Good Southern Boys

by | Mar 12, 2021

I was born at home (361 Front Street) 12/28/1931.  My mother was no longer employed as the school district would not employ married women as teachers.  My father was not employed as the anthracite coal industry on which much of Pottsville’s economy depended was in severe decline. The Depression was a strong reality.

In February of 1932 we travelled by bus to Edgley, PA. and stayed with my mother’s brother Russ (a twin of Ray) and his wife, an Englishwoman named Annie.

A short time later we moved on, by Greyhound Bus to Galveston, TX and lived with my father’s brother Joe.

My father scrabbled for work and found some here and there.  For a short time he worked at the Todd Shipyards on Pelican Island catching hot rivets. (This was a job he nearly didn’t have because when told in the morning to come back this evening to begin work he reported at 4:00pm.  The foreman was upset that Schmidty didn’t know ‘This evening’ meant after noon.)

Each of the jobs ran out and the Depression continued.

Galveston had suffered tremendous destruction and enormous loss of life in 1900 when a hurricane inundated the island.  A high seawall to protect the city was being built in fits and starts.

Schmidty applied for a job, any job, on the project.

He was interviewed by a chubby Protestant preacher who sat tilted back in his chair with his hands folded on his stomach.  After a short review of Schmidty’s qualifications for any of the positions the interviewer told him.  “ Why don’t you go back up north where you came from?  We need to have these jobs for our good southern boys.”

Job prospects didn’t improve for northern or southern boys and in a few more weeks we were on our way back to PA. by Greyhound Bus.