"Don't Go During Lunch Hour"

by Charles McGrath

In 1952 I started working for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. My first assignment was in the South Orange Central Office Building. When I started I met a man at that location by the of Bob Plum. He was an old timer. Bob started working for the company in 1904. He was a wonderful person and when I think back to his years of service plus mine we just about covered the 20th century.

Most of the old timers were very interesting and they all had many stories to tell. Here's a story that one of them told me 50 years ago:

How many of us remember Clark's Thread O. N. T. (acronym for our new thread)? This company started in Newark in 1866 and expanded to Kearny in 1880. Glenn recently posted a picture of the Clark Mansion. Clark also built a reservoir in Branch Brook Park for the residents of Forest Hill. Rich also confirmed that the only island in Newark named after a man was Clark Island in Branch Brook Park. We are all familiar with the Clark Thread Mill in Kearny adjacent to the Passaic River. And we are all familiar with lunch hours. Lunch hours have always been devoted to more that just eating lunch.

Today we may go for a walk, play cards, go shopping etc. Seventy years ago some of the women at the Clark Thread Mill were very earthy and had a great sense of humor. Most of our technicians were familiar with their lunch hour diversion and stayed away. Every now and then a new technician would go there during their lunch hour. What a mistake! A pack of around 20 women would start chasing him all through the mill. He was literally running for his life (or modesty) for when they caught him they took off all his clothes. It was all done as innocent fun at the technician's expense.

Hence the cliché "Don't Go During Lunch Hour".


Email this memory to a friend.
Enter recipient's e-mail: