During this time of turmoil with the coronavirus invading lives all over the world, I look to the past for comfort and today I find that remembering a kind gentleman, A. W. “Dad” Carter, brings a quiet and positive contrast.
I know most readers have never heard of “Dad” Carter, but I remember my mother speaking of him as the school’s only janitor during her years at Cardington School.
Aiden W. Carter was born the seventh son of a seventh son in 1860 and was employed as the Cardington School janitor/custodian December 22, 1891 when the (Old Union) high school teaching corps included only one member.
Until early in 1925, “Dad” Carter did all the janitor work in the old three story building which at first had oil lamps in four rooms. Later he helped put in gas lights when natural gas service became available. His salary was $35 a month and he arose long before daylight each winter morning to get the single hot water furnace going and often finished his sweeping in darkness.
When the new building was opened in 1925, he was given an assistant.
Students and faculty alike affectionately referred to him as “Dad” Carter He retired August 31, 1938, on his 78th birthday. During those years of service, “Dad” Carter saw 900 students graduate from the high school.
He lost less than a month due to sickness during those 47 years of employment. He served under nine superintendents. Later he was named an honorary member of the Cardington High School Alumni Association.
The Cardington High School Class of 1916 devoted an entire page to him in their yearbook. “Dad” Carter has been a friend to the class of 1916 from the time we entered the first room in 1901 until the present time and we feel, now that we are about to leave that we have gained by having known him.
May his example of doing his work well very day and his sticking to his job through so many years, “helped us to be more faithful in our daily tasks and to become a fixture in whatever place in life we may occupy.”
“Dad” went on to serve 22 more years as the school’s custodian/janitor. He died at the age of 96 in 1956. “Dad” Carter, a gentle man who earned the respect and affection of many, many people.
80 years ago, April 1940: A truck with two trailers that carried 65-foot solid sections of water pipe traveled through Cardington one day on U.S. 42. The load was accompanied by two state highway patrol cars. It was said to be the longest rigid motor truck load on record in Ohio. The convoy was en route to Cleveland.
70 years ago, 1950: Cardington School pupils enjoyed only a short, two-day Easter vacation this month.
50 years ago: 1970: Family season tickets for the Cardington swimming pool went on sale for $35, the first of the month. Students of Mrs. Kenneth Fisher and Mrs. Francis Stapleton, Cardington second grade teachers, spent a day at Lutheran Memorial Camp, Fulton.
The Cardington Fire Department reorganized with Leonard Benson remaining as chief; Bernard Morris, assistant chief; Cecil Levings, captain; Darrell Bowers, lieutenant in charge of radio communication; James Ullom, in charge of rolling stock; John Cooney, in charge of stock and Charlie Seitz, chaplain.
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