Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Henry Richard Emanuel Wessman: A Biography, Part 5


After they got that radio, they got a radio called the "Baby Grand." All the neighbors would come in and listen to "Amos and Andy" and the other radio programs of the day. Not many people had a radio those days. Therefore, it was quite the novelty. The favorite family programs were Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly and the Great Gildersleeve. Henry especially liked these programs very much. They made him laugh. He loved listening to the World Series in baseball over the radio. He had his favorite teams but he liked the game in general. Merle would often listen with him. She had her favorite baseball players that she liked.

Henry liked the classics, folk songs, and some popular songs of those times. World War I songs were the songs of the day. There were such titles such as "Long, Long, Trail," and "Mighty Like a Rose." They would also play songs such as" Poet and Peasant Overture," "Sonny Boy" and "Invitation to the Dance." Jean would usually start playing first. Liz remembers waking up to duets on the piano.

Henry was a very bright man who had more of a natural talent for music than his wife did but she had more formal training. He was more self-taught. He used to enjoy singing in the ward choir from time to time when he could. He loved it. Henry and Hazel would play together every so often in church while they lived in Mammoth, Utah.

Henry was a very capable and intelligent person. He was self-taught. He did not have much of a chance in getting an education. He had to work to help his mother.

He was one of the best linotype operators in the whole area. Whenever he would set type, he would proofread as he went. He did not have any grammatical errors or spelling errors. This is where he spent most of his time.

When he worked for "The Ogden Standard," he was the fastest typesetter. At first, the policy was that the more one could set type, the more one would be paid. Being the fastest, he would bring home about $65.00 a week. However, the company changed to paying employees on the straight time schedule. Henry brought home $60.00 a week. That meant a tighter family budget.

When Henry first started to learn the typesetting trade, it was done by placing individual type letters in a little hand holder. Than then would be slid into a galley. After that, it would be turned over to the print setter. When the typesetting machine came along, Henry operated and maintained that. He liked the typesetting machine much better.

When the family lived in Mammoth, Utah (mining town) up by Eureka for a year in 1918, Henry worked at a newspaper and print shop. He did not stay at that job because the town was going broke and everyone was heading to the valley. Dick was in the second grade. He remembers playing on the sand hills and going down to the piñon pine trees and gathering pinecones. The nuts would be taken out of the pinecones and roasted.

The children would also explore mineshafts that were in Mammoth. When it got to the point that they could not see daylight anymore, they would turn around and go back. It was dangerous. If their parents had known what they were doing, they would not have been allowed. In those days, there was no radio, television or even a telephone. At night when everyone was home, everyone would play cards. As the kids got older, they were involved in other activities.

He had a typesetting plant in which Harry and Dick used to work with their father. He would always find a job for them to do. Henry would pay them. It was not much but they got a little something. He would do the work on the newspaper. Harry and Dick learned the printing trade. They also did all the delivery, bills, clean up and melted the metal. A melting pot was used. In those days, Harry and Dick did not think it was too dangerous.

To be continued...


The photo of Eureka, Utah, is from www.flickr.com/photos/jotor/1154203540/. Photo of the piano keys from www.flickr.com/photos/mararie/3392087662/. Photo of the piñon pine from www.flickr.com/photos/razzumitos/697182524/.

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