was one of the most well-known figures at Sparrows Point. The daughter of a steelworker, she was one of three women hired into the mechanical department at The Point and was an active member of the union as well. Now remarried and living in Florida, she was a conscientious saver of all material about her years at The Point and donated four trunkloads of material to this project.
Interviewed July 19, 2002
All right. We were just talking
here, tell me again about the police and the respect,
what were you just saying?
I was saying that I don't
know why a steelworker as hard as we worked and how we
neglect our families and everything that put everything
we have into our jobs, why we're not well-respected
like a police officer or a fireman, not that I don't
love firemen or police, but we're just thought about as
dirtballs, you know.
We have no -- what do you call that, up in
society, we're not held up in society as being worth
anything, but yet we have value just like the fire
department or the police department, and they get all
the special treatment, they get certain days off. If
they work so many days, they get a break. We don't get
a break. The one time we get a break is when we fall
over. That's the only time we get a break, and that's
sad. We shouldn't have to fall over to get a break or
wait for our vacations or stuff like that. We should
be human beings, and yet we're not treated like human
beings I don't feel in a steel mill. It's a different
type of person down there. They want you like a robot,
and we're not robots, we're full of life.
All right. Now, we're going to
start kind of at the beginning, and tell me a little
bit about your childhood, your fourth generation at
Well, really the third.
Third generation at Bethlehem
Steel. What was it like? Where did you grow up?
And what was it like being a
child of a Bethlehem Steel employee?
You heard steel stories,
everybody made steel around our table.
Your grandparents or your
No, it was my dad and my
mother, and then my brother went down there. My
cousins went down there, my aunt was down there, my
uncles were down there, and all my father's friends
were all steelworkers, and they would all come, and
that's all I would hear is about what the mill was
doing. I knew about the mill before I even went down
to the mill. Of course I didn't know what it was all
about, you know, until you go down there and experience
it. You just hear about it, but you have no idea what
it really is.
Well, as a child, what did you
hear, what were your impressions?
A big scarey place.
Dangerous and hard work.
Can you remember specific stuff?
My mother would just tell us
how hard it was to flip that tin and all and to stay
awake, you know, and watch, examine the steel as it was
going up there, and it just seemed like you had to
always be on the ball, you had to be sharp.
Did your parents meet down there?
They were married and then they
went to work both of them down there?
Yeah, my dad worked there
first, and then my aunt was there and then my mother
had went down there.
After your parents were married?
Yeah, after I was born she
got a job.
Were your parents natives of this
My mother was, and my father
I think lived in the city at the time, and then when
they got married, then they both lived down here in
When did you father start down
there; do you know?
'47. So you started there
actually after the union came in. The union came in
1941, so he would have been more than 50 years now that
he's been tied to Bethlehem Steel?
Yeah, he was over in World
War II at that time in '41 and all them years I think.
Where did he work before he went
to work at Bethlehem Steel; do you know?
Well, he was a cab driver
when he come out of the service for awhile, and then he
worked at Martins and then he went down to the Point,
and then when he would get laid off, he would just go
anywhere to get a job.
So after then you were born and
your mom went to work down there also. Did she work
Yeah, a tin flopper.
Tin flopper is what they call it,
and it was all women down there?
Did they always work the same
shift or work different shifts?
No, different shifts.
So that there was somebody home,
and where did you live at this time?
On Sours Point Road. Yeah,
we always had my grandmother watching us. She watched
all of the children.
So could your mom and dad walk to
I guess they could have, but
I think they took the bus, and then drove and my father
As they got more income?
If the place was so scarey when
you were a child, what led you to work down there?
Tell me a little bit about that
about when you started to work.
Well, my husband worked for
the city and he didn't make that much and I wanted it
better for my children and all of us, and my sister
come in one day and said she had a good job for me.
She had told me about the opening that they were
finally going to have women go in the mechanical, and
that's what I loved, so I went down there.
And when was this?
Well, I've got to go back.
Out of high school I went down there for a keypunch job
I think it was like in March or something like that,
and they didn't really call me.
Of what year?
In '66, but they didn't
really call me until like I think like June of '66 and
I done was married and pregnant and I didn't get the
job, but then in '76 my sister told me about a
mechanical job that was opened, a helper. So I went
down there and got in that big line, and it was a big
Tell me about the line.
It was large, people were
coming out of the woodwork to get a job down there.
They finally were opening up the doors to hire again.
They didn't hire that often, but this was everybody
come from all around heard about them taking people.
So I got in that line that morning, and I lucked out
and got the job.
Where was the line?
All outside of the employment
office down there at Sparrows Point.
Nice day, raining; do you
It was a nice day.
Did you go down by yourself?
And there were just all sorts of
people waiting in line?
Did it help you that you had
relatives already working there?
When did your sister go to work
My sister was there before
me. She has already got 30 years there. She went in I
And your mom and dad were still
working there then?
No. My dad, he got out of
there in '71, and my mother, she only stayed there
eight years and quit. She just couldn't take it.
So your father had 25 years, 20
years? If he started in --
He had 24 years. I have more
under my belt than he does.
Do you ever let him forget that?
I'm not going to let him
How come he left?
Well, he got injured, so he
got a disability and got out of there.
And what did your mother do?
My mother went on to do the
keep punching as a key puncher like we used to be at
the beginning before I got the job.
And then she quit?
Well, she --
You said she quit down there
after eight years?
Right. She went on to be a
key puncher all the time.
With the Automobile Club of
So she went to work with the
industry. I guess a question would be if you heard all
these steel stories from your dad and from other
people, what made your sister want to go to work down
there; just the money?
Yeah. She was supporting a
little baby and she needed -- I mean it was good money
down there. That's all you heard is if you worked hard
you would make good money, so you went where the money
was, and close and convenient, and one thing we did
know from watching my father is you could be whatever
you wanted to be down there.
That is one thing that Bethlehem gives you,
you can be whoever you want to be. If you want to be
an electrician, if you want to be a mechanic, if you
want -- whatever, you just bid into the departments if
you can pass the test. If not, then you've got to go
up there to school and learn it all and then go back
and try again.
Well, did you find it hard when
you started down there as a woman to move up, or was
the Bethlehem manager pretty good about that?
Do I really have to answer
I don't think they will ever
accept a woman down there, not in my profession, I
really don't believe it.
Because we have other women like
Mary Lorenzo who had the same problem.
I mean it's sad, because I
wanted them just to treat me as a human being. You
know that's all I asked, but it's just always that
conflict there. It's not been easy.
Well, tell me then about your
first day on the job.
Well, nobody worked with me
for two days.
I sat on the bench, and I
thought what can I say to these guys to really make
them mad, and I said I am getting paid for just sitting
here. They are out there sweating, working their
rear ends off, and I'm just sitting there getting a nice
pay, and I told them that and they got mad, and the one
says well then, you are coming with me, and then I got
to start. It was one way of getting them.
What was the mechanical
department doing? Describe a little bit about what the
Well, it was bull work back
then. We didn't have the modern technology that we
have today, so it was all pinch bars and mauling and
burning and welding and all that, much harder than
today. Today we think a lot with our minds more than
do the physical -- the physical is still there, don't
get me wrong, it's still very difficult, but it's not
like it used to be. We have different means of helping
People who are going to watch
this video are not going to understand how steel is
made, so tell me what in the mechanical department fits
into making steel.
Well, we keep all of the
machinery and all the operations functioning from
hydraulics, everything moving in the middle, clamps
holding everything in place and oils. If there ain't
no oil in nothing, it ain't going to run, and then
repairs. That's the biggest is repairs. We are always
repairing something, keeping it -- you know, patching
it up, patching it up.
So it's really a maintenance
It has to be there. Even
though they don't want us there, it has to be there.
Well, how did you get hired in
the skilled position like that off the street?
Had to take a test.
What was the test like?
Well, thank God I was raised
with four brothers and a father that that's all they
did. My father used to have motors hanging off the
monkey bar trees, you know what I mean, and I used to
watch him out there and help him and he would say get
me this wrench and get me that wrench, and I used to
put my baby dolls hair up with cotter pins. I knew
what a cotter pin was. Everything that on that paper I
knew from my dad. My dad would tell me and I would go
and fetch it for him.
So when you started work then,
was it the men or the supervisors or both who were
giving you a hard time?
Both, but I really truly
believe I broke through to the men. The other level, I
don't think they will ever be -- but I don't feel bad
like I did because they think that way of the guys,
too, we're nothing, so it doesn't matter if I'm not
nothing any more, because the guys ain't nothing
either. We have no value. They are the ones that are
valuable, the ones running the plant. We're not
valuable, and that's sad because we want to -- one time
they said we were going to get together and be a team,
and I cried because I really believed that we would be
a team and it would be a wonderful team for both sides
to join together. But it just don't seem like it's
working. It's that friction all the time, and it
shouldn't be. When you work for a company, you should
be happy. We should be happy going to work, not like
oh, my God, what's going to happen today or who is
going to be on me today. You shouldn't have that fear.
Were there men who were helpful
Oh, yeah. Oh, my God, I
wouldn't have got my break if it wasn't for men that
believed in me and showed me everything, showed me --
there is tricks of the trade. You can get all these
books that you want, and there are still little tricks
of the trade that they taught me. They have taken
their time, and with me some things I picked up fast,
other things I didn't, because I do not see maintenance
like a man does. I have already told them that. I see
it in a woman's -- like I told the man the other day,
our rolls down there, I don't see them as rolls like
you all see them, steel rolls. I see them as a washing
machine and the steel going through the old time hand
washing machines. But I understand it, but I can't
understand it their way. I have to put it in the way I
can understand it; you know what I mean? They don't
understand when I talk to them.
That's another thing that's bad. If I had it
to do over again, I would have got more education and
then went down there. See, I'm not educated enough to
keep up with them guys. The way they speak and their
terminology and my terminology is two different kinds
because of my schooling.
Now my sister, she can keep up with them, she
is more highly educated than I am. But I just keep
telling them over and over until they finally realize
what I am trying to tell them or else they will just
tell me go away; you know what I mean, get lost, forget
it, Edie, or if they see me coming, they go the other
Well, what was it like then being
there on the first couple of days after you heard so
much about it?
Scared to death. I heard
that buggy going in and out and I heard about all the
people that were killed down there, and I swear to God
I just thought they were taking them out by the dozens,
and all it was was a buggy coming in and out with clean
rolls, and I didn't know that.
What is a buggy?
A little buggy that takes the
rolls back and forth.
Like a cart?
Like a cart or something.
The reason I'm asking you that is
parts of this video may be shown to schools and stuff
like that, and one of the things that has always
concerned me about different interviews that people do
and the classes that we do that these are going to be
shown to people who have never been to Bethlehem Steel,
and they need to have a litter better sense of exactly
what you talk about, the terminology of the men and the
women. You are going to have people who are outside
the industry, and so I'm just going to ask you to kind
of describe it for the people who are going want to
Well, it's like a cart on
wheels with a cable pulling it in and out of one area
to the other area.
Is it run on a track or is it run
on a rope?
Yeah, it's on like a rail and
the cable pulls it, the wheels, and pulls it into where
they grind the rolls in the grinder shop.
What was it like? It was scary
you said. Bigger than what you thought it was going to
Yeah, everything was big,
real big. I just never saw such big bolts in my life
and malls, oh, my God, it took everything I had to pick
And there were probably 25,000
people working there at the time?
There was a lot of us, yeah,
and then I watched it dwindle down to hardly nothing
What was it like at shift change
the first day; do you remember?
I couldn't wait to get out of
there. I was just petrified and nobody wanting to work
with me. I couldn't wait to get out of there because I
had to be tough, you know, I was a steelworker now. I
couldn't show them that I was a girl, you know, and I
left and I would cry or I would run to the lady's room
and cry or something, you know what I mean. I couldn't
never let them see the tears, you know, out of fear of
them making fun of me.
Were there other women down there
at the time?
Yeah, there was three of us
hired, but they split us up. I was with just the men.
Were you one of the first women
hired down there?
Well, me and Kathy and
Barbara, all three of us.
In 1974, and that was the
How about at home, was your
husband a help?
No, he told my he hoped I
failed the test. He didn't want me going down there.
What did he want you to do?
Just stay home with the
babies, but I wanted a better life and I wanted the
children to have a better life, and I didn't want him
to work all them doubles all the time. I didn't see
him, and I figured if I worked and he worked, then we
would at least see each other somewhere, get together.
You talk about having a better
life for your kids. How did your father feel about
having you go to work down there?
He was tickled. He come to
watch me my first day, he was there.
Yeah. He wanted to make sure
I would be all right.
Proud guy, told all his friends?
Yeah, his friends come with
him to see me. They watched me through the doorway
doing -- you know, doing bearing changing. Yeah, I
will never forget it, I looked back and I saw my dad.
I was so nervous, I was hoping I was doing everything
right, you know, but I was real proud.
It was just something about the steel mill
that gives you a proudness to say I work at Bethlehem
Steel, you know. I don't know what it was. Maybe it
was in my blood. After all, he worked there before I
was born, so maybe it was in my blood.
That's an amazing story. Did
your father come back and tell you how proud he was?
Yeah, he was tickled, but I
think the most exciting thing with me and my dad was
when I got my real rate as a millwright, my real rate.
See, my father never got it. My father went
over there, but he never could pass those tests. He
got it through his work, so many hours on the job that
they would give it to you. But he couldn't go over
there because he couldn't read and understand. It's
not that he couldn't do the job, my father was a very
good mechanic, but he just couldn't read and understand
what they wanted. He had that problem. So when
Shackleforth give all of us -- grandfathered us all a C
rate, Kathy and the other girl, they were happy that we
were called millwrights, but I wasn't because I felt if
the men had to go over there and take that test, I'm
going -- I wanted to be like them, not a man, but be an
equal like them, then I've got to go do the same thing
they do, so I went over there. Of course I failed it a
couple of times, you have to keep going back until you
get so many jobs. But when I got my first real C rate,
I went out in the parking lot and I cried. I come home
and told my dad on the telephone, and he cried just as
much as I cried. We both cried to each other. That's
how happy he was. I knew he would be very proud of me.
That is an amazing story.
Yeah, because I got something
my dad didn't get that he always wanted to. It's just
that he didn't have nobody to help him.
You were saying before we started
the interview that your father had a fourth grade
education or sixth grade, something like that?
Down in Baltimore City?
I guess. I never really
asked my dad about his education.
Never knew your grandparents?
I don't ask him about that.
I don't want him to feel bad because he only went to a
fourth grade. It's okay.
It's perfectly all right.
He went to hard knocks
school, that one is harder.
Did you ever know your
They were gone before you were
Yeah, my grandmother died at
25 years old.
So now we've got you past the
first years and eventually up to the C rate. When did
you start getting involved in the union?
Well, I always knew about the
union, but like I said I feel I'm not that educated to
get up in front of people and speak. My vocabulary is
very limited, and I really am kind of like my father, I
can't read and comprehend, but if you show me, I will
understand, but you have to tell it to me over and over
until I can fully see the picture, because like I said
I don't see it like you all see it. I do not see it in
a man's eyes. I see it different. Everything they
talk about I see it different, even though they don't
know I am seeing it different.
It's kind of hard to explain, and I never
really talked to a girl to see if she sees it the same
way as I do, you know, but I know whenever I talk to
them about maintenance, I tell them how I have learned,
and they seem to pick it up faster learning it my way
than the way of the men would learn it.
Well, when did you get into the
union? Let's go back to that question. Do you
remember anything about that?
Not really until -- when I
got into the hot mill the second time, which it took me
16 years to get back in it for the second time.
Because that's the first time
they had openings for me to be able to bid back into
the hot mill.
So when you started, you were in
the hot mill?
And describe the hot mill
Well, I really didn't stay
there that long. I couldn't take the pressure. I
wound up transferring to the pipe mill.
And what was the pressure in the
I knew that they didn't want
no women there, and when I went to the pipe mill, they
seemed to -- there was a man named Smith that was in
charge, and he seemed -- didn't care what you was, a
girl, a boy, whatever. As long as you did the job, he
didn't care what you was, and I was happier over there.
I didn't love it over there. I loved it in the hot
mill, but I was happier in the pipe mill.
Why did you love it in the hot
Because that's where I was
hired, it was my home. I didn't want to go -- didn't
want to go to the pipe mill, and I didn't like that
they didn't want me there either. That was making me
determined that one day I would go back. I don't like
that somebody don't -- didn't want me there. That
ain't a good enough reason. If I couldn't do the job,
yes, but just because I was a girl, no, that wasn't a
good enough reason for me not to ever want to go back
How long were you in the hot mill
when you first got hired roughly?
On and off a couple of years,
but we only worked like three months or four months and
would get laid off, so I really didn't have that -- I
would work and then be on the streets and then work,
and then be on the streets, and that's how they did
until when I would go -- when I finally went back the
third time, I couldn't take it, I wound up going to the
About when was that; do you
remember what year?
So for the first few years it was
pretty rough in terms of continued employment, steady
Just because the industry was up
It was after Vietnam, the economy
was not so great there, late 70's, early 80's.
So when you came back and you went to the
pipe mill, did you have more layoffs there, or was it
We got laid off, too, over
there, but the other two girls followed me, because
they said that they felt I was the strongest out of
them three, and when I got scared and I went over
there, they followed me. They didn't want no parts of
the hot mill either. They knew -- you know, they
figured I was the toughest one out of them and I had
left, so they put up the white flag and left with me.
Are they still there?
No, we all come back -- it
took me 16 years to get back there.
So you worked 16 years in the
No. When the pipe mill went
down in 1981, we were laid off, and then when I went
back, I was like in that bull gang or whatever. I had
to go wherever they sent me. Sometimes I was in the
42, sometimes I was in the 56, went over to the steel
side, went wherever there was work. Then I went with
the pipe fitters for awhile, then I come back to
mechanical. We just went wherever the work was.
Well, let's go back a little bit
to your union experience. When did you get involved in
When I finally got back and
got a number in the hot mill. When I finally got a
home, then I got involved.
And what made you get involved?
Well, the man that was there,
Jimmy Romano, he had it like a family over there with
them guys, and I really loved that that he kept them
He was a union committee person?
He was a zone man, and he was
really good with the people, you know, and I saw that,
and then I would tell him let's have something. Since
nobody acknowledged us, let us acknowledge each other,
let us show honor to each other since nobody else is
showing us honor, so that's when we started that hot
mill retirement party up there. Even though when I
worked over at the 56 they made me an honorary member.
I wasn't -- I didn't have no number, but their wives
loved me and they made me an honorary member.
Well, tell me about the
retirement picnic that you did.
Well, we only had it for a
couple of years because it was hard work. It's not
easy to find everybody and work down there and then me
taking care of everybody, and it seemed like that was
really bad when my mother-in-law was sick and my mother
was sick and everybody was getting sick on me, and I
just couldn't think to keep this going, so I had to
surrender and tell them we couldn't have it any more.
I had to let both of them go. I had to let the 56 go
and the 68.
Well, what were the parties like?
They were wonderful. We had
Where did you have them?
Up there -- the union hall
gave it to us.
And on a Saturday or a Sunday?
Well, they let us pick what
day, and they left it open for us, and we were going to
have it every year at the same time. That way people
would remember. Like you would say the first Sunday of
March, and then we had the first Sunday of October for
And 56 refers to a department
down at Bethlehem Steel?
Yes, 56, cold sheet mill,
mechanical, and the 68 was the 422 mechanical.
How many people would come to
these retirement parties?
Well, it was real big at the
beginning, and then it started like people didn't want
to get involved. It was just so much happening down
there that they just said heck with it.
What do you mean there was so
See, when they were cutting
back, the boys were feeling like they were cutting each
other's throats, and it kind of -- when Jimmy got out,
the family was gone, it wasn't a family any more. We
got new people in there in the union and it just wasn't
a family any more. Nobody trusted nobody. You didn't
even trust another union member, so they didn't want to
be involved. They would say we're not going up there,
which was sad. I mean it's okay. You know even if you
don't like somebody, you've still got to honor them
because somebody likes them out there, their
mother-in-law, somebody loves them out there.
And also you are working for them
for better or for worse?
And you depend on each other in
those situations, you might as well get used to it.
What other activities did you do in the union?
I only did volunteer work.
Whenever they needed me, I told them 24 hours there's
What do you think about the
It's just got everybody nuts.
We don't know what we're doing. We don't know if we've
got a job or we don't have a job, should we be looking
for another job or shouldn't we be looking for another
job, we don't know.
What's the mood down there?
It's not good. I try to keep
them laughing if I can. Then sometimes they get mad at
How is your father affected by
all of this?
Well, they are just worried
about the money, you know. I mean after all that's --
they are surviving off of Bethlehem's Steel medical and
the little bit of pension that he gets. If that goes,
then I don't know what will happen. I couldn't help
them because I'm a Bethlehem employee, too, so when it
goes, I ain't going to have anything. I'm going to be
out there where, you know, maybe it's sad that the
whole family works down there because there would be
somebody over here strong in some other area that we
all can go to, you know what I mean?
Now I couldn't help them if I wanted to,
unless I luck out and find another job somewhere. The
only thing I'm worried about is my age now. I'm 54 and
who wants a 54-year-old; you know what I mean? I ain't
26 any more like I was when I went down at Bethlehem.
If you had to remember a couple
of highlights of working down there, other than the
ones you talked about, can you think of anything; good
times, bad times?
I try to forget the bad
times, try to only think of the good. I try to make
every day good, you know. I don't know. I can't
really say one special day, except when we signed that
agreement that we were going to be a team. I really
thought everything was over and that we really were
going to be a team with each other. That was about the
happiest day of my life is when I signed that big paper
they had down there on the hot mill office.
You mean the partnership
Yeah. We all signed that,
and that was the happiest day of my life. I really
believed it, I wanted to believe it with all my heart
that we had become one and that we would look out for
each other. It's not good to have a separation where
How do you get information about
the current situation down there?
Other union people tell us,
they keep us informed, or if one of the boys moves to a
union meeting, they bring the information back to us
and tell us what's happening.
Little shop meeting. Do you try
and get up to the union meetings at all?
I used to, but I don't any
more. I haven't really been involved in anything ever
since I told you about the split between us, my husband
and I. I just don't get involved in anything any more.
What do you mean the split?
The divorce, I got a divorce
and my whole world changed.
I'm sorry, I don't think you told
us about that.
And when I heal, I will get
back into it again. It's going to take a lot of
Has this situation affected you
at work? Are you finding yourself short of staff or
short of parts and stuff the last years?
Yes. We don't have the
parts. We have to wait to get parts to do our job, and
then you have to patch it up and use whatever you can
find laying around, and then they won't -- like I keep
telling them to put us at a table and talk with us
because our people have very good ideas of how them to
save money, but nobody seems to want to hear what we
have to say.
Has that been true down there
Well, I saw it -- in my 26
years saw a lot of waste. I don't know. To me, they
don't run it like other companies I had worked for.
When I got laid off, I've had to go to other companies
and work, and it's just not run the same way. That
steel mill is run different than these other companies
that are around.
Where did you work when you were
I worked at Glidden Paint and
I worked at Armco Steel.
And how were they different?
Well, their supervision, when
you were hired to do a job, you did the job and you
were out their gates. Down there, nobody is
accountable for nothing, they are not accountable, the
white hats, and we're not accountable, so what kind of
place are we running?
I guess the last question then,
unless you have something else you want to say, is if
you had to do it over again, would you go down there
again and go through it?
I say no, but I really did
enjoy going to work, I really did. You can ask my
whole family. They knew that I couldn't wait to go to
work. Believe it or not, Bethlehem was my out of what
I do around here, it was something different, and what
I give this a hundred percent, I wanted to give them a
hundred percent, too, or more because they always
seemed to need more than what my family needed.
Now, you say your brother worked
down there. Is he still there?
No, my brother Joe, he went
down there first. He is retired. Then he married the
other girl mechanic, Kathy, and she's got a disability
and she's retired. Then my sister Dee, she's retired.
She married Mr. David Wilson, and he is retired. So
there's four retirees there plus my father, that's five
retirees. And then you have --
So Dee Wilson is your sister?
Hmm-hmm. Then you have my
brother Gene, but he passed away, but he was out on
like a disability because he had cancer, and then his
son worked there.
So that would be your nephew. Is
he still there?
No, he left, and then my
sister's son worked there, Dee Wilson's son, but then
he left, and then it would be my brother Johnny and now
he was 62 and old enough to retire, and now I'm the
last of the Mohicans down there.
Hoping to make it through?
Well, when you got together with
your families, when you get together now --
Talk steel. All we do is woe
steel, how to make it better, how to do this, how to do
that, try to come up with answers, how to make the
union better, how to make everything better, always
trying to make something better. But like my sister
said if I don't get involved I can't make it better, I
have to be involved in it, but I'm the type of person
I've got to feel it in my heart, and I just ain't there
right now, you know, it's just too much for me to
handle. It's not in my heart to do the volunteering
and work, and it ain't in my heart to get involved in
anything. I just put so much of me into things that
it's a disaster when things happen because I put too
much in it. I always wanted to be normal like
everybody else and be able to throw it all over my
shoulder, but I just -- I take stuff too, too serious I
Well, you had brought some stuff
in here from the plant. Why don't you tell us a little
bit about what you've got.
Well, I just have a lot of
pictures of the people and my certificates that I got
my rate and pictures and my schooling papers, and I was
on an industrial maintenance brochure one time, and I
got the history that Mr. Cary Gordon made up for us one
time, I kept that.
What history was that?
He made a little book up and
give it to all the tour people, which I thought was an
excellent idea. I think they should continue and still
give it to people when they come through our mill.
It's really nice, not just for a tour, but when
everybody comes through our mill, because people want
to know about our mill, they want to know what's
So you keep all this stuff at
home and throw it in a drawer? You keep all this stuff
here and keep it all together?
Well, I'm not that good at
keeping stuff together.
Well, it looked like you are
pretty well organized.
And I've got videos of the
old mill, the way the hot mill used to be. I got the
new mill, and then I got some safety videos.
Where did you get these -- did
you make these videos yourself, or were these ones --
No, they were given to me
from people. People give them to me, donated them to
me when I had the club.
But were they videos that people
Little home videos? Those would
be great. I would love to take a look at those,
because those probably go back --
Well, it shows the old hot
It's really neat. To me -- I
have been there 26 years and it is still fascinating.
I just sit on the bench and look at the steel, and I
can't believe it, can't believe that it will come out
of that furnace down there, went through the reverse
and rubber, then number five stand. It's just amazing,
What do you think the country
would be like without a steel industry?
I just can't never see it not
being in here, but I just think that we should find
other ways of using our steel. There's got to be
something we can think of that we can use our steel
for, or at least get some companies down there to come
on our property and use our steel to do -- build
whatever they are going to build. You know what I
mean? That way we can sell it even more if we could
get somebody down there to make a plant and use our
steel. You know what I mean?
Can plant or cars or something
Yeah, something. There's got
to be something we can use that steel for than what we
are using it for right now.
It's also that there's a huge
amount of land down there for industrial use.
That's an enormous --
It would be good if we could
be a supplier to little companies around us. I don't
know. I just hope we come up with something.
Do any of your children work down
No. My son tried. He put in
an application, but they never called him. Now he did
get a job at the shipyard. He worked at our shipyard
down there. He was a welder down there, but they kept
laying him off, and he had a little baby, so he wound
up getting another job and he went to another company.
But you would have felt fine by
having him go to work down there?
Oh, yeah, I wanted him there.
I was proud. I knew he would be good. I like what my
son -- I used to watch him. He fascinated me, and I
think he would have been good for Bethlehem, but they
didn't give him that chance, but that's all right.
Maybe it wasn't meant to be. It's okay.
Anything else you can think of
important about Bethlehem Steel and your time down
It's been an experience.
And you would do it again?
I would, but I would want
that education, I would definitely want that education,
and then I would be heard and respected where I don't
feel that they hear me or respect me because I'm not
that highly educated. I don't know the right words to
come back with them except mill talk, and you can't get
no points across using that.
You can down in the mill.
Not really. You should have
the proper words and then they would listen.
Edie Papadakis, we want to thank you very
much. It is July 19th. We're down at her house, and
we're going to close it up.