Dad's Activities and Work

Dad was active in the Masons. He also served on the Township Board of Health and on the Board of Elections. Dad was out many nights attending to these activities or going to bid openings. He worked in road paving which required him to prepare and submit bids to do road paving in various towns around central and south Jersey. Every once in a while, I was permitted to go along with him to the Engineers Club meetings when they had a speaker of interest. During the day, dad went out to oversee the jobs on which he had bid. I got to go along on some occasions. At one point in the mid 30’s Dad had his own road paving business. This meant having a big Tar truck in one of the 6 garages at the back of our property. The tar truck had a heated tank and spray nozzles for applying tar to road surfaces. He employed several people as drivers and helpers. Mr. Kokesh was one driver and he often had trouble showing up on time for work because of over sleeping. My older brother Harold also worked on the tar truck one summer .Harold said he was about 15 and rode on the back of the truck to operate the spray nozzles. They did not distribute tar per se but Dad was trying to introduce a new material called lignum binder, a molasses derivative that could be used to bind the sand and gravel on secondary roads in South Jersey. Harold said when he got home at night his clothes were so stiff with the material that they could stand up by themselves. He had to strip in the garage and wash off with kerosene before he could come into the house. He was paid about 25 cents an hour and "lucky to get it". I got to go watch the road paving at times. Being quite young, I don’t really know how the business started or why it went under other than it being a depression time when municipalities probably did not have much money to spend on such things. I do remember being impressed by the big trucks in our garage. Later when Dad worked for other paving companies he would prepare the bids in his office on the sun porch of the house. He had his desk and file cabinets there. He typed on an old typewriter using two fingers. He also was a prolific sender of birthday and greeting cards. He maintained quite a list and until the day he died sent cards to nearly everyone he knew on their birthday or anniversary. Dad had a lot of friends and apparently was well liked. Dad also belonged to a group of former State Highway employees. This group called themselves the “Sun Dodgers”. It included Howard Hecht, Bill Wildblood, J B Dayton, Ed Reed, Harold Hunt and others whom I can’t recall. They met about once a month for poker. This group also went to Blue Mountain cabin in Stokes State Forest about once a year for a “fishing and hunting” trip. Dad was not great on physical activities. The only project I remember Dad doing (or supervising) was the insulating of the attic through an opening in the ceiling of the bathroom closet. I vaguely recall we boys “assisted” in that and overseeing the digging of a new cesspool. I think Harold and I did a lot of that digging.