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My Bradley Experience

There were so many great answers from alumni to the last issue’s “Big Question.” We chose this one by Herb Mueller ’50 for our Bradley Experience essay.

How I Earned Money as a Student

By Herb Mueller ’50

It was relatively easy to earn money as a student in 1946, if you were willing to work. Having survived the Depression, our family was paying off old debts, and there were few funds for college for my older sister and me.

But in 1943 I was offered a job with F.W. Woolworth (a five-and-dime store) as the stock clerk and janitor for $0.33 per hour, a blessing for the family finances. It was almost full time, working after school on evenings and weekends, and it became a good foundation for the many years that followed. I also worked as a receiving clerk at a department store with a bakery and in an ice house (the only form of refrigeration back then) among others.

After graduation from high school, I worked in the commissary of the Pullman Company, primarily servicing club cars. The job paid well, and by October I had saved enough for most of my freshman expenses.

Working at the Bradley cafeteria paid for my meals and a little more. At the time, Bradley only had rooms for freshmen, and I had to scramble to find housing I could afford for my sophomore year.

I ended up sharing a room with one bed with another student for the first semester, and we joined the same fraternity (Tau Kappa Epsilon) for the next semester. We moved into the fraternity house, and we each had our own bed. In the summer, I had factory jobs that paid well.

During the school year it was back to washing dishes, busing and waiting on tables, and washing pots and pans at the fraternity house and at the cafeteria. In those days there were no rubber gloves or garbage can liners.

There were many large, old homes near the campus, and the many seniors who lived in those homes were no longer able to wrestle with their heavy storm windows. Washing the storm window and the exterior window, replacing the screens with the storm windows made me $0.50 richer.

Work left little time for study, but I managed enough credits for my graduation in June of 1950. I was debt free with a few dollars left over. Jobs for non-veterans were not plentiful that year, however I did accept a job with an insurance company for $250 a month.

On June 25, the North Koreans invaded South Korea, and by October 3rd I was in the Army with a secure job for the next 26 months.

An experience like mine is no longer possible today, and the Bradley Experience is considerably changed for the better. But Bradley gave me the opportunity for a college education.

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