I worked on second shift at Brighton Corp. from the time I was hired in July of 1973 until I transferred to first shift in September of 1979. I had also worked second shift at Deerfield Mfg. for 3 years prior to Brighton, so I spent the entire decade of the 70’s on second shift. Since there were no DVR’s or video on demand at that time, I got out of the habit of watching TV. My hours at Brighton were 3 pm to 11:30 pm. I’d get home around midnight, get something to eat, get cleaned up, then watch some Johnny Carson. There was nothing on later back then. This was before cable. After Carson it was sign-off – the flag waving while the national anthem played, then a test pattern. So I’d usually be asleep by 2. In the morning I’d wake up about 9 or 10, do whatever needed to be done, eat lunch, then leave for work at 2:00.
When you are young is a good time to work these hours. When you are childless and your wife doesn’t work, and mine didn’t, then she can keep the same hours. And when your children are young it’s not a problem because you get to see them all day before you go to work. Also, you are on a different schedule than the rest of the world. Which means little traffic and no lines for whatever you need or want to do. I was home while most of the world was at work, and I was at work while most of the world was at home. The biggest downer was Friday nights, having to wait until midnight to begin your weekend. Another bummer were the holidays. I have worked some Halloween nights, and some New Year Eves, which is no fun. On the plus side, as I stated before, there was much less supervision on second shift. Management usually left the offices by 5, and then we were on our own the rest of the night.
There were other drawbacks. The crazies are out late at night, when I’d be driving home from work. One time when I pulled out from the parking lot I was rear-ended by someone flying. Before I realized what had happened, he pulled around me and sped away. Of course I gave chase. He hit the interstate, with me on his tail. We got up to a hundred. Luckily, it was late on a weeknight and there wasn’t much traffic. There also wasn’t a police officer, never is when you need one. But he finally pulled over, and I pulled off behind him. He opened his door like he was going to get out, so I got out. Then he slammed his door and took off again. I let him go, since I had gotten a good look at his car and had his license number. I drove to the Sharonville police station and filed a report. It wasn’t a half hour later they located the car abandoned nearby. He turned himself in within 24 hours of the wreck, which kept him from being charged with hit and run. In court he was cited and ordered to pay damages. Which he never did. I had already paid my $100 deductible and gotten my car fixed. Two years later I got a check from my insurance company for $40. They had kept after him, and had finally settled for 40% of the damages, entitling me to 40% of my deductible back. Two years. Insurance companies never give up.
Also, I was on the road late at night in bad weather. I remember once when a bad snow storm hit. I shoveled my driveway clear before going to work, and it didn’t snow any more. So I wasn’t paying much attention when I was driving down my street after midnight and pulled into my driveway and got stuck. The snow plow had cleared our street and piled a deep bank at the end of my driveway. It being dark, and me being tired, I didn’t see it and drove right into it. My car was sticking half-way out into the street. I couldn’t leave it like that, so I was outside in the dark, with it being just above zero, until 1 in the morning shoveling snow out from under and around my car.
The worst part of second shift was when my oldest son began school full-time. That was in September of 1978. Once he started first grade I never got to see him during the week. I used to look in on him when I got home from work to see him sleeping in his bed. But that didn’t last long. By September of the following year just as he began second grade I went to first shift.
Enough harping on the bad stuff. I remember all those long lazy mornings lounging in bed, no alarm clock, waking up every morning like I can do now only on the weekend. I’ll have that again soon, once I retire. No more alarm clock. Sweet.