Way back in 1942, I was working in the Royal Bank in Langley. They needed some staff and the manager had gone to the principal at the high school for his recommendations. Two girls were chosen, and I was one of them. They came to my home to see me, and said if I wanted the job to come in the next day, a Saturday when they were open for half the day, and I was put to work!
I started hand posting ledgers in the savings department. Then I was a ‘teller’ at a time when I was in a cage and not even the manager could go in unless I was present. When there was any slow time with customers, I would help the accountant and learn how to do all the end of the month reports.
One month end the accountant was off sick. The manager was very worried as he didn’t know how to make out the returns… he just knew how to sign them. I told him that I could do them, and he was greatly relieved. Good points for me! I just remembered… One day I was called in to the manager’s office. A customer had reported me for the way I had treated an old negro man. I had more respect for the old fellow than for the guy that reported me!
That was back in the days when some people thought that we were not all equal. This old man reminded me of Uncle Remus, and who could not love him?
After a while my folks decided to move back to Vancouver, so I moved along with them. I got transferred to the Main Office of the Royal Bank, at Hastings and Granville. At first I was in what they called The Silver Cage. All the money from B.C.Electric ( now B.C. Hydro) bus fares was put through that cage.
Once a month the bank sent three people (one man and two of the girls) to Brittania Beach and the mine site, taking the bank to them. I was one of the ‘group’ that went the first month I worked there. We were picked up by taxi at the bank and taken to the boat, and again on the way back, a taxi! We ‘opened’ the bank when we got there, stayed over night..then were taken to the mine site the next morning… with another ‘over-nighter’, and opened the next day for half a day before returning down the mountain, and homeward. We had to walk down three hundred steps!
This was at a time when we had rationing. We ate with the miners, and couldn’t believe the pies and cakes they had, Sugar was on the rationing list but you would not have known it there.
I was soon transferred to Discount Department, which consisted of one man, Mac, and me! When Mac went on holidays for two weeks, I ran the department. My biggest thrill there was to “put through” (do the paper work) a loan for one million dollars, which was a VERY large amount in those days. Not so anymore!
From there I was transferred to the Royal Bank, Hastings and Homer as manager of the savings department…. where I stayed until I left to get married (December 8, 1947).
The bank had a lunch room for staff of any of the branches. We could have a full course meal, and payed for it with tickets that we bought for ten cents! That’s right… TEN CENTS! Who wouldn’t eat there!
To be continued!