|When my family finally finished up the payments on the roof, I
started looking around for other employment. I was attracted to New York City because the
wages were almost double those in New Jersey. One day I saw a want ad in a New York
newspaper for a mechanic at the Mack Truck Company located at West End Avenue and 64th
Street. It was a night job. They operated three shifts, and the night shift was from 10:30
p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
The pay was good, so I accepted. I spent four and one half years there. The night shift had a limited crew--about 10 to 12 men including a shop foreman and an inspector. It was a delightful crew. There was only one problem--favoritism. The foreman was related to one of the older mechanics and gave him all the preferred jobs. The mechanic's specialty was valve jobs, so he was assigned every valve job that came in--one every night. All the other work was divided up amongst the rest of us.
Somehow, it seemed like I was assigned all the spring repair jobs. I soon became a spring repair specialist. The front springs were easy to repair, but the back springs were hard work. They weighed 200 to 300 pounds each. But I was young and didn't mind as long as I working. Occasionally I would be used on other work like removing transmissions or engines.
picked up the tools of my trade here and there, as I went along. Some were new, some used.
Some were received as part of the job. I do have a lot of tools, but not as many as I
would like. Some mechanics purchase new tools every week. Some as soon as they come on the
market. My type of work didn't require that. Truck tools don't change too often. My love
has always been heavy-duty stuff. It has always fascinated me.
The Mack Truck Building was fronted on three sides by West End Avenue, 64th Street, and 63rd Street. It had four or five levels, with the first level used for everyday work. The basement was for any special work, and all the other levels were for general engine overhaul, transmission repairs, etc.
I left Mack Truck after four and one half years, because they moved the business to a larger facility on Long Island, and my commute would have taken too long. Commuting into New York City was bad enough for me. It required a two-hour commute each way, plus the fare on the NYC subway, the Hudson Tubes, and a bus home to Avon Avenue. But I loved the work. I was always fascinated by heavy duty-work. The bigger the job the better I liked it.