Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Above is a photo of one of my prized possessions. It is a gift given to me by my co-workers at Bethlehem Steel. Do you know what it is?
I had just moved to Seattle and was searching for a job doing, well, anything. After trying a few schmuck jobs, I settled with Northwest Protective Services as a security guard. They tried me out on some simple gigs like a gem show, a ski show, empty homes during funerals, even at Seattle City Light's north service center, where I would one day find the job my heart sought, but finally NWPS gave me a sweet position with Bethlehem Steel as the main office's guard.
That meant I had to wear a more professional suit, no hat, and greet customers in person while I also operated their PBX switchboard. I loved it! On some weekends I put on my more guard-looking attire, and staffed the booth at the plant, where I weighed in the big trucks, dealt with employee scuffles and the occasional factory accident.
After a few months Bethlehem hired me away from NWPS, then the plant was sold to Seattle Steel and heading towards a total shut-down, everyone was in a state of constant uproar, fear, and confusion. They fired lots of people and had me do the jobs of as many as they could in the administrative office. I'll write all about it one day.
When I finally left before Rome burnt to the ground, the guys at the plant painted a piece of rebar for my going away gift. To have their respect meant the world to me. I always had their back, and I now knew that they knew.
Next time you look at a tall building, picture that small (but very heavy) piece about 50 feet at foundation, throughout, forming the skeleton.
I have walked over rolling white-hot rebar on a bridge only wide enough for one person. It is something you never forget. Making that walk was an initiation test, and I took the walk without hesitation as if I'd done it a million times before. (Looking back I have NO IDEA where I got the moxie that day!) Later I had to climb a tiny ladder up to the plant's highest spot, where the dust bag was. Again, I just did it. I think I was in my acting-mode. I had never climbed any NORMAL ladder before, let alone one up 4 or 5 stories!
Yes, many memories, many challenges met, yes, my most treasured gift. And to think I had MS at the time!