This is an autobiographical overview of my dad’s life. These are his words, I merely typed them.
Carl Beck; Autobiography
I thought I would write a few lines about where I lived and what I have done in my life. My name is Edson Carl Beck. I was born at home June 23, 1923 on our farm. We lived on the road from Indian Head toward the Longwood school. It was the old Kalp farm that had been my my mother, Anna Nichol Kalp’s old home place. Mt dad Thomas Edison Beck bought the 223 acre farm. He raised cows, sheep, hogs , chickens, and ducks. We did the work by hand or with the use of horses. There was an orchard with quite a few fruit trees. We had plenty of apples which we took to have apple butter made. It was sold as well as meats and the wooden posts that we had cut to the Sagamore Mines company store. The posts were used int the Sagamoore coal mines to shore up the tunnels as the miners dug for the coal. The food stuffs were in thurn sold to the miners for their families.
At the store, you did not get cash money for the things that you brought in. They made you take some things in trade. Dad accepted things we couldn’t raise on the farm like shoes, clothing, coffee, and pepper.
I started school in 1929 and walked to the Longwood School with my brother and my sisters. Longwood School was a one room building and the walk was about two miles one way. Helen Irene was the oldest, born June 2, 1917; Estella Frances was next born on December 6, 1918; and Merle Domer was born on November 21, 1920.
Before I was actually old enough to go to school, I had to go to Longwood with my sisters. They were watching after me. I was sitting in the class and saw cows in the schoolyard. I jumped up to chase them like I did at home and Mr. Joe Adams caught me and paddled me, so I was punished for bad behavior even before I started school. Lunches were often buckwheat cakes spread with apple butter and folded over. When we boys were older, we would often cut posts before we went to school.
My teachers were Henry Adams, Nora Conner, Gladys Eakin, Grover Sleasman, and Mac Wasson. I went to school there until I was fourteen years old and we moved to the town of Sagamore where I finisged eigth grade and my teacher was Ray Mowery. We moved into the old store building. Later we moved to a house on the hill above the store, then moved to the Gdosky house near Rominey. We moved back to Indian Head , the first house above the school, and then to a house on Back Creek Road that Dad built. That is where my daughter Kathy lives now.
I attended Connellsville High School and graduated in 1942. An event that happened almost a year before I had graduated, December 7, 1941 shaped my life for the next few years. I was drafted into the Army may 13, 1943. I reported to Fort Knox, Kentucky and went from there to Camp Abbott, Oregon. It was a new camp when I arrived. There was one barracks building, one mess hall, and one latrine. The dust was halfway to my knees. About this time I was sure wishing that I was back home.
After my training there I went back home on furlough. While I was in training a flood came through Melcroft number two and wiped out Estella’s house. My sister Estella was swept away in the flood and by the grace of God, she was able to save herself, but her daughter Shirley was swept out of her arms. A man named Joe Maraugha saw Shirley swirling in the torrent and pulled her into a tree and saved her.
When I arrived home, the bridge into Indian Head had been washed away. I had to cross a swinging foot bridge to get home.
After furlough, I rode a train across the country to Pittsburg, California for debarking overseas to New Guinea, from there to Singapore, and to Morati Island where I helped to build roads and airstrips. After we were finished, we were shipped to the Philippines. I went in on the invasion of Leyete Gulf and then into Manilla to help clean up the island and make new roads. Finally I was assigned to Japanwhere I was able to see where the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. I was stationed at the Irunaga Air Base before I was sent back home and honorably discharged on January 18, 1946.
The first job that I had after I returned was a delivery boy for C. W. Resh at his grocery store. It paid $25.00 a week and all I could eat for lunch. The next position that I had was as a truck driver for Theodore Geary, and mining coal for the Kopper’s Coal Company of Melcroft. Later I worked for Elgie Coffman of White, digging coal and hauling it to the coke ovens in Alverton. I also worked for a few months for the Anchor Hocking plant in Connellsville.
My wife Sybil June Miner and I were married June 5, 1947. We first lived on the Francis Peck Road in Maggie Lowman’s house until we moved to the George Rugg house in Mill Run. We moved to a house owned by Jess Hall on route 711 between Normalville and Indian Head. It was no cherry. There was no heater, no running water, and no indoor plumbing. The bathroom was an outhouse out back. There was no basement, just enough room for a coal cellar and a wringer washed. We did have electricity. We carried our water from a little stream behind our house. Sybil and I worked very hard to make ends meet. She worked with my father doing income taxes and bookkeeping and I was hired at Walworth Valve Company in South Greensburg where I worked for thirty years. I ran a radial drill press for twenty-eight years of my time there. The company cast, cut, shaped, and assembled valves of all sizes and for all uses. I was out of a job when the company moved to Mexico.
For a few months I was without a job before being called by Robertshaw Controls. The caller said, “I hear you can run a drill press.” And could you come in for an interview?” And at the age of fifty –eight, I was shocked that I had found a job. I worked there for seven and one-half years and then I retired.
I went to Seven Springs ski resort and ran a shuttle bues for seven and a half years,. It helped me very much as I received a $5.00 profit sharing.
During this time, Sybil did the books and payroll for several large lumber companies; Mastowski-Fullem, Kern Brothers, John Steyer, and Ritenour Lumber. She also worked at different times at Seven Springs, and the banks at Donegal and Indian Head.
We had three children; Thomas Ray born March 9, 1949, (We were living in the George Rugg house); Kenneth Carl, born july 31, 1953 (We had bought and were living in the Jess Hall house); and Kathy Sue June 30, 1957. We are very proud of our children and teir families. We love our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.