Sunday, January 6, 2013


I will never forget my first day meeting Chester on a job in White Plains.  He shook my hand and commented on my ‘manly’ handshake.  Chester then explained, in a long, dragged out theatrical manner, to me that there were two things that just don’t happen.  There is no crying in baseball and there are no women in construction.  As soon as I heard this come out of his mouth, I thought to myself that this is going to be a very tough job to work on.  Imagine a guy who is very tall with a big basketball for a belly that he rubs often.  Chester has a giant head of curly salt and pepper hair with an overgrown mustache and a five o’clock shadow.  Chester usually wore a cheap netted baseball hat, worn out solid color t-shirts, ragged Dockers pleated knit pants, and moccasins.   He does look like an odd character when you first see him and definitely when he opens his mouth and talks to people. 

When Chester latches onto someone, he usually makes a statement and will walk back and forth repeating that statement.  His repeated statements were intended to take a swipe and zing someone.  I came onto a job and there were a few workers.  One guy who introduced himself was a short and muscular black guy named "Bob" on the job.  Bob was very nice and explained what we were working on in the space.  I first get there and I am given a very easy task to work on.  This was because they didn’t trust the new girl helper on the job at all.  After awhile, I was gradually trusted more and more as time went along.  That is one thing that I still face in this business.  Each new job I come to, I meet the new foreman who is gun shy about giving me work that requires skills.  The good news is I usually end up on a job with guys I have worked with before.  This and my accumulated reputation for being a good, competent worker will sometimes follow me and help me out.  For the most part, I wasn’t fortunate enough to have my reputation follow me. I had to work very hard to create this working reputation and win over this guy who clearly didn’t like me from the beginning.........

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