We reach the top with brains, not muscle

It was either humour writer Erma Bombeck or Dorothy on “The Golden Girls” who advised we use the good dishes, wear our best clothes, and enjoy forbidden desserts because we never know how long we’ll be alive. Dorothy said, “Suppose the passengers on the Titanic had passed up the chocolate cake and a few hours later they were drowned?”

That’s the way I feel about buying books these days. Why should I wait weeks for the library to stack on its shelves a non-fiction book I’m keen to read? Suppose they never stock it because I’m the only patron with an interest in reading that book? For instance, in a list of a month’s new books acquired by the library, often I don’t find a single title, subject, or author that appeals to me.

So I’ve loosened my pension strings and begun buying the newest books as they’re published if I truly want to read them. Not that I’m going hog wild about it. Chances are I”ll read the book only once before stuffing it on a shelf or loan it to someone who shares my offbeat interests.

Some of the new books I find sitting at 40 per cent off as I shop at a grocery or drugstore. If not, I phone an order to Misty River Books and in due time, the book arrives.

My latest acquisition is All Alone on the 68th Floor, How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction, by Barbara A. Res. I first met Barbara Res as she was interviewed on TV in relation to the years she worked as a hands-on construction manager for Donald Trump’s projects including the building of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

In that interview she told of Trump wanting to replace the outside of one wall of the Tower with a material she didn’t approve of. She refused to order the product. I took uncommon satisfaction from this small woman standing up to the 6 foot 2 inch bossman and sticking to her engineering knowhow.

She was born in a poor section of Brooklyn in 1949 to Irish/Syrian parents. She worked hard to wriggle her way up from one publicly funded school to another, finally after five years graduating as an engineer, one of three females in a class of 800.

Those were the years when women were expected to wear skirts, never slacks, though you can imagine dressing in a miniskirt on a skeleton job site many feet up in the air was a cool job in more ways than one. In every case the head honcho ordered her to the office though her math skills were needed on each succeeding floor as the building grew. She learned to read layout plans for every phase of a project from carpentry to plumbing and electrical and everything in between.

She was in her 20s when she met Donald Trump. He named her Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization.

Her advice to young women is to enter the trades, enjoy the work, and do it on your own terms,in your own way, not as a man would. Many trades require more brains and knowhow than brute strength.

I’d like to see a group of women form their own construction company, trained in every facet from engineering, concrete, to pipe laying, plumbing, electrical and all coordinated to fit with their family care taking, even setting up their own daycare. They could do it.

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