Century Club: Mon Valley girl started working at age 13
March 31, 2014 9:18 PM
Elizabeth Lucas can remember when Mon Valley girls headed to Pittsburgh to "clean for rich people" -- starting at age 13. Her school days ended after sixth grade, she says. Then a priest would take her and other Belle Vernon girls to Pittsburgh, and they would clean for the rest of the week. On the weekend, she would ride the trolley home to Elizabeth Township and give all of her pay to her mother. Mrs. Lucas, who will turn 105 on Sunday, had 11 siblings. All slept in the same bedroom.
She was born on April 6, 1909, in Belle Vernon to Martin Antal and Agata Golema. Mr. Antal, a coal miner from Poland, lost his first wife when she gave birth to their second child. He sent over to Poland for another wife, and Miss Golema left her home in Krakow to join him, arriving in Ellis Island on Jan. 23, 1902. Mrs. Lucas was the second of their 10 children. Two of her siblings survive -- Stella Trenk, 92, and Joseph Antal, 89, both of Belle Vernon.
Mrs. Lucas has a happy memory of standing on her front porch with her siblings, waving small American flags on the Fourth of July. They couldn't afford to take trips together and walked miles to get bread and milk, she says.
On Feb. 12, 1936, she married Walter Lucas and lived in Belle Vernon, where she was a stay-at-home mom. They had three children: Dorothy Duessel of Avalon, Walter Lucas (deceased) and Robert Lucas of Steubenville, Ohio. Her husband died in 1997 after 60 years of marriage.
Mrs. Lucas has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and has lived in New Hope Assisted Living in Avalon since 2005.
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