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Inwhen Janet Ridsdale, now Janet Justice-Waddington, accepted the job of delivering Western Union telegrams in Boulder, her employers asked if she really could pedal uphill. She assured them she did so frequently, so she got the job.
The Boulder High School student was 16 years old at the time and became the first girl to deliver telegrams in Boulder. ly, for part-time help, Western Union had only hired boys. However, many high school boys, some as young as 17, at the time; had left school to men serving their country during Telegram girl War II.
Girls and women took over the work at home. Every day after school Janet would pedal from Boulder High to the telegraph office, at Pearl St. The office was a busy place, with a constantly clicking teletype machine. Fascinated, Janet sat by the door awaiting new messages. Then she put them in an official Western Union bag. After delivering the first batch, she went back for more.
But, her job expanded her horizons —— from the University of Colorado Boulder south of downtown to Longs Gardens in North Boulder, with stops at downtown businesses and residential areas in between. Janet knocked on several doors before she found one that was open.
The guys in the pool were all in the nude! Janet had no idea of the contents of that telegram, but she was instructed that some telegrams were in envelopes marked with two stars, indicating that the telegram inside contained a death notice.
Formal letters would follow, but the deliverer was the front-line messenger. Janet was told that if she delivered one of these two-star telegrams, she should ask if the recipient was alone and should stay, or offer to stay, after handing over the tragic news.
I had had two dates with him when he was home on leave.
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