Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Husband Ed and his work Life

My Husband Ed and his work Life

Story was written in the year 2000 :

My husband was a wonderful man who worked hard his entire life. Ed dropped out of Poly Tech High School after the 10th grade. During that summer he worked for a furrier. He was promised that he would be taught to make fur coats if he dropped out of school. In December of that year, the furrier fired him because of lack of work. But this did not stop him.

Ed then worked for the Victory Race Horse Shoe Co. bending, grinding and polishing aluminum racehorse shoes. On Saturdays he stuffed Sunday papers at the Sun Newspaper Co. to make extra money. Every Saturday he would walk from his home on Port Street in Baltimore’s Patterson Park neighborhood to the Sun Office downtown to save carfare.

Later a friend of his mother was able to get him a job with the B&O Railroad sweeping the floor. He tried to get a machinist apprentice job. The only thing that was available at the time was a boilermaker apprentice. So he changed jobs. While he was an apprentice, he started night school taking drafting. Perhaps because of the night school, he was generally moved in places in the shop that required more mental than physical ability. During the apprentice period, Ed went and returned from World War II. After the war and during a meeting at the shop, Ed learned the new about boilermakers. This work was not good for your health. A shop speaker mentioned that the life expectancy of a boilermaker was 55 years. Ed took a cut in pay for a job in the drafting department.

We were married in 1946. Ed went back to the B&O after the war. He took his GED but decided that a more formal high school diploma would be better. He was able to get the diploma by taking 2 courses, 4th year English and U.S. History. He continued drafting school for total of 6 years and also took a course in Radio & Television Servicing. After working in the B&O drafting for a period of time Ed decided that it had no real future so he took a job with Westinghouse in the drafting department.

By that time Diana was born. After 10 years of marriage we were able to move to Glen Burnie in a new split level home. We started to think about the future of our children. We wanted them to go to college. When the 3rd child came along, it was a rough delivery and Ed promised to help me in every way.

One day as I was lying in bed, still recovering, Ed came home, sat on the edge of my bed, and told me that Westinghouse was giving him and other draftsman an opportunity to go to Johns Hopkins for an engineering degree. Westinghouse would pay for the tuition as long as he got good grades. Ed said that he would not go unless I said it would be OK. He also said that he wanted the certificate in engineering which would take less time than the full degree. The certificate would help elevate him in drafting. If this would help elevate him in drafting, it affected our future; I knew that I couldn’t interfere with this opportunity. I told him that he should do it. I knew that if he started going, he wouldn’t be satisfied until he got the degree.

After 11 years at Johns Hopkins he got his degree. Ed is a born engineer. By the time he was about 41 and had his certificate, Westinghouse moved him into engineering without the degree. While at Westinghouse most of everything that Ed did was classified. After a short period in engineering Ed was given Aerospace jobs to design. Before Ed retired he was promoted to a fellow engineer and had his own parking space with his name on it.

I told him that he was a star and he was going to retire. His answer was that he wanted to enjoy his wife and family the rest of his life. At the age of 63, and after 33 years with Westinghouse, Ed retired.

At the retirement party, a manager stated that one of the projects Ed worked on was given a 5% success chance. That project outperformed and was a complete success. That group of men had a close relationship to each other and for years after Ed’s retirement we are still invited to many parties.

Ed doesn’t recognize many of the new engineers. Westinghouse has been sold but our memories are still there. I often remind my husband that he can grow old knowing that he lived life to the fullest. Often he missed our children’s childhood. Our children didn’t feel that way because he was there to help them with their homework. I have to remind him that because of him our children got the opportunity of college and school help. Now he enjoys our grandchildren’s childhood

Audrey Kaminski

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