Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bad Timing for a Transfer

(This is the treehouse in the shelterbelt beside our house in Newton, Kansas, as mentioned later in this post. In the picture are my two nephews, Dan and Craig, my brother-in-law, Bob, and Bill, our treehouse architect. Isn't it something?)

Ray received word that he was being transferred to Newton, Kansas, as Acting Asst. Division Engineer right about Thanksgiving time in 1968. What a bad time to move - Sherry was finishing her senior year at Topeka High and Bill was in his last year at Boswell Junior High. We just could not take them out of their schools and plunk them down in Newton where everything would have been so strange. So Ray found a room in Newton and the kids and I stayed in Topeka and he came home as often as he could. It took several hours to drive to get home. As spring approached, the three of us drove to Newton and went house hunting and moved the day after Sherry graduated from high school. It was still not a lot of fun for the kids, but much better than if we had moved earlier. You can be certain Ray welcomed us with open arms - it had been a long winter.

Bill took a job working at the Safeway in the produce department. He also made friends with the son of the people we bought our house from - they lived right across the field behind us. Jim introduced him to some other guys so all was well with Bill. We lived at the edge of a shelter belt and Bill and buddies built a two story treehouse - wired for light and sound and all the comforts of home. He slept in it most nights. It was pretty darned cool! I added the picture above after I had done the rest of this post.

Sherry had some of her friends from Topeka visit her and she was also getting ready to go to KU in the fall. So that summer did pass by and all was well with the world. The following summer, she took a job as a counselor at the girl scout Camp Daisy in Topeka so spent most of her summer there. At least, I think it was the following summer and not the first one. A long time has gone by since then.

Me? I took a job at the Hesston Corporation in the little town of Hesston which was about 10 or 11 miles from Newton. They made specialized farm equipment. They needed a legal secretary and I was offered that but there was too much overtime that I just didn't want to contend with. The only job I had ever had was being a legal secretary. I really enjoyed it but just wanted to go home at 5:00 and not work on weekends. So I took a job as a secretary in the Parts Department. In the picture, the tall fellow between me and Verna is Chuck Wood and he was manager of parts. I would make a pot of coffee for him each morning (it all pays the same). One morning he stuck his head out of his office and said "You Pollack secretary!" I had forgotten to put the coffee in so he had a cup of hot water. He was funny and we got along great since I could tease him right back. Nice to be able to have fun along with working. Had never worked with a lot of people before and enjoyed that a lot. In the picture, the fellows on the left side in suits worked in the office and the fellows in the white coats were in the warehouse. Note that there are quite a few sideburns in the picture! The fifth fellow from the left is Ernie - Ernie was one of the cutest, funniest young guys I have ever met. He could have been a standup comic.

We lived in Newton three years and were very happy when Ray was transferred to the Kansas City area. (Click to enlarge)


  1. Nice story, Carol. We had a shop teacher in Shelby, MT, in 1962 whose name was Chuck Wood - and he was tall just like your Chuck Wood. He got some grief from the kids in Wood shop, but - he was very good-natured about it.

  2. Boy you and the kids did have to be open minded and move alot. It must have been that you were able to keep the family going with all of that constant change. You are obviously a strong person.

  3. Moving gives you a fresh perspective and you learn how to adapt. I learned that living is actually the same no matter where you are, it's what you make of it. That little Honda was lot of fun. I met lots of characters at Safeway... Super Floyd and Handsome Hank make me chuckle just remember them... hard working guys that were always smiling.

  4. All of a sudden I have figured out what the guys were doing in the treehouse picture. I could see one of my big pans and wondered what Bill was doing with that. Lightbulb moment!!! When I enlarged the picture, I see that my brother-in-law has an ear of corn in his hand - they were shucking corn for dinner! Mystery solved. Carol