Friday, May 23, 2008


This blog will be on hiatus for the summer also.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More About that Spring

I got a notice from the draft board to go to Milwaukee for a pre-induction physical. On the overnight trip down I was in a Pullman Sleeper and on the way back I was in coach. After I got the notice that I was 1A, I decided to join the Air Force. My senior class in high school took the Air Force entrance exam as an aptitude test and I had high scores in all areas. While in high school I had thought about going in the Army and try to get into some kind of construction unit and learn how to operate bulldozers and graders and other heavy equipment. When LBJ and Congress decided to do a huge troop build-up in 'Nam, I changed my mind about the Army. I figured if I was to go to 'Nam, I would like to be in the service that gave me the best chance of coming home alive. I didn't consider the Navy because I didn't like their uniforms. Like I said I had taken the test for the Air Force, so about all I had to do was to sign the papers.

While waiting to go into the Air Force I got a job on the pipeline. It was with a sub-contractor that was clearing the right-of-way. My job was burning brush. It was easy as about all I had to do was to get the pile burning and then walk around and pick up pieces that the dozer missed and throw them on the fire. This was the first job I was fired from. I wanted to fix my car so I could out drinking Friday night and I lied about why I needed to take the afternoon off. When I went back to work on Monday I was told I was fired. That was the first time a so-called co-worker ratted me out to the boss. It didn't bother me because I was to go into the Air Force in a couple of weeks. When I went to get my paycheck, we were told that they would give us the checks next week. The checks didn't arrive before I left and I made arrangements for someone to pick it up and cash it at Old Charley's store and pay off my bill at the store. For some reason the check bounced and had to be redeposited or something. After hearing about the problems with the paycheck, I was glad I didn't work there very long. Because I didn't get my check before I left, I had to borrow $20 from my uncle so I would have money for food and cigarettes until I got paid in the service.

If working for someone else was being a wage-slave, being in the service at that time was more like being a slave. You got room and board and a small amount of money for incidentals and you could not quit.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Trip down South

After all the cold weather the beginning of March, when I got my income tax refund I bought a round-trip bus ticket and went to visit my brother and his family in GA. When I left there was several feet of snow on the ground at home. When I got to Georgia the flowers were starting to bloom and the trees were starting to leaf out. I had been at my brother's place for a couple of weeks when one day the phone rang and I was told it was for me. I picked up the phone and said hello. The voice in the phone started speaking Finnish to me. I went "What?" Then the woman said don't you speak Finn? I said yes, but Georgia was the last place I expected to hear someone speaking in Finn to me. Then she asked me how things were in Pelkie and who did I know in Pelkie. I told her I wasn't from Pelkie. Then she said that my name had been in the local paper under Pelkie news saying I was going to visit my brother in GA. Even tho I wasn't from Pelkie, she invited all of us to have coffee with her and her husband. They lived fairly close and we drove over on a Saturday and had a nice chat and coffee.

After several weeks of almost summer, like a fool I decided to head back up to the tundra. I called my cousin to let him know when I was arriving so he could pick me up from the bus at 5am. Well, my cousin and a couple of other guys got drunk the night before and passed out. When the bus arrived, I stepped out and into about 6 inches of snow and slush. Ah Spring, don't you love it?? This was typical spring weather and I knew I was home. Luckily the Laundromat was open 24/7 or I would have had a cold miserable wait. About an hour later my ride finally arrived with a couple of hungover people to take me home.

Seems like most of the time when I went home something strange happened. This was just one of many times when a homecoming didn't go as expected.

Monday, May 5, 2008

30 Weight Oil

After the Ford job I found another job. This one was at a small plant that made folding table and bench combinations for schools and other places. Some were portable and when they were folded up could be wheeled away. Some were to be built into the wall. After a few weeks I got tired of Detroit and decided to go back up to the tundra.

Before I left Detroit I had the oil changed on my car. It was a nice day in February, temp in the 50's so I had them put in straight 30 weight oil. This was an old car and had only had non-detergent straight weight oil. My dad years before had switched from straight weight oil to detergent and that car used so much oil after that that he had to get rid of it. Anywho, I went back up to the tundra in late Feb. with the heavy oil in my car. The first week in March the temp went down to 52 below zero one night and was at least 40 below for a week. My car was parked outside and would not start for three days. On the third day I put some kerosene in a large can with a rag to act as a wick. I lit it and put it under the oilpan of the car. After awhile the snow was melting off the hood and then I tried to start the car. It fired up like it was Summer. That night I drove it into a snowbank and covered the front half of the car with snow. It went down to 45 below zero that night and the next morning the car started with no trouble and without having to do anything other than shoveling the snow away from the door to get in.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Little Farther Down the Road

The job on the Soup Line ( as some of the guys called it ) lasted for a little over 4months and I got laid off just in time for Deer Season. So I went deer hunting and had a good time. Around the end of the year, I went down to Detroit with Screwloose to seek my fortune. Screwloose had relatives there so we had a place to stay and shortly after getting there we both got jobs at Ford's Wayne truck plant where they made pickups, Broncos and medium bus chassis. I worked there 3 nights (6pm to 4:30am) and on the 4th night I quit twice. I couldn't keep up with the assembly line. Where I started was at a transfer point and when the guy doing the transferring would get behind he would shove the frames down the line to lessen the gaps. That meant I had even less time to do my job. I went and talked to a HR person and he talked me into staying. The next job wasn't any better. The guy showed me how to do each frame and then sat back and let me do it. The guy won't do a thing to help me no matter how far behind I got. Finally I told the guy that I hadn't had a break yet and he took over. I went and got my jacket and left. Went back on payday and got my check.

While I was living in Detroit, I happened to do something that gives me a small claim to fame. I worked for the man that put the first ice machines in Hell. One Saturday I was asked if I would help a friend of the people I was staying with, the guy had an ice plant that he wanted to empty so he could do some work on it. I spent the day driving around Detroit with him filling ice machines until the ice plant was empty. I found out later that he had put the first ice machines in Hell, MI. So when someone tries to end an argument with "And the people in Hell want ice water too." Now you can say "They have ice machines in Hell, so it is possible for them to have ice water."