The Story of Charles and Stella Smith

I wrote this treatise to tell my children and their children and their children's children, if any, about Stella Elizabeth Caniff Smith. I am, as her husband and lover, very qualified for this task.
I found however, that I'm not qualified as a writer. After finishing this chore, I found in my bookcase, a book that has been standing there for 15 years or more. It is "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. It is considered a jewel by a bible that makes grammar and punctuation simple. I believe most of you who read what I have written are college graduates, who always received A's in English composition
I'm glad I didn't find the book until I finished, because I would have been so worried about sentence structure and punctuation that it would have put restrictions on my free flow of writing. One of the rules Mr. Strunk endorsed is to write in a way that comes naturally, and that is what I have done. But then he, says, "Do not assume that because you have acted naturally, your product is without flaw. How right he is!
Another handicap was my untaught style of using one or sometimes two index fingers when typing. My brain was always a paragraph ahead of my fingers and spelling, spacing and punctuation straggled along behind as best they could.
I also find there is very much of me, in this story about Stella, but I don't see how I can prevent it, because my experiences when growing up aided in making me the man that I am. It would be impossible to separate us, because each of our lives influenced the other one.
That is how I see it! It was so wonderful for me to be a part of Stella's life for so many years, and I thank Lord for them, over and over.

Charles Harris Smith




The Beginning
I sometimes shudder to think how easily my life would have been changed if I had said "no" to George Griffith. He wanted to borrow both me and my car to take his girlfriend and himself out for a ride the following Sunday afternoon.
A month or so earlier, he had asked me to go with him to meet a couple of girls whom he knew, but evidently not very well! When we were approaching the movie theatre where the girls were standing in front, waiting for us, I recognized one of the girls to be my next door neighbor. I really did not know the girl, but my sisters and my mother were often telling me about her and how she would go out with any boy who would drive up in a car and blow his horn. They considered her as being "fast."
There was no way I was going to stop to pick them up so I simply drove on past them, with George yelling STOP! STOP!
When I was half way up the block I pulled over and told George why I had not stopped. I told him to get out and walk back if he wanted to, but to count me out. He declined saying he guessed he didn’t know them very well.
So I was a bit cautious this time. I knew that he was dating a girl named Stella. He said Stella had a girlfriend who would go with us as my date.
It was a beautiful Easter Sunday, April 20, 1930. It was also my sister Virginia’s birthday, so I have several reasons to remember the date, and I always will! It was unseasonably warm, more like a summer day; so I said I would go.
We drove to Stella's house and met her and the girl who was to be my date. Her name was Gay Moore and she was a pretty blonde and she turned out to be a lot of fun. Gay was very good company and I enjoyed the afternoon. I also learned that Stella's name was Caniff and I realized I knew her two. brothers were Jack and Denny. We were ex-newspaper carriers at the Herald-Star newspaper about ten years previously and I remembered I had liked Jack very much.
My car was a 1928 Chevy roadster. It had only one seat, which seated two comfortably, but three was a crowd, and with a fourth, it was necessary to sit on someone's lap, which of course a young couple didn't mind at all. I thought Stella was very nice, but Gay was good company and we all had a good time.
The following Sunday, George asked me if I would go out with them again. I didn’t hesitate this time and immediately consented. Of course I thought I would see Gay again, but Stella had asked Jack’s sister-in-law to go with us. I can’t remember her name, but she was a skinny blonde girl, with no personality at all. I had a difficult time trying to carry a conversation with. She may have been painfully shy, and now I realize I should have been more patient with her.
After a nice ride through the rural countryside, we went to George's cousin's house; Jimmy M. Miller was his name. There were several other couples there and we just sat around talking, eating snacks and listening to music on the radio.
I was very surprised when George became interested in my date and which I didn't mind at all. I had already noticed how nice Stella seemed to be after spending two afternoons in her company. When George abandoned her, I immediately moved in to keep her company. We seemed to mesh right from the start. I learned she had just passed her seventeenth birthday and I was twenty-one. She seemed very mature to me, and I found out a little later that she was mothering four younger sisters: the youngest of whom was only seven years old.
When it was time to leave, I drove my date home first; then I drove George to his home. I know he didn't like it, but he had to get out of the car. Stella didn't seem to mind when I took the long road to her home. I don't think I kissed her good-bye, but I did the next night, and for a thousands of nights since then.
I became a steady visitor to Stella's house and it was not very long until I realized I was in love with her. I didn't know what love was like, but I knew I wanted to live with this girl forever!
After I had known Stella for a while, I accused her of purposely not inviting Gay Moore to be my date, because she was afraid I could become too find of her; so she invited someone not so attractive because she had designs on me herself. She laughed, but she didn’t deny it. Then I said how did you ever manage to have George make a play for the girl? That was just a stroke of luck, she said, but I would have tried some other way.
It didn’t take very long for me to discover I was in love with Stella. I had known several other nice girls and I liked them a lot, but I never had the feeling that I couldn’t live with out them. I know now that I shouldn’t have wasted their time if I wasn’t interested in matrimony. In those days most girls had marriage on her mind much more than I think she does today. Now, most girls have jobs and are earning money. They live more like the boys did in my day. They are, in many cases, not in any hurry to give up the freedom in their lives to take care of a house and children. Sorrowfully, they have learned they don’t have to wait for marriage to have sex. It is sad to note that virginity and purity have lost the value they were held up to be by everyone, just a few years ago.
In my day, before all the labor saving appliances that we take for granted today were invented, keeping house and raising children was a hard fulltime job.
Many girls had no other ambition than to get married and set up housekeeping. Several times I had mothers tell me their daughter was a fine cook and loved children. Just giving me a gentle hint!
I think a person's physical appearance first attracts one's attention, but if they aren't pleasant and have a good sense of humor, interest in them will soon diminish.
Stella was pretty, and she was fun to be with all the time. She had blue eyes, long, thick, black shoulder length hair, and a fair complexion. She was very attractive. Her figure was lovely and her legs were beautiful and they remained so all of the years of her life. They were always the object of envy of her daughters and granddaughters.
I could always tease Stella, and did so all of our married life, but many times she would retaliate with a vengeance. She could not be pushed around; her Irish temper came to therefore if any one tried.
After editing what I have been relating it. It would seem I have been glorifying Stella, but as I knew her better than anyone else it gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to tell you my impressions of her and of course, I’m not the least bit prejudiced.
Stella could relate to people; she had the knack of making friends easily and keeping them. She seemed to be shy when I Many girls had no other ambition than to get married and set up housekeeping. Several times I had mothers tell me their daughter was a fine cook and loved children. Just giving me a gentle hint!
Stella was very intelligent and, had a talent to read character very quickly and 'accurately that was amazing. When Stella was 75 years of age, Ginger gave her a standard I.Q. test and her score was 135.
When Stella was about thirteen years old, her parents separated. Her mother, suffering from a nervous breakdown went to live with her father in Mingo Junction. The three younger daughters were sent to a Catholic children’s' home in Columbus, Ohio. Stella and Martha, or "Babe," she was always called, stayed at home with their father and Denny. I should mention that at home, Stella was always called "Tut" by her family, except her father, who called her "Tot." I do not know the origin of the name, but I didn't like it, so I just, called her Stella or Honey.
After the three girls had lived a year in the home, Stella coaxed her Father into bringing them home and quit school to be able to take care of them. When I met Stella; she was seventeen; Babe was fifteen; Mary Jane was twelve; Agnes was nine; and Ida Mae was seven years old. The two boys were older; Jack was married and I seldom saw Denny, who lived at home only part of the time.
When, I met Stella, taking care of the family was a full time job for her. They lived in an old house, without a bathroom or furnace (common in those days) and she worked very hard washing clothes, cleaning and cooking for six and some times seven persons.
I always enjoyed the time I spent in Stella's house. The younger girls were usually engaged in some kind of activity and having fun. Usually there were several neighborhood friends there also. Parm (Palma) Rosta, who was Agnes' age, often ate and slept there. Pop Caniff was always threatening to send her mother a board bill. The girls also wore each other's clothes.
The girls always said the first one up in morning was the best dressed. There was always laughter and fun. The girls were compatible and there were few arguments or quarrels. I'm sure their home was happier than most others. Often, when Stella and I came out of the house we would find the seat of my roadster filled with girls, who refused to get out until I took them for a ride. I usually had to consent because it was easier than to try to drag them out bodily, although I did try that- once!
I think I was considered a sort of big brother by the younger girls. I was there almost every day and was often drafted by them to fill some capacity or another.
Stella's father, Dennis Sr., was a nice looking man, very mild and soft-spoken. He worked for the Ohio Power Company. He worked for some years with a lone crew, whose responsibility were the power lines, poles and transformers.
In later years, he worked in a sub-station where he was responsible for switching circuits when there was line damage caused by storms of other causes. He also called the crews out to work, in an emergency.
Pop always bragged about his lovely daughters and the girls loved him all of his life.
I was the one who complained to Stella about him. I thought that he could, and should have helped her out a lot more than he did. He was practically an absentee father, who was home only to eat and sleep. He was out with his friends the rest of the time. Stella performed miracles to provide meals with the small amount of money he would dole out for that purpose. I never saw him give any money for clothes or shoes for the girls.
Stella got a job working part time in McCrory's 5¢ & 10¢ store and all the money she earned was spent on the girls. The girls all worked at babysitting and such jobs, each, as she grew old enough to perform them. Of course at that time, the wages earned were small change compared to today, but they had a higher buying power compared to today's prices.
I'll always remember the day I went to the house and found Stella at work wall papering her living room. What a mess! She didn't have the proper equipment and tools to do the job, so she used whatever she could find. She had never wall papered before and considering all the difficulties; she performed a credible job. Once started, she papered every room in the house. Stella would tackle anything and once started, she would stay with it until it was finished.
After thinking over the last paragraph, I wonder why Stella ever married me, because I've never been a self-starter. I must have driven her mad at times, waiting for me to start and then finish some chore that she wanted done, NOW!
My father died in 1923 when I was 14 years old. He died of cancer, after two years of operations and other medical treatment Of course, there was no hospital insurance, Blue Cross, in that era of time, and the expenses wiped out any savings my parents may have had.
My sister, Virginia, was 19 found employment as the cashier (bookkeeper) at McCrory's 5¢ & 10¢ store. Her wages were low and mine were needed to keep the family solvent.
I got a job in June, for the school vacation period at the Jefferson Glass Company in Follansbee, W.Va., which is across the Ohio River And three miles south. I worked as a glasscutter, and managed to cut myself quite often, too. I believe the most difficult thing about the job was getting myself up in the morning at five o'clock, to get dressed at get down town to get on a street car, to get to work at seven o’clock.
I went back to school in September, and was able to get a job at the Ohio Foundry, which was near to my home. I worked Saturdays and after school, sometimes as late as ten thirty at night. I was doing a man's work and earned a man's wage of forty cents an hour. After the Christmas school vacation, I did not return to school and worked the regular six day, fifty-five hour week. When I was seventeen, I was made a foreman and earned sixty cents an hour, which was the highest hourly wage.
The great financial depression began in 1929, but the foundry's business did not noticeably decline until 1931, and by 1932, my job was gone. The Ohio Foundry, which had been in business for over eighty years, did not survive the depression.
By 1932, Stella and I had marriage very much on our minds. I had never been able to afford to buy an engagement ring, but I bought Stella a wedding ring, and she had it in her possession for over a year before we were able to wed.
I would gladly have given her an engagement ring some years later, when we could afford to buy one, but she was not interested.
I guess it wouldn't have given the same feeling as it would have before marriage, -the promise to wed that it implies.
An incident I'll never forget occurred one cold winter afternoon in 1932. I wasn't working and dropped in at Stella's house for a short visit, as I often did at that time. I wore my heavy overcoat and walked, because I couldn't afford the twenty cents per gallon gasoline and my car was often locked in the garage for a few weeks.
Stella was wearing a long, ankle length, dressing gown. It had long sleeves and was probably warm and comfortable.
Stella and Mary Jane, who was fourteen, were in the living room warming themselves in front of the open fireplace. I had gone into the dining room for a few minutes when suddenly the girls began to scream! I heard Stella scream, "I'm on fire! I ran into the living room and saw the bottom rear of Stella's gown was in flames. She stood rooted to the spot, -I'm so glad she didn't start running. I know I didn't stop to think; I grabbed the top of the gown with both hands, and ripped it off of her, in one hard pull. I had the burning gown in my hands and instead of throwing it into the fireplace; I ran with it through the dining room; opened the outside door and threw out!
My overcoat was on the sofa, five feet away. I could have thrown it around her and smothered the flames! Poor Stella was standing there, shocked, in her bra and panties; but there wasn't time for modesty; Mary Jane had fainted, and when we put a wet cloth to her forehead, she open her eyes, looked around, saw Stella, and fainted again
Stella was very lucky. She suffered a burn on the back of one leg, just above the knee. It was about six inches long and two inches wide, and in a couple of weeks she forgot about it. I had several burns and blisters on both bands, but they healed very quickly. I never ceased thanking our Lord! We could have lost her!

I worked at several part time jobs, but industry and business in general was at a standstill, and there was no rainbow on the horizon.
Now, in 1992, we are in a recession and there are many who are effected by it, but those of us who lived through the "Great Depression" of the 1930's know there is no comparison. Many people lost their life savings, through the many bank failures. This was several years before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Bill was passed and also why it was passed. Thousands more lost their homes Soup kitchens were set up everywhere to feed the hungry.
Stella and I bought our first home, in 1939, from the Home, Owners Loan Corporation. This corporation was set up by the government to refinance homes at low interest rates, to enable the owner to save it. This owner was still unable to make the low payments, and finally, it was lost.
For anyone with money, this was a wonderful time to buy real estate. For example' the home we bought was only seven years old, on a nice lot, with five rooms and bath, in a nice neighborhood. It sold for $3300.00, with a $330.00 down payment. The payments were $29.75 a month, for 15 years, and included both taxes and insurance. On our beginning statements it showed only about $11.00 of the payment went onto the principal!
Although the down payment seems very low by today's standards; we didn't have it, and borrowed it from my mother. I made our payments to her promptly at ten dollars a month. Although she said five would be enough, because since she had now moved to Detroit, it would insure that she would receive a monthly letter from me for a longer time.
Stella's father, who worked for a utility company, wasn't hurt by the depression, and I think it worked to his advantage; people would say, "My goodness Denny, How do you manage to feed and clothe five girls in times like this?" And he would answer without blushing, that it was nigh impossible.
The Caniff girls' standard of living showed no improvement at all. Their father's grip on his purse strings never relaxed the least bit.
I never heard the girls complain, but I want it on record that I complained, but only to Stella, who wouldn't listen and told me to cool it. Her life and the other girls' lives could have been so much nicer, if he had been just a little bit more generous.
The girls really loved their father and could find no fault in him. I surmised, but could never be sure, that after bringing the girls back from the Catholic orphanage, - henceforth he could do no wrong. After Stella and I married, it was a closed book, and we never talked about it at all.
It was now 1933 and conditions hadn't improved very much. We had anew President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who began his term of office by declaring a "bank holiday" to try to prevent any more bank failures, and firm our dollar's value. He also instituted a public work program to put thousands of men to work, building roads and bridges.
I hadn't found a job. I sold Zanol products from door to door for a time, but not very successfully. I took orders for spices, flavors, and cake mixes arid such. We should remember that housewives cooked and baked in those days. My problem was trying to collect for the products when I delivered them to their door. I also attended night school, studying high school subjects and wished I could have continued, but it was not possible.
I want to tell a little bit about my family. My sister, Virginia was the oldest, born in 1904, I'm next in line, born in 1908, Frank was born in 1911, and Helen, born in 1915. My father, Harris William Smith was born in Steubenville, in 1874, My mother, Elizabeth Ann Taylor Smith, was also born in Steubenville, in 1883. They were married in 1899 when my mother was 15 years old and my father was 24.
My mother, to me, was an angel, and she could do no wrong. And I truly loved her. My father was different. He worked hard to provide for his family, but displayed no love or warmth of any degree that I can remember. I can't remember ever seeing him kiss or hug my mother or any of his children. When he meted out punishment; it was harsh.
I can only remember talking to him twice in 11 years. (I was 14 when he died). When he was at home, I usually tried to be outside the house. Between going to school and delivering papers on my route after school I managed to be away from the house a lot of the time. I started to deliver papers when I was eight years old and continued for five years, when I got a better job, delivering ladies hats.
I worked for Mrs. Hattie Davis, who for many years made custom styled, I should say expensive, hats for the upper class ladies of the city. I enjoyed it because it made it necessary for me to learn all of the streets in the city, because the deliveries went to all points of the city, and I never knew where I would be going, beforehand. I worked for Mrs. Davis for a year, and as I became fourteen years old on June 4th, just as our summer school vacation began, and I was able to go to work at the Jefferson Glass Company. I have previously written about that.
It is time I should tell you about the Alexander family. Meeting them changed the direction of my life, and indirectly, Stella's also. Most of my evenings were spent in the basement of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, where the Smith kids had attended Sunday School since early childhood. I belonged to the Boy Scout troop at the church and played on the basket ball team. If not there, then I would be in the gym at local YMCA
I first met Haven Alexander in my Sunday school class when we were fourteen years old. His family had only recently I moved to Steubenville from Washington, Pennsylvania. We never dreamed we would become lifetime friends and buddies!
Mr. Walter J. Alexander repaired and rewound motors. Many of them were from the coal mines in the area. Later I used to sometimes help Haven strip the old wiring from motors and wind new wire coils to replace the burned ones.
Mrs. Alice Alexander was a friendly, outgoing lady of about 45 years of age. She was the scoutmaster of the Girl Scout troop at the church. I first met her when she invited about six of us boys to come to her house-for a party, and also the same number of girls. I don't remember what the occasion was, but we had a good time. It was my first party and we played kissing games and it was the first time I'd ever kissed a girl! Mrs. Alexander was a great hostess, making sure everyone had enough to eat and encouraging the shy ones to get involved.
She seemed to take an interest in me, and when the party ended, she invited me to come to dinner a few nights later. I gladly attended and met the rest of the family. I of course never realized, I was now altering the course of my life!
Mr. Alexander was a quiet, sober man compared to his wife, who was lively and full of fun. He is the only person I've known who was born on February 29th, and I attended his twelfth birthday party, which must have been in 1924.
Their oldest child was a daughter, Helen, who was 19 years old, a son, Kenneth was 17, Haven was just 9 months older than I, and the youngest son, Allen was 10 years old.
After that first dinner, I became a regular visitor to the Alexander house. Mrs. Alexander welcomed me and Haven and I seemed to have found an immediate liking for each other and began what would be a lifelong friendship. I simply adopted the Alexander family!
Later, when I was seventeen, Helen and I dated. I took her to the movies and for canoe rides and walks. She was twenty-two and I don't think she thought of me as a serious suitor, although I know she liked me. She was a bright and interesting girl. She was a good musician, playing the piano and trumpet. She could also play the mandolin and the guitar. She could also swim rings around me!
The thing that first impressed me at the Alexander house was the children bad a voice in the family discussions. The first time I heard Haven say to his father, "I think you're wrong, Dad." I waited for the lightning to strike! I waited for the fireworks such as would have happened in my home, if I would ever had the courage to question my father. But when Haven's father mildly asked, "Why do you think so, Haven?" I could scarcely believe it.
That is when I made myself a promise that when, if ever, I had children; they would be heard! When I did become a father, I don't think it ever occurred to me that I should just concentrate on setting an example for my children to follow, with habits of clean living and clean thoughts, etc. I wanted to be able to talk to my children and them to me. I wanted to hug them and tell them I loved them, and to compliment them when they did things well.
This I have accomplished! I don't know if my children know how much this has meant to me, but I do believe they really love me, and that is all I have ever wanted.
The next year, Mr. Alexander obtained a franchise to sell Frigidaire Refrigerators. Electric refrigerators were just beginning to receive public acceptance, He sent Kenneth to the Frigidaire factory service school in Dayton, Ohio, to learn how to repair them. The refrigerators were selling and Mr. Alexander decided to send Haven to the factory school also. He realized that Haven, who was only sixteen, was too young to fraternize with the other students who would be more mature, so he decided to send me along so I could keep Haven company after school hours. It would last two weeks and I was happy to go because neither of us had been away from home before. We rented a room in an old house near the school, and our meals in cheap restaurants. I had never eaten in a restaurant before and enjoyed the experience. We both enjoyed the schoolwork and learned a lot. We got along very well with the other men in the, school, also. Of course Mr. Alexander had no need of my services so it was back to work in the foundry for me.
I did take a few jobs moving noisy compressors to the basement and running new copper lines up to the refrigerator to carry the sulfur dioxide (so2) refrigerant which was in use at that time. It made the kitchen much more quiet and the compressor received a lot more air. This was a common practice at that time.
At this time, Haven was going to high school and while he was a senior, he met and then fell in love with a girl in his class. It was just a coincidence that she also happened to be my favorite cousin. Her name was Anna Laura Smith, and her father and mine were brothers. Anna's mother and father died in the same week from Diphtheria when Anna was about five years old. Our grandmother took Anna, and her eight year old sister, Olive, to raise, and her other grandmother, in Sebring, Ohio, took the two older brothers to raise.
I was just six months older than Anna, and for as far back as I can remember, she was my favorite relative. We truly liked each other, and being the same age, we confided things that we would tell no one else. She first told me how babies were born and I'm not sure I really believed her. I can still remember her saying, when I got married, my wife would explain everything to me after the wedding. We were very young!
I was glad they fell in love, but Haven and I, who had spent so many evenings together, saw each other less and less. That's when I started to spend time with his sister, Helen.
I should tell you that Helen eventually married a man, Wyant Whanger, who had also been in my Sunday school class. They are hale and hearty and still married after over sixty years. 1 still hear from her sometimes.
When Haven and Anna graduated Anna worked in her Uncle Will's real estate and insurance office. He was my father's youngest brother. Haven was, now working full time in his father's business and getting a lot of experience. He wanted to get married, but realized they could not survive on what his father could afford to pay him, so he began to look around for another job. His two brothers were also working in the store, so be felt he wouldn't be missed too much.
Haven made inquiries in Pittsburgh at the distributor for Frigidaire products in the tri-state area, and found they could use an experienced, factory trained man. I should mention now, that in three years, Haven became service manager for the distributor. This all had an impact on Stella's and my life a little later on.
After he had worked there a few months, Haven and Anna were married. There were not many large, fancy weddings in those days. They were married in Wellsburg, West Virginia, where there was no waiting period. You bought your license, found a minister of your choice to perform the ceremony and that was it! No one that we knew ever had a honeymoon such as we know them today. Haven and Anna, Mrs. Alexander and I were, the wedding party. You knew not to expect wedding presents, simply because you knew your friends couldn't afford to buy any.
After I met Stella, we visited Haven and Anna many times. Stella and Anna liked each other right from the start and she could see why I was always so fond of them.
In 1932, Mr. Alexander closed his store because of the poor economy. Haven was able to help Ken and Allen get jobs at the Liberty Refrigeration Co. in McKeesport, Pa. Liberty was a Frigidaire franchise, but it also had a contract to deliver install, and service, any Frigidaire refrigerator sold in it's territory by any other store. This territory spread from the Pittsburgh city limits to all of the towns south on the Monongahela River for about 20 miles in Allegheny County.
Although Liberty may not have sold many refrigerators, there were always enough installations from other dealers to keep the men busy. Ken was married to Evelyn, a girl held met after he moved to McKeesport and Allen was staying with them Of course I'd been friends with Ken and Allen ever since I'd met the Family. Ken invited me to visit them and I went up for a week. Ken did only service, and Allen made the deliveries. There were no employed helpers on the truck, but there was a pool of men who were eager to work, and Allen had no problem getting the help he needed. They earned 50 cents for each delivery.
Electric refrigerators at that time were very heavy; more than twice the weight of the modern ones, and usually there would be an old heavy ice box to first be removed before the new one could be installed. Usually three men and sometimes four were needed on the larger models. In older houses, wooden steps and porch floors, which could be old and rotten were always a hazard. It would be ten more years before the light, strong, magnesium dolly became available, and make this job so much easier and safer.
I worked all week on the truck with Allen. We worked well together. We were well matched physically; I was an inch taller but we both weighed about 195 pounds, and were both in good shape.
I have always thought the hard physical labor I have performed for almost 40 years, is most responsible for the good health I have enjoyed these many years.
I worked the entire week on the truck with Allen and earned ten dollars. Ken and Evelyn urged me to stay longer and when Mr.Babic, a partner in the firm learned I had factory training, although not experienced. He told me to get a Pennsylvania drivers license, so I could drive the truck. The next morning Allen drove me out to the State Police Station and 30 minutes later, I drove the truck back to the store. A short time later I was on my way to the Frigidaire warehouse in East Liberty, for the first of hundreds of trips I made there over the years.
My biggest trouble in the following weeks was to find my way around and learn the names of the streets to make my deliveries. My new helpers on the truck were not much help. Not many young men in those days owned cars and many didn't know how to drive. Once they got off the main streets they would soon be lost. Allen started working on service calls full time, and I did too, in my spare time. We started work at 8:30 AM, but there was really no established quitting time. We quit when that day's deliveries and service calls were finished and that could often be from 7 to 9 o'clock. We were paid for a 6 day week and the number of hours made no difference.
Meanwhile my brother, Frank, had found employment at the Weirton Steel Company, Stella and I began to hopefully plan to get married. A ten dollar a week salary wasn't much of an incentive, but Stella's experience in making a dollar stretch was. Of course love was a big incentive, too!
Ken and Evelyn knew of our plans and refused to accept any money for the two months I had lived with them. I saved as much I could I and gave it to Stella, who kept it until we had sixty dollars so we decided to go ahead with our finding a place to live was the first priority. Many families were forced to rent out rooms to get some additional income. I'm sure renting their own bedroom to strangers was very distasteful, but the dire need for money made it necessary. We knew we couldn't afford anything else. There were many advertised, so I had a choice. I had learned my way about the city, and knew the area where I would like to live, and searched mainly in that section. I rented two furnished rooms; a kitchen, which would also be our living and dining room, and a separate bed room. We would share the bath with the family, and Stella would have to carry all the water for cooking and washing dishes from the bathroom, because there was no sink in the kitchen.
When I returned to Steubenville 'on Saturday night, I was able to tell Stella that Monday would be our WEDDING DAY!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5