Memory: June 1, 1976

In reading the title of this post, you may have one of the following thoughts in your head:

  1. I don’t remember this date, but it must hold some importance to the writer.
  2. I remember exactly where I was on this date and can tell you the color of socks I wore.
  3. I don’t remember this date because I was probably lost in a purple haze.
  4. I wasn’t born yet. Gosh, the writer is old.

memory-laneAfter a meeting in our office this morning, a smattering of attendees, including my boss, were standing around, talking about work-related subjects. I happened to walk through the smattering when this question was asked:

Do you remember your first interview with this agency?

One employee, at least a decade or two younger than me, couldn’t remember. He had no clue who interviewed him for his first job. A few others remembered the people who interviewed them, but didn’t provide much detail.

Then I spoke up.

“I clearly remember my interview and who interviewed me, even though it was many, many years ago.”

One smart ass employee piped up, “Back in the 50’s?”

If only I had a shovel at the time…

Due to the lack of a blunt instrument, I continued the story. Following is a more detailed version of the event.

On that day, I was interview by two people, Darryl and Dan. I was four months shy of my 19th birthday and fairly naive. I remember the light blue dress I wore, but not the color of my shoes. Darryl started the interview in his office, Dan came in later. Compared to the process that candidates go through present day for an interview, this one was extremely informal and laid back. I’m unable to recall the questions that were asked of me, but apparently I answered to Darryl’s and Dan’s satisfaction.

Due to my young age, I viewed Darryl and Dan, who were probably in their early 30’s, as “old.” Darryl wore lightly tinted glasses and a man-necklace. Dan must have decided he was a Beach Boy with his white pants and striped shirt.

The interesting part of the interview came when Dan walked in the door. Introductions were made and then these two men began to have a casual, work-related conversation. Darryl and Dan were Agents for a correctional agency and were discussing a recent house search. Darryl opened up his desk drawer and produced a confiscated pot pipe. My eyes were a little wide at that point, but I didn’t say a word. Unaffected by the fact that they had an 18 year old sitting before them, they continued the conversation for a few minutes more.

I don’t remember much after that. Two weeks went by before I received the offer for this clerical position. Apparently, Darryl had gone on vacation after the interview, which lengthened the hiring process. While waiting for the call, mom thought that perhaps I was too young to be in a position with this agency. I found out later that my non-reaction to the pot pipe was one of the deciding factors of the hire. In hindsight, though, it was a very boring event compared to what I would come across over the next several years.

I would be in this position for almost 13 years. For the first two years, the office was housed on the second floor of Gruenhagen Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus. It seems like an odd location now, surrounded by University students who lived on the upper floors. Back then, I had a sneaking suspicion that Darryl and Dan enjoyed the view of female college co-eds from their office windows. It’s a suspicion, mind you, as they could have been merely contemplating the color of the grass below.


The date of June 1, 1976, is the anniversary date of when I started with the government agency. This year, on June 1st, I will be celebrating 40 years of labor with that same agency. In that time, I’ve assimilated quite a bit of knowledge (some of it now outdated) and perhaps much more than I really needed to know. As I whined in a previous post, I would prefer to be retired, but have a few years left to work. When I started, I typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter and used carbon and yellow onionskin paper to type a memo. Today, I’m on the computer using e-forms that print to a multi-functional device.

Yes, #4 people who don’t have a clue about carbon paper, I am old and don’t remember your name five minutes after we’ve been introduced.

But I will always remember Darryl, Dan and the pot pipe.

If you are interested in the memories of other bloggers and this week’s Discovery Challenge, CLICK HERE.


34 responses to Memory: June 1, 1976

  1. Marianne says:

    I also cannot remember your name 5 minutes after we’ve met but I do remember my first interview as well. Congrats on 40 years at the same place of employment.

  2. Dan Antion says:

    I don’t remember the exact day, but I was about 5 months shy of 19 and I was working for the Post Office while I waited for graduate school to start. I was engaged (a marriage that ultimately failed). I was beginning the last year I would live in Pittsburgh. 40 years is a long time to be in one place. I’ve been in the same job for 28 years and I am also wining about not yet having retired πŸ™‚

  3. joannesisco says:

    Wow – June 1976! … I would have finished first year university and was back home for the summer working for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

    Forty years with one employer is a major achievement. I doubt very many people can claim that anymore!!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      If I had to do it over again, I may not have stayed there that long. For a long time, our benefits and raises were excellent. After 9/11, it all went downhill and never recovered. If they give me more than a 1% raise before I retire, I will faint.

      That must have been fun to work for Natural Resources. Did you work in an office or outside?

      • joannesisco says:

        Yikes – your increases were that bad?! … and to think I felt badly giving my high performers only 3%.

        I had an office job with the MNR, but I was lucky enough to get out in the field a number of times when an extra set of hands were needed.
        I got to visit all of the Provincial Parks in the district and spent a very memorable day collecting water samples out in the bush with one of the Rangers. We got horribly stuck in mud and didn’t get out into almost dark. Considering it doesn’t get dark up north until almost 10 pm in summer, it was an experience! I was caked from head to foot in mud when I finally got home.

      • bikerchick57 says:

        That’s a very cool experience, Joanne. I imagine you laugh occasionally about the mud.

        Yes, our increases have been that bad. When our current Republican Governor took over, we not only got zero raises, but we were made to pay a substantial amount more for retirement and health insurance. It was like getting a cut in pay. So, either employees have to suck it up or try for promotion or get a better job in the private sector.

  4. joey says:

    I was two, so I have no recollection. I can assure you I wasn’t wearing socks, haha!
    Just a few hours ago, I had a conversation with my middle daughter about how technology now would have been viewed as science fiction when I was her age. She showed me a photo of someone writing on what they have for ‘blackboards’ at school — part overhead projector, part computer, part tv, part touchscreen tablet, it was surreal.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I have a difficult time keeping up with technology these days…something else to make me feel old. If your daughter was back in the 70’s, she would be freaking out that there were no computers or smart boards or tablets. All those things were science fiction back then. Funny, I watch old reruns of Star Trek and laugh at their use of what is considered a tablet today. Then again, the rest of their “computers” still look pretty hokey.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed your memory and the ones that yours prompted in myself. I can remember most of my job interviews (only one is a non-existent blur but I got the job). 40 years at one place is a long time. A couple of years ago we had our 40th reunion of starting our nursing training. One person had continuously worked at our training hospital ever since. I can’t conceive of it. I do know what carbon paper is.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Carbon paper was a mess and to try and erase anything was another story. That’s one of the reasons that I tried to type error-free as much as possible.

      I was in three different positions during those 40 years and at different offices…sometimes due to a move…so thankfully I haven’t been looking at the same four walls the entire time. It’s been quite the ride!

  6. Ally Bean says:

    People have names? Really. πŸ™‚ Your ability to remember the details of that first job interview amazes me. I just know that I interviewed with a bunch of sour old men who dismissed any of my skills, then offered me jobs that paid nothing. Good times. [Cynical, who me?]

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Ally, I amaze myself. I have a hard time remembering details from a week ago and yet I remember the dress I wore to that interview. It’s funny how the brain works, what it saves for us, and what it determines to be unworthy of memory. As for names, my only goal is to remember my own until the day I die. :-p

  7. Lignum Draco says:

    I’m a #1. Thanks for the interesting read. In hindsight, that was probably a well rehearsed interview on their part. And congratulations on 40 years (of anything). Quite a feat in this modern age where people change jobs if they don’t like the flavour of the coffee..

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thank you and you’re welcome! I don’t know about the rehearsed part, today it seems like an unintentional comedy act. The problem with the modern age is that some employers don’t seem to be invested in or think about retention of employees. It’s about making a buck and if the employee doesn’t want to stay, so what. They go out and hire someone else.

  8. Maggie says:

    Great memory post, I love your writing style. I was 18 at my first interview and worked for 39 years before retiring early. (The best decision ever) hang in there.. Congrats for staying soooo long, not many do in these younger generations..

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks! That’s a good thing to retire early. I could do that myself if I would ever pick the winning lottery ticket πŸ˜‰

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Lois. Before this job, I had an after-school job with an attorney. Wills had to be typed perfectly, no errors or erasures. That was nerve wracking, but it made me a better typist.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Considering you are younger than me…yes. I’m on the backside of the baby boomer generation, so you probably fit into a different generation.

      Unrelated side note: Go to the goat cam Saturday morning. We’re supposed to get snow later today. Ugh.

      • Yes, I am a member of the put-upon, resentful, “you think you had it bad?” generation X.

        Oh, snow and goats? I’ll be there! πŸ˜›

      • bikerchick57 says:

        No goats, just snow. Goats don’t come out until next month. Now quit whining about whatever it is that makes you resentful and go to bed.

      • Not yet. Watching Man of Steel with my boys and having a glass (or more) of Friday night wine. πŸ™‚ Not feeling all that resentful. (We Gen X-wers generally just resent Baby Boomers and Gen Ys and their easy lives. πŸ˜› )

  9. LB says:

    Great story!
    Carbon Paper and mimeograph machines: I can still smell both!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Oh, the mimeo machine! I can still smell the ink on the paper. Intoxicating! I wonder how many brain cells I killed smelling the ink?

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