Friday, July 22, 2005
A voice from the past
Charlie Latulippe, Bellman
"I came to work as a bellhop at the Hawthorne Hotel in 1927, when I was about seventeen years old, and stayed until I was appointed to the Salem Fire Department in 1940.
"During my time at the Hawthorne, bellhops worked a six-day week. One day we would work a split shift, from 6:30 a.m. to noon and from 6 p.m. to 11:30 pm., and the next day from noon to 6 p.m. There were usually four bellhops on each shift and we all took turns operating the elevator.
"My pay for a 49-hour week was $5 plus tips. For the first few years I worked at the Hotel the money was pretty good -- at the time the Hawthonre had 150 rooms and was a very busy place. But after the Crash in 1929 there were many days when we didn't make a dime. Tips from an occasional banquet or wedding helped us survive.
"I would have to say the best part of the job was that it gave me a chance to meet a lot of wonderful people and a few that were famous. Once I was assigned to escort Mr. Dawes, the vice president of the United States, up to the Salem Marine Society cabin on the hotel roof. Not many people get an opportunity like that."