Working in the Bank
In the 1930s and much of the ’40s, the Haynes Bank was situated in the Store Building in downtown Cliffside. It was tucked in the space between the drug store and the department store, that later, after the “new” bank building was erected in 1948, became the home of the “Cloth Shop.”
I worked in the bank from the time I finished high school in the spring of 1939 until I left to join the army in April 1941.
As you entered the front door of the bank, Mr. J. C. “Banker” Hames would be sitting at his desk (B). Behind him on a small table was his typewriter (G). At the front near the window was a desk (A) for customers, who would enter by a gate in the wooden fence beside Banker’s desk. B. B. Goode and others did their paperwork and deposit slips here.
In the space between the customer’s desk and Banker’s desk is where customers needing a loan or having other bank business would sit and consult with him. On his desk was the only phone; he would take all the calls that came in.
Clarence “Jeff” McKinney occupied a desk (D) behind the customer’s counter (C). Jeff would go up to the counter when a customer came in. Sometimes Banker would also wait on customers. We all wore vests.
Sometimes when several customers were waiting I would also work the counter a short time, then go back to my other duties, which included keeping the counter’s Masonite top nice and smooth with a weekly application of Johnson’s Paste Wax. I also “operated” the hand press that punched little holes in the checks that were paid. Most of the records were kept (written) in long hand by Jeff. We had to make up a written list of all checks sent to Charlotte to be credited to our account there and that long hand job fell to me.
There was a cumbersome device called a posting machine (E) that always sat behind the counter, and next to it was a metal file box on wheels (F) that held a record for each checking customer. I stood in front of that machine for hours on end, posting every withdrawal or deposit on those records. (These were sent or given to customers each month as their bank statement.) The file box was rolled into the vault at night.
The posting machine was mechanical, not electric. We inserted a “ledger sheet” into the top rear, rolled it down and around just like an old typewriter. Then we shifted the carriage over to the proper column and punched the numbers in and then pulled a lever handle on the right side to mechanically print the numbers on the sheet.
Every week we got a list of money needed to put in the mill’s pay envelopes. We would make up two cloth bags with the money needed and I would walk across to the mill office with them. The first time, I stuck the bank’s revolver in my waist band. After that I didn’t carry it. I needed to lighten the load; those coins were heavy.
Jeff, Hollis Owens and I attended classes in Shelby at night, It was a program by the American Bankers Association and was held during the winter months. Jeff drove one week, Owens drove one week and since I had no car I paid Jeff to drive when it was my turn.