by Joe Mosconi
I guess everyone
remembers their first job, the fears, the ups and the downs. Well the
first job I ever had I worked at a glass house in Bellaire, Ohio, a town
about 10 miles from our little burg (Powhatan). My cousin Lou started at
the plant the same day. I don't know if any of you have ever been around
glass blowers or a glass house. It is a profession that takes years to
learn and it is quite a sight to see when they blow glass and twirl it
around in making various items.
My job, and Lou's job, was to assist the glass blowers, i.e picking up the parts they made and taking them to the tempering area to gradually go through the ovens. In general we were flunkies and we had to jump when they spoke. Each day you would stand with maybe ten or 12 others and hope that you got selected. Otherwise, you had to go home and received no pay. Well they kind of liked the two of us because we were always cutting up and making them laugh. As luck would have it, one day I would get an easy job and Lou would have a bear.
The worst one I had was to assist the glass blower who was making parts for a lamp. When he formed the base of the lamp my job was to have a punch ready and to make a hole in the base for the electrical cord to go through. It wasn't a bad job except they gave me a punch that was too short, and everytime I put the hole in the base, my gloves would catch on fire. Now Lou was working about ten feet away and had a pretty easy job and he was in hysterics with my gloves burning. I tried to get the foreman's attention and get a longer punch but it was a couple of hours before I could do it. By that time my gloves were shot.
Now Lou and I were always trying to out-do each other. It was a contest and we worked hard at it. You will like this one. The foreman took the two of us outdoors and showed us a pile of coal piled high. He gave us one shovel and one wheelbarrel and our job was to fill up the wheelbarrel and move it about 50 yards to a stoker that fed the ovens. Well you can see that when one of us was filling the wheelbarrel, the other was standing around doing nothing. Conversely when the other was wheeling the wheelbarrel to the stoker the other was doing nothing. What did we do? We got the foreman to get us another wheelbarrel and as one of us was racing to empty the wheelbarrel, the other was shoveling like crazy to fill the other so he could rest. Well you know what happened, two dummies, working like dogs were racing back and forth, trying to get the edge on the other. We did this all morning and come lunch time I said to Lou let's tour the plant and see if there are any young ladies working in other areas. He declined, saying he wanted to rest. Well I walked around and didn't see any, but that didn't stop me from telling him I met two or three real beauties. Well lunch was about over and here comes the foreman. He said in all the years he worked there he had never seen anyone fill up that stoker in a half day, so he sent us home.
Two real smart Italian boys. Now we were stuck in Bellaire and we didn't have any money. We were riding with our football coach Danny Pilisino who, by the way, was responsible for me showing up at The University of Dayton. He was the line coach at UD and I came to UD to play football for him. Back to the story. Since we had two or three hours to kill, we walked around the park they had in the middle of town and wouldn't you know I found a nickel. Now we had to decide what we were going to do with it. Now a nickel in 1945 was worth a lot more than a nickel today. I wanted to put in the slot machine and double or triple our assets. Lou, the practical one, vetoed that suggestion because the odds of hitting anything were against us. Well Lou was the smartest guy in our class so I went along with it. We finally decided to get a piece of candy and weigh ourself. I told him I didn't give a damn how much I weighed. I may have used stronger language but I can't remember.
Well we finally got home and everything was fine. Now two weeks into our work came the day we were waiting for. Payday. One of the items we forgot to ask was how much was the pay. We were just so happy we had a job we forgot that little item. On the way to work we said let's plan on getting $25.00 and when it's more we will be in seventh heaven. We were always trying to psych each other that way. Well I got mine first and I opened it and I guess the expression on my face was a fooler. Lou got excited and wanted to know how much it was. I didn't answer him. He opened his and I got the same expression. We cleared $5.67 for two weeks work. That wasn't even enough to pay for our ride to Bellaire. So we retired from the glass factory and went swimming for the rest of the year.
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