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Carolyn Martin: 50 Years at the JCC and Counting

Posted by Roberta Levine on September 13, 2016

Here’s an extraordinary story: JCC staff member Carolyn Martin is celebrating 50 years at JCC.

Ask Carolyn if things have changed, and she’ll respond with a big laugh. “Yes. Yes. Yes,” she says. “Big time!”

Carolyn grew up in the Hill and as a child, attended after-school and day camp (where she had her first train ride on a camp field trip) at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement on Centre Avenue. She graduated from 5th Avenue High School and started her career at one of the predecessors to the JCC, the YM&WHA (the Bellefield Y), in 1965 as a trainee. On June 1, 1966, she started her job, “Machine Room Operator,” in the Bellefield Y print shop. “I was it,” she laughs.

Printing operations were very different in those days. Carolyn worked with a 20-year-old press, mimeograph and ditto machines (does anyone remember what those are?) a small folding machine and a hand cutter. The shop had a Multigraph Addressing machine, with metal plates and file drawers, which they used to address the weekly JCC newspapers.

Carolyn has special memories from her first 10 years at the Bellefield Y. She is grateful to the late Jerry Auerbach, who, after the six months training, hired her to run the “machine room.” It was simple compared to the hiring process nowadays, Carolyn says. “He asked me, ‘Do you want the job?’ and I said, Sure.” Auerbach responded, “OK, you got it.”

She remembers the late Leon Rubinstein, Adult Director at the Bellefield Y, as “an extremely smart man; very kind, very wise. You could go to Leon and talk about anything.”

The staff at the Bellefield Y was close, Carolyn says, and when someone was leaving, they’d get together at the old Park Schenley restaurant. At gatherings, two staffers, Bea Grumet and Hannah Marcus, had a shtick telling jokes that had the group rolling on the floor, laughing.

“I worked with a lot of people,” Carolyn says. “There were some characters.”

In the 1980s, the print shop was moved to the Squirrel Hill facilities and during the construction of the then-new Kaufmann building, Carolyn worked out of a room at Poale Zedeck. The print shop now is in the Robinson building.

Carolyn raised a daughter and a son and has two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

We are so glad to be honoring Carolyn for her many years of service.

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