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From the Heart of the Texas Hill Country


Kerrville Mountain Sun Memories

By  B. Don Zesch


I worked at the Mountain Sun for Mrs. W. A. Salter and Forrest Salter while I was going to Tivy High school. I graduated from Tivy in 1948. I worked after school and on Saturday. They paid me 50 cents per hour.   I ran the big old Cranston cylinder press that printed the paper.


You had to stand on a little cast iron platform about two feet off the floor to feed each sheet into the press. When I was learning, many times I had to pick torn paper out of the ink rollers and clean them with gasoline. Finally I got the rhythm. You also had to be careful that the gas flame, that dried the ink, did not catch the paper on fire. I then had to turn the paper over and print the other four pages on the other side. As I recall, we printed about 2,500 copies. Then they had to be run through a folder-cutting machine  & mailing labels were applied by hand. The labels were printed from little metal plates for each subscriber, on a special machine.


I also ran the small job flat bed printing press. We printed a lot of invitations to coke parties, teas, showers and personal stationary. I cleaned up around the casting machine, where the mats were pored for the advertising ads and around the table saw where they were trimmed was a big mess. Gene Lock, Mr. Kimble (he ran the linotype machine) were there. Also there was a Hispanic man from Comfort that worked there.


Mrs. Salter taught me that your job comes first. She would not let me off one Saturday when I wanted to go somewhere.   Forrest and Gene did take me to a football game in Austin one time. We went in Mrs. Salter's big black Buick.  I can still see Mrs. Salter pounding away on her typewriter.


I helped to open the new Peterson Hospital in the summer of 1948 and worked there the two years I went to Schreiner Institute. It was a boy’s military prep school and Junior college. It is no longer a boy’s military school but a coed university. For an 18 year old driving a new Chevy pickup (from Peterson Auto Company, of course) from the old hospital to the new Peterson Hospital was a big thrill. The Peterson Offices were in the hospital, including the Kerrville Bus Company. I learned much about hospital routines and vocabulary that later helped me when I went to Physical Therapy school.


Hot lead, lead dust, gasoline, flames, paper, lack of ventilation, poor lighting-I thought nothing of it. I wonder what EPA and OSHA would think of it.   I am still healthy at age 74 - celebrated yesterday.


Written February 28, 2004

B. Don Zesch

Shreveport, Louisiana
© 2004

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