An Intimate Exchange With Dad – Part 2

I hope you are following this series of interviews that I conducted with dad. If you have not yet read the first interview that begins with Question 1, I suggest you read it before moving forward.

Question 2. What did you love to do in junior high school?

“When I was 13 and 14, I walked to my seventh and eighth grade classes at Hine Jr. High School at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenues, S.E. My favorite subjects were World History and English (because I liked my English teacher).

When we moved to 714 14th Street, N.E., just before my 15th birthday, I was required to transfer to Stuart Junior High School to attend ninth grade. As you will see in the map below, Stuart Junior High and our new residence were near the Florida Avenue N.E. Corridor.

Stuart Jr High in proximity to Florida Ave Corridor

“In 1943, instead of beginning 9th grade at a new school, I quit. In fact, my junior high school printing teacher helped me get my first job, and I transported myself to and from work on a two-wheel bicycle. But, to be eligible to work in and around printing presses and other industry equipment at the National Publishing Company, a union printing plant at 301 N Street, N.E., I had to lie about my age and tell them that I was 16. Like many others, my first position was at the bottom of the totem pole. If I were a boxer, I would have been considered between and feather- and a light-weight. But with my mind over matter attitude, each day for eight or so hours, I jogged those thousands of heavy book pages making sure each page in a stack was properly aligned. As the damp books came off the printing press I aligned and stacked them on wooden skids so the books could be finished up in the bindery department.

I believe my supervisors and fellow employees sincerely liked me for my personality, my work ethic, and also appreciated my attitude and skills. And in 1945-46 I was the youngest journeyman pressman on a web letterpress at this company. I attribute my success to my quality and quantity output and by taking the required union printing industry courses at night.” My employment here went on for over the next 23 years, when I chose to leave private sector and go to work for the government–first at the Bureau of Engraving, where stamps and money were printed, and next to the Government Printing Office that printed materials produced by various government agencies.”

Bob and I visited the site of the former National Publishing Company on Veterans’ Day. It was in the midst of being demolished, like many of the former buildings and businesses around it.

3. What was your favorite part about your work?

“I always loved my work. When I worked on-a two-color press I could apply four-color processes and was proud of the end products like: the famous National Geographic and the National Rifleman Magazines and the Transmitter Telephone Company Book.

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