Sometimes I receive emails from folks who want to tell their story, but they think it has to be paranormal for me to read it. That is not the case. If you have a tale that is cool, happy, sad, or even crazy. We want to hear it. We had such a story in Episode #371 that got a lot of attention back in day.
Ron, I was a steel worker for 35 years and have some amazing stories to tell. My son turned me on to your podcast a few weeks ago. I have not stopped listening. I am not good with words, but I can tell a story. My phone number is 555-5555 (not his real number). Call me anytime and let me tell you one. – Herman
Well on a Saturday afternoon I set up my recording equipment and dialed. It rang ten times and didn’t even go to voicemail. Dejected, I went to the next call on the list and got a story from Aulani in Hawaii. Fast forward to another day and I dialed up Herman again, this time I got the good old-fashioned busy signal. I moved on to another caller and chatted a bit with them, but didn’t get a story I could use. I decided to try Herman again and this time we connected. Herman is 88 years old, born in New York in 1932 and he does have a story or two. He told me to pick one. I decided on the one you are about to hear. I wrote this story just as Herman told it to me.
I was 19 at the time living in New York. I was there because in 1951 I was kicked out of my dad’s home, with no prospects. He told me I could come back when I had a job. So, I went to the big city and took a construction job at an office building in downtown Manhattan. It was surprisingly easy to get the job. They just asked me if I had a fear of heights and when I said, “no.” They said, “You start at 8am tomorrow morning”.
When I got there, I thought that I would be a “go fer guy” running stuff around until I learned the job. The forman pointed me at a rickety steel box and told a guy named Mickey to take me up top to James. We walked over to this crazy looking thing and got inside. We went up.
At first I thought it was neat and even exciting as all of New York began to unfold around me. I could see for miles and even the shakiness of the elevator was lost to me. That is until I heard that “Grrrrrrr” and the metal snap. We fell about 2 feet and landed with a “Crack” and a “Snap!” I looked over and Mickey just smiled, “Don’t worry kid, it does that sometimes.” The rest of the trip to the top was not as enjoyable.
We eventually got to where we were going and Mickey stopped that crazy ride. “All out,” he said, “James is that big fella over there. Careful where you step we ain’t got around to building the floor yet.”
That was understatement. I was looking out at a sea of steel. A brisk wind blew that day along the cross streets of Midtown Manhattan and I was forced to step out onto a six-inch-wide steel beam 24 stories above Seventh Avenue. I started to walk across it, wind at my back with nothing to keep me from falling. Oh and I could not just walk straight to James I had to find my way across solving a maze like puzzle as I went. I almost turned back right then and there, but Mickey had already started up the elevator and was heading back down. I was committed and probably should have asked more about this job yesterday.
I did make it to a place of relative safety. Plywood had been set in one corner so that James could have a work table and office – after a sort. I had to stand there a good ten minutes as he shouted out orders to his crew as to their work assignments for the day. Finally, he got to me. “So who are ya and where’s your hard hat?” He had a thick Irish accent. I told him that I was just told to come up here and talk to him.
“Well, did they now. They call it trial by fire, if ye can make it up here they think ye can work.” He reached behind his table and handed me a greasy hardhat and pair of gloves. “Can you use a Wheelbarrow now?”
Of course I knew what one was, but I had no idea of how that worked all the way up here. As it turns out, not very well. My job was to take loads of cement, riviots and other supplies to the men working the high girders and I had to do it with a wheelbarrow. I was slow, laughed at, and even cussed at all though the rest of the day, but in the end I started to figure it out. The trick was to not look down and never get off balance. Oh, and I did have a close call a time or two.
I worked on that building for the next thirteen months and I am here to tell that it still stands today. We lost more men than I can count over that time, but I thank god I was not one of them. I stayed working construction for the next ten years and even got to love my job. Hazard pay was the name of the game and working the skies made a certain breed of man to be born. They called us, “Cowboy’s Of the Skies”.
Herman Weaver – New Castle, Delaware
This Week’s Podcast: On the show this week the theme is The Empire State Building. We have ghost stories, a Johnny Is It True, and a special tale from Paul Hart and his encounter with the bicentennial in New York. You won’t believe his viewpoint. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from Apple Podcasts, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link
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