Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Courtship of Jim & Elaine I.3 - We Meet Again

Dad got a tip from a shirt-tail relative than an engineering firm in St. Joe was hiring. He and the chief cook and bottle washer and laundress encouraged me to get up early and go and check it out. It turns out that Ford, Bacon and Davis, Inc., engineers for the Michigan-Wisconsin Pipe Line Company, had opened a field office upstairs above Murphy's Dime Store on the main drag in St. Joe. This was a big engineering firm with a home office at 1 Broadway in New York City which had the contract to build a natural gas pipeline from Texas to Michigan and Wisconsin.
Also above Murphy's was the office of the St. Joe Chamber of Commerece, fronted by a good looking girl with a great figure whose name I later learned was Elaine Belke. She looked like the Elaine of "Ann and Elaine" who had rejected me all those many years before down at Shadowland, although no longer a teenager. I tipped my hat politely as I climbed the stairs and wended my way back to the Ford, Bacon and Davis office (sometimes known as "Fried Bacon and Eggs").
There I presented my resume' to the one in charge of hiring. He took one look at it, went over to another guy and showed it to him and came back and told me I was hired. Just like that. No interview, no delay. He wanted me to come to work that day.
I did have an impressive resume' come to think of it; oil well drilling experience, Captain and Company Commander in the Army Engineers and engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and only 24 years old.
On the other hand, maybe they were just desperate for help. Any way, when I returned home that day I already had a job. Pay $300 per month (44 hour working week), $8 per diem for room and food, and 8 cents per mile for use of my car. This was very comparable to oil company jobs in Texas in those days.
 Though I didn't fully grasp it at first, I had stumbled onto a great career opportunity, a chance to get in on the ground floor of a major Michigan-based project that could keep me from having to go to work in Texas or back overseas. Also at the top of the stairs above the Dime Store there was that girl who had rejected me.
NEXT: Our first date.

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