At some time between my return home and receiving my final discharge the next April, Litio was also released from the army, but I cannot state the date. He returned to work in a shoe factory for a short time and also continued to correspond with Eleanor Naylor in Nanaimo and I will cover that a little later on.
As arrangements had been made before, that I would go to work at Canadair, I reported for work on a Monday morning and went to my previous supervisor Mr. Archie Munroe. I went to his office as he was no longer working in the shop. When I reported to him he told me that I would be working in the office in the Tool and Process Department. It consisted of taking the drawings of every part that would go into the fabrication of the aircraft and then detail on special forms the entire manufacturing process, from raw material to finished part, detailing every operation in the fabrication and on other forms show the tools that would be required and when necessary fill out a form to have tools manufactured if they did not already exist. All this was necessary because this model of aircraft had not been fabricated at this plant before. This is the work I would do for the next two years. The production of this model of aircraft lasted two years and in l948 there were recurring layoffs as production came to an end.
When I was released from the army and Litio somewhat about the same time an unexpected event awaited us. Demetria had become afflicted with tuberculosis. I cannot remember when the illness started. When I came home she was already sick. Mom had arranged the back room to be occupied by Demetria so she could have a daily rest with the window open either in summer or winter. Doctor Panaccio, our family doctor then, would come to see her about every two weeks. His presence did much to alleviate our concerns and to check on the progress of remission. It was a very rough time for Demetria, our parents and also the rest of the family. It took some time but eventually she was completely healed and today at seventy-four she is still in very good health. I am sure she will add something to this text about this painful period until the time she returned to complete healing. The medication for this illness came much later. Tuberculosis at that time was very common and there were special hospitals for those afflicted. The doctor recommended that with proper care she would be better at home because he could give her more attention but it would be much work for mom. Mother also preferred that she stay at home and devoted much effort until her recovery. Her convalescence and complete recovery was a result of complete rest, much fresh air, good food, medication, much attention from those around her and her doctor and the will of God whom we thank very much for having healed her and kept her with us to enjoy a good life. At that time the rest of the family was advised to get lung X-Rays and when Litio and I returned from the army we did the same. One thing prescribed by the doctor was to take one table spoonful of cognac in a glass of milk every morning. To get the cognac dad needed a prescription from the doctor because imports were still under government control. I guess this is the most that Demetria ever drank in her lifetime.
To place the date correctly the year was 1946, Anna was married and the other four children were home with mom and dad. There was plenty of work for those who could or would because during war time many of the civilian goods were curtailed and had not been produced. The most important was housing and there was a great construction boom employing many of the new arrivals to Montreal, including two cousin that I shall mention later.
Litio returned to the shoe factory, the first one was La Gioconda were he had last worked and later changed to another one named Tarsal Ease and a few others until he left the shoe business and went into electronics, an experience he had acquired in the army. His correspondence and courtship with Eleanor continued. Litio therefore wrote to Eleanor saying that if she would come to Montreal they would be married and remain in Montreal. The reply was favorable. While they were on the west coast they got to know each other well and it may not have been difficult to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement. I do not know if they ever considered living on the west coast. She arrived in Montreal and a place was made for her in a room with Demetria and Elsie. I cannot recall the actual arrangement with seven people in the house. Eleanor had no problem finding a job as she was a highly efficient stenographer and a good grammatical knowledge of the English language and started working with the Wartime Prices and Trade Board located in downtown Montreal. This gave her a good opportunity to become very familiar with the city and at the same time experience what it was like to live with a family having Italian culture in a French speaking city away from the British culture she had known in her life up to then. Things must have been acceptable to both of them and they married on September seven, 1947. They continued to live with us for a few months until an apartment became available on Lajeunesse Street, fairly close to home and within walking distance.
Zio Antonio had now moved in an apartment also on Drolet street almost directly opposite to our home. The days of living in a single room were finally over and he was now working normal hours, still with the Tramway company. Mom would often visit Zia because she was always sick and most of the time in bed. I always remember her as being sick in bed. At times when she felt better they would come to our house for a visit. She died sometime before 1950, and mother was by her side at that moment. I never knew what her illness was. Uncle kept on living in the same house and working as usual. I do not recall that he ever retired from work. Pension age was not enforced at that time. He became sick and was hospitalized. I remember visiting him in the hospital, I think it was Victoria Hospital. He was released but was never well. He was re-hospitalized and eventually died in 1950 or 1951. Their passing was a loss to us because we had so few relatives. He was mean at times but also very generous especially in helping out, when he could, whoever needed him.
My work at Canadair lasted to the middle of 1947, when there was a large lay-off because of the termination of the contracts they had on hand. Jobs in the aircraft industry became hard to find because the other aircraft plants were having the same problems. I was out of work for about six months. While I looked around for jobs and applied at many places no one was ready to employ me and many said to return sometime later as projects were under preparation and soon might be rehiring people.
In the fall I resumed evening courses at a school that was called The Canadian Technical Institute and offered a five year course in Junior Engineering. Because of the acquired knowledge previously I was placed in the fourth grade. There I started meeting other people and many of them were working at Canadian Pacific Railway, some in the shops, rather mostly in the shops, and a few were now being moved in the engineering offices. There were many projects coming in the building of railway cars both freight and passenger, because during wartime construction of railway vehicles had to be curtailed because of war needs. Actually, at Angus shops in Montreal, a big part of the facilities was assigned to the building of Valentine tanks. Many of these young men of the same age as myself, became good friends, to name a few, Paul Brunelle, Jean Paul Normand, John Broaderip, Ray D'Amour, Roger Pinsonnault, Anthony Teoli had all worked in the shops and had followed a CP apprenticeship and were now being transferred to the engineering offices as draftsmen. As I became better acquainted with these fellows they suggested that I apply for a job at CP as a draftsmen and gave me two names Mr. Roy Smith, Engineer of the Locomotive Department on the ninth floor and Mr. Charles Hassal, Engineer of the Car Department on the eleventh floor of Windsor Station. I called on these two gentlemen and was interviewed first with Mr. Smith and after passing over one hour with him I went to see Mr. Hassal on the eleventh floor and also had a good interview and was somewhat encouraged. Mr. Hassal referred me to one of his assistants Mr. Earl W. Morris who actually looked after employment in the car department. The interview was good and he told me that he would get back to me. I asked that even if I was refused I would like to know so that I could concentrate on other approaches. It seems that after I left or some time later Mr. Smith, Mr. Hassal and Mr. Morris got together as they were all interested in hiring me. They had decided that I would be placed in the car department and Mr. Morris was to relay the information to me and tell me what day I was to report to work. Mr. Morris called me and said that they were offering me a job in the car department and gave me a date, exactly one month later on a Monday morning, on the eleventh floor. I replied that I gladly accepted and would report on the date mentioned. He gave me more information on the working hours, including a Saturday morning, at a salary of $252.50 per month. I repeated that I accepted everything he mentioned. The salary was about the same as I was getting at Canadair. I was at a point that I would have accepted even less just to get into a job especially with a company which at that time was considered a very good place of employment with a guaranteed job for life. As it turned out that is exactly what happened to me. Some of the students with me at the night school told me that they were asked what they knew about me and replies were all favorable.
A day or so later Trans-Canada Airlines called me, I had applied to them also, and offered me a job on the night shift in the airframe maintenance shop and gave me a date to report to work and the name of a person to report to for work on aircraft repairs and specified a salary which I don't remember. I replied that I accepted and would report to work on the date given, for the night shift. While I already knew I had a job with CP, I still had one month before starting to work and I considered it a challenge to go to work on a night shift for a couple of weeks. Within a day or so of that call, the boss I had at Canadair, Mr. Archie Munroe, also called and said that if I wanted to go back to work he could place me in the welding department for now until something better was available. Mr. Munroe and I were always on friendly terms and I explained to him that I had been offered a job at CP as a mechanical draftsman and I had accepted as it was more in line with the kind of work I wanted for the future. He said he was glad to hear that and it was much better than return to a job in the shop and he encouraged me to go with the ideas I had for my future. Now at last everything looked very bright again, especially the acceptance by CP, because the six months out of work had been very hard on me. While I made many applications and would have accepted almost any job I could find I had at last an offer to do some kind of engineering work which I had desired all my life but was never able to attain because of the impossibility of continuing my studies in universities after terminating high school. There was no way that my parents could afford further studies or even if I had worked at the same time. The fact of many work openings became available when the war started and got a job fairly quickly without fully forgetting my studies because I was taking night courses and then eventually the army service. The period from 1940 to 1948, when I was 18 to 26, molded mostly by the world war which affected all industrial possibilities and acquisition of knowledge for a professional career, however in my own way managed to get the most I could for my capabilities. While out of work I received unemployment insurance and was able to contribute a monthly amount at home.
I went to work at Trans-Canada, at Dorval, on the night shift knowing that I would quit within one month. The night shift work was arduous, because of going to work late in the evening and arriving at home early in the morning was not now in my normal time lapse. The work itself was interesting consisting mostly in sheet metal work such has I had done when initially employed at Canadian Vickers but the challenge was there because some worn-out damaged or cracked parts were brought in and handed to me with just saying "Repair it ". and the rest was left up to me. I did the best I could based on my past experience. Sometimes some changes or repairs were done directly in or on the aircraft involving disassembling to reach the actual spot to modify or repair. The Forman of that department was very satisfied with my work and actually told me so. After two weeks when my shift ended in the morning I waited for him to come in and went into his office and told him that I was resigning and explained to him that I was going into a job as a mechanical draftsman and this was more in line with studies I was to undertake in the evening and more in line with the objectives I had for a career. He was disappointed and said that I worked well and would have liked to keep me and could have possibly placed in a better job soon. He agreed that my new job was more in line with my professional aspirations and he understood that I had to make my decisions for my future. I asked if I had to give two weeks notice and he said that I could terminate my employment immediately if I so desired and I accepted. My last pay and unemployment insurance book would be sent to me by mail. We shook hands and said goodbye.
Mr. E. W. Morris of CPR had informed me by phone to report for work on a Monday morning, I believe the date was February 22, 1948, at 8.30AM on the eleventh floor of Windsor Station. When I got there, a little before the appointed hour, there was no one in the office, but in a short time four others showed up who were to be new employees. When the regular employees arrived Mr. Morris introduced me to the person who was to be my supervisor, Mr. Robert (Bob) Lineker. After a few words he told me that the present office was too small to accommodate all the new personnel and therefore an office had been prepared at Angus Shops to receive us. Later in the morning a company car took us to Angus Shops Office Building where most of the second floor had been assigned to the Car Department Drafting Office. Some of the apprentices from the shops had already been moved in to work as draftsman. There were four or five group leaders with five or six draftsmen working under their supervision. We were assigned a drawing board and I was placed under the supervision of Mr. Gerry Maheux who initiated me in the work giving me some simple drawings because I explained to him that railway work was new to me and that I did not know the names of the different parts of railway cars. To me he was more of a teacher than a supervisor and took much time to explain the functions of the different components of a car. With this group we worked on freight cars and there were other groups for passenger car, interior finish, air conditioning, air brakes, running gear and other sections. The drawings were firstly made on paper in pencil and later as time allowed were retraced in ink on glazed fabric to prolong their life.
After two week Mr. Lineker phoned Mr. Maheux and asked about my work and got the reply that my time was lost there and that I should be doing design work and not just tracing drawings. Mr. Lineker asked that I be sent to the Windsor station office. I took all my drafting equipment and reported to Mr. Lineker on the following Monday morning.. One board had been prepared to receive me in that crowded office. I would work under Bob Lineker who was the Assistant Engineer on freight equipment and also stress calculator for all types of cars. Mr. Anthony Teoli was also working under him and we worked somewhat separately at first. Teoli (Tony) was doing mostly the stress calculations for the new cars being built and also was handling a lot of the correspondence. CP at the time was building new cabooses, all steel, because during war time none had been built and the older wooden ones were becoming deficient and had to be retired. I was told to design the cupola (the compartment that projects above the roof) for the cabooses. I was given the general outside dimensions and a clearance outline in which the caboose would pass trough and was told to proceed with the design. Needing further information I looked into drawings of the older wood cabooses to see what was contained in the cupola. With that my design progressed and at times Bob would look at what I was doing. There were few comments and when the drawings were finished, Bob came over and took a more careful look at was produced he turned to me and said "You have designed an all-welded cupola, but the caboose is riveted." Nobody had told me anything about what was required and told him so. After looking at it for a while he turned to me and said "It will be the first all-welded cupola we ever built by CP". The following years the complete cabooses structure was changed to all-welded construction. From that I was given other design jobs, such as the first 16,000 Imperial gallon tank car, the first of that size to be built, a special lower flat car for loading rails, followed by other design on new cars or conversion of one type to another type, such as from box car to double deck stock car for cattle. While doing the design on these cars I also did the stress calculations with the help of Bob and Tony. These being new models had to be submitted to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). This was an unknown organization to me and I visualized it as a big think where all the railroads on the North American continent belonged to it. This was necessary because cars were interchanged from one railroad to other railroads to reach final destination. Bob could see that I was not well versed in railway work and operations and one day he came over and brought me a bunch of books and said that if I wanted to understand what I was doing I would have to know what was required by the regulations contained in these books, and to read them when I had time. These books were; the AAR Interchange Rules, the Wheel and Axle Manual, General Design Manual, which we commonly called the Bible, Transportation of Dangerous Commodities by Rail, the General Orders Issued by the (Canadian) Board of Transport Commissioners and the Railway Act. This was a big task and I asked if everyone in the office had read all these books. His reply was "No, but if you want to get somewhere in railroading you had better read them and understand them." I did read them . I carried them with me, one at a time, when riding to and from work in street cars, busses, and train. The train I took from Central Station to the Town of Mount Royal station gave me a good twenty minutes to concentrate on this task, and then on the bus from the station to St Denis and Jean Talon. Lunch hour also allowed me reading time. By the time I made good progress in this I realized that many others in the office did not know much about these books and started coming to me to ask for information. After two years on the drawing board I was given another task that had nothing to do with making drawings. At about the same time Mr. Lineker resigned and went to work elsewhere, I never knew for sure where. Any contacts we had after was only when he would call me for very specific things. That was his type of character and it was difficult to talk to him about personal matters. As to job knowledge he was the person how knew more about engineering matters and would freely given his time when he was asked. I was disappointed to see him leave.
I shall return to my job later as it occupied me for the rest of my working life. At this point I want to return to my family life and to what were the preoccupations of a young man of twenty-six years in 1948.
At his time dad was still working, Anna was married and had children, Litio was also married, Demetria had completely recovered from her illness and did not return to work, Elsie was now working and mom was tending the home. Life was good and there was plenty of employment available. Salaries were commensurate with the work done without real labor problems and annual pay adjustments and now paid annual vacations were being introduced. My social life consisted mostly of activities with the friends mentioned previously but in addition the family living downstairs from us, the Bramucci family, including seven young ladies and four young men and some of comparable ages to ours. We would often get together visiting up and down or go to the movies, or to dances at the Casa d'Italia and on weekends go for bicycle rides, mostly on Sunday afternoons. At some point I became very involved with Iolanda and actually resulted into a courtship. Our activities continued as mentioned previously plus additional activities such as visiting Lafontaine Park, Belmont Park which had Ferris wheels and other games and was located right next to the Cartierville bridge actually a few minutes walk from where we live now, social activities such as weddings engagements of people of our own age groups. The visiting schedule at the time was that the man would visit his girl on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons and evenings. The other friends also followed the same visiting pattern and we would exchange visits very often. Home amusement at the time was high-fy music, radio, discussion about the events of the day, current affairs. Television was just beginning to appear for general use and purchase at high prices. Iolanda (Yolande) was working at Canadian Marconi Co. as well has her sister Mary and brothers Mario, and Louis. They had worked there during wartime and continued for many years except for Yolande who resigned at the time of her marriage. We were engaged at Christmas time in 1949 and set our marriage date to May 27, 1950. We looked for an apartment before this date but housing was still being affected by wartime shortages. Much new construction was going on and we found a house we liked in a project that was going on north of Jarry park. The money I had saved was intended for our initial furniture but not enough for the down payment on the house. The cost of the house was $13,700. and required an advance payment of $2,300. I discussed this with my parents and suggested that they take a $2,000. mortgage on their house for a period of two years and I would make all payments including notary fees, and to ask uncle Cesare Iadeluca if he would accept the mortgage as he had done when the house was first purchased. Uncle accepted and I was able to make the down payment on the house. It would be located at 8390 Waverly street, it was not yet under construction but was promised to be ready for the week or our marriage. The last Friday before of our marriage, which took place on Saturday May 27, 1950, at ten o'clock in the morning at the church of our parish Madonna della Difesa and I paid mom the last payment which I was giving bi-.weekly for room and board.
This completes Volume Two of the Saga at May 27, 1950, at the age of 28 years. I still have much to cover until I reach my present age of seventy-six. God willing more shall be written as time allows. I shall give more detail on our marriage in the next volume.