6 days a week, 50 weeks a year, for 30 years my father (Garner T. Corson) went to work as the caretaker of Boston’s famous Paul Revere House. My mother was already in charge there when they met in 1932, having gone to work in 1917, and she hired my father to take care of the furnace, an old coal one at the time. Over the years my father assumed more and more duties, top executive: a dress shirt when my mother retired due to illness in 1945, he just took over full responsibility. Among other things this included doing the hiring, making nightly deposits and filing weekly reports, making sure the house was in perfect repair, and keeping souvenirs stocked.
Each morning he would set out for work dressed as a top executive: a dress shirt and tie and a suit, usually a three piece one. In one vest pocket he carried a watch and in the other a pen knife. His shoes were always polished.
Oh, and he wore a hat, always a hat: felt fedora in the cooler months and a Panama straw hat in the summer. He always wore a hat when he was outside, even when working in the yard, but you can be sure he never wore a hat inside. He would be horrified these days to see hats worn in school, even in church, and worst of all at the dinner table. A gentleman removed his hat upon entering a building, and in movie theaters and other auditoriums- including Tremont Temple Baptist Church, there was a special rack on the underside of each seat to accommodate a hat.
Now once he got to work, he took off his suit coat and put on what he called a dust jacket, blazer-type that could be washed. His first job was to make sure that everything inside was ready for the day, and then he might go outside to sweep or shovel the sidewalk. Back inside, he would open all the wooden shutters and put the American flag outside a second-story window.
Promptly at 10 o’clock he would unlock the front door, ready to admit one of the many visitors of the day.
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Dorothy C. Judd (c) 2017