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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

boyhood sketch 16. CRANE OPERATOR


My dad worked at Anthes Imperial, manufacturer of furnaces. He began in the foundry, and moved to a couple of assembly line positions, until he was asked to fill in as an overhead crane operator. He had been doing this for a few weeks when I asked him whether I could come to watch. It meant that I would ride my bike several long blocks, perhaps two miles, to his factory yard, hide my bike and peek through a chain link fence at a distance. I could see Dad in the all glass crane cab one hundred feet above the ground. He moved the crane along overhead beams picking up and setting down large pieces of steel. As I watched him, I noticed him beckoning to me. I couldn't believe it. He was looking around to see if anyone was watching and then he motioned for me to come. I quickly found a low spot under the fence where I could crawl to the other side. I cautiously looked for a clear moment and then I ran hard to the foot of the crane, climbed the gigantic ladder all the way to the cab. Dad told me to crouch on the floor. He continued to work. My entire crane experience lasted perhaps twenty minutes and Dad told me to carefully, attentively climb down the ladder, sneak back out of the yard and go home. I was ecstatic. It was like a booster shot of bonding with my dad.

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