The Royal Bank

I started in the bank in May of 1942, working in the Savings department, hand posting ledgers! At the end of every month you had to list every account balance, and the total had to balance with the total in the General Ledger.

I worked up to teller, and really enjoyed that. Mr. Shanks was very strict about not sitting down on the job. We were not allowed to have a stool in the teller’s cage with us.  Yes, those were the days when the teller was in a cage, and no one could enter, including the manager, if you weren’t there. You were responsible for the cash that you had… and that had to balance every night before it got locked away in the vault and you could go home.

`       Verna Frisby was the accountant, and any time I wasn’t busy I was helping her in order to learn. One time at the end of the month, Mr. Shanks was quite upset. Verna was off sick and all the “end of the month” returns had to be done and sent to head office… and he didn’t know how to do them… but I did! I did beome the assistant accountant before I left when mom and dad and I moved back to Vancouver.

In May of 1943, I had my first holiday from the bank and I went to visit Lena for two weeks. I was coming home by train, and Al drove me to Williams Lake. We arrived there at noon… he had to visit the hospital, and then right back to the valley. The train didn’t leave until eight in the evening, and I didn’t know anyone in town! I was sitting on a rock when two soldiers came along… and I went and watched them fishing. One of them took me for dinner and saw me off on the train… never heard from him again for four years.

At dinner, I figured he probably didn’t have a lot of money (just like me). He said he wasn’t hungry, so just had a coffee… I ordered a hamburger and coffee… and he told me later that he was hungry, but was afraid I might order something expensive and he wouldn’t have enough money to pay for it if he ordered anything!

I remember how we would count up our cash and balance, hopefully, at the end of the day… just ready to lock it up in the vault and go home…when who would show up but the auditors, and we would have to stay while they checked everything out.      You never knew when they would appear!

I also remember being called in to the manager’s office.. a customer had reported that I waited on a negro man the same as I did everyone else! He was such a dear… reminded me of Uncle Remus in the stories! Actually I respected him more than the man that complimented me, as his life was not ”spotless.”


6 thoughts on “The Royal Bank

  1. You obviously were good at handling money and did well in the bank, working up to assistant accountant. In retrospect, though, I’ll bet you were glad to have had the holiday… who knew what a chance meeting with that soldier would lead to? 😉

    • Mornin’ Carol, Yep, who knew! I wouldn’t have met you all those years ago!
      Tme for tea? Greg says I make the best tea on the internet!

  2. Hi Norma, thanks for the tea! You make the best tea on the internet!
    Nice photo of you in 1943 wearing your banker’s glasses!
    My first job was in a Royal bank in Montreal in 1964, but I don’t remember any of the other employees’ names, or what my job entailed. I don’t know how you remember all the details that you do! But it sure makes for more interesting stories!
    I hope you’re feeling well. Have a great week! Hugs!

    • Mornin’ Greg! A fellow banker! A few years later than me, though, so no hand posted ledgers in your time! I do make pretty good tea, don’t I? I can name three of the gals in that photo, but the other two slipped my mind. I’m still in the Healing process from the fractured vertebrae, but it is getting a bit easier each day. I hope you are well?

  3. This is a piece of history in the way banking was much done. Too bad banking didn’t stay simple – the world wouldn’t be in such a mess!
    Interesting piece today, Norma!

    • Mornin’ Heather! Tea is ready… always is around here! Carol and Greg are here, so pull up a chair and join us. Are you saying that I’m a piece of history.. or did you mean the banking procedure? I’m old enough to be a piece of history, aren’t I!

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