Saturday, September 7, 2013

Masonry and Other Stuff

BBBH and I were riding along a scenic country road, pretty little stream running alongside.  As we came around a bend, there to the left side of the road was a substantial little building constructed of concrete blocks.  This sight prompted Beautiful to remark that her Uncle Don and Uncle Sam were blockmasons back in the day.  This, of course, launched me into a rehearsal of my experiences with the mortar, and the blocks, the bricks, and the scaffolding, and on and on.  Because once started, I do go on sometimes.  I told her I would dig out a picture of some of the work we did back then.

From the time I was a freshman in high school I had some experience with "carrying hod," for my dad was engaged in the construction of a church building.  The exterior walls, and the walls in the basement were constructed of cinder blocks.  I helped by mixing mortar and carrying blocks.  I did not do this on a daily basis, as I had another job as messenger for Western Union, but I did learn about consistency of mud and placement of materials.

In the Spring of my senior year, the telegraphers' union, went on strike against the company, and thus I was without work.  Before I was called back, I had found a part time job with a mason for whom I carried hod until the end of the school year.  Following a bunch of experiences about which I may or may not have written, the which included storage bins, wheat harvests, and airplane companies, I went to the West Coast and enrolled in college.

Naturally, having exhausted what little money I had with me just getting set up in digs and laying enough on the bursar to get a "carry" agreement, I had to have gainful employment.  The school was able to help!  At a later date, this might have been designated a "work-study program," but at any rate I was put to work on a construction project.  A new building to house the Industrial Arts department was being erected.  Along with rough carpentry, welding, ditch-digging and other endeavors, I became a block layer on the project.

The new building was a two-story sixty by ninety concrete block edifice being constructed around the existing building which was razed when the new one was enclosed.  The picture shows some of the scaffolding we built to work from as the blocks were laid.  A clue to the location can be found in this picture.  The camera is pointing due east, and in the distance one can make out the Aurora Bridge which in that day carried US Highway 99 over the Lake Union Ship Canal.

The job was four hours in the afternoons, eight on Saturday.  The pay was $1.25/hour, most of which went directly against the note to which the bursar had agreed.  I drew something like $10 a week so that I would not have to go hungry.  I worked this job during freshman and sophomore years; but all good things come to an end, and this ended when the job was completed.


Vee said...

So, does Seattle Pacific University still have your building on the campus?

vanilla said...

Vee, no. It was razed several years ago to make way for a newer, larger, and probably more professionally constructed edifice not devoted to industrial arts, of course.

Secondary Roads said...

I've carried hod a few times. Never did lay the blocks or bricks.

vanilla said...

Chuck, you have shared my pain.