, Ray

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