There's no place like home for Monongahela's Betty Brooks
Some people live their whole lives in their hometowns.
For Betty Brooks' family, Monongahela has been a part of their history for generations.
She was born in the Stogeltown section of Monongahela and grew up in the same house that her parents and grandparents lived.
Although she no longer lives in that same house, it still stands in the city.
“I'm just a hometown girl,” Brooks said.
Brooks, 90, graduated from Monongahela High school in 1941. She was a Bell Telephone operator during World War II.
“Monongahela was the toll center for the Valley,” Brooks said. “We took care of all of the long distance calls in the Valley. They all went out of Monongahela.”
Brooks said the operators handled plenty of calls from servicemen calling home.
She never overheard any of these calls, though.
“You weren't allowed to have any small talk,” Brooks said. “It was all business. If it was an emergency, you could relay that information.
“They were always observing us to make sure we were doing our job.”
Brooks met her husband, Raymond, in Warren, Pa. while she was visiting an aunt there. He moved to the Valley in search of a job and got one at Carnegie Steel.
After working at Bell, Brooks became a stay-at-home mother, raising three children.
Today, David, is a Baptist minister in Columbus, Ohio, Mary Emery, living in New Hampshire, is a retired customer service representative for a bank, and Barbara Henderson is a third-party billing supervisor at Naval Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.
Brooks has watched her hometown change over the years. The city once boasted a population of more than 10,000.
Brooks said her favorite aspect of the city was her neighborhood.
“I loved where I lived,” Brooks said. “I was close to my church, close to the post office.”
She said the people in the various neighborhoods were closer in past decades.
“People don't walk the streets at night like they used to,” Brooks said. “I used to walk my dog at 10 at night.”
It is fitting that the history enthusiast and member of the Monongahela Area Historical Society lives in an historic town. She recalls when the current historic society museum building was a grocery store during The Great Depression. She vividly remembers the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, noting that two or three boys she went to school with were in Pearl Harbor at the time.
“I vaguely recall when the stock market crashed (in 1929), but I don't ever remember being hungry or not having enough clothes to wear,” Brooks said.
While the overall look and feel of Monongahela has changed over the decades, Brooks said that some things never change in her hometown.
“Monongahela has always been a residential town,” Brooks said. “It's a good place to raise a family.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mon Valley warrant sweep yields 10 arrests
- Monongahela airman’s death commemorated
- Monongahela church closing appealed
- Van Voorhis man charged for Monessen cell incident
- Mon Valley Salvation Army marks 100 years
- Belle Vernon man facing child sex assault charges
- Monessen mayor eyes city hall return
- Fallowfield revisits local police coverage
- Monessen mayor: Bickering out, blight fight in
- Paglia: Two Brooklyn Dodgers received rousing reception in visit to 1956 NAACP fete
- Reader requests more from ’44 on ‘This Day’ journey