Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Brady – my GRAND-PARENTS

A “PICTURE” is worth a thousand words – – and…  am I …  ever so glad…  that these PHOTOS were preserved over all of these years – – and of all the many photos that  may have been taken and  even some of the older brothers in the BRADY FAMILY – – may have been collected and kept – – but that which I am  most grateful for… is  having  these of my GRAND-PARENTS – –  and  these  young “Grand-Parents” to be…were  saved by my MOTHER- to-be and  she was the last and the thirtieth child in the  BRADY FAMILY!


I can not tell the age of  my GRAND-PARENTS in the above PHOTOS – – but they do look fairly young and in very good health  for two immigrants  coming  on different ships  and in different years… to AMERICA. On the left is ANNE E. Smart BRADY – – my GRAND-MOTHER to be  – – and she did have thirteen children – – and the last  of her children was to be “my MOTHER, Marie.”

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“In the Beginning… Thomas Brady came to America”

This…  PHOTO of Thomas F. Brady was taken near the end of his LIFE – – he was still working for the Saint Louis Police Department and according to my MOTHER… he was a most honorable man.


Thomas Brady came to AMERICA from Ireland. As the story goes… where he lived in Ireland… they did not keep track of their birthdays like we do today. So… when he arrived at Ellis Island to be processed… they ask Tom  as to his age – – not really knowing…  but,  to be sure that he was eighteen years old… he was asked to  reach over the top of his head and touch the bottom of his ear on the opposite side. Having done that… he was  then…  declared to be  eighteen years old.

When I first heard that story – – I almost died laughing – – because…  I believe that I was around fifteen years old – – and I was able to stretch my hand and arm  – – up and over to the opposite side of my head…  and touch the bottom of the ear – – so not even  being eighteen years old – – when I went out to apply for a job – – they told me that you have  to be eighteen – – and  so…  I told them  that I was eighteen and did get the job. I was happy to look older – – when it came  to getting work – – and… also  being tall  did help me  look old enough for the work.

My starting out with this  PHOTO of my GRAND-FATHER, Thomas F. Brady is  just leading to something important coming up soon – – and as most good stories – – one does have to have a great start  – – as all of the stories I write are for the “GRAND-CHILDREN” – – so that one day they can put all of this together in a book of memories – – so that they will know their ancestors as far back as I have been able to collect and research for  information – – and photos that just might be of interest to them – – come the day that I will not be here to answer the questions…  that – –   they may have.

My GRAND-FATHER became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America in the year 1866 – – October 15. which was a MONDAY – – and that was five years after coming to AMERICA.

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“Dial ‘O’ for your local OPERATOR!”

Everyone knows that when you dial  ‘O’  for OPERATOR… you will receive a  “voice with a smile” – – and just so you can put  that “voice” into a picture as to  maybe someone you know… just thought that I would post the photos I have  for three other young ladies and myself. 


The above PHOTO is of me  – – and was taken within the first year of my learning to be a “Telephone Operator” – – and I do look fairly young – – as when I started to work – – was not eighteen years old and did have to secure a worker’s permit and promise to not  quit  – –  when September rolled around to continue with the last  couple of months of High School.

The reason for taking this PHOTO – – was that I had found this material with little telephones all over – – and just thought that I had to buy enough material   – – just to make a blouse that I could wear to work. Of course lots of my friends at work liked the idea and the blouse – – and when wearing this blouse to places other than work – –  I could go into detail about working for the “Telephone Co.,”

Just in case … you caught the PHOTO in the frame above the mirror – – that is me as a baby.  My Mother told me that, “One day…  I was playing outside and my Father came home in a  big hurry…  just grabbed me and rushed off in the car – –  saying he had to hurry.”   Evidently there was a “BABY CONTEST” going on… and he wanted to have me –  entered in… by having my PHOTO taken. When we return home,  later on – – my Mother told  my DAD  – “You could have at least let me clean  “Mary Ellen” up – – and put nice clothes on her!”  So… was my MOTHER – – ever surprised – –  when the Photographers Store  called  – – that  my parents …  could pick up the “Blue Ribbon” for me.

Movie Stars 001This PHOTO  – – above is of  three of the other young ladies that started working for the “Telephone Co.,” with me – – – there were two other girls – – but… they  were not around when I was taking photos. If I was to find and check my  old note books for the first four weeks of training  – – that we were in together – – I might find the names of these girls – – as we did even go to a couple of places to dance in the evening and we did have each others’ phone numbers.

One other memory … the young lady on the right of this PHOTO – – was not able to make dresses from patterns – – but – – as  I did like to sew and was able to make some of the clothes that she wanted… she  bought materials and  patterns for a variety of different  out-fits – – and I was happy to do the sewing – – I was able to make use of the lessons I had  taken  – -and had fun to doing something different. These were the days – – that we did not have “TV” – – and were able to do lots of things – – that people do not have time to do today … with the “TV’ occupying  all of our time.

If you think you know any of us  “OPERATORS” – –  just take the time and leave a message in the comment space.  Thanks!
Your friends will LOVE you!

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“Day Time Telephone Operators”

If you took a look at the post for yesterday… you were looking at this very same area… where there were only three “OPERATORS” working. This PHOTO is the “DAY TIME OPERATORS” covering the switchboard – – but this switchboard  is five  (5) times the length that you see here.

Assistant Chiefs 001

Would you believe that this photo is over sixty years old – – – as you can tell by the length of the skirts on the Chief Operator, Mrs Quirk – – the lady with the white fringe around the bottom of her skirt and I can not remember the name of the other lady standing – and can not remember what  for sure her tittle was – – could be  something  “assistant” – – as there were several that would plug in with the Operator… checking how well you were  handling the calls – – if you were answering the customers with the correct information – – and also if you were over-lapping  and most importantly the way that you  held your pencil – – in the correct way … so as not to put the eye out of the OPERATOR that would be sitting  next to you.

Before I started working  for the “Telephone Co.”  – – no one had ask to take PHOTOS” of the girls working at the switchboard – –  but I just thought that I would like to remember those I was working with and what the place looked like.  So… I had to get special permission  – – and was to stand so many  feet away from the switchboard – – since we just finished WWII – – and   communications sites needed to be protected against any enemy  of America. Today I have  seen several MOVIES that have photos of  similar   systems – – and they are  up close with lots of detail – – and also TODAY – – I’ll bet  that everything is so much different and so updated – – just a whole different ballpark!

When ever you get to talking with ex-operators that did work for the Telephone Co., –  ask them  – – “How many times did you quit  – – and then later returned to work for the Telephone Co.,”?” – – and another question to ask –  “WHAT states and cities did you work?”  I believe that I am the only one that worked five (5) different times – – was working at the St.Louis Toll office when President Kennedy was shot – – the switchboard  immediately lit up like a Christmas Tree. Also … transferred to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida – – and work at an office in Illinois and several in St.Louis areas.  One thing that helps is that you will be at the work place every hour that  you are scheduled and willing to work Holidays and any and all over-time when you might be needed.

Back in the day… I would tell people… “Just dial “O” for “OPERATOR” – – you just may reach me…  as your OPERATOR  – – with  that  smile in her voice!”

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A good place to work…

The month of  “AUGUST” was a very good month for me – – when I was only seventeen and was looking for work.


This is what  the telephone “NIGHT SHIFT” looked like – – and for working the “NIGHT SHIFT” – – you would make a little extra money – – and to make some extra  money – – well… that was good music to my ears. They may not have  the same  switchboard as seen above – – because some years later – – when I came back to work for the telephone company – – they had  a desk type  – – where two operators would sit – – and the seating was lower to the ground – – instead of the  high chairs as  you see one of the operators getting ready for the correct height that she needs to be able to sit comfortably and take calls and write up tickets for the charges per call  completed.

The reason that I applied for work at the “TELEPHONE Company”  – – my Mother told me that a friend of hers’ was hired on a temporary basis – – and she stay there for thirty years. My Mother’s friend had told her that  – – her job was working in  an  office and since she did not know  for sure…  if everything that she was doing was correct – – that she would take all of the paper trash that she put into  the  trash can – – with her  at the end of the day… by putting all in a bag – – so that if they checked her trash – – they would not  know – – how much she did not know about  her  job.

When I applied for work… they give you several tests to see what your strong work tendencies are – – and for me  “numbers” seem to be the way for me – – which  would be as an “operator” – – since there was a lot of figuring the time and charge for calls – – at that time – – almost all calls had extra charges. If you were in downtown  – Saint Louis and making a call to Arnold, MO – – that was a time and charge call – – the minutes and the phone number required you to make a ticket with the numbers called with  time and charge – – in case you needed to call the “calling customer” back with the charges – – and or if that call was being made from a “COIN PHONE”  – – you would need to call that customer back and have them drop the correct   coins    in the box.

Not only did you need to be able to write words and numbers correctly on small tickets – – you also needed to be able to discern the sound of a nickle   coin dropping into the  coin-phone  – – from maybe a quarter or dime. And of course you needed to recognize how many quarters were going into the box – – as all boxes with coins were checked against the tickets that were made.  There were times when someone would put coins in too fast  – – hoping to confuse you – – then you would have to refund those coins and have them dropped in slowly so the correct amount could be collected.

NOW… that I think about the  “coin-box telephones” – – I do not believe that I have seen  these…  long ago ways to make a phone call.  Of course in the old “MOVIES” they always have them – – so…   for today everything is charged to the good old  “CREDIT CARD” – – what a difference…  even within my LIFE time!


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“Always Keep a “FORK” in your hand!”

The other day as I was looking at this PHOTO – – – just started to remember an old story – – can not remember who told this story – – but it is important to always have a “FORK” in hand!


Only… if you are as old as  ME… that’s me… Mary Ellen in the blue and white dress – – and with a “FORK” in hand.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s there were large families – – you know Mothers stayed at home and the men were at the work place or even in the  care of  good old “UNCLE SAM” – – men were called up for service – – since there was always something going on … and AMERICA sent her young men  to settle the differences and at a high price to be paid.

More than half of today’s population does not know about the “Ration Books” that were issued to each member of a FAMILY – – and with out the sugar coupon – – you could not buy a bag of sugar. There were coupons  for so many things – – that a family might need – – but  – without that special coupon  … we sure did get the message to learn to do without.

So… for the story – – as I remember – – This older lady  was about ready to leave this world and she was giving instructions to her family… “what ever you do… be sure that this “FORK” that I have in my hand… is in my hand – – when you take me…  to the FUNERAL Parlor – – and  – –  just before they  start to lower my casket into the ground at the CEMETERY – – be sure this “FORK” is still in my hand.”

The “FAMILY” had no idea  as to why they should honor this request – – so one person just blurted out – -“Why do you have to have a “FORK” in your hand when you die and are put into the grave?”‘

“You just  do not know or do not remember – – but when our Church would have their weekly evening meal for  all of us in the   Church “HALL” where…  they would serve all of us large families – – since so many of us did not get enough to eat – –  we were told  “Be sure to keep your “FORK” in your hand…  otherwise you will not be able to eat – – as we do not have extra “FORKS” to hand out for  everyone in your FAMILY!”  “In fact they told us – –  just keep your “FORK” with you at all times – – you never know where you will be … and  if you have your “FORK”  you can eat  – – when ever something is offered to you!”

So… as the story goes – – this lady said that…  she  always had a “FORK” wrapped in a  napkin – – and took it with  her  and in her purse – – and said ,  “I want to be ready to eat at all times – –  where and when  I go  – Have my “FORK” in HAND!” And…  just so fast… her arm went up into the air…   singing out…”FORK IN HAND!”

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