Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fearless Females: Working Girls!

Women's History Month Fearless Females blog prompt: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

We Abbate siblings were fortunate to have our mom, Jane Thomas Abbate, at home during our "growing up" years. In the 1950s, before children, she worked at the Dade County Courthouse in the evidence department. She always told us the most graphic (and awful, for me, the squeamish child!) stories about the morbid pictures and items that she catalogued and stored for future court proceedings. She loved that job and I am pretty sure that started her love for reading murder mysteries too!

My paternal grandmother, May L. Abbott, was a stenographer and worked at the Department of Immigration in Miami. This is a photo of a page in one of her course books. The book, titled, Expert Shorthand Speed Course, was printed in 1945 and featured the "Gregg" method of shorthand. Interestingly, all of the pictures in the book feature men working in offices and demonstrating the proper posture, etc. for taking dictation. I suppose that it was not as common for women to work in those days, but then, my grandmother was no ordinary young lady!

My maternal grandmother, Mildred Silas Thomas, worked in the "Infants Department" at Jackson's/Byrons Department Store in downtown Miami after our grandfather passed away. She spent many years working there and I remember that she always rode the bus, come to think of it, I don't ever remember her having a car! I searched all over the internet for a picture of the Jackson's/Byrons logo but found nothing but this more current picture of the building where the department store was located. I did find several articles recounting the Jackson's/Byrons lunch counter and its role as a "ground zero" location during the Civil Rights demonstrations in Miami in the 1950s. Fortunately times have changed a lot since then!

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