Friday, July 31, 2009

Part - 30.b. - Children


30b Children

Then, on July 3, 1987, Ashley Nicole Hughes was born in Ft. Worth. A sprout from her Mother’s tree by being a “red head.” Of course, we wouldn’t bother to go from way over in East Tennessee all the way out to Ft. Worth, TX just when she was a coming.....We only made it to Texarkana before she was born.

We managed to get there and celebrate “the fourth day” by seeing our new granddaughter.

Ashley has many interests. She is an avid reader. She has a beautiful singing voice and sings with the University of Mobile Choir and has been in several operettas besides the choir's performances. She even played the role of Ahmel in “Ahmel and the Night Vistitors.”

She started out at UM to major in Music, but changed that to a Minor and changed her major to Business. She has completed her four-year curriculum and is now beginning work on her Masters degree.

Besides going to college full time, she works pretty much full time at Starbucks near the Bel Aire Mall. She is shift manager there and really enjoys her coffee.

She has a pretty fair sized doll collection, including most of Debbie’s old dolls. She has lots of “Barbie” dolls and accessories. But most of them are packed away.

Bradley Thomas Hughes was born, in Ft. Worth on July 26, 1989. His grandmother flew out from Maine to be there for that special event. There were now three “reds” in the family. I couldn’t go out as I was tied down at my job in Maine.
Guess what! Bradley came to see me when he was about two weeks old.

He’s “all boy”, a big Auburn Fan, especially since he is a Junior there now, majoring in International Business with an emphasis in German.

While living in Montgomery he developed into a good soccer player. This carried over to Europe with him as he honed his skills with the help of their back door neighbor, Marco Rhymer who played on the German National World Cup team.

After they returned to the states, he went to Cottage Hill Christian Academy and was the kicker for their football team for two years.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Part 30 - Debbie & Tommy


30. DEBBIE and Family

30a. Debbie & Tommy

Deborah Kaye Wood was born at the Washington County Hospital, in Chatom, AL on November 25, 1959, weighing in at 9 pounds 8 ounces.

Luckily, Debbie didn’t have the colic problems from the Carnation formula that Andy did. She was so quiet you hardly knew she was around.

She had a hint of red hair from the outset, but for some dumb reason, I didn’t think so. Soon it became evident that we had us a beautiful “red head!” For a long time, when asked where the red hair came from, Andy would say, “From the milk man!” But, we did some investigating and found that both sides of the family have had some red heads.

Deb was in Girl Scouts for a while, but for some reason didn’t get to stay with it for too long.

Debbie had (and still has) a vivid imagination and a born teacher. She would set four of her dolls around her doll table and chair set. Mrs. Beasley and Suzie Smart were the best of her “students.” She’d teach them a lesson, give them homework (of course she had to do it for them), then she’d praise Mrs. Beasley and Suzie on how well they did, and fussed at the others for doing so badly. She’d really give the poor little doll that had tangled hair, and she had marked on her face with a ball point pen, a hard time for not doing her studying and missing so many questions.

Debbie taught first grade at Alba Elementary in Bayou la Batre, AL for a couple of years. During this time she married Thomas Michael Hughes (Tommy). (I call him “Mikey” about half the time.) They were married at Cottage Hill Baptist Church on June 22, 1985.

Tommy was a student at University of Mobile at the time they married. When he finished at UM, they moved to Ft. Worth, TX for him to go to SWBTS. Debbie taught first grade in Ft. Worth for a couple of years.

After Seminary they moved to Montgomery where Tommy worked as Asst. Communications Director for the Alabama Baptist Convention and Debbie was Childhood Director at Taylor Road Baptist Church.

Later, they answered the call into Missions. They were sent to Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Paris, Berlin and Cyprus. When the Mission Board started to make more changes in their assignments, they decided to take a year’s leave as it was time for Ashley to start college at UM. They enrolled Bradley at CHCA. Since he’d been involved with soccer so he was the Warriors’ place kicker for two years.
In the meantime, they decided to resign from the Board and stay in Mobile. Ashley has completed all the work for her BS degree and has begun working on her Masters’ degree. Bradley is a Junior at Auburn.

Both Debbie and Tommy are involved with Cottage Hill Schools. Debbie teaches fourth grade at CH School and Tommy works half time at Cottage Hill Christian Academy.

Tommy is working for Open Doors and has to do quite a bit of traveling all over the world.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Part - 29.c. - Children


29.c. Children

While they were living in Jackson, our first grandyounguns were born. Yes....two of them, five minutes apart! Carrie Michelle and Cassie Marie Wood were born July 11, 1984 in Mobile. They are sisters that happened to be born five minutes apart. Carrie has brown hair and eyes. Cassie has blonde hair and blue eyes.

Before the twins were born, I designed and built a Double Wide cradle and a change table like a picture I saw in a Sears Roebuck Catalog. The change table was used by all five grands and is now in use by Button.

Both the twins have been “A” students all the way through school. Cassie made the accelerated program while at Fayette. Carrie just missed it by a slim margin. When they moved to Lubbock, they began a “Home School” program for a short period of time then graduated from Monterey High School.

Carrie is a “live wire” type that’s into everything and a typically Wood “Bean Pole!” She played flute in her Junior High Band. She loves cows and fishing, and planned to be a teacher or a lawyer. But she has wound up being a Missionary.

Carrie graduated from Texas Tech University. During the time she was in college, she served as Childhood Director at Turning Points Community Church. She married Kyle Wiley in 2007. They both work with NEXT World Ministries in Frisco, TX.

They have our first Great Grandchild, Laura Kate (Button) Wiley who turned one-year-old on May 12, 2009. They live in McKinney, TX.

Cassie is more “laid back,” and is an avid reader. She’s a little less tall than Carrie. She loves horses and planed to be an elementary teacher or journalist. But she is nearing completion of her Masters Degree in Counseling at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth.

She graduated from Lubbock Christian University. In 2008, she married an old schoolmate from LCU, Curtis Thomas. Curtis is Youth Pastor at a large Methodist Church in the East Dallas area. They recently made a trip to the farm and painted the old smokehouse/shop. What a help that was to me!

We were informed a couple of weeks ago that our family is growing again. Their first child that I’ve already named “Punkin” is due to arrive on March 11, 2010.

After they had moved to Abbeville, Joel Andrew Wood was born on March 25, 1986, in Mobile. He got in a hurry to get here, so he arrived about a month early. There was a problem with his lung development, so he had to stay in the University of South Alabama Medical Center for a couple of weeks before he got to go home.

There have been no problem with his lungs now, as could be very evident when he and Cassie get into a spat. Joel went to high school at Trinity Church School in Lubbock. He said that he wanted to become an Architect, an Engineer or and “Imagineer” for Disney, when he grew up.

But, he was called into the ministry and graduated from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene. He recently served about a year as Youth Pastor at a large Methodist Church in Tyler, TX.

While at Hardin Simmons, he met a young lady named Ashley Hawthorne. They were married in March 2008. He and Ashley have moved back to Abilene where he will be attending Hardin Simmons Seminary. Ashley has applied for Medical School at Texas Tech.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part - 19.c. Robin


29c. Robin

Robin Leigh Willis spent her first 15 years in Thailand as her dad, Harland was a medical missionary there for many years. She went to the same school as Pam and Alison but they never knew each other. She went to college at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She went one year to Southeastern Seminary in Ft. Worth. That is where she met Andy and they “fell in love!”

She put her schooling aside after they were married and became a full time Mother for their twins, Carrie Michelle and Cassie Marie, and a year + later Joel Andrew. That was a full time job with three little ones to tend to. During that time, she developed Lupus. This “goes and comes” according to a large number of causes, most unknown. She has been fortunate that it goes and stays in remission most of the time.

Recently, she has completed her Masters Degree in Family Counseling and has passed her State Exams and is now practicing her trade at Texas Tech University thru a grant from the State. She sees a large number of patients, much larger than the other counselors in that program. That’s just Robin. If she can’t do it better than anyone else, she just doesn’t want to do it! She takes on a project and takes it to the top. She is a super “Pastor’s Wife” in backing and helping Andy in his ministry.

Recently, she and Andy finally made a trip or a couple of weeks to Thailand so she could show him where she grew up. They both REALLY had a great time and Andy got to preach at a huge church in Bancock that is pastored by the man who baptized Robin. That was a special highlight of their trip.

One of her favorite past times is to play the role of "Grammy" in playing with and loving her granddaughter Laura Kate (Button) Wiley. Now she's looking forward to the appearance of "Punkin" in March 2010!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Part - 29.b. - Andy - School & Work


29b. Andy - School and Work

After graduating from Mobile College, Andy spent about six months working with a church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Later, he worked with a contractor, in Mobile, doing house repairs that were damaged by Hurricane Frederick.

He was Youth Director and sometimes Music Director at Brewton, AL, Lumberton, MS, Prosper, TX, and First Baptist Jackson, AL. He pastored churches at Stave Creek Baptist, just out of Jackson; First Baptist, Abbeville, AL; Clearview Baptist in Pinson, AL and First Baptist in Fayette, AL.

In 1995, he left Fayette and went to work with Rapha, a Christian Counseling service in conjunction with Charter Hospitals in Atlanta.

In November, 1995, he had some personal problems and went into therapy for a while, some in-hospital and some out.

In August 1996, he began working for Trinity Church, a very large interdenominational church, in Lubbock, TX as Communications Director. Later, he was changed over to work as an Associate Pastor at Trinity, focused on Men’s Ministry. He has had occasion to lead the Choir, Orchestra and Congregational Music Worship and several occasions to Preach at Trinity. This was in addition to his monthly Men’s Ministries breakfast meetings.

He spent about a year as pastor of a small Baptist Church in Brownfield, TX.

During a five-year period, people from all around Lubbock, from several denominations encouraged Andy to start a new church in that area. So, in 2003 a group had met and had the first service of Turning Points Community Church in Lubbock. They met in several different locations for the first 3 years. During that time, they bought a 20 acre cotton field in the south west section of Lubbock. There were few houses in that area at that time. A year later, they built a new building housing a 458 person capacity sanctuary, offices, children and youth areas and some Sunday School rooms. Currently, they are into two services per week with an attendance between 550 and 625. The area is now getting heavily populated with more and more houses going up all the time. I would imagine that within the next few years they will probably at least double the capacity of the buildings.

While at the Seminary, Andy met an “MK” (Missionary’s Kid) by the name of Robin Leigh Willis from Brownfield, TX. About a year later, they were married in Brownfield.

Robin’s father had been a Medical Missionary to Thailand for about fifteen years. He had a medical clinic in Brownfield. He retired from there a couple of years ago and moved up to Lubbock. He is now working with a clinic in Lubbock.

Robin is “a Jill of all trades!” She loves ceramics, wall papering, and had a hobby of collecting “Coca Cola” stuff. She is very enthusiastic over most any new venture she undertakes, and tries to make the most of it. In many things, she is limited due to her having Lupus, but she goes on anyway, even though she may be in pain. She worked as an Account Executive with, an internet access provider that screens out all objectionable programs, in Lubbock. She has completed her Masters Degree in Family Counseling and is now working with a clinic at Texas Tech University doing children and family counseling.

Andy has written a number of songs that are VERY inspirational. He loves to sing, and does a good job at it. Sometimes, I want to “wring his neck” because he hasn’t ever copy written his songs and published them to get the messages to others.

Cottage Hill Baptist Church began a very powerful musical drama called “Golgotha” in about 1976. They continue to produce and present the program each year at Easter time. They present it at least 6 or 8 times each year.

Andy played the role of Peter in the first two and the fourth presentation, and “brought down the house” with his singing of “He’s Alive!”

He doesn’t have much time for his music at TPCC as being Pastor of a church that size is really a FULL TIME job. He does like to write. He has written two 40-day Christian study books and has “shadow written” one book for Fred Wolfe and one for Robin’s sister, Kay Miller. I think that he will eventually end up being a full time writer in his older years. He writes a frequent Blog called Life Vesting, a Christian post.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Part - 29 - Andy and Family - 29.a. Andy



29.a. Andy

James Andrew (Andy) Wood Jr. was born on November 4, 1958 at Mobile Infirmary, weighing in at 9 pounds 7 ounces.

Andy was a big baby to begin with, and the Carnation milk formula made him fat. But! For a year, he had colic and cried, and cried, and cried. We tried all types of medicines, especially paregoric, to give him relief. I guess that by the time he was a year old, he outgrew the problem. We knew nothing of the wide range of formulas that are available now to prevent those things.

The kids went to Mrs. Tucker’s Day Care and Kindergarten for about three years before the time Andy started to school. Actually, he had sat in her kindergarten classes for two years. Also, Mother had given him some of her “Sally, Dick and Jane” books to read before starting to school. When he started to school, he could read, write and do simple arithmetic. So, after doing some testing with him, over a three-week period, the school officials recommended that he be promoted to second grade.

We went along with their recommendation. He never had any problems with the scholastic work, but he did have some trouble for several years emotionally. He was the youngest in his class and, naturally, was the brunt of peer pressure. By about the fifth grade, he had pretty well adjusted.

Both kids were very active and involved in numerous things while coming up.

Andy wasn’t in Cub Scouts, but he joined Boy Scouts at eleven-years-old and before he was fourteen, he had completed all the work required for his Eagle Scout rank. He had to wait until after his fourteenth birthday to have his Court of Honor.

All was not perfect during scouting! Doc Johns, the scoutmaster, took some videos of Andy’s first camping trip on a cold, February weekend. It seems that Andy’s sleeping bag kept coming unrolled. Needless to say, he wasn’t very pleased with
developments there.

Andy, kinda like I did when I was little, enjoyed doing lots of playing by himself. He used to know the names and car numbers of all the racers at Mobile International Speedway. He would have some of his toy cars run ‘round and ‘round him, announcing the leaders like a P A system. Of course “Andy Wood” fared quite well in most of those races!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Part - 28 - Tractors


28. Tractors
There have been three tractors on the place. The first one was a 1941 Ford-Ferguson with about a 30 horsepower engine. There were several implements with this tractor. There was a side mounted scyclebar mower and a side mounted terracing plow. Also, there was a 2 row cultivator with attachable planter and fertilizer bins, a 12” double bottom turning plow, a 5’ disk, a dirt scoop and the tractor wagon that I still have today. Another thing that came in handy each summer after the crops were laid by was a 12” circle saw that mounted on the back of the tractor and was run by a pulley mounted at the power take off. Dennis and Tommy would saw down oak, pine and ash trees and cut them to about a 8 to 10- foot length and pile them up in the general area where they were cut. Then they’d take the tractor to those locations and saw them into House Wood and Stove Wood lengths. Later, they’d be hauled to the back yard for splitting and stacking. Daddy and Joe used to build terraces and break and disk land for many folks around the area. When Daddy stopped row cropping in the early 50’s he sold the tractor and all the implements except the wagon. The second tractor was a 34 horsepower 1964 Ford 2000 tractor that Daddy bought a little while before he retired. That was one tough tractor. He bought a bush hog, 14” double bottom turning plow, a 6’ disk, a 12’ drag harrow and a dirt scoop for that one. Daddy used that tractor in clearing up the overgrown place. We’ve moved many yards of dirt with the scoop. He mainly used the plow, disk and drag harrow to plant winter crops for the cows. He also used the drag harrow to “scatter gophers” (dried manure piles). Joe got the tractor after Mother died, then I bought it from him. In 2003, the old Ford started knocking pretty bad. Since Ford stopped building tractors, I traded it in on a new 45 horsepower 2003 John Deere, 5105 tractor with a front end loader and hay spear. Also it has a canopy on it for shade and roll over protection. I wonder what I did all those years without the versatility of the loader. I still have the implements from the Ford plus an old, heavy box blade that I keep mounted as a counterbalance for hauling dirt and hay with the loader. Also, I use it to help keep the pit road maintained to where vehicles can get up the hill. I really enjoy the Deere, but still miss the Ford for several reasons. One thing, it lasted 39 years and was Daddy’s last tractor that he loved so much. The Deere is not configured for using the scoop or the small grader blade that we had for it. The loader bucket has come in handy several times when I get the tractor stuck. I can use it to push the tractor out of a bog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Part - 27 - Vehicles



During the first few years, we hardly made enough money to "pay attention!" I had an old '56 Dodge that had about a half round of slack in the steering wheel, and JoAnne was driving the old '58 Ford we had bought just before Andy was born from Treadwell Ford.

The '58 finally "gave up" and we bought a used '61 Ford Station Wagon from Bolton Ford, downtown. This was in about '64.

The wagon was in fair condition when we bought it, but we had a couple of "mishaps" with it. First, JoAnne and the kids were in Waveland, MS where Daddy and I stayed while working at the Mississippi Test Site. She was about ready to leave for home when we noticed smoke coming up around the tailgate window. The motor in the tailgate that operated the window had shorted out.

Another time, JoAnne was on the way to work one morning along Government Boulevard. The car backfired and died. She let it coast into a Chevron station, right by the gas pumps, and asked the guy to see what her trouble was.

Her trouble was on fire! She got QUICK action. They got an extinguisher and put out the fire. The breaker points were so bad, it caused the car to "belch" back through the carburetor and it caught fire.

I had traded the wagon and the old '58 to Treadwell for a '66 4-door LTD, but they needed a day to get the new car ready. I drove the wagon home and back to work (at Otis Elevator downtown).

By the time I got downtown, the water pump shaft was worn so badly that the fan was touching the radiator. I called Treadwell and told them they'd better send a wrecker downtown to get THEIR wagon.

Other vehicles we've had were a yellow 1969 Ford Station wagon, a 1956 Ford Pickup, a blue 1973 Ford Station wagon, a green 1977 Ford F150 Pickup, a brown 1979 Ford Crown Victoria, a white 1984 Ford Crown Victoria, a red and white 1982 Ford F150 Pickup, a blue 1992 Ford Crown Victoria, and a blue 1989 Ford Ranger 4 X 4 Pickup, and a white 1996 Ford F150 Supercab Pickup. Also, we had Daddy’s 78 F-150. We are now driving a Green 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis and a red 2007 Ford F-150 Super Crew Pickup.

As you may note, there was only one blot on the record of having all Fords. That was the old 1956 Dodge.

A Look at Vehicle Gasoline Usage and Pricing

I have kept records on all the gasoline used in my last 5 pickup trucks, so I decided I’d work up the amounts of gasoline used in each vehicle, how much I’ve spent on gasoline and the average prices per gallon on each truck. It is quite interesting considering the enormous amount we are now paying for gasoline.

I had a 1977 Ford F-100 pickup that I bought used on 2/28/80 and traded it off on 3/1/85. I put 39,846 miles on that truck; used 2,847 gallons of gas for a cost of $3,465.95. I averaged 14.0 miles per gallon and spent from $1.039 to $1.329 per gallon for the gas.

On 3/1/85, I bought a used 1982 Ford F-100 pickup and traded it off on 1/21/89. I put 33,050 miles on that truck; used 2,458.7 gallons of gas for a cost of $2,564.47. I averaged 13.4 miles per gallons and spent from $0.889 to $1.099 per gallon for the gas.

On 1/21/89, bought a new 1989 Ford Ranger 4X4 and traded it off on 2/7/96. I put 139,242 miles on that truck; used 7,229.2 gallons of gas for a cost of $10,339.00. I averaged 19.2 miles per gallon and spent from $0.719 to $1.179 per gallon for the gas.
On 2/7/96, I bought a new 1996 Ford F-150 Super Cab and traded it off on 7/16/07. I put 226,380 miles on that truck; used 15,223.9 gallons of gas for a cost of $26,316.43. I averaged 15.76 miles per gallon and spent from $0.719 to $3.199 per gallon for the gas.

On 7/16/07, I bought a 2007 Program Ford F-150 Super crew. I still have that truck. I have put 15,087 miles on this truck; used 957.1 gallons of gas for a cost of $2,306.32, I have currently averaged 15.76 miles per gallon and have spent from $2.549 to $3.399 per gallon for the gas.

During the –years from 2/28/80 to today,(07/24/09) the cost of gasoline has increased from a low of $0.719 to today’s cost of $3.599 per gallon, an increase of $2.78 per gallon with no end in sight as the prices soar daily for as much as $0.22 per gallon per day. The real kick in the head (and wallet) to all this is that the big oil conglomerates are making unheard of profits into the Billions per quarter year.

With the five trucks, I have driven 475,480 miles for a cost of $74,488.87.
These exorbitant prices are sending ALL things we have to purchase from gas to food, clothing, vehicles, building materials, tires, etc. through the roof. It especially hurts us retirees that are on fixed incomes. I don’t have a clue as to how high these prices will continue to skyrocket, especially since we elected a Democrat President and Congress that are promising huge tax increases that will further escalate all prices and cause this country to go into a real depression.

I don’t have a clue as to how we can turn this do nothing, spend, and spend government around. If anyone has a clue, please cue me in!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Part - 26. - Ice Storms



During the time after the Conway job, I was job hunting. I went up to Sedalia, MO with Daddy one Sunday. When we got to his apartment, at about 10:30 that night, we turned on the TV. There was a special bulletin being flashed on TV that the City of Sedalia was in a state of emergency. The gas main that fed the city had burst and there was no gas in Sedalia. Wouldn't you know that the apartment building furnace was gas fired and there was a gas stove in the apartment. We made out ok that night as Daddy had an electric blanket and I just loaded up with "long handles" and socks and slept fine.

The next morning was a different story for Daddy. When we got up, the outside temperature was -7 degrees F. Daddy got chilled while he was getting dressed. I was ok since I already had on my "handles."
We had to get the car warmed up and drive about seven miles to get his Government pick up, then drove another twenty miles to find a place to get coffee and breakfast. Daddy was in pretty bad shape by the time we got the pickup warmed up!

We left Sedalia on Wednesday afternoon, going back home. Joe lived in Rolla, MO; on our way. We decided we'd go by his house for a cup of coffee, then drive on through to Millry.
Well, that didn't work so well either. About twenty miles outside of Rolla, we hit a sheet of ice on the roads. We "slid" into Joe's and stayed 'til the next morning. Then, we still had about a hundred miles of icy driving to go.

Another time, while living in Oak Ridge, the kids and Robin were up for Christmas. On December 26, they went to a Dentist that was about ten miles from our house, for a checkup. JoAnne and I had decided to take them out to eat that night and were getting ready to go to the bank to cash a check.

I went out to get the truck started while Jo Anne went up to get her purse. She hollered down for me to go to the bank because it was misting rain and it was freezing on everything. I decided to keep the truck engine running to thaw it out, as I told her that the kids would probably soon be calling.

The Oak Ridge Turnpike that ran by the back of our house was beginning to have numerous cars pile up due to the glaze of ice.
Sure enough, we soon got a call from Deb saying that they were ok and Andy's car was ok, but they'd had a little accident about eight miles away. I had studded snow tires on my truck and a couple of sandbags in the back. So, I headed out to get them.

It took almost an hour to get to them. They had to stop to miss an old man's car that slid off the road in front of them, and a small Nissan truck had hit the back of Andy's '78 Cadillac. I spread sand from the bags around the truck so he could get out, then spread some around Andy's car so he could pull up in the yard of the folks that let them use their phone to call us.

Then we headed home.
By the time we got back to the Turnpike, about a half-mile from the house, the eastbound lane had been completely blocked with wrecked and stalled vehicles. I went East on the westbound lanes up to our turnoff, as there was no westbound traffic. Then on up into our back yard.

About dark, I took a couple of thermos bottles of coffee and some cake and sandwiches down to the road to pass out to the stalled people.

Once, about 10:00 PM, a car came easing up through the railroad underpass. The driver was checking to see if he could get through. I told him that I'd heard there were about 200 cars piled up just over the hill from there and there was no way he could get through. He thanked me and started to try to turn around to go back to town. His car would not move, even though the pavement was pretty level at that point. I told him to just take his foot off the brake and let the tires spin slowly. He did so, and I began pushing the car sideways near the rear end. The car easily spun round and began moving off toward town. The driver yelled his thanks out the window and proceeded.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Part - 25 - Wrecks



A few days before our wedding, we had been over to JoAnne's Aunt Claire Dunn's in Chickasaw for them to plan a shower. On the way back, I ran a stop sign that was blocked by a parked car and it was a blind corner. I ran into a forty-six Ford coupe. It banged up the front of my fifty-five Ford and cost me $1,170.00 to have it fixed. (Now days, it would probably cost five or six thousand dollars.) I just paid the guy $125.00 for the coupe and told him to keep it.

The wreck damage pretty well took away all the little money I had saved, so we couldn't afford a big honeymoon.

Once, while we were in Conway, AR, we were crossing an intersection on an unpaved street that had no signs (stop, etc.). After getting about half way into the intersection, I saw a pickup truck was going to hit me in the right side. I swerved enough that he only bumped the rear fender about 6 inches from the taillight. The other driver had had a "couple of beers" and asked me not to call the Police. He gave me his name, drivers license number, etc. and said that he used to work at the Ford place, and he'd meet me there on Monday afternoon.

By the time I got to the Ford place on Monday, he'd already been there and arranged to pay for the damage to our car.

I've really been lucky so far that I've not had any other wrecks, especially for all the miles I've driven.

Monday, July 20, 2009




While the kids were coming up, each year, we tried to take at least a one week vacation to travel and see as many different things as we could.

We've been to (in no particular order): Six Flags over Georgia, The Cyclorama (a combined painting and 3-D depiction of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta), The Zoo and to a Braves game at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta; Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL; Waukula Springs, FL; Carowinds Theme Park on the North Carolina/South Carolina border near Charlotte; Opryland, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's Home) and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; Goldrush Junction (changed to Silver Dollar City and is now Dollywood) in Pigeon Forge, TN; Gatlinburg and The Great Smokie Mountain National Park; Frontierland and The Oconoluftie Indian Village (about three times) in Cherokee, NC;

(The first time we went to Cherokee, we were all sick but Deb, it had been raining and JoAnne had bumped her head on a gondola going out of Frontier Land. We decided to get us some Indian Moccasins. For some reason, we all got tickled and were about rolling in the floor of the shop in Cherokee while trying on moccasins.);

Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls and The Confederama (a miniature mock up of the Battle of Moccasin Bend) in Chattanooga, and the Memphis Zoo in TN; Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, TX; The Alamo and Langhorn's House of Horns in San Antonio, TX; The Astrodome, Home of the Astros, (Andy & I saw a ball game there) in Houston, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, and El Paso, TX; Mammoth Cave, Fort Knox, Louisville (where Andy learned to run and dive off a board), Frankfurt (the Capitol), and Lexington, KY;

The US Capital, Senate Chamber, House Chamber (we were met by Congressman Jack Edwards, had our picture made on the Capitol steps with him and later, visited him in his office) and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC; Chesapeake Beach, MD (we found several ancient sharks' teeth along the shore there); and Mount Vernon (Home of George Washington), VA;

The Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Capitol in Montgomery, Russell Cave, Sequoia Caverns, Natural Bridge, Talladega International Raceway, Cheaha State Park (highest point in AL), and Lake Logan Martin at Pell City, AL;

Dogpatch USA near Russelville, Petit Jean State Park and Winthrop Rockerfeller ranch, and the Little Rock Zoo, in AR; the original Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, the St. Louis Zoo, Grant's Park (home of Augie Busch and the Budweiser Clydesdales. Joe almost got us run out of there.), and stood on the foundation of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; the Jackson and Hattiesburg Zoos in MS; Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ; and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

During these trips, we tried to see as much as possible in the short times we had. For instance, we went through about one-and-a-half of the Smithsonian buildings in about four hours. We were exposed to lots of places and things, and after the kids moved, both they and JoAnne and I have gone back to several of the places we'd been to previously.

JoAnne and I have added a number of places since the kids grew up. We've been to Quebec City, Quebec, and Montreal, Ontario, Canada; all over Maine and Tennessee; the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington (we took Lou once and Mother and Daddy once, they all seemed to really enjoy it.); Denver, Vail, Estes Park, and Colorado Springs, CO; Cheyenne, (Capitol) WY; Oakland, San Francisco and the NAPA Valley, CA; Detroit, Macanac and Sault Ste. Marie, MI; The Biltmore House (Home of the Vanderbilts. Has 36 bedrooms) in Asheville, and to Chimney Rock, NC. And, to Salt Lake City, UT, Idaho Falls and The Valley of the Moon National Monument, ID; Jackson Hole and the Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks in WY; and through a corner of Montana.

Associated travels with the various jobs have taken me to 23 states. I've been into 46 of the 50 states. I've seen much of this country, and wish to see more of it. I have been out of the US to two countries, those are Canada, Mexico, England, France, The Netherlands, Luxumborg, Belgium, Prague, and Cyprus . We really hope to see much more of the world if health and money allows.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Part - 23 - Volunteering


I was vice president of the Davidson High School Band Parents Association, and JoAnne and I were at ALL performances. I would brag on the members of the band, telling them that I had 2 younguns and 146 "Other Younguns" in that band.

Most of the performances were fun, but when I'd have to walk with them during Mardi Gras parades, trying to keep the people back out of the street so the band could get through was NO fun.

During the time the kids were in High School, we worked as volunteers for the Red Cross. We would work first aid stations at most all the football games, work at disaster shelters and with the Mobile County Sheriff's Flotilla. Over a three-year period, I worked over 1,500 hours for the Red Cross, teaching first aid classes and working first aid stations.

I was a member of the Mobile County Sheriff's Flotilla; a search and rescue unit of volunteers to handle water related emergencies. Since I didn't have a boat, I served as a Radio Officer. Also, I kept the converted Air Force School bus that had been made into a portable base station that was set up at each disaster location.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Part - 21 & 22 - Wedding & Honeymoon



JoAnne and I were married on Monday, September 16, 1957. Why Monday? It was my twentieth birthday and would have been her parents' twentieth anniversary. That way I would have no excuse forgetting our anniversary!

The wedding took place at Myers Memorial Baptist Church, in Eight Mile with Bro. Cotton Causey officiating.

Myers Memorial's first pastor was JoAnne's great grandfather.

Daddy was my best man; Joe and Fred were groomsmen. JoAnne's brother, Shelton, (Sonny) walked her down the aisle. (That was no easy thing as one of her skirt hoops had come unfastened and she was stepping on her petticoat all the way down the aisle.) Her other brother, Bobby and her cousin Hank Parker were ushers. Loretta McLeod Byrd was the Matron of honor, and JoAnne's cousins Joyce Dunn and Doris Rice were bridesmaids. My cousin, Judy Wood, and niece, Dianne Knight, were flower girls. My nephew, Steve Duncan was ring bearer.


We spent our first night together, after stopping at Spanish Fort to remove the last of the tin cans that had been tied to the back of the car, at the Azalea Motel at the intersection of Highway 98 and Pensacola Beach Road, just across the Pensacola Bay bridge.

I don't know who was the most ignorant, naive, or the most scared. But, old maw nature took care of things, and it was "a night to behold!"

Since we had had a wreck a couple of weeks before the wedding and had to use most of our savings to get the car repaired, the rest of the honeymoon was spent visiting relatives. We spent a night with Claire and Fred in Fort Walton Beach, one with Joe and Bea in Enterprise, AL (Bea took us to Bingo at Ft. Rucker as Joe was abed with the flu.), then a couple of nights in Millry before going into our apartment at 7 Oakland Terrace, in Mobile.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Part - 20 - JoAnne



Mable JoAnne is the only daughter and oldest child of the late Shelton Chesley and Mamie Lucille Parker Hendrix. She has two brothers, William Shelton (Sonny) and Robert Lewis (Bobby). She dropped the “Mable” about the time she started high school.

She was born in the same house that her mother born was, in Whistler, AL. Her parents built a house in Eight Mile, AL soon after she was born, and is where she grew up. The house is located across from Myers Memorial Baptist Church, on Shelton Beach Road, where I met her and where we were married.

She graduated from Vigor High School in 1956 and went to work for Rhodes Furniture store on Dauphin Street in Mobile as a bookkeeper. She worked there until just before Andy was born.

JoAnne had desired to go to College, but the opportunity never really presented itself. Her Father was in poor health when she graduated from high school and he died when she was 18. Ten months after her father’s death, we were married. Fourteen months later Andy was born, and less than thirteen months later, Deb was born. So, she joined me in the School of Hard Knocks.

While I was attending William Carey College, she worked as a bookkeeper at the Auto Lec Store in Hattiesburg.

When we moved to Arkansas, she worked for a while for Midland Constructors and for Paul Hardeman-Fischbach and Moore in Conway in the offices.

When we moved back to Mobile, in 1961, she went to work for Smith’s Sunbeam Bakery where she worked for several years as a bookkeeper.

She stopped working for a while to be home with the kids, then worked for Gail Poole, Interior decorator. Later she worked as Office Manager/Bookkeeper for Consolidated Air Conditioning until we moved to Oak Ridge in 1979.

After we moved to Oak Ridge, she worked as a bookkeeper for Larry Channell Accounting, then for Jeff Day, Accountant as Office Manager. She kept numerous sets of books for businesses around the Oak Ridge area as well as working up tax returns while working for both Accountants.

During the eleven years I worked in Oak Ridge. She began to take some courses at Roane State Community College, in Oak Ridge, while still working, but only accomplished about a year’s work before we moved to Waterville, ME.

When we went to Maine, she got a job with Northeast Laboratory as Office Manager. They had experienced a total crash of their computer system and JoAnne pulled all the lost information up from hard files and reestablished their accounting system into a new computerized system.

When we returned to Oak Ridge neither she nor I could find work for quite a while. She worked with the Radio and Television Ministry at Central Baptist Church as a volunteer during that time.

Upon returning to Mobile, she worked part time for an Accounting Firm during Income Tax Season. Then she went to work as Bookkeeper for Gulf Lumber Company, handling the personal accounts for the Owners. She retired from Gulf Lumber in 2000.

She worked part time for a while at Millry Baptist Church in the office, mostly on a volunteer basis.

She likes to read, sew, walk, play games, do church work, travel, spoil the grandkids, and great grand, etc. We are both enjoying retirement in the country and a much slower pace than in-city go, go, go atmosphere. We don’t miss Airport Blvd. in Mobile at all!

JoAnne is in pretty good health. Except for two major surgeries, she has always maintained good health. She had a Hysterectomy when she was about 27-years-old, then had a very large ovarian tumor removed while we were living in Maine.

Two things that have been bothering her in recent years is a broken right wrist suffered when she slipped on ice in Atlanta in 1996 and an on-going battle with allergies.

Her wrist did not knit as straight as it should, so she’s having some arthritic pain in it and can not flex it as she can with her left wrist.

Her allergies have been kinda hard to control as her doctors say that she’s allergic to stress, as well as dust, certain pollens, etc. She’ll wake up some mornings with “whelps” all over her that, most of the time, will go away soon as she takes a pill. She never knows when an attack is coming. Hope a prevention for this will emerge soon.

Over the past couple of years she has developed a couple more ailments. One is defibrillation of her heartbeat and is on Coumadin for that. Also she has developed Sleep Apnea that requires her to use C-pap machine to allow her to sleep through the night.

JoAnne did about a three-year stint teaching five and Six-year-olds in Sunday School. She really did enjoy working with those kids. But, they moved the classes out to the Christian Activities Center and all the kids sat on the floor in various areas of the gym floor. She was unable to maneuver the up and down and gave up her class. So, she went back into Margaret Hartley’s women’s class.

JoAnne enjoys playing games on her computer and has recently gotten into Facebook.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Part - 19.h.5 - Recap 3


19.h.5. WORK RECAP (5)

I guess I developed an interest in the construction industry naturally. As I noted before, I would "grade roads" complete with ditches, bridges, etc. in the back yard. Would drive up every nail I could find, mostly in the ground, when I was very small. I would practice loading and stacking loads of wood, etc. on my wagon, and always have a special "haul road" to go on. I always loved to smell fresh turned earth on the farm. And, I've always loved operating any type equipment, from a toy tractor to the big ones. The only thing that I have never run and have always wanted to, was a motor grader.

I love to see new things being built, from houses to churches, office buildings to new structures in industrial plants. I love to see these industrial projects go from (under) the ground up to the simply amazing ways that products we use all the time are coming off the ends of production lines. It amazes me how so many brilliant minds have gone into just thinking some of these things up, much less the complicated methods it takes to produce them.

I've been on projects to build structures that make bag paper, writing paper, tissue to wipe either end, newsprint, magazine glossy paper; rayon, nylon and TENCEL fibers, that are used for making clothes, belting, and so many other uses; plastic pellets to be transformed into things from garbage bags to house siding, to non-corrosive gears for machinery and fishing reels; elevators and escalators to save us from using all our energy climbing stairways; to missiles that carry men to the moon or to blow away a whole country; to nuclear products that may destroy the world or provide fuel for power plants or ships; to aluminum mills that melt ingredients down and pour the molten materials into huge ingots that are later made into foils, soda cans and lightweight materials for truck frames, to containers, to baseball bats; to cement plants for supporting all these plants as well as highway systems; to crude oil that is made into fuel and lubricants for vehicles to keep the world mobile; to ships to move the world's cargo; to roads to give the world mobility; to churches to worship in comfort and fellowship; to shopping centers for plying the world's goods; to schools to educate the people; to auto dealerships to vend transportation vehicles; to parks for leisure; to airplane engines to propel people and products by air; to communication centers for telephone, radio and television to keep the world "smaller"; to hospitals to heal the ill; to nursing homes to house the afflicted; to office buildings for business; chemical plants that can poison the world or deactivate the poison or so many other uses; to paints to preserve and beautify structures and vehicles; to pharmaceuticals to cure the headaches or bandage the wounds of the people; and many, many more.

Wow! Have I been in all those places?!?!

I have performed jobs to test the quality or paper being made; lay out buildings and machinery locations to assure they will "fit" in the world; purchase products to make up and to construct these places; supervise crafts in assembling, constructing and handling materials; purchasing, receiving and warehousing materials; designing office buildings; driving tractors and trucks; keeping fleets of vehicles and equipment purchased and maintained; and developing and managing Safety programs to meet compliance requirements for the health and well being of all workers who perform the work associated with all the aforementioned endeavors.

I have "plied my trade" in Millry, The Greater Mobile Area from McIntosh to Theodore, Sheffield, Dothan and Jackson, AL; Pascagoula, Gulfport, Moss Point, Starkville and Bay St. Louis, MS; Pensacola, Panama City and Port St. Joe, FL; Oak Ridge, TN; Skowhegan (Somerset), ME; New Orleans and Lake Charles, LA; Houston, TX; and Athens, GA.

I guess I'd have to say that my first paying job was picking cotton for Mr. Jim Whigham. Calvin Stokley, Robert A. McLean and I would pick for him each year for about three years. We'd get a whole two cents per pound that we picked. On the first year, the most I picked in a day was 75 pounds ($1.50), the second was 77 pounds ($1.54), and the third, I really "got after it" one day and picked 137 pounds ($2.74). Of course those jobs didn't last but a week or so each year. We'd have to wait until up in the morning if there was dew that morning. The day I picked 137 pounds, there was no dew, so we started about 6:30 am and picked until dark. I've heard of people that could pick 3, 4, or 500 pounds in a day. Now that's "grabbin' some cotton!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Part - 19.h.4. - Work Recap 2


19h.(4) Recap (2)

On a Wednesday, Daddy introduced me to Owen Hart the Structural Superintendent and Ed Owens, the Structural Engineer for Paul Hardeman-Fischbach and Moore, who were doing Phase II of the project.

Later, Morrison-Knudsen joined PH-FM to do Phase IIA.
Phase I involved digging the silos 160 feet deep and about 60 feet diameter, all in dense rock. Then they started pouring concrete in the bottom and "slip formed" the walls continually, until they had poured out at the top. Then they installed the huge girders that spanned the hole from four directions. Phase II involved hanging EVERYTHING to the walls: all floors, the launch tube, a 6,000 gallon cooling water tank, all piping and electrical; building the igloo style Launch Control Center, the Entrance, called the Blast Lock; and the tunnel connecting the silo to the blast lock and blast lock to the Launch Control center.

Also included installation of a 200-ton rollback door.
Phase IIA was the installation of all finish electrical and electronic, controls, operation equipment, etc.

When I talked with Hart and Owens, they said they needed someone to take care of all structural steel drawings plus some other things. They wanted me to start ASAP. When I asked what the pay rate was, Owen said, "Oh, how about a hundred-and-a-half?" My mouth flew open and I said, "A month?" He said, "Hell no. A week!" I could hardly believe my ears, after the $1.25 an hour, that was "BIG MONEY!"

The next Monday morning, I started work as a Junior Structural Engineer. There wound up being 770 different shop drawings that were frequently revised, and there were thirteen sets of these drawings. There was one set on twelve different job sites and one in my office. All were on plan sticks made out of 1/4" by 2" laths with three 1/4" bolts through them. In addition to the shop drawings, there were almost 300 Erection drawings that the Ironworkers used to assemble the steel on the sites.

There were five copies of each erection drawing. One was on the sticks and four were folded so the Foremen could stick them in their pockets and take them down in the silos.
Along with all the other work with drawings, I kept records of costs on all steelwork and managed a steel fabrication shop with as many as eighteen Iron Workers and a Cable Splicer.

We made thousands of steel wedges of various sizes, three inch square "blank nuts" and "alignment dogs" for use in aligning the steel plates on the launch tubes and water tanks.
Since everything was hung to the silo's concrete walls by drilling and anchoring, we made hundreds of pipe and equipment hanger brackets for each site. Plus, Old Cherokee Pete made all the wire rope slings for the project.

Pete was an OK guy. He was the type person that, if he liked you, he'd give you the shirt off his back. If he didn't like you, he had nothing to do with you. Well, he "took a likin' to me." Once he brought me a quart jar full of an "Old Cherokee Recipe" of a kind of stew. It had squirrel meat, some kind of potato and lots of other things that he wouldn't identify. It was SUPER rich. You could only eat a couple of spoonsful at a time. He told me it was an energy booster.

One day, I saw Pete working with a one-half inch cable about twenty feet long. He was making some steel hooks and putting it on some short pieces of chain. I asked him what he was making. He said, "I'm makin' a vehicle tow cable for a friend of mine." When he finished it, he handed it to me and said, "Here ya go, friend!"

For a long time, we had the shop, and I had a warehouse trailer set up at Site #18. This site was about the central one of all the eighteen sites. The warehouse was for Iron Workers' tools, welding equipment and rods, and torches.

The original excavations had a two-inch diameter pipe guard rail bent to the radius of the hole (about 100 feet in diameter). When the hole was closed, the pipe rails were scrapped. Also, the pipe fab shop had some work horses made of two-and-a-half inch pipe. I took four pieces of the bent pipe for legs and one of the "horses" about ten feet wide for the top, and made the kids a swing set. It cost me a whole dollar for the material! The frame is still in the back yard in Millry. We use it for a porch type swing now.

After leaving Conway in January 1961, I didn't have a job for two months. We moved in with Lou for about four months.
In February 1961, I went to work as an agent with the National Life and Accident Insurance Co. in Mobile. I was averaging $108.00 per week, but by the time I ran the debit two or three times a week trying to collect premiums, car expense and taxes, I only netted out about $35.00 per week. That doesn't go far toward feeding a family of four! I'd go by some clients to collect maybe two or three dollars for a little "sick and accident" policy, and they'd say, "Policy Man, I ain't got no money today. Come back Sadity and I'll have some then!"

During the time I was working for National Life, we bought our first house. It was in Terrace Hills subdivision, off Cottage Hill Road. The house was at 4450, then changed to 5200 Almeda Court. It was the center house of a five-house circle.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Part - 19.h.3. - Work Recap #1


19h.(3) WORK (Recap 1)

The County had let the contract for grading, laying the base and paving the road from Millry School to the Choctaw County line, a distance of 6.3 miles. I got a job with the contractor, S. A. Graham Contracting of Brundidge, AL as a laborer, tractor driver, dump truck and water truck driver and power shovel oiler at $1.00 per hour.

I would keep areas drained after rains, greased and fueled the dip-stick shovel in the gravel pit, drove an old 2 cylinder, hand clutch, John Deere tractor pulling a disc, sheep foot and rubber tired rollers, drove a dump truck and drove a water truck. After about a month, I got a big $1.25 per hour.

Mother had gone to Conway, AR to spend the summer with Daddy. He was working with the Corps on 18 Titan II missile silos within a 72 mile radius of Conway.

We stayed at the home place that summer and I walked out the front door to work. On the last two days on that job, I worked from 7:00 am Sunday until 3:30 PM Monday as we were trying to get everything ready to "shoot" the road. (Spray the tar sealer to prepare for the Slag top coarse.)

We had worked all day Sunday cutting out soft spots in various places, and had gotten all of it ready from James Bennet's house to Millry. About dark, we had gotten the rest of it shaped up and needed to roll it down good.

The boss asked me if I could run all night. I agreed to, so about 8:00 PM, all the other crew left and I began pulling two rubber tire rollers from James Bennet's to the top of the Henry Williams hill, (about two and a half miles.).

On the first trip by the house after the others left, Prince, Mothers collie dog came out to keep me company. He trotted along by the right front wheel all night long. As soon as some of the crew came in Monday morning, he dropped off at the house. I never called him or anything!

Once, about 10:00 PM, Prince ran out to the left side of the road, just above Dunbar Creek and was kinda standing over something. I found that he had charmed a small 'possom. I stomped the 'possom's head in. So, from then on, he would trot over to check on his 'possom each trip by. He really was a lot of company for me that night.

We finished that job in September. Daddy had talked to a couple of fellows on the job that he knew on the Oklahoma job he'd been on about the possibility of my getting a job. We made a trip to Arkansas to check it out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Part - 19.h.2. - Employment (cont)


19h,(2) Work Continued

During that time, I worked with another guy at Central Baptist Church to install a new TV production and sound system, run cameras and direct programming.

At the end of that nine month period I was called by Farnell and Associates to go to Courtaulds’ Tencel Fiber Plant in Axis, AL as Safety Manager. They had already had two lost time accidents and needed someone to get the program changed to correct deficiencies. There were no more lost timers!

After Tencel, I ran a project for Farnell at Huls Chemical Plant in Theodore and did six months of redesign work on elevated platforms for a new plastics plant in Sulpher, LA.

After that, I was called back to Tencel to write a Safety Plan, write a script and directed the shoot for Safety training videos for a large addition to that plant. Then I ran to Safety Program for tow-and-a-half years.

At that point, I began working as a Safety Consultant. I worked on a project in Jackson, AL for Boise Cascade Paper Co. There had been two lost time incidents there and they wanted someone to correct that situation. No more lost timers!

From Boise, I went to Noramco, Inc. a Johnson & Johnson Company, in Athens, GA. I did the program and video thing like Tencel, then ran the safety program for two plus years. Then, I did monthly audits on another project on that site for a year.

I went into semi-retirement after that project. Now I do some Safety Training and monitoring work for Safety Guidance Specialty (SGS) in the Mobile, McIntosh areas as Safety Consulting – Jim Wood. This helps keep my interest up in Safety and hopefully helps to keep what little sharpness there is in my ole head!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Part - 19.1.1. - Employment




After leaving Howard, I worked in the International Paper Company lab for three-and-a-half years.

After leaving the paper mill and Carey College, I did a brief stint as a dump and water truck driver and steam shovel greaser with the company that paved the road from the school to the county line. Then I worked as a Junior Structural Engineer for Paul Hardeman/Fischback & Moore in Conway, AR managing an Iron Worker fabrication shop and warehouse on 18 Titan II Missile Silos.

When that project was completed, I worked as a Debit Agent with the National Life and Accident Insurance Co. in Mobile for 7 months before we were almost totally broke!

After being a “policy man” with NLAIC, I worked on several projects at the NASA Mississippi Testing Center near Picayune, MS. I started out as a Rodman laying out piling locations for a bascule bridge foundation; moved to Assistant Project Engineer on an office building; then to Field Engineer on a Vehicle (Missile Sections) Storage Building and finally Project Engineer on a Vehicle Assembly Building.

From MTC, I went back to Mobile and worked for two years as Assistant Manager of the Mobile Office of Otis Elevator. Not wanting to transfer to Atlanta, I left Otis and began an eleven year stint with Martin Builders, Inc.

I “wore several hats” with MBI. I started out as an Estimator and Field Engineer. That spread out to be Equipment Superintendent, Purchasing Agent, Safety Manager, and whatever other jobs no one else wanted to do. I designed and oversaw the work on a big addition to our office building, filled in for Job Superintendents that had to be off sick for periods of time, doing layouts of new projects to locate building sites, doing emergency check writing to terminated employees and I could fill in and do the work of any employee in the office on a “necessary” basis. This was one of my SHK Majors!

After MBI owners decided to fold the company, I went to work as Equipment Superintendent (Fleet Manager) for The Rust Engineering Company in Oak Ridge, TN. I worked there for 11 years, then I was transferred to Waterville, ME, and to Sheffield, AL for a couple of years.

At Rust, I had to design a Fleet Maintenance and Replacement program for up to 277 Government (Department of Energy) vehicles and over 100 items of Construction Equipment. Also, I was responsible for maintaining a manpower of up to 75 Operating Engineers and 75 Teamsters to drive, operate and maintain all the vehicles and equipment. This also involved compiling training programs to meet Department of Transportation in the safe operation of trucks transporting hazardous materials and a training program to certify crane operators in the safe operation of this type equipment.

I was on several panels in DOE wide Property Management with meetings all over the US. The maintenance and replacement programs that I designed were used by other Government agencies across the country.

During the time in Oak Ridge was the only time that the lack of a college diploma gave me any type hold back. I was told that I was preferred to take the job as Assistant Project Manager over the 12 to 1400 workers but since I didn’t have that diploma, I was ineligible for the job. I knew that was the case and did not apply for the job.

When it became evident that Rust would not get an extension of their contract after 27 years, they transferred eight people to other projects. I was one of the eight. I went to the Home Office in Birmingham for three months, then to Waterville, ME for two years.

In Maine, I was Materials Manager on a large paper machine and boiler project for Scott Paper Co. I had a dual computer system on that project. I designed a Lotus program on PC to keep up with EACH item of materials and equipment that went into that project. This involved accounting for every item from design, to purchasing, to expediting, to receiving to issue for installation.

The other computer system was to parallel the Lotus program in the company’s UNIX program in Birmingham. This program did the same thing as the Lotus one, but was set up so that when a designer put a piece of material or equipment on paper, it was assigned a number that followed the piece from “Cradle to Grave.”

From Maine, I was transferred to a project at Reynolds Aluminum Co. in Sheffield, AL to run the night shift and be in charge of Safety on installation of new aluminum casting pits.

When the Reynolds job was finished, I was scheduled to go to Ohio as Materials Manager on a big project, but on the day I was to leave there, I was advised that the project had been cut back and my job there was part of the cuts. So, I was out of work for nine months and back in Oak Ridge.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Part - 19.g. - Education

MHS Class of '55



I began college at Livingston State Teachers College (now University of West Alabama) in the fall of 1955. I completed two quarters of study there and had to drop out amid the third quarter due to two health related things. One was the nervous breakdown that was followed by appendicitis.

The next fall, I transferred to Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham.

Upon completion of only one semester at Howard, I had fallen madly in love with a (as her cousin, Bill Sullivan, my LSTC roommate said) "pleasantly plump" gal from Eight Mile, AL by the name of Mable JoAnne Hendrix (JoAnne). So, much to the chagrin of Mother and Daddy, I dropped out of school and got a job in the Lab at International Paper Co. (IP), in Mobile.

After Deb was born, I continued to have the seizures. IP would not allow me back to work. I had found the problem and was adjusting to handling the cure.

The State of Alabama had a program that would pay tuition for college education to people with problems such as I had. So, I enrolled in William Carey College, in Hattiesburg, MS to continue studying church music.

JoAnne left Rhodes in Mobile and got a job at the Auto Lec Store (similar to Western Auto) in Hattiesburg making $180.00 per month. We had to hire a maid to keep the kids. This cost us $15.00 per week. So, needless to say, we weren't overly "flush" with money.

A rare treat, about once every two or three weeks, we would "splurge" and go to Bush's Cafe for a steak sandwich @ thirty five cents each, or to Frost Top Root beer drive-in for a couple of Chili, Cheese Dogs @ twenty cents each. Our main stay was powdered milk, oatmeal and spaghetti. It was a long time after that before I "redeveloped" a taste for spaghetti or oatmeal.

We lived in an apartment at the back of on old house that had two other apartments up front. We had one bedroom, bath and a long room across the back that served as living room, dining room and kitchen. It really was a "filth hole" that was overrun with roaches, water bugs and mice. We would spray for bugs and they'd make the rounds to the other apartments, then back.

The mice had gotten so bad that we couldn't catch them all with traps. So, I asked the maid if she had a cat. She said she didn't, but her neighbor had one that would catch mice. I asked her to arrange for me to borrow the cat the next night.

When I took the maid home the next day, I picked up the cat. When we started to bed, I turned her loose in the big room. The cat was so thin; you could "almost read a newspaper through her!"

When I went in the next morning, it looked like someone had pumped the cat up like a balloon. She was FULL of mice. When I
took her home, her owner looked at her and said, " Lawdy murcy! She musta et a lotsa mices!" We didn't have much mouse trouble after that.

During the school year, I discovered that working in the Very high noise level areas in the paper mill had caused me to lose the keen hearing ability to hear musical tones necessary to be a professional musician. So, I dropped out of school at the end of that year, so didn’t finish college.

Many years later, I enrolled in a two year Experiential Credits degree problem through Tusculum College in East Tennessee. After completing the first semester of that, I was transferred to Maine by Rust and finally gave up on the degree situation.

So, as I call it, “I graduated from UHK (University of Hard Knocks)” and gained what finally made for a pretty well paying career in the Construction Industry.