Bob Snider was born on March 11th 1928. He grew up in North East Springfield, about a mile south of where Fellow’s Lake Dam is at this time. He went to school at Belleview, a one-room schoolhouse, where Pleasant View School is located now. On June 21, 1953, Bob married Leona Potter. They have two children, 5 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
What was it like to be in a one-room schoolhouse?
I guess that is all I knew at the time. There was one teacher and 8 grades, now the fifth and sixth grades were together and the seventh and eighth grades were together. One year, they would teach the 5th and 7th grades, then the next year they would teach the 6 and the 8th grades. I came along and went from the 4th grade to the 6th grade, then the 5th grade to the 8th grade, and the next year back to the 7th grade and then to the 9th. I went to high school in Pleasant Hope, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. I graduated in ’46 with 22 other students. Something came to my mind; I always liked to play baseball or softball. Of course, back then, there wasn’t baseball available, but we did play softball in grade school. There were both boys and girls on our team, usually from the 5th to the 8th grade. In a school year, we would usually play 5 or 6 games against other schools from the area. We weren’t very good, but we had a lot of fun.
Did you enjoy your time at the one-room schoolhouse?
I enjoyed my time there. I think I enjoyed the one room schoolhouse more than the other schools. I think we all enjoyed being with each other. We always had nice teachers too, which helped.
After high school, did you join the military?
No, I went to Draughans Business School for a year. I planned to be an accountant, but a year into my schooling, I was offered two jobs; one as a bookkeeper and the other as a grocer at Safeway. I thought, “why am I going to school when I can make more as a book keeper or grocer?” I realize now, that if I had stayed with my schooling I would have made more money. I worked in grocery stores until 1950 when the Korean war started and I was drafted into the army. I spent two years in the army. I served in the quartermaster’s core.
Where did you train?
At Camp Picket, Virginia. I took basic training there and after basic training, I was placed in the quartermaster’s core. I stayed at Camp Picket for little over a year before I was sent to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands where they performed nuclear testing. It is a little island in the Pacific. It was about two and a half miles long and 700 yards wide at its widest point. It was in kind of a circle of islands and the nuclear testing was on an island on the far side of the circle about 27 miles away. They were going to explode the first Hydrogen Bomb on that island to see how it would affect buildings. They had built simulated cities as test sites to see how it would withstand the blast. I was discharged from the army about one month before the Hydrogen Bomb was exploded. I read later that the bomb not only destroyed the buildings, but they couldn’t even find the island, it destroyed the island too! I guess I’m glad I missed it because of the nuclear fall out, but it would have been interesting to see the explosion.
What did you do after your time in the military?
When I got out of the army, I decided I’d like to have a little grocery store. My dad had one at the time; in fact, he had one for several years. I bought the store from my dad. It was a little corner grocery store but I decided it was not a very good job for me because it didn’t leave me with much free time. Running a grocery store was a time consuming business. I saw that Leona’s father had a construction business and he had more time to spare than I did. That appealed to me, so he agreed to teach me the construction business and that is how I got started in that.
When did you start building houses?
I started building houses in 1956 and I built about 130 or so. After I quit building, I worked with Lynn Barnes, who had been working for me, and I helped him and his son Larry build several houses.
With whom did you work?
When I first started, I worked with Leona’s father. He was a house builder and he got me started at it. He and I worked together and we eventually hired an employee and ended up with 5 or six employees at one time. We built for several years. When the power nail guns became available, three of my employees quit. Even so, two employees and I built the same amount of houses without those employees that quit because of the new power nail guns we used.
I heard a story once about you working in construction. You were hammering and you hit your thumb. Your co-workers stopped working to see what you'd do. You looked down and all you said was, “Rats”.
Must have come from my wife (chuckles). Well, I tried to control my speech, not to say things I shouldn’t say. But when your finger gets smashed, sometimes expressions come out before you think to control yourself. But maybe saying rats wasn’t too bad.