Bernice Pederson on work

Published Oct 17th 2013

I’ve been fortunate in that I worked because I wanted to, and I was able to find jobs, from the dime store and office in Virginia to the courthouse in Hudson, where I worked for 16 years from the time our youngest child went to grade school.

I was the deputy to the county clerk at the Hudson courthouse. And even when I was working, I kept up much of the homemaking I had learned from my parents while on the farm. I made the family dinner every night so we could all sit down together, and I was always making homemade bread.

In the courthouse, there were a lot of women working there, which was unusual for the time because not of lot of women worked. It was mostly women in the office. All the lawyers and judges were men.

I got the job by going there in person to give the hiring manager my background information.

I loved my work there.

My boss was Lola Turnquist, who was the county clerk. When she retired, Verna Stolberg took over.

Eventually, my work expanded to include the making out of all the county checks. After making them out, I had to run them through a machine that added the amount and the necessary signature.

I also sold licenses – hunting, fishing, marriage, etc. It was so interesting.

Clerking included sitting in court and taking notes. At first, I took notes by hand and then typed them up.

Eventually, by the end of my career, we had started using machines to take the courthouse notes, which saved time since we didn’t have to record things twice – once in handwriting and then again by typing.

I retired shortly after Ralph had a stroke in 1978 in order to be able to take care of him.

As he recovered, we started to think about other business ideas and eventually decided to run an antique shop from the house.

We had been interested for a long time, always buying things for ourselves, so we decided to simply expand our buying and open the shop.

In addition to antiques, we also sold antique reproductions, including furniture, china cabinets and chairs. We did a lot of our buying in Milwaukee.

We ran ads that listed our opening times; they could vary as we needed.

It was very fun! We really enjoyed it, particularly going to house sales and auctions.

When Ralph got cancer in 1987, we sold everything and closed the shop.

I’ve never owned a credit card because my dad always told me not to charge anything, to pay with cash.

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