Sunday, April 29, 2007

Third Job

I must say that interviewing at BU was a little intimidating...though I thought I would be fine, after all, I did all the initial interviews at Sears and helped make hiring decisions!! Wrong~ my mouth was dry and I had sweaty palms. Actually I knew one of the people who interviewed me - Vel - who used to work at Sears. Seems like I say that quite a bit since I knew so many folks from there. Mom had already worked at BU for several years and encouraged me to apply. I did apply for a few different positions in person, before they got their online applications. Then I would check their website every week for a long time, until our computer went down. When we finally got it back, the BU site was the first one I pulled up and the job I was hired into was the one I saw. Yes, this was my third job ever...fewer than most folks have on their resume. Being hired on when I was in 2002, I am eligible for the kids to have paid tuition. The benefit changed after I had been there about 6 months, but I got in just under the wire for which I was very, very thankful. I also got used to working Monday-Friday - quickly!! Lots of nice folks work at Baylor, and I am proud that two good friends came to work at BU....Kyle (who still works at Sears) at the museum and Delores as HR Liasion in the Library! I am still trying to get Karen hired on! My lack of a degree may hinder me from 'moving up', but I can work as long as I need to, doing what I like to do, working in HR, though filing is not my favorite thing!! I was proud that after almost 2 years on the job, I was named one of eight "Outstanding Staff" award recipients. Mom earned this honor as well, about 5 years before I did. It was a suprise, and Mom, Dad, Jim and Laura were there to see it, but I thought they were there to see Mom get her 10-year pin. I received a nice certificate and a check for $1500. The nominations are annonymous, and our department assists with setting up the selection committee meetings and print certificates. One of the best benefits at Baylor is the people and the Christian atmosphere. Prayer is encouraged at staff meetings and folks are supportive. I went through a lot of stuff with Jim during my first 3 years there, including divorce, but everyone there was always ready to listen and help anyway they could. More about that in another post. My 'office mate' Debbie is a dear friend who has had her share of illness...having survived cancer twice....once while working with us and going thru chemo, not hardly missing any time at all. She continues to be an inspiration to all who know her, and thats a whole lot of people!! Working in 'academia' is a whole new world. Most folks are super nice, but there are some who feel their degree allows them to treat others as less-than-citizens. It was hard not to take it personally, but I have found that treating them with care and concern ususally brings them to 'my level'.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sears Part II

While I was in advertising and overs/shorts, I became engaged to Jim. We married 09-17-83. Soon after I was promoted to Personnel Specialist. I learned alot from Jean Jones who was our district contact for personnel out of Dallas. She was an English lady and very sweet to answer all my questions. I loved working in Personnel - doing training on registers and company policies, running payroll and relieving on the switchboard. When the store remodeled, Personnel moved across the hall in with the manager's office and I had a small office there. The Sears Warehouse on S. Valley Mills Drive was home to the installation department, delivery and the service department. In approximately 1985, when the Installation Department assistant Ruth Hardwick decided to retire, I was asked by Carl Johnson to take the job. I was excited at first, but was feeling uneasy about moving over there. Mr. Johnson eased my mind and told me he had no doubt I could do the job, and it was a job that I did not have to take home with me, I could just leave it there. I was about 7 months pregnant at the time with Lindsey. At the warehouse John Zatopek was the manager of installations until he retired, then Ken Ramsey took on that title. I basically scheduled installations of carpet, roofing, fencing and then paid the contractors - only having to get authorization from Mr. Ramsey. I also scheduled deliveries by plotting them on a big map, trying to determine the quickest and easiest route for the trucks to run. Of course that got changed lots of times with sales people wanting last minute specials. Virginia DeLeon was notorious for doing that. I got to know the appliance folks and installation sales people really well. Dan Hanus was a favorite. He would do anything for me - or anybody!! Once I locked my keys in the car - with it running - and Jim was mad cause I asked him to bring me a key. Dan consoled me and said to please call him next time I needed help. He was "paw-paw" Dan to many folks. The warehouse was actually fun - but only because of a couple of special people - Johnny Ingram and Kyle Moore. Johnny was a prankster and Kyle followed in his footsteps. They always tried to outdo each other. Kyle was always the kidder, keeping me laughing. Being very pregnant, he couldn't help but ask if he could use my maternity dress as a cover for his car after the baby was born! He also took me up on a "lift" one afternoon, much to Johnny's dismay. Heck, I was moving washers and dryers around when I was pregnant, tagging them for customers. Mary Deans came to help a the warehouse from the store's receiving department. We knew each other from there and became even better friends. She worked for me while I was out with Lindsey Kathryn. She went through a lot with her husband's illness and death, but was always so sweet to me. Karen worked next door in the Maintenance Agreement office. I was not aware at the time that she went to St. Paul. Guess we missed each other by going to different services. When the time came for the warehouse to close, and deliveries to go back to the store operations, I went back to the store when Mr. Zorn called, and worked again in Personnel. Kyle and Karen came along and worked in the Customer Convenience Center for a while, then Karen came upstairs to work with me in Personnel as the trainer. She also filled in for me when I was out when Ryan was born in 1990. Then when several folks retired, Mr. Zorn, Mr. Smith, Mr. Hagy and Mr. Helms, we got a new store manager, Gary Self. Next the store manager's office moved downstairs and thats where I stayed...after having worked as supervisor for 4-C when Nancy retired. Balancing the safe was my least favorite part. When Personnel changed to Human Resources, I became the HR Specialist, plus being HUB supervisor and Gary's secretary. I loved my Wednesdays off, didn't care for working Saturdays, though, especially being out on the floor. Each year, the day after Thanksgiving I was posted in Hardware ringing the register especially for the early morning specials, or going around with Kyle to replenish the cash registers change. Christmas Eve we closed at 6 and of course opened early the day after Christmas. There was a lot of work I was proud of in HR: working as the district trainer for the new STARS scheduling system, then the HR database, which required a trip to Atlanta for a week, then traveling in Texas for training other HRs. I was a 'go to' person for the district, along with my friend Janie in Abeline. We had similar store managers and shared information many, many times. One year I was named Associate of the Year, plus I received some accolades in customer service. Our store was usually number one in customer service, and we came up with many an idea that was put into effect company wide. I handled my share of customer complaints, as Gary wanted me to before asking for his help. I was proud to have written a nomination for Dan Hanus which earned him the National Customer Service Award and a trip for him and his grandson to Chicago. I've always wanted to visit the Sears Tower. When Karen took an opportunity to go to Austin as a 4-C Manager, I went without a trainer for a while, then Kyle became the trainer. He was teaching school at the time, working nights and weekends at Sears. I don't think he has ever worked less than two jobs...and sometimes more! After Kyle, there was Delores, who also worked in a few other departments. This space will not allow for more boring stories when I worked at Sears...but who would really want to hear all 25 years of my history there. I will mention the loss of good friends - Ronnie Brandon, Shirley Bradford, Richard Whitson, Calvin Polster and Dan Hanus. When the opportunity to work for BU came, I called Janie. Funny thing, she had just decided to retire!! I could not retire as I was not old enough, though I had the years. Maybe one day I'll cash in on my pension, if K-Mart and Sears Holdings doesn't do away with it. When I left, Delores was called on to take my job - and she was the only one Gary would consider. It was sad to leave the store - I miss the people terribly. I don't miss the retail world, though, and must say I don't enjoy shopping as much as I used to. It was weird the first holidays not working!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Working at Sears

I first worked in the boy's department at Sears, and Connie was my supervisor. (start date: 07-25-1977)I was so nervous to start work and probably folded more 'toughskin' jeans than anyone! Dorothy Railsback was an older lady who worked in the same department, and she taught me a lot. Working on the cash register was fun, some of the time, but I usually had to carry notes in my pockets to remember all the codes we had to use. The store had an escalator and a candy/popcorn department, which were the two biggest draws for our customers. The switchboard was the old 'pull' type, with lines plugging in here and there. Joyce at the switchboard always had a pleasant voice. I probably only made about $2.40 an hour to start, and the store was only open 'late' until 8pm on Thursdays, and closed on Sundays. I went full time and moved to the men's department where my supervisor was Perry Beene then Felix Cortez. I also 'floated' to other departments as needed, such as fabrics (which I did NOT like) and the hardware department. Soon after going full time, I moved into my own apartment. Thought it was kinda cool to be 'on my own', but Grandma and Grandpa had me come over to do my laundry, or she did it for me if I would drop it off. The apartment was a furnished 1-bedroom with a kitchen, dining area, living room and bathroom. It was on the second floor of what was then a relatively new apartment complex, Villa Victoria. I remember paying cash for my rent ($225) to Mr. Curtis every month, and utilities were included! There were lots of people at Sears who became life-long friends, including Connie, Barbara, Pam, Dan, Virginia, Nancy, Jane, Shirley B., Bunny, Norma, Chuck, Margaret, Kyle, Karen, Gail, Nanette, Michele, Jenny, Marlene, Felix, Martin, Glenn, Mr. Helms, Mr. Zorn, Mr. Haddad and many more. There were also the part time workers, working their way thru school who were lots of fun. Sears moved from 18th & Waco Dr. to the 'new' Richland Fashion Mall in 1980. I was proud to be chosen to go to the store early to help put the Men's department together. The grand opening of that store was something else...wall to wall people. The men's department sold everything from suits to work clothes and western wear. We learned to mark suits for alterations and our tailor, Katie, was a dear person. We were located on the first floor near where the optical department and kids are now. Appliances were right next door, and upstairs was furniture, house wares and the management offices, along with the cashier's office. And we went through so many changes from day to day, month to month, year to year. I met Margaret who worked in advertising and told her that I wouldn't mind doing that job, since I had some experience with layouts, etc. When the opportunity presented itself, I went to work in advertising, then located in the Personnel Office, while Margaret went to work in the store manager's office around the corner. I was also in charge of supplies for the store - cash register supplies, forms, etc. We used to do several print ads each weeks, and I enjoyed working on them, writing copy, doing layouts, etc. I had my own office and was also in charge of posting the weekly circulars throughout the store. I eventually worked with the cash registers overs and shorts, looking for errors, running tapes, etc., working with the Audit Department and sorting the store mail. Mr. Helms was the store manager, with merchandise managers, Smith and Zorn and a few different assistant managers such as McKenzie and Hagy. Our store used electronic sensor tags on high-priced merchandise. It was never fun to have to ask someone to stop and return to the counter. I also witnessed several shoplifters in my time in the men's department, including once when a guy took off with a whole rack of suits.

After Graduation

After graduation, Kathy & I decided to go to MCC (McLennan Community College). We did not attend summer classes, but started in August that same year. I planned to take basic classes and eventually transfer to BU with a degree in journalism. Classes at MCC were different, including my English class where my professor took off points for my note cards being 'too neat'. I was crushed to make a C on my first paper there. The campus was beautiful and I made some good friends. I excelled in Speech class when my instructor asked to use one of my papers in her syllabus for the next year. My paper was a recap of an interview with a co-worker at my then "new"part time job at Sears, which was located on 18th Street and Waco Drive. I enjoyed British Lit with Mrs. West, who was said to be one of the tougher teachers. I also liked Religion class where I sat next to a boy I met after talking on the CB. His name was Don Patterson, otherwise known as 'DLL'. I wrote for the school paper, the Highlander, and occasionally had a 'by line'. I remember taking "modern dance" class with instructor Sandy Hinton, and LeeAnn being in class, both of us dressed out in blue leotards and tights. We even did a routine together to Henry Mancini's 'Pink Panther'. Kathy went right to studying to get into the Xray program where she did really well. I continued at MCC for two years, asked to join Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society, but think I got a little burned out on school in general. When offered to go full time at Sears, I jumped at the chance and put school on hold.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Jefferson Moore

Jefferson Moore Lions! Maroon and White! Class of '76..."At last we're here and almost gone, but '76 lives on and on" (our class yell). Memorable moments will have to include:
Volleyball team (position - set) for which I earned a letter jacket. Kathy was a 'spike'. We were the "Lady Lions".
Year Book (Co-editor) was so much fun, sponsored by teacher Pattie Green (mother of the now famous Pat Green, singer); working with Kathy, Gary, Ricky, Brent, Monica, Karen and many others I can't recall at the moment - and laughing so much.
"Uh-Huh" "Sure" - T-shirts Kathy & I wore. Don't recall just exactly why, but figure it must have something to do with what we said quite often! We are wearing them in our class picture that was taken out in front of the school.
Little Green Datsun - Beth & I shared this car. It was standard and contrary to the Beth, I did drive it well enough to NOT always bounce her head around!! I remember 'cruising the valley and going thru Sonic, and having a bunch of guys lift the car up onto the back of a trailer.
Funny, but a little scary. Other cards included: a Buick Skylark, brown 2-door; and a Chevrolet Impala, white 4-door company car from Precision. We paid for car insurance and made car payments. Grandpa gave me and Beth a gas card one time, and we were allowed to charge once or twice a month - $5 would fill up the car!!
CB Radios - "Break one-nine. You got a copy on this one? Kick it back!" Oh my, what fun. I really got into talking on the CB in Dad's truck - running down the battery while it was parked in the driveway at least once! My 'handle' was Foxfire, Kathy was the Copper K. I met Robert Casey (Six Shooter) via the radio and we dated a while. Also the Blue Falcon (Clint) who hung around the house a while 'til Dad told him it was time for him to go home. Daddy Long Legs (Don Patterson) was fun to talk to, as was the Pied Piper (Steve (?) Little. Beth (Little Feet or Starshine or Precious Poison?) would complain when I came in and was still talking with that CB lingo-drawl. Guess it was kind of annoying. Dad was the Chrome Dome, go figure. Billy was (and still is) Red Man (after the chewing tobacco). Kathy and I could sit in our driveways and talk to folks on Valley Mills Dr. (aka THE Valley) with no problem..and no one would know our 10-20 was a few streets over. I eventually got a CB of my own in my Skylark, but didn't sit home talking on it!
National Honor Society - I was an officer of some sort and recall making a short speech at an induction ceremony. My GPA was not quite high enough to get special ropes for my graduation robe, but it was good just the same. Kathy & I were also members of Edwards Literary Society, a group sponsored by Mrs. Edwards, our English teacher. I still have some of the poetry we wrote then.
Lunch Off Campus - We usually rode over to the Ivy Square shopping center for the "Sub Shop" with Ricky and Gary, playing a game of electronic baseball or Pong...and of course, there was fooseball. Sometimes we would also drive thru Cameron Park, or maybe go to Long John Silvers or Whataburger. Before I got a car, Kathy was my ride.
Pep Rallies - Always fun, pitting classes against each other as to who could be louder. Then there was the time we got our hands on a bunch of shredded paper and 'dots' (hole punches) that we thru into the air to show our spirit. That was a mess to clean up. Football games were fun, too. We didn't have much of a winning season(s) - always called it 'rebuilding'. Homecoming week with different 'days' was always fun as I liked to 'dress up'. Speaking of football, there was a time when Kathy, Ricky, Gary, and I went to BU stadium and actually played football (or something like it) on the astro turff! I remember running the wrong way for a touchdown. Rick says he might still have those keys to the stadium!
Fashion - Bell bottom blue jeans - big enough to cover your feet, tennis shoes and 'ringer' t-shirts. T-shirts printed at "T-shirts Plus" with any array of pictures/sayings/etc. Short shorts were around, too, as were tank tops and tube tops. Our school 'cowboys' were the "Goat Ropers" who wore boots and hats. Dancing at the time included 'the bump' and 'the hustle'.
Dating - Kathy & I double-dated with Gary & Ricky. I remember riding in Gary's Matador, when the four of us "parked" at the lake...Koehne Park. I have to say that I still remember those kisses! Then there was the time when we dated brothers - John and Harry. I think we dated them at the same time. Both were younger than us. Harry worked at the DQ and I would drive up there and wait til he got off work, then we'd cruise the valley. Some date, huh? Sitting at Sonic with a coke, then driving back down Valley Mills and turn around in the Luby's parking lot. Oh, first love! How grand!
First job - Besides babysitting, I went to work for the ABC (Plitt) Cinema, up on the hill near where Richland Mall is now. I worked in concessions and Beth worked in the token (ticket) booth. Remember turnstyles? Some of the movies that were out and 'new' at that time: Jaws, TunnelVision, Rocky Horror Picture Show, ET, Tootsie, A Star is Born (Barbara Streisand & Kris Kristoferson). It was fun to get the "one sheets" or movie posters and hang them in our room. I also went to the 25th Street Theatre as concession manager when they needed help. Worked with Maurice in the projection booth and Charles as the manager. That was one old theatre, but still fun. Carrying the film cases up stairs - not so much fun. But working the crossword puzzles with Maurice made up for that!! A remake of Gone with the Wind played there, as did Star Wars. Also working at the Plitt were Lydia and her sister Olga, plus Robin and Terry. Terry was an usher with a crush on Robin. We used to have competitions to see who could sell the largest popcorn, drink, candy, hot dogs and super dogs. What fun to count everything and try to balance at the end of our shift. No cash registers then! Both theatres are long gone now. I think I made somewhere in the neighborhood of $3/hr.
Church - Our family attended Lakewood Christian Church since the time we moved to Waco. After I outgrew the youth groups (CYF), I helped Mrs. Parker (or Parker as we called her) in the nursery, and eventually taught Sunday School for the little ones. Our first pastor was Luke Bolin, followed by Tim Griffin. Tim & Donna had two daughters, Marcella and Lindsey. Marcella must have been about 4 when they moved to our church, and Lindsey was a baby. I babysat for them quite frequently, as well as their neighbors, the Ryans (George & Ashley). I loved working in the nursery and Parker would sometimes come a sit for us when I was younger. She had her hands full, that's for sure. Lindsey is my daughter's namesake, and when she got married in 2006, I attended the ceremony in Dallas and saw the family. I still happen to meet kids I had in the nursery from time to time, or their parents, who catch me up on all the 'news'. Gee, makes me feel old!! I was baptized at 13 in the church, I think on Easter Sunday. Our church 'dunked', so I came out from the baptistery looking like a peeled onion. Church camp was always alot of fun...Ft. Parker State Park is where it was held each summer. There were 3 cabins of 24 for girls and boys, plus the mess hall, bathrooms, crafts area, outside games, and of course, walking to the swimming hole. (Lake Mexia). I remember being call the "preacher" of cabin 4, cause I would volunteer to say our prayer. Camp is where I first heard about peanut butter on toast for breakfast, and I had a friend named Shawn who ate it all the time. I thought she was crazy. Our youth leaders, Paul and Linda, were counselors too, I think. (Sorry, I slipped back to elementary/junior high there for a few minutes!)
Prom - Well, I didn't go to MY senior prom, although I helped to plan and make decorations. I went to Beth's senior prom with Jerry. Mom made our dresses - Beth's in baby blue and mine in a mint green. I remember Jerry and I going to the WaterWorks restaurant..that was the 'thing' to do then. The prom was held at MCC's student center, but that's about all I remember.
Friends - Lots of nice people to mention: Maria "Taco" Salinas - one of our Hispanic friends who spoke Spanish fluently, wrote her French papers in Spanish first then translated them to French. Magnifique! Her boyfriend, Bill Summers. A super-nice guy who if I remember correcly, went into the military and married Maria. There was also Marilyn, Don Hainesworth, Jimmy Stewart, Beverly, Suzanne. Lots of folks who I attended school with from elementary on up - that I may have not mentioned thus far: LeeAnn McCurrin, Stan Mason, Dwight Allen, Herman Bell, Bobby Henson, Don Hardwick & Alice, Craig Sanders, Vicki Woodall, Terri Martin, Lisa Lawson, Rhonda Kaluza, Carol Ware, Steve Farrar (who died in a car accident in High School), Jill Reay and her sisters JoAnne and Judy; neighbors: The Davidson girls, The Rossi girls; Sandra Sawyer; Kathy's sisters Diane and Joy; neighbors - Becky and Martha, Linda Songer and her brother Bobby, Joseph Cox, Melissa and Chris Niemann. I am sure I have left some folks out! Kathy was my special best friend all through high school and into college..and now. Even though we don't talk often, when we do, its like we've not missed a beat!!