TIME KEEPING IN A MINING TOWN

People in our small coal mining town were accustomed to various ways of keeping the time of day. Hardly any households had any grandfather clocks, or large wall type clocks. We usually had a small "wind up" West Bend alarm clocks set on a night table or upon a kitchen shelf. Attention to time came at 6AM to alert the miners to work by a whistle from the coal company work place. I remember the sound was a piercing, shrill scream, so loud that at times I thought it would "shake off" the shoes of those sleeping in "Boot Hill". At 7AM the whistle blew from the Frisbee Silk Factory to signifying its time of day for their employees . At 8AM the three town churches tolled their bells to summon their worshipers to the morning services. Since we lived in a valley, the ringing bells echoed a pleasant vibrating sound to one's ear. 12 Noon was tolled by the churches of St. Mary's, St. Thomas and St. Stanislous of our community. At 3PM the shrieking mine company whistle blew, to the miners delight of another day's labor done. 5PM the Silk Factory whistle gave its notice that their workers tour of duty was ended. 6PM the church bells rang to note the time of day. 7PM St. Mary's bells called for parishioners to attend the evening vespers services. At 9PM the fire house with the sound of a siren, gave notice of the town curfew for us teenagers to clear the streets and be in-doors.

Night fall settled gently over this small town and our town people adjusted their work and play habits to the sound of the days whistles and bells.

Now I know why our local jeweler had difficulty selling time pieces.

Vacation Memoir Index The neighborhood "bully"