Elevator construction men found time for romance on the side

Commentary by Neil Lieb with photo from his archive

A little quirk happened in West Bend, Iowa. Construction men were known as love ’em and leave ’em. Blaine Bell, Ed Hart (roommate from Gilmore, Iowa) and myself all married girls from West Bend. Pop Bell was a sawman for Bill Russell—all he did was cut lumber, all the pieces, all the forms. He had a big table saw, probably an 18-inch rotary blade driven by a two- or three-horsepower electric motor.

Neil A. Lieb, left, and Blaine Bell .

Neil A. Lieb, left, and Blaine Bell .

Blaine Bell and I, in West Bend, they built a feed manufacturing building next to the elevator next to Main Street, downtown. My wife Jolene’s father, Joseph Higgins, had a barber shop. They had an apartment right behind the barber shop and she used to come out and hang up clothes and the normal stuff. My wife was a redheaded Irishman. Blaine kept saying, “I have to see if I can get a date,” and it irritated me.

One day I made a point to be on the ground when I knew she was coming out of the house. I got a date with her. She wasn’t supposed to date construction people. We were married over 59 years. That was in October of 1950.

Editor’s note: This anecdote is from an interview on July 18, 2014.

2 comments on “Elevator construction men found time for romance on the side

  1. Teresa Toland says:

    So enjoyed this interview. My parents Darrell & Rosina Greenlee met when my dad was building an elevator in Ipswich SD in 1946. My grandma did not want mom dating a construction worker but Mom did anyway. Before completion of construction Dad asked her to marry him & she refused because he was not Catholic, so Dad continued on to next job in Oklahoma, where he took instructions & kept writing Mom. She was unaware he was taking instructions until he returned to SD with a marriage proposal & the rest is history. They had 6 children & were married 35 years when Dad died of cancer & Mom just left us this week to join him in heaven. What a special relationship they had. They would have been married 66 years Dec 28, 2014.

  2. Nice to hear from you, Teresa. Maybe construction men weren’t so bad after all.

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