He Who Hesitates

I’ve often advised people to pick the brains of their older relatives while their brains are still around to be picked. For whatever reason, people don’t seem to get interested in genealogy until later in life… after their parents and grandparents have gone on to their eternal rest.

I’m down to my last two good sources of information: my sister, Gert, and my cousin, Ruth Morris.

I’m going to ask my sister to read this post. I’m hoping she can answer some questions that never occurred to me prior to this morning.

First, some background. Our oldest brothers, Bill and Lew (Seward and Somers to the family) dropped out of high school and joined the Navy during World War II. They both became Sea Bees (Construction Battalion) and spent at least six years each in the service.

As Sea Bees, they drove trucks and operated heavy machinery as they helped build landing strips, boat piers, bridges, and other facilities for the military.

So, why, after leaving the Navy, did they each go out and get a job working in an office?

Bill (Seward) went to work in the city or county Prothonotary’s office. For those of us who had no idea what a Prothonotary is, it’s the principal clerk of courts.

At the time, the Prothonotary was a gentleman by the name of David Lawrence. Lawrence would later become the Mayor of Pittsburgh and, still later, the Governor of Pennsylvania.

Bill did not like the job and soon went to work at Hammel’s Express as a truck driver.

In the meantime, Lew (Somers) took a job with American Standard and was soon transferred (promoted?) to New York City. Like his twin, he failed to warm up to the office environment and left American Standard to take a job driving a truck for the Fort Pitt Plumbing Supply company.

Now I find myself wondering why either of them took office jobs in the first place. I also have to wonder how they got hired back in the early 1950s when neither of them held a high school diploma.

Unfortunately, I never thought to ask those questions while they were still alive. I’m hoping Gert knows the answers.

In the meantime, let this be a lesson to anyone who might one day get interested in family history. Don’t hesitate to ask while you still have someone around to provide answers.

He who hesitates is lost.

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