Manual labor was a big part of life in the thirties. That’s about the only job a teenager could find back then. The pay may seem a little low, but converting 1930 dollars to 2015 dollars means Lucy was making about $20 per week. That’s not too bad for a first job, taken on while going to school.
By the time Judy and I came of age manual labor had given way to service oriented jobs. I did some sweeping floors initially, but quickly graduated to working in an office putting together mailings and brochures. Judy got a fabulous job working as a telephone operator at the television station with her mother.
During the depression years when I was a “teenager,” jobs were so hard to get. I knew the best thing I could do for my mother was to be away during the summer. She cooked for teachers, rented out part of our house, washed clothes for the Moody Farm during the winter but during the summer having Selmer Engen come to the house for meals was her only income.
Working meant washing dishes, those awful cream separators, scrubbing floors, making beds. Let’s face it maids duty. We all had to do it to buy clothes. My very first “store bought” dress I ever had was when I was 12. Can’t imagine that now. Mother made over clothes that Aunt Laura brought out. Her husband Rev O W McCracken was the head of the Fargo Union Mission so if something nice to make over came along, it came to our house. We all wore Iva McCracken’s made over garmets. My first job I earned $1.50 a week. Second job $3.00 a week with a raise to $3.50. The “Biggie” was $5.00 feeding fifteen men. Heavens the Radabaughs, Dallyspans and other people I worked for became life long friends. Fall and school time was really welcomed.