Malachi's Promise "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers...." Malachi 4:6

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Break Between Chores

I suspect that my father, Lee Doyle, knew the camera was aimed his way and chose not to acknowledge the photographer who was standing on the back porch. The photographer was probably me.

Dad rarely rested except when he was in bed. He was a foreman at Copperweld Steel in Warren, Ohio, and worked turns, as we called it: 5 days day-turn, 2 days off; 5 afternoons, 2 days off; 5 midnights, 2 days off; repeat the cycle. Occasionally there were long weekends but I can't remember how they fit into the cycle or how often they came. He was never off the same days of the week from week to week. I can only guess how working turns must have wracked his body.

In addition to working at the mill, he had a small business repairing watches, clocks, and jewelry. He was also the chief repairman, painter, plumber, electrician, gardener, carpenter, and mechanic at our house. If something was broken, he fixed it. If it wasn't broken but could look or work better, he maintained or improved it. In later years my mother used the term work-a-holic to describe Dad. I don't believe that's true. I think he had a very strong work ethic and a high standard for maintaining and improving his property and possessions.

We didn't use the picnic table very often but on hot summer days after several hours' work, Dad sometimes sat at the table with a cold drink or, as in this photo, actually stretched out on it. The apple tree gave welcome, cool shade.

In a previous post I wrote about my father's hats and said he wore a baseball cap to work around the house. Looking at this photo I remember he wore a flat cap, not a baseball hat.

You can see our driveway behind Dad. For many years it was slag, a cast-off product from steel production that was readily available in our area. The slag was hard to ride a bike on because it was very angular chunks of rock. I wonder now that it never pierced the tires on any of our cars. He eventually chose to put down black-top.

The picnic table sat in our side yard: our house is in front of and almost parallel with it. The window above the kitchen sink looked out on the apple tree and the driveway. Main Street was within view from the window, too, but less visible from the window because of the tree and a house which is just out of view.

You can see the tail of a car behind my dad. In the early 1960s he bought two used Fords, 1952 and 1953 models, I think. That doesn't look like either of them but it may be. The garage is to the right in the photo, directly in front of the car.

At the end of the driveway and on the other side of it you can see a tree. Sitting under the near side of the tree is a triangular rock. As a young child I thought that rock was huge. It wasn't on our property but was a favorite spot to play. You can see our street just beyond the tree and telephone pole.

And that was a few minutes' tour of our side yard on a summer afternoon while my father took a break.

If you have a few more minutes to spare, you can see other old photos and learn about them at Sepia Saturday.

23 comments:

  1. Looks like a forty winks moment...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice shady spot for Dad’s littel nap, but the table looks like it might have been a bit hard!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your dad was certainly a hard worker! I could never have kept up with that constantly changing schedule!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a small world, my great-grandfather worked for Copperweld Steel for thirty+ years (the 1940s - 1970s and maybe even earlier). They lived on Oak St. in Warren and he used to walk to work everyday. Your post has given me some insight into what my great-grandfather's work day might have been like, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great postcard and lovely write-up of your side yard. My dad was exactly the opposite. His (civil service) hours were like clockwork, and breakfast, lunch and dinner were always at the same time every day. Only in later life when he retired did things take on a less structured nature.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A nice memento made nicer with your added memories. Funny how the structured times of our lives are often what define us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great picture to have. Your dad was certainly a hard worker, I don't think I would last very long on that schedule!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Isn't funny how some dads seem to be able to sleep just about anywhere's and on the hardest of surfaces? my dad always liked the hard floor to sleep on over a bed. Great photo and memories Nancy :) I always enjoy reading your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  9. When one truly works hard, even a picnic table under the shade is comfortable! Fun to "visit" the childhood home through photos...

    ReplyDelete
  10. That certainly was hard work! I'm not surprised you father was taking a break. he had a lovely spot for one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great tour of the yard...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amazing what memories pop up from a simple picture of your dad taking a short summer snooze. vVery nice.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amazing that he could work that bizzare schedule and still keep everything working around the house. Hats off to him. 1966 was a good year.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Reading this on my iPhone screen, the photo looks like a painting! It's wonderful. In some places cops keep that odd schedule, a sort of swinging shift. Very interesting post!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have always thought that old photographs and memories were close siblings : your post just reinforces that thought.

    ReplyDelete
  16. He looks comfortable even if the table was hard. My first job was at a steelworks but I only worked shifts when there was a 'strike' and then it was 12 hours at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I related to your post today for several reasons, especially the steel mill shift work. My step father worked at Braeburn Steel in PA & I remember shift work or turns as you wrote. Today my own husband is a very handy man which is a rare breed nowadays when we are expected to simply throw out and replace by spending $$ to buy a new. Familiar with Warren Ohio too. I don't recall in PA the use of slag for drives, but I suppose it may have happened.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I had not seen the Sepia Saturday site before. What fantastic pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great picture. He certainly looks like someone who works hard

    ReplyDelete
  20. My brother shared the information below. Thanks, Bob!

    In 1953 Dad bought a new Ford sedan. It replaced a 1947 Pontiac he had bought used after WWII.

    In the l960's he did by two used Fords, a '52 and a '53. I used the one at ONU until I wrecked it. Dad replaced it with another Ford of that era. I don't remember the order in which they were bought.

    When Dad worked turns at the mill (Copperweld) he got two weekends a year off--if he was lucky. If someone else was on vacation, sick, or needed personal time it seemed to me Dad always got "stuck" with working that time. It wasn't uncommon for him to work 18 or 24 hours straight, get 8 hours off and have to be back to work to do it all over again.

    Those long weekends were treasured by all of us. Sometimes we went on weekend rides, other times we went to church as a family or got to spend time together. Dad, of course, loved it but also caught up
    on some of his sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well written memories deriving from your photo.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a picture! It's amazing how much you can remember from one small picture. I didn't know you had an apple tree growing up. Did you use the apples for anything?

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...