During a recent five hour trip in the car, my lovely wife Sue and I passed the time by trying to remember places we have visited or been to. This is harder than you think when you realize you have to think back almost FIFTY years to remember, but I’ll try. I’m doing this alphabetically to help jog my memory…
Alaska – Air Force -1966
Never set foot on soil, but I did fly over Alaska on my 24 hour flight to the Philippines. Same flight, landed at Tachikawa AFB to refuel, so I was in Japan, but never set foot on soil. Same flight, passed over Guam.
Arizona – Sales Meeting for Infinet – February 1985
These meetings are booked at desirable locations but at bad times of the year when the rates are the cheapest. I got to play golf and volleyball in Scottsdale but the temperature was in the 40’s. Since I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have played at all under normal desert air conditions (100 degrees) I guess it wasn’t that bad after all
California – Multiple locations
Tymnet was based in Cupertino, so I got to see the “silicon valley” up front and personal – many, many times. I was struck by the landscape which was mountainous and the trees were SO different than Ohio. One sales trip for them got me to San Diego. The good news? The weather there truly is amazing. The bad news? I was sick as a dog the whole time – went through two bottles of cough syrup and had to listen to a motivational speech by Lou Holtz. Another trip got me to San Francisco and I ate a meal in China Town and bought chocolate at Godiva Square. I’ve never set foot in Los Angeles, but that trip mentioned above about Alaska started in Detroit and the second leg was at LAX, but I never got off the plane.
Connecticut – Darien
As a Regional Support Manager, I had eleven people reporting to me, including two supervisors. One of the sales offices I used to visit was managed by Harry Ruda, a Jewish wildman who was a big Phil Ochs fan. Harry was a little nuts, but a great salesman. He lived in Darien of course, which is why the office was there. We had some accounts there, but most of his damage was done in New York. This was one of my most frustrating visits, because I would rent a car at LaGuardia and drive up. The problem was returning – I always missed my flight and wound up on the last flight out back to Cleveland, which didn’t get me home until after 11:00pm. Nothing like passing the time at an expensive airport – trying hard not to eat much because it was so expensive and you knew dinner was waiting at home. Nice area, but I don’t miss it.
Florida – multiple locations
I was salesman of the year in 1976 for Anacomp and won a trip to the company condo in Sarasota. I must admit, driving there drove me crazy, it’s true what they say about the old people who drive slow. And yes Josh, THAT was the trip! One of my friends from the Air Force, Tony Prebil from Chicago took an accounting job in Jacksonville and bought a condo. We visited him and it was a very nice place. Unfortunately, he lost his job, couldn’t find another and lost his house. He wound up living with us in Westlake for over a year just prior to us moving to Hudson. I haven’t spoken to him since I dropped him off on the Ohio Turnpike in 1988. His sister was picking him up. Don’t know what happened to him, but I think I can safely say, we all had enough of him to last a LONG time. And of course, we took a family vacation to Disney World and Epcot Center. Jess was terrified of the haunted house ride and I can still hear “It’s A Small World” in the back of my brain.
I attended a sales meeting in a suburb of Atlanta while with Infinet. I can’t remember why we had the meeting, but the trip did have a highlight. Right next to the hotel we were staying at was a Hardee’s restaurant. I had never been to one before, and I wound up eating there the three nights I was there. I quickly grew fond of the Frisco burger, which was the first fast food sandwich I ever had on sourdough bread. We had one close to the Cuyahoga Falls border, but it closed. I don’t know why they never made it very well in Northern Ohio, but I think the food is great. The recent 5 hour trip in the car that prompted me to write this entry included a stop at Hardee’s on the Turnpike – good food, but very expensive.
My first job out of the Air Force was as a Programmer Trainee for Honeywell, manufacturer of Mainframe computers and competitor to IBM which had 73% of the market at the time. I was assigned to Ford and converted all programs for five of their locations as we replaced their IBM mainframes with ours. I trained the operators, programmers, and system people. My efforts got me a Cross pen and pencil set, with my name engraved on it. It also bought me a “lottery ticket” of sorts and my name went in a hat along with the many others that had distinguished themselves on this year and a half old project. Luck of all luck, I won a two week trip to Hawaii. I wasn’t making a lot of money, and when I discovered that hamburgers by the pool were $10, I stuck to the trip plan for meals. Along with the other winners thanks to the schedule for us, we got to go to a real pig roast, including Don Ho performing. There was also a tour of the Dole plantation. The clay is an amazing deep red. I played golf on the same course that the pros play on the PGA tour. I got a pretty good wind burn, but I think I only went through two sleeves of balls (6) for 18 holes. We stayed at the Kahala Hilton and the weather was amazing, despite the fact that it rained EVERY day, just not for very long. I was like God was watering his plants. The rest of the day, the trade winds took over, spreading a cool breeze over everything. No matter where you went, it was like seeing a postcard. The other think I remember is how clean the water was. You could see to the floor of the ocean and watch the fish flow by. This was 1973, and the original Hawaii 5-0 was still being filmed there. I thought it was pretty cool until I found out I had to pay the state and local taxes on the trip, which was valued at $2500.00 which was a LOT back then.
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