FIRST DAY AT MY FIRST JOB
November 1, 2015
Before I begin, let me say that I’m from a tiny tiny railroad town on Lake Erie, Conneaut OH. Have never had a job ever except to babysit a couple of times and didn’t like it. Here it’s 1967. I’m living by myself, in a mega metropolis, never having ridden on a bus and with complete strangers going to work in biggest office building in the world at that time and am pretty petrified.
Found my apartment with the help of my brother and Mary, my sister in law. It was in Arlington VA right off Columbia Pike on the bus route straight towards DC.
Got ready for work and wanting to throw up the entire time, forced myself to leave my apt and walk to the bus stop. While riding on the bus, am wondering where I’ll get dropped off? Oh, here it is….whoa! We’re driving under the building. Cool. Guess I’ll follow the crowd up the stairs. Holy cow! It’s a huge concourse with a barbershop, restaurants, department stores on a smaller scale of course.
Okay now where? Spanning… spanning….Oh, there are entryways with security guards checking IDs. So I nervously go over, ask a security guard if this is the right entryway for me after showing my ID. How do I get to the right office? Now the funny thing is the Pentagon at that time was the largest office building in the world. Each level was painted a different color and very boring until you got to the upper floors where I delivered daily or weekly reports to Joint Chiefs of Staff. My floor was painted ugly depressing government green. Stopped off at the restroom before meeting my boss for first time and holy cow there were footprints where people had run up the wall and the whole restroom was in disarray. It must have been part of last night’s news on the anti Vietnam war demonstrators in front of the Pentagon where they were burning their draft cards and yelling things. It was quite an ordeal. I think they rushed the concourse through some of the hallways, made it as far as the bathrooms to the left of security guy ramming through and did some damage. These footprints must be from them. The 60s were an amazing whirlwind of change. Our country went from Beaver Cleaver days to drugs, sex and heavy metal.
With butterflies in my stomach, with a mind to do a good job, I walk in the office and there’s Sandy. She ends up being a wonderful big sister, wise married young woman. Then, Capt Moorehead who was in charge of Naval Public Affairs and Planning Division. He was straight laced, disciplined and fair. Then, Cmdr Thomas Oxendine, the first Native American Indian to be a Navy pilot. He was like a cool uncle to me. My desk and the guys I worked for were on other side of Capt’s office.
There was one civilian, Al Goodman, GS14 or 15. I really never knew what he did, except PR work, took VIP visits on naval ships or places. I typed letters and all but nothing of substance. I did wonder at times if his job was more cover for something deeper. He’d be gone for periods of time without letting me know he’d be gone. Who knows. He did help me when on a VIP weekend visit the USS INDEPENDENCE I’ll tell you later. Now for my favorite…Cmdr Moore. He was a “Mustang” officer. He was like a grandfather (not old enough though) to me with wise advice, watching out for me while he sat at his desk always calm and willing to answer any questions. He talked about his big cat and how he woke him up each morning. Then, LTJG Dugger, who was like a big brother. He made sure this one slick officer spending his two-week reserve duty with us stopped trying to get me to pose for Playboy magazine where he worked. They became in my mind a family where I felt safe.
There was one last person who was an odd duck, Anne. Anne grew up a Quaker, had two teenage daughters, married to a CIA guy. They lived in China for many years but were back in DC. One of Anne’s jobs was to each morning go through all major US newspapers looking for security leaks. She generally found something if only Confidential info. Also, handled PR and care of wives of returning USS Pueblo sailors when they were released. She cared for their families’ emotional needs and prepping them on any concerns and what to possibly expect when their loved ones returned. She was so good at her job.
Well, Sandy took me on a tour of the departments meeting many other people I may introduce you to some time.
Thanks for listening. Private message me if you want.