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Michael John Munroe in conversation February 11, 1969

Stories of My Grandfather - Michael John Munroe

michael munroe June 23, 1999

When my grandfather turned the TV to one of the prize fights, I could tell that my grandmother was angry.  She didn't exactly stamp around but the atmospher chilled and I noticed that she no longer addressed questions to my grandfather.  She now would only communicate through me.  

The TV room in their city row house was less a room than it was a wide hallway between a formal sitting room and the dining room.  The dining room had french doors with lace curtains, a row of window seats and on  the window sills were her African violets.

I think my grandparents had color TV before we even had a black and white set.  The TV sat on a big mahogony side table that was in the space in front of the open staircase to the second floor.  My grandfather used pieces of broken glass to scrape off the old finish. Today we would use a flat scraper or a sander. In my grandparents house, the steps to both the second floor and to the third floor were always beautifully finished.

The shows my grandmother loved to watch with me and Granddad included, Queen For a Day, Art Linkletter, Laurence Welk, and Jackie Gleason.  My grandfather loved Jimmy Durante and his prize fights.

Granddad had lots of stories.  He had grown up in the rough side of Wilmington leaving school in the sixth grade.  When he left school, he continued to leave each morning with his lunch pretending to go to school for some time until his parents found out.  He had worked at many jobs such as taking cows to pasture, working on a hack taking people into Wilmington, working in a glass factory, shining shoes and a rolling mill.

In the end, his father helped him get a seven year apprenticeship at Lobdells where he took up the trade of a molder. A molder was one step below a pattern maker who would have been just below an engineer.  It was a skilled job with great responsibility as the rolls he poured were the among the largest being made at that time.  Lobdells made chilled iron rolls for the paper industry and this work was a very good occupation.  At Lobdells, he got the nick name Pete.  He started out as "little Pete" until the original Pete left and granddad became known simply as Pete.
 My granddad worked at Lobdells until he retired and there are several stories from that period of his life that will have to wait until later.