My Life

posted in: The Stories of Erie PA | 0

By Gladys Marie Zane Caldwell Milligan — In order to record my existence, I must first record my birth.  I was born on January 15, 1947 in Warwood, Wheeling West Virginia.  My parents were Eugene Willard and Clara Marie Coleman Zane.  I have three sisters Judy, Margie and Norie.  My parents had two other children, Coburn Eugene and Mary Jane, both died before I knew them.

Daddy was a coalminer.  How about that, I was born “a coalminer’s daughter.” Mom was a homemaker.  During my first four years, we lived with Pappy, my dad’s father and Aunt Betty, daddy’s sister.  When Pappy died Aunt Betty came to live with us.  At which time, we moved to a house one mile from civilization.  It was a beautiful house. It had a large front porch with a swing, twin pines in the front yard with a brook also.  It was perfect for play.  Dad later named the property Twin Pine Farms.  Aunt Betty and I fought over ownership of Tiny the pet dog. It was really mine.

I started school at age 5 at Warwood Grade School.  I had some wonderful teachers who also taught mom and dad.  Be Good. Miss Zeigler, my first grade teacher, was a tall thin lady like Ichabod Crane. Miss Gibbs was my third grade teacher.  She and Miss Zeigler were best friends.  We all went to the same church. During year two I had to have speech therapy for “R”, “S”, and “T” pronunciation. My first six years of school went fast.  I truly loved school.

It was hard at home, as mom started working my first year of school.  She was a cook at a place across from the school.  Dad lost his job in the 50’s and blamed it on President Eisenhower. Most mines closed.  I think it was air pollution.  A while later he found a job in maintenance at a box manufacturing company in Warwood. Later my sister Judy started working there. She was a production operator.

Seventh and Eighth grade classes were held at the Warwood High School.  I was assigned a locker that was held through graduation. It was hectic, [I was] always pushed around by upper classmen. I don’t remember each class but still liked school.  I was still walking that one mile to and from home.

It was during my ninth through twelfth grade that I entered a secretarial course.  Hurray, we chose our class subjects.  Of course, there was always math and English.  The secretarial classes were typing and shorthand.  I also had history, geography, cooking, sewing, gym and drivers education.  I wasn’t able to drive until 12th grade, too young. In 12th grade I was secretary to the Dean of Girls. Miss Eleanor Faris, her sister was Miss Emily Faris, the typing teacher.

I did well in my classes. I graduated in 1964.  I was vacationing at my sister Norie’s in Cambridge Springs, PA when I was called home for a job interview.  Yes, I got the job as a billing, payroll clerk at Warwood Tool Company where our product was garden tools.  Later that year I was married to Keith Caldwell, from Cambridge Springs, on September 26, 1964.  Keith worked with my brother in law at a tire shop.  My sister introduced me to him. I was there visiting over Christmas. Keith slept over night at my sister’s house and they were mad. Then I got called home for that job interview. Keith kept visiting me in West Virginia.  I didn’t go to the prom because he wasn’t allowed to go with me because he didn’t go to my school.  He continued to take me on dates.  We went to a drive in movie and took my parents.  I was so embarrassed because the movie had sex scenes.

Our wedding went very smoothly, it was in a church.  By December of 1964 we quit our jobs and left for California, driving behind Keith’s brother and family.  After applying for jobs and not getting one, we came back to PA. I didn’t find work until 1996, again, an office job for House of Edinboro where we manufactured sofas and chairs.  I was accounts receivable and accounts payable clerk.

Our first child was Allen Eugene was born on September 11, 1965 and he came into the world weighing 8 pounds 10.25 oz. I had him at Union city Hospital. I had him naturally.  It was a terrible time for me. Keith and his mom took me to the hospital. He had to work so he left and I had the baby without him being there.  His mom knew the head honcho of the hospital and he put a thing on my wrist for the pain to push.  I fell asleep from it. I woke up to the doctor yelling PUSH. When he came home, he cried and cried.  My mother in law told me he was old enough to crawl that I needed to put him down.  He bounced around on his butt instead of crawling. He didn’t take his first step until he was three. I took Allen to the State Nurses meetings once a month at C.S.  At age five I was told to start getting ready for school.  He was sent to special education and graduated in 1983 at age 18 from the special education. Because Keith and I divorced,  Allen was accepted to the UCIP program and at age 52 he is still there. He is in a group home with others that have Alzheimer’s.  I take him out from time to time to go see boats.  He loves boats and railroad trains. He has a hard time walking and falls down a lot.  His original diagnosis was Autism.  He has never spoken.  He does say mama.

On November 8, 1970, boy number two, Michael Leroy, was born weighing 9 lbs and 8 oz.  He was a perfect child.  He married Melissa.  He has a good job as a supervisor.  He has a step child, Britney and he is a grandparent to three children: Montana, age 7, and twins Kennedy and Carlina, age 2. The kids are wonderful.  They play well together.  They do not know Allen. Mike and Melissa prefer it that way.

When Michael was 2, I started a new job at Heatrex in Meadville. We manufactured heating units. I started as a payroll/file clerk.  Later receptionist, then order entry in the sales department.  Finally cost accounting.  My supervisor was leaving to work for the company that purchases us.  He asked me to go with him to C & J Industries where I became accounts payable clerk which included paying bills. Later I became payroll supervisor.  I retired September 2010. Yes, I miss everyone.  All in all it was interesting.

Oh no, I forgot my second marriage to Daniel Milligan in 1999.  Dan passed away October 15, 2014. Dan showed me a different way of life. FUN- Pool, Darts, Family, Fishing.  He drank, I drove.

Here it is 2017.  I joined the LiFE program of NWPA in October 2016.  I am enjoying myself.

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