Sunday, July 22, 2012

Census Sunday: Helen Parker


Helen Parker
about 1969 or 1970

In 1940, my great-aunt Helen Killeen Parker (age 36) and her husband Herbert Webb Parker (age 39) celebrated twelve years of marriage.  They also marked twelve years of living with Herbert’s parents Ephraim and Margaret Parker at 1616 Atlanta Avenue in Portsmouth, Virginia.

1616 Atlanta Avenue, Portsmouth, Virginia
from Google Maps

Helen must have gotten along well with her in-laws.

Between 1930 and 1940, Helen changed jobs leaving her position as a stenographer for a plumbing company to become a clerk for the railroad.  Herbert was also a clerk for the railroad.  He was employed all 52 weeks of 1939 and earned $2100. He worked 44 hours the last week of March 1940.  Helen must have joined the railroad in late 1939 as she worked only 13 weeks and earned $195. She worked 45 hours the last week of March. 

Click to enlarge

So both Herbert and Helen were clerks for the railroad.  Obviously Herbert had some seniority, and maybe there were all kinds of clerks with varying degrees of responsibility, but the difference in pay is staggering.  Herbert’s pay was about $40 per week.  Helen’s was $15 a week.  Education must not have been a factor as Herbert had completed nine years of school to Helen’s two years of high school. 


12 comments:

  1. Wow, 12 years of living with her in-laws - I can't imagine that - I did one year with my ex mother-in-law and that was enough. lol.

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    1. HA -- I loved my in-laws, but I wouldn't want to live with them, especially for 12 years.

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  2. Wendy, I always enjoy the way you write so lovingly about, and the research and detail you put into your family history. I have nominated you for the Illuminated Blogger Award.
    http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/

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  3. Wow...$40 compared to $15 per week! I'll bet she worked harder too!

    No kids?

    Happy Sunday :)

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    1. Yes, I noticed that big diff too. Nope, no kids.

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  4. That shows you the difference in pay for women and men.

    Helen was always fun to be around. I love my little wash stand that had been in her garage storing paint cans and painted white at least 8 times, LOL Momma had a time getting all that white paint off.

    We need to drive around P-town and check out her house as well as Mae's.

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  5. More railroad relatives! That's awesome! He made a good salary back then. I've seen salaries in the 1940 census that were not at all as good as his.

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    1. Yep - more railroad people. I think I'm about done with those though. The rest are jobs like carpentry and car-repair.

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  6. Bravo to your mom and all the teachers like her.

    I always laugh when today they talk about class size being too large at 30 students. Most of my class sizes were around 30 and the teachers were able to teach us and give individual care. The students were disciplined because our parents and the teachers expected it. We didn't have as many bright shiny distractions. It's just not the same today.

    Thanks to your mother for being there.

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    1. Ooops -- somehow this got attached to the wrong post, but that's ok. It's the thought that counts! I agree with you -- when I was in school, I knew if the teacher sent a note home about bad behavior I was gonna get it at home even worse. That's not the case much anymore. Parents are more likely to say the teacher is wrong.

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