Friday, April 29, 2011

1st Yr. Teacher Employment

September 2, 1949- "Dad finished pouring our basement. He has worked at it spare time for quite a while. ... 

You see when I look for work I haven't experience typing, filing, clerking,  receptionist, etc. Yet I know how to build a house, pour cement, plaster, wallpaper, some carpentry, paint, wreck, and---but these aren't what girls are hired for nor would a girl want to. Nevertheless if one helps at home as long as I have such is the only experience she receives. I wonder if what I learned will make any home I might have in the future happier. I guess everyone is at least free to dream of a home. I know there would be dancing every night, good things to read and have read, always something to learn and good ho-made fun to add to the monotonous routine tasks, oooh lots, lots, more, but I should ramble on so".

September 10- "I desire to be successful but know I won't succeed. It is for a man to succeed anyway and for a woman to be merely a remote cause of his success. I leave doing a super job of things to you". I became the mom eventually who could change her little daughter's 'I can't' into 'yes, you can' and 'you are a capable woman'. Long before President Obama.

I spent my first year teaching in the Milwaukee schools, the position had a title  'Permanent Substitute'. I had applied for work in Milwaukee because of my relationship with Bob. After I returned to Milwaukee in September from spending my summer at home in Hebron Bob paid me a visit.  When his summer term ended he had gone down to Texas to meet his previous girlfriend, Cassie. He found he  still loved her and she him. He said he would no longer be seeing me or calling me for he would be loyal to the other girl. I wanted it both ways."We walked to the bakery for I needed to buy rolls for the breakfast tomorrow and stuff for my lunch. Well, sensing his cool air I did get to the bottom. He is engaged now, Bruce, and to Cassie in San Antonio after all the things I said about this not working out for him and for me. Guess he kind of thought things over for the best. Said she was so happy and even he feels so grand, so content. Made my eyes water. No more wonderful dances and parties for me. I can forget, I guess... It's an awfully lost feeling. Like hearing of the death of a friend."He married soon after his graduation and lived in her hometown, San Antonio. They had met when he was in the Air  Corps, San Antonio. Her father was well off. I believe Bob did well. I doubt if I ever told Bob about my Hebron High School crush.

I had three separate schools to service on   opposite ends of town. I lived in a Marquette approved home for girls for about the first half of the school year. 22 years old this birthday. I had a bed mate, Marquette person, who  would come home [our room] and play classical music. She said her dad used to hum tunes while they were out on the lake [Wisconsin gal] and she would guess the title of the classical music. All the girls living there took turns preparing evening meals. Put money in a 'kitty'. I lived at 3021 W. Wells until February, 1950. The house was only 3 blocks from St. Rose where I usually attended 6 AM Mass. One time I  opened a can of fruit, a metal can of fruit cocktail treated inside, and placed in the refrigerator for another meal. Our house mother had a conniption. Didn't matter this was my college major and I knew what I was doing.

Jim was attending St. Mary's High School in Woodstock, IL. "Jim seems to like school. The whole idea was so on spur of the moment that it is difficult to visualize him over at St. Mary's. He is taking World History, Latin, English and Algebra, Health and Religion. He bought fresh  binder dividers,  three pads of paper, two notebooks, and a new pen.  'Member the good old days'. Gone forever".  Only a short time enrolled and he broke a rib, football I guess. Dr. said he would grow tall. In '49 he was about the height Bruce and I were in High School. He's 14 years old.

We had Wisconsin Teacher's Convention in Milwaukee which added up to a busy, bustling weekend. Marquette held their homecoming. I was able to ride home with dad for he had come up to 'meet the boys at Sigma Phi'. 
"Bill wanted Elayne to help him with his term paper this evening and because he wasn't too nice she became angry and began to run away. She has been doing that when in temper about semi-annually ever since she was eight. The very first time it was cold and dark when she left the house so she stood a long while about two steps outside, and so it has been since. Confidentially, I think it means she, too, is tired of playing grownup and wants to be babied for a while".

November 14 I wrote: "It is hunting season, you know. Our hired man killed a pheasant so I had some for the first time and you know what-- it was kind of good. Jim went out before Mass yesterday and shot at 2 rabbits and missed both times and then was happy he missed them. This is the kind of hunter I would like to be. We don't let anyone hunt on our land because we feel they could be careless and it will become dangerous. They come around persistently. We have many pheasants".
November 25, 1949 " Because it was really the first snow it was the first day in for the cattle. I watched Jim open the gate for the young heifers this morning and they actually ran into the yard. Guess they discovered it had turned wintertime overnight".
Elayne and I got a new bedroom set for Christmas this year and Jim built a bookcase for us. She spent the winter, in Chicago rather than commute, staying at Catholic Women's Club over downtown Loyola University."Mother is going to have an operation the first part of January. Probably not serious enough to get worried about. But she is our darling at home and things just must go fine for her. I have a letter I wrote which refers to mother's operation being on February 7.

Bill is getting fed up with college. He needs its security so much more than many. I thought I would go downtown about 8:00 and visit with him. He is in a rut and must be pulled out or do the getting out himself. It takes quite a bit of stick to get through college-- more valuable really than brains".

Because of my employment in Milwaukee I am able to visit mother every evening through her hospital confinement. She developed an infection. No antibiotics available to fight infections. On one of my visits-  "Mom was feeling rather perky. Seems she asked Dr. Byrnes for a schnapps to stimulate her and he prescribed it." She was kept an entire month when dad finally drove up to get her. These were special times for me alone evenings with my mother.
St. Clara's Home for Business Women

It was some time after this that I moved to St. Clara’s home for business women on the south side. "I'm trying to get into St. Catherine's because my friends from school are there. Our meals are good, breakfast and dinner. We have a chapel with Mass at 6:30, nice recreation room and parlors. Miss Beatty has been trying to situate me in one  school for the past few days". I have a perky little working girl roommate, Mickie. These homes are for working girls who come to Milwaukee after High School for employment. I believe my cousin Dorothy Margaret Bergin stayed at St. Catherine's. Perhaps other cousins. 
He wore a topcoat and Fedora just like this

I write these words in February. Bruce has returned home from active service in the Air Force. From Mrs. Beth Stewart's urgings he finally looked me up. He strolls into my life from out of nowhere, having left the U.S. Air Corps, as it was then called. I tell you this because he showed up at my parents home wearing a very stylish men's overcoat and a fedora, classily clothed like my father would look leaving for work in the city daily. And he looked so beautiful to me, not at all like a farm boy or the uniformed Air Force Captain. I immediately fell head over heals in love with him all over again. By April Bruce visits me when I am home weekends and we visit with members of his family. I am in love. At least once he drove up to Milwaukee to visit with me. My family and I were stunned when we saw him so grown up, wearing an overcoat and top hat. Not a boy- a man. He grew in stature to 5'10'. I am happy. 

My Carnation Corsage

He and I attend the Hebron High Prom this Spring. 
  "Your carnation and mine are going to be saved forever. Now I won't know which one I love the most my 7-year old one or the new one."

I finish my Milwaukee teaching season. I wrote my last letter to Bruce June 7, 1950. From here on we go live and personal. Eventually, very personal.

Teacher Evaluation:"I did get my rating today, May 19, 1950. Mr. Byrne's gave me excellent in all but one and that was 'interest' for which I received 'superior'. Won't that be a hum-dinger recommendation... from the Milwaukee School System?"

"-you know we were going to have  a HCHS reunion in 5 years and this is it. Should we plan one? We could have a beach party or even a party at home on a nice summer evening." 

Stewart House on the Hill

We did have our 5th Hebron High School Reunion, Class of '45. Most everyone made it to the picnic. We used the yard and kitchen at the 'House on the Hill'. As usual Mr. and Mrs. Stewart provided the means. Do you recall the fireplace they had built into the garage? The home had been newly constructed.

I had no interest in returning to Milwaukee for my next year of teaching High School. I applied in a few towns around Hebron. I landed my job in Darien, WI, for $3000.00 annual, a 2o minute drive from home, which in this era was considered a long drive. And I might add this was considered a good 9 months salary.

I bought a little blue chevy coupe from a dealer in Harvard, IL, neighboring town. The car had been his son's in college who now had moved on to something bigger and better. I loved my very own little chevy.

In July Bruce and I drive up to visit  Fr. Maddigan who leads an 'Inquiry Forum' at Marquette University. My cousin Tom Collins tells me, "I knew Fr. Madigan very well'. Tom entered the Jesuit novitiate soon afterwards and stayed on for 8 years.

This would be while Marquette is in summer session. From what I recollect this was with a group in the basement at Johnson Hall. Madigan in his visit with us tells Bruce his becoming a Catholic must be his clear decision. His, not mine. There is to be no pressuring at all. [Think about it or looking back from now would we have married if he hadn't converted?] I did my best for many years in a hard sell. That was pressure, certainly. I believe my folks were becoming more flexible. Was I? I had been raised in parochial schools. I was indoctrinated. I believed what I was taught- only salvation was through the Catholic Church. Where do all God's other children go? -to Hell. I had yet to learn this dictum did not make sense.  I would like to think I would have buckled if threatened that I might lose my love once more. Other girls [women] I knew were opting for a mixed marriage.

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