School Days, Work Days

posted in: The Stories of Erie PA | 0

By Blanche Bowers, July, 12, 2017 — I started out doing advertising, printing advertisements for a small company in Erie. From there, I went to a bigger company what does basically the same thing. I moved on to a company that imprinted plastic. The plastic was shipped in carloads, and then we imprinted the company’s name on it.  Then I went back into advertising then I was a receptionist for a printing company for eighteen years. Then I said, “Enough already,” and I retired. I was 62 when I retired.

When I started working, I was part-time because I knew the owner of the company.  [Being] the receptionist was my favorite job.  I would do business with people over the phone and when they would come into the office. I wouldn’t know who they were, because I was only acquainted with them over the phone.

I lived at 29th and Peach across from the old Bannersbe mansion. I came here from Franklin. I moved to Erie in 1941.  I lived through the Great Depression and times were really bad. One family who went to my school brought in potato peelings for their lunch because they saved the potatoes for their meal, but they brought the potato peelings for lunch. We had health, which is very different from now, we sat on a recitation bench in the front of the room, the teacher came by with a tablespoon and cod liver oil and he went from one to one to one with the same spoon.  We did not have vitamins; that was our health. Nowadays, you would be hauled into jail if they tried that!

Things are a lot different back then. We had no spicket in the school. There was a pump outside on the playground, and you had your own cup out there. One kid dropped his glass and injured his eye and he was blind out of that eye for the rest of his life. At recess, we played Ante Ante Over. We had a ball and we would throw it over one side of the schoolhouse, from one side to the other. Recess was 15 minutes long, then we had to go back in. The bathroom was outside and you had to ask for permission to go, and there was a symbol for yes and there was a symbol for no. What is now Route 8 between Franklin and Pittsburgh was a main highway, it was never as busy as it was now, and we would walk about a mile and a half up Route 8 to go to school. There were 8 grades in one room. The heat was by coal stove or wood stove. The teacher had to get there early to get the fire going.

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