Vacation time is here! And with it comes a whole flood of memories - memories of Jim Fisher's class in inspection, the indelible impression that this stripling of a lad made on all his students; the three weeks on the "graveyard" shift in the burr file department; the deadly fatigue about 5:30 a.m.; the welcome change to Plant 3, and the fascinating job of becoming acquainted with some of the 1500 working parts of a turret lathe ... Shelby - still my candidate for the nicest boss in the world. Jane, the West Virginia hill-billy, literate only in the language of profanity, yet with an educated heart - with an all-enveloping warmth that drew people to her. When the beloved old father of Charlie, the Armenian worker on second floor, dropped dead on the street with a heart attack, it was Jane who started a collection of funds for flowers, and thus sent the thought-waves of sympathy in his direction. Charlie was so deeply touched! Jane started the birthday celebration idea on my birthday, with flambuoyant placards, done in red crayon, set in front of my place at the long lunch table, with such touching tributes as "You should live so long!" and "We thought you needed more cents," with a patty pan full of coppers to belie the phonetic disparagement; a piece of cake from the cafeteria, with a lighted candle on it, the "Happy Birthday" song. Thus was born the "Sunshine Club," with a nickel-a-week dues, with each birthday celebrant receiving a dollar gift, the "cake with candle," a beautiful card with all our signatures, and the inevitable placards, done in silly rhyme, a job delegated to your reporter.
Of course only women belonged to the "Sunshine Club." But Jane made a point of learning the birth date of Karl, our German-American patriot and her foreman. He was to have a big birthday cake, with all his thirty workers and our inspection trio contributing. (We were moved down to second floor the first of June.) Jane was to order the cake. But that week Jane took sick, and the birthday was almost forgotten. It came to me about 3 p.m. the day before. Shelby the good sport, scurried around and collected the money, and I was to try to find a bakery that would make a birthday cake on short notice. Alas! The bakeries are too short of labor for that. So I had to buy the biggest cake on the shelves, and three dozen cup cakes. I got up at 4 a.m. to decorate that cake. Not having my sister's culinary and artistic ability, my pink roses and green leaves were just blobs of icing; but Karl thought the cake and the idea "vonderful." The cake surrounded by 36 lighted cup cakes made quite a picture. By special dispensation the men were allowed to leave their jobs for five minutes, to sing "Happy Birthday" to their hot-tempered but warm-hearted foreman. Karl was so overcome by this little demonstration that he could not speak; the tears came into his eyes. Twenty-eight years with Warner & Swasey, and this was his first birthday party! To relieve the tension I grabbed his right hand, held it high, and bade him solemnly swear that he wouldn't yell at his men any more. That was taking a mean advantage, but he beamed, "I promise; I promise." And he has kept his word - up to the present writing. Each person had a cupcake, and later, a tiny piece of the cake. But the men grumbled good-naturedly at the absence of liquid refreshment. We should have had fruit punch!
Virgil tells me it is 5:45, the deadline. Good-by, my friends, for the time being.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - An Open Letter to Malinda Lytle
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