News & Politics » Essay

Westside Stories

by

comment

At Spiegel's I worked in the legal department under Mr. Maloney, who was an attorney. He was a book man. I remember on my way up in the morning I used to stop on the second floor and pick up some of our accounts and bring them up.

He would start yelling at me that I was late. I would say, "I'm not late. I've been in the building. I went to get these accounts so we'd have something to work on." He was pretty inefficient.

One day during the war Mr. McDonald called me in, and he said, "We'd like to give you Mr. Maloney's job. Do you know what he does?"

I said, "Oh, I know how to do it better than he does. Where's he going?"

"He's being fired."

"Wait a minute. I'm not taking that man's job away from him."

"Well, if you don't want it, somebody else will. He's not staying. We're letting him go, and that's for sure."

So anyway, they fired him and gave me the job.

So I worked with this girl named Anne Doyle, and she said to me, "Vince is coming home for Christmas."

I said, "No, he's not."

She said, "Yes, he is."

I said, "How do you know that?"

She said, "Well, I go to mass in the morning, and every morning I pray that he will come home for Christmas."

On the 15th of December he called me and told me that he'd been transferred downstate to Chanute airbase. He was an instructor on Link Trainers, a simulated airplane that they used to train pilots. He didn't know whether he would get a break for Christmas, but if not, I could come down and visit him.

He did come home for Christmas. He got a three-day pass.

Then every Tuesday he had a day off. I got the day off with pay. He would come in on Monday night, and I would meet him at the I.C. station. Then he would stay at our house, and we'd do something on Tuesday.

I didn't know anybody else at Spiegel's who had someone that near. Most people were at bases farther away or overseas.

All the girls in the office used to meet. Nobody had anyone. They were all gone, their husbands or their boyfriends or whatever it was. So on Wednesday we would go to someone's home after work and have some kind of lunch. Not anything fancy. Maybe a sandwich or something. And we would do crocheting, embroidery work. I was trying to learn how to embroider.

The job was good. We handled all the bankruptcy cases. There were only four of us doing it, and I was in charge. But it got so I didn't need to be in charge. We each had our own accounts and did our own thing.

When I left there Mr. McDonald asked me, "Who should I put in charge?"

I said, "Well, to tell you the truth, I was never really in charge. We just all worked together."

"Well, maybe I'll just leave it that way," he said. "People around here have asked me, what does she do over there?"

I was always taking my day off.

Add a comment