A few weeks ago I wrote to the DISD to see if they had any information about Nettie, the woman who lived in my house longer than anyone else. I was hoping to find someone who knew her, and to talk with them, and I also hoped to see some school faculty photographs. I sent five letters -- one to each school where she had worked, and enclosed a "Did you know Nettie?" flyer in each one. I'd hoped that the flyer would be posted on a bulletin board in the teacher's lounge. I suppose that could have happened, but I haven't heard from anyone.
What I did get was a letter from the school attorney. My request had been converted into an official Open Record Act Request. Okay... I suppose I can see that. Rules, rules.
A few days ago I received a package in the mail from DISD enclosing 17 pages from Nettie's personnel file. There is an Employment Questionnaire that is mostly illegible due to poor copy quality (it's dated 1948.) Really disappointing because it lists the schools she attended growing up. I may go and look at it in person and see if I can read it. I definitely plan to go see if there are photos.
Next is a page of prior employment. I can read a little bit of it, and I can make out that she did clerical work from 1943 - 1945 (plus summers 1943 - 1947.) Want to know how much she was paid? $2.50 a day. Yes, a DAY. Which begs the question for me -- how much was her mortgage payment? Did she even have one?
Following that, she worked in a local junior high lunch room as a cashier from 1945 - 1948. Her rate of pay? $3.15. A day. From the next year forward, she was employed as a lunchroom manager at various schools in the area. I can say one thing -- at least the DISD was fairly consistent in giving raises...
1949 - 1950 $6.00/day
1950 - 1951 $6.00/day
1951 - 1952 $7.50/day
1952 - 1953 $8.00/day
1953 - 1954 $8.50/day
1954 - 1955 $9.00/day
1955 - 1956 $9.00/day
1956 - 1957 $9.50/day
The remaining pages are illegible, but it appears that she ended up in 1962 - 1963 school year making -- brace yourself -- $12.00 a day. Her pay doubled from when she started...
That's quite a perspective on how much things cost back in the day. At least for me, anyway.
Here's a copy of one of the employment agreements. It's skimpy by today's standards to say the least. The job requirement? Be in the lunchroom from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. every day. That sounds like torture. Can I have ear plugs??