The summer of 1970 is waning into dust. Labor Day has passed; the kids are back at school; and three of the four pennant races are essentially over.
And in Norwalk, Connecticut, a work career that began in the Calvin Coolidge administration has reached its last day.
I’ve traced my grandpa’s employment history pretty thoroughly in this space. Heck, I’ve even posted the resume he prepared for himself in late 1970, when he still thought he was going to land another job.
(That resume only takes his work history back to 1931. But in this sound clip from another post, he reminiscences about being laid off in 1929 — when he was 19 — and not going back to work full-time until 1931. So he was in the workplace at some point in the late 1920s, before the Great Depression.)
Another, less severe economic slump ended his working days for good more than 40 years later.
As his resume details, he was let go by Time-Life early in 1970 when they cut back their Springdale, Conn., operations.
In April, he landed a job with John McAdams and Sons in Norwalk, doing what he called “automatic graphic arts machinery design drafting.”
I went to Google to see what I could find out about my grandpa’s final employer. There wasn’t much. In fact, several of the top matches for John McAdams and Sons are previous Hope Street entries.
Apparently the company made printing equipment, and was still in business as recently as 1984. State business records describe the company as “forfeited,” leading me to believe it’s no longer around.
One of the family partners, George McAdams, left the company around the same time my grandpa did. He moved to Long Island in his retirement and lived to be almost 105.
But back to our regularly scheduled timeline:
In September 1970, when business slowed down, my grandpa was laid off again. He was unsuccessful in finding work throughout late 1970 and early 1971, despite turning to the local unemployment office for help. And a heart attack he suffered in May 1971 ended his job-searching — and working — days for good.
(My dad has told me he thought the McAdams job was never supposed to be permanent. That may be, but my grandpa’s resume suggests he expected it to last longer than it did.)
This calendar entry, then, marks the last day my grandpa would ever work.
I wonder if he did anything to celebrate, or if he was too on edge about being laid off to feel much of any happiness.
I wonder whether his final co-workers remembered him for very long, or whether he faded into obscurity after six months: That desk over there? That was where what’s-his-name sat. Bill something. The skinny old guy. He was only here for a couple months. Nice enough guy.
And I wonder when and where my last day of work will be. I wonder whether it will surprise me, or whether I’ll have the luxury of planning it in advance. Maybe I won’t be able to afford to retire, but will do something menial until I’m too blind or stooped to carry on.
Or perhaps my last day of work will coincide with my last day of life, as it does for some people.
Kurt something. Wrote about his family a lot. Nice enough guy.