BY-WAYS - 2/18/43 - Karl, Joe, and Tookie - February 11, 1943 - 4501 Lilac Road, South Euclid, Oh

"Shell-bee! I vant you should come down unt inshpect this taper adjuster. They vant it right away qvick over at Plant 1." Karl, the middle-aged foreman of all second floor operations, has just climbed the double flight of stairs to third floor, and is calling from the door-way. You wish that the kindly little German had time to linger and talk, but he has "beeg" responsibilities. This native of Germany came to America before the last war, relinquishing everything German except his delightful accent. No son of the Revolution works more zealously to crush the Axis. Short, pigeon-toed with his left foot, his brown stubble of hair adds an inch or so to his height. Kindly brown eyes peer out through glasses, keeping an alert for slackers. Gentle and kind by nature, he puts on a bluster because the boys take advantage of his leniency. Two of his boys came up to our department the other day. Mickey, the best assembler in Plant 3, has demanded a release, that he may join the air corps. He had a legitimate errand. But Joe, the "Don Ameche" of our plant - only more handsome - just played hooky. He had just climbed up on some steam pipes to yoo-hoo out the window, when along came Karl. Karl's kind face turned into a thunder-cloud. He shook his fist at Joe, "Don't you let me catch you oop here again, except on beezness." Joe, the debonair, looked as embarrassed as a little boy, caught in the jam jar. Shelby, loyal to all his young friends, tried to justify his presence. But Karl knew better. Shamefacedly, with an assumed nonchalance, Joe strode out of the big storeroom (where we work) and back to his assembling. When Karl gets excited, he gets his phrases all twisted. I wish I could remember some of his quaint expressions. He seems impervious to flattery. But when tiny Katie, the West Virginia girl with no inhibitions, comes along and gives him a bear hug, and introduces him to her soldier husband as "the best foreman in Cleveland," he grins, then chuckles, and thinks Katie "fine girl" for saying that. Although he storms and shouts when he is angry, his men - and his four girls - all respect him for his sincerity and integrity. He and Shelby have a set-to every now and then. Shelby will refuse to pass a poor piece of work; Karl knows a certain machine over in the big plant is waiting for that piece. So they argue - have a "big fight," as Shelby reports it, and the latter comes upstairs muttering curses on "that hunk of sauerkraut." A few hours later it is all forgotten.

If someone slips up behind you, and let's out a big "Boo!" that is "Tookie" the stock-chaser. In his forties, he is a cross between Andy Gump and the "Duke of Paducah" on the National Barn Dance program. Tookie hails from southern Ohio. He is a typical southern Ohio farmer, emphatic and sincere in all his statements. He has chronic catarrh; when I inquire for his health, his reply may be, "Oh, I'm still snortin' around." Since Tookie and I are dyed-in-the-wool farmers, we have much in common. He had to give up the farm on account of an injured back. His neighbor's house caught fire. Tookie dashed over, and helped rescue a few prized pieces. A corner cupboard contained some valuable papers. "Me and him," says Tookie, "grabbed that cupboard and ran out with it. Without thinking we stepped right off the back porch with it, and that's when it wrenched my back. It's never been any good since." He has a step-daughter of sixteen, whom he loves like his own, and a son of ten. He's "fixin," he says to adopt this step-daughter, so that she may have a full share of the family estate. It seems that Tookie's father is quite well-to-do; already a battle is brewing over the pending inheritance. "I've got a sister that's fixin' to make trouble when my dad dies, so - I'm goin' ta be ready fur her," said Tookie, with several emphatic shakes of his head. Tookie takes his job seriously. Whenever he brings me a rush order, I drop everything to inspect it, and send it on its way. For we "figger" that we're working for somebody bigger than Warner & Swasey - fine as our company is. We are working for Uncle Sam.

And now I must close. But more next time.

Yours for Victory,
Florence B. Taylor

Next - 3/4/43 - Johnnie Gilkerson

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