June 30, 2016

Mostly sunny

Delcie Pound lives adventurous life

“A secretary doesn’t have adventures, she has experiences.” The very vibrant 90-year-old Delcie Pound could expand that statement to include her whole life. She has worked in retail, agriculture, education, manufacturing, as a seamstress and for the government. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Pound did it all, from working in a coal mine as a child to becoming the executive secretary to the dean of Malone College, from doing ironing to pay her room and board to working for the Civil Services Commission and the Agriculture Extension Service at the Ohio State University, to sewing all her own clothes as well as costumes for dancers.

Pound was born Feb. 13, 1917, in Jackson County, where she attended a one-room schoolhouse. She graduated from Wellston High School, and a month later started at Bliss Business College. A bookkeeping teacher she had assisted as a high school senior arranged a scholarship: Pound worked for Bliss for one month in exchange for one month’s tuition.
She completed a 16-month course in four months, testing out on all subjects but shorthand, and got perfect scores of 100 on everything except spelling — she missed the word ‘gherkin’ because she had never heard it before. She typed 90 words per minute and took shorthand at 120 words per minute. She was the first in her class to be sent out on an interview, and got the job at Maize General Tire Store that very day.

Pound worked at the Ohio State University from 1937 until she married in 1939. She and her husband Paul, who worked for Ohio Power Company, lived most of the time in Newark, with a period of 13 years in Canton, and raised two children, Nancy of Medina and Roger of Lisbon. Paul passed away in 1992. She has two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. In 2006, Pound moved to Medina.

“Our marriage started about the same time World War II did. Many of Paul’s friends and relatives were called up for military service. He agreed I should look for a job so when he was called up I would be all set.” The very next day, after Pound finished up what she had to do around the house, she took the bus downtown to answer an ad to work for the Aluminum Company of America. She arrived at 11 a.m., and was told the specifications supervisor needed a secretary in the worst way. He was expected at noon, when he would interview her.
He arrived, rushed, and dictated a half-page letter and told Pound he would be back to sign it after he had a bite of lunch, after which he left a note for the receptionist: “Shorthand OK, typing OK, girl OK.” Pound was on the payroll as of 1 p.m. that day. At 5 p.m. she took the bus home, and floored her husband when he asked how she made out with her first attempt to get back into the job market.

Pound worked for ACA until 1944. Late that summer, she and Paul bought their first home. They moved in on Armistice Day, just as all the bells and whistles were sounding at 11 a.m.
Shortly after moving in, Pound was up on the dining room roof washing windows when she was distracted by the neighbor’s dog. She crawled to the eaves to talk to the dog and was greeted by a man from the government employment office downtown. He said, “Delcie, do you want another job? They need you badly out at the Fifth Service Command.” He waited for her to come down from the roof and change her clothes, then took her to the office. She started work that afternoon as the local secretary for the Civil Service Commission and stayed until it closed one year later. From there she went to Holophane Inc. as secretary of the engineering department and stayed until about three months before son Roger was born in 1947.

Pound then stayed home to fully immerse herself in her children’s activities. She reentered the workforce again in 1966, the year Roger graduated from high school, and did not retire until 1979, the same year Paul retired. During that time she worked at Diebold.

Pound’s daughter describes her mother as one tough lady. She never learned to drive and relied on public transportation for everything. She even went to a job interview once carrying her own rickety typewriter and card table. Pound has been hit by lightning, was in an earthquake, suffered sunstroke and had a stroke in 2001. Two years ago she had both knees replaced at the same time — 16 days later she was home and finished with therapy.

Pound always found time for gardening even with her continuing involvements. She was the recruitment director of the Central Ohio Girl Scout Council, organized the Mothers’ Club that prepared weekly meals for the Boy Scouts’ meetings, repeatedly served as president of the PTA, has been Regent of the DAR twice, helped in whatever capacity was needed at church, and spent more than 20 years volunteering for the Genealogy Society.

Pound is a descendent of the Mayflower and is related to many Revolutionary War soldiers. She loves to read history books, but clarifies: “Not historical novels, they don’t always get the facts correct, or they take liberties with them.”

Anyone who, with her husband, transported bee hives in the backseat of their car and laughed about it, who hid cash in the refrigerator among the lettuce and carrots and thereby foiled a burglar who broke in that evening, who remembers the revenuers not being able to locate a neighbor’s still because it was buried in the manure pile, or who, as a young child, fixed a sandwich with coal ashes to thwart a sneaky thief, has a definite sense of adventure.