Voices XII (1948)

After the war Carl Beane started building houses in town.

 

There were men around then.  Some of us had served in Europe and others had just come of age.  We saw the ditches for the foundation being laid out and came by and told Carl what we could do; that we’d like to get started. Carl just told us we were hired on and to get the walls framed up and under a roof.  There were five or six of us on the job then and we’d work till dark nailing the studs to the plates and then the joists and rafters.  Carl would have bought two truckloads of two-by-fours,  They’d be stacked five feet high out in front of the site and by the evening the pile would be gone and the walls standing and the rafters in place, ready for the sheeting.

We wanted to work.  Carl hadn’t promised us a wage, but we knew he was a fair man and we knew that the houses would sell and that money would be coming.  We just loved the feel of the hammer in our hand, the smell of the new lumber, the feeling of making something new and real.  We worked to show everyone on the job that we knew what we were doing and that we were honest and strong.  It was like playing ball.  I’d come home of an evening and sit down at the table and be thankful for the day, proud of my labor and certain that I had increased the wealth of the town, the wealth of the nation.

Almost all of our old crew has passed away now, but some of those houses are still standing.  It’s easy to pick them out.  They are small by today’s standards, but the construction was solid then and it will hold for decades longer.

 

copyright 2017

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