Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Lady in the Vault

I loved working at the bank during my earliest of Honeymoon Days. It was the first time as a young person to be in a community of women with a like minded purpose. A paycheck on Fridays. Conversations during our lunch hour revolved around the direct deposit time, layaway payments to be made, and Christmas Club deposits marked in little blue books provided by our employers.

Our lunch room was in the basement of the bank. Brown paper sacks lined the shelves of an ancient refrigerator,  the crinkle of wax paper was the soothing background to our familiar routine. Sandwiches cut on the diagonal, an apple or an orange, a Tab or Fresca to quench our thirst.

Our lunch room was many floors underneath the lobby of the bank and could only be reached by the same elevator customers used to visit their safe deposit box in the bank's vault. Watching customers come and go during my lunch hour,  my curiosity to see the vault for myself got the better of me.

A long hallway and several turns ended at two steps that led to small landing that could be seen through imposing black iron gates. A desk just like my own receptionist's desk was pushed into one corner where the most striking woman rose to greet me. Tall and slender, elegant in our navy blue bank uniform; she had jet black hair piled high above her head in a fashion I was too young to recall having ever seen before. A beehive. Her eyes were heavily lined with black mascara, her lips fire engine red to match her long finger nails, her voice asking if she could help me was familiar to someone with parents both from the South. It seems time had stood perfectly still in this place.

Visiting the lady in the vault became a part of my daily lunch routine. Homespun advice from another era was mesmerizing coming from someone who looked as she did. It seems her husband met her in the 1950's at a street race when she was only 15 and fell in love with her velvety black hair. He loved it to this day now 25 years married and three children nearly grown. Her husband was a very successful owner of several eye glass manufacturing companies.

I know now I would not be where I am today in life it were not for The Lady in the Vault. My daily visits to say hello led to an invitation to dinner for my husband and myself. In conversation about my husband's working for his relative's moving company and not being happy led to an offer of employment on the spot to manufacture eye glasses. The opportunity to leave the family business gave him the needed confidence to stand on his own and re-enlist in the military which was his true calling.

Please do not Pin pattern to Pinterest


My Vintage Mending said...

Just touched beyond belief. Tiny tears are rolling because of the joy I have found here on your pages in the crafts and in the words. I picture seeing you out the window across our sinks each morning, coffee in hand and aprons on. Lunches in our husbands hand and safely kissed for a good days work. This is why blogland has become such a nice place to be, thank you for such a warm welcome. This will be treasured...smiles and tears of joy...Renee

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Very sweet, Elizabeth! We have a bank here in the town where I work {actually a village} and the original bank from the 1700/1800's is still used to this day as a bank. Except for the modern conveniences of technology this bank has kept many of the same features it most likely had all those hundreds of years ago.

Joanne said...

I feel God leads us where we need to go. What a blessing for you and your Husband. What a great story! I could see every aspect of it in my head~ I was totally there!
Blessings, Joanne

Patricia said...

What a sweet little clock. I especially like the little bird settled on top. Cute!

Suz said...

What a beautiful story, E. I love your happy clock, too! Hope all is well with you...you bring me so much joy with your writing and craft work.

annemarie said...

Wonderful story and wonderful felt characters - you always bring a smile to my face.

Scrap for Joy said...

I loved reading this rememberance about yor days in the bank. I worked as a teller back in the late 60's and early 70's. Before computers....yikes! Calculators were our most sophisticated machinery. We entered Christmas Club deposits by hand...oh my God I sould old! I could see the Lady in the Vault very clearly...she sounded pretty glamorous. How serendipitous that your lives were changed by this friendship.
Your little clock is so sweet and how happy Renee will be to have it in her crafting room. Isn't she a sweetie?


Hi E,
You have so many stories...and you are so kind to giveaway your creations!
Thanks for visiting me..

Mary said...

Elizabeth, such a wonderful story. You tell the story with such great details, I never fail to enjoy each and every one. The little clcok is so sweet and Renee is blessed indeed with your kindness.

Cindy said...

Great story, Elizabeth. Isn't amazing how things seem to happen for a purpose? I have a tale about how I met my husband through a set of unrelated circumstances. If one thing had been different... I won't go there!
Have a great day!

Ina said...

as always, beautiful! i love reading your blog. ;0

Nancy said...

Me too, Elizabeth! I worked at a bank in San Antonio as a receptionist...also my first job. I was almost fired when the personnel officer found out I was pregnant - because in the late '60s that was cause for dismissal! I had to quit when I started "showing" at 7 months!
I love your happy little clock. Just seeing your craft room filling again makes me smile. You are so right about our blog friends - they are such blessings. xoxo Nancy

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous....you are able to remember such great details.....not just with this post about your bank job, but with other memories you've shared! That would be such an awesome gift!!

I did enjoy reading this....and it truly is amazing when we think about the impact to our lives that comes from meeting others!

How awesome that Renee received your sweet clock!!!

Happy Wednesday! dana