Old Homes and Old Friends . . .

Jan and I moved from Birmingham down to Montgomery in January 1975, right after she had graduated with her Medical Records degree. And as it turned out, both of us already had jobs when we got here.

Jan had already been hired on at Jackson Hospital and was scheduled to start just a few days after our move. She had gone to a job fair and was pretty much hired on the spot.

We had already rented an apartment in a brand-new complex right off Atlanta Hwy and East Blvd on Burbank Dr.

Montgomery Burbank Dr Apts

We were in the bottom unit to the left of the breezeway. It was a large 2 bedroom, 1 bath model. At the time our son Chris was 7 and Brandi was about 16 months.

And as it turned out I also already had a job when we got here. I had been working full-time as a Broadcast Engineer for WBIQ Channel 10 PBS television in Birmingham, part of the Alabama Public Television Network, where I had been since July 1972.

When Chris, being only 5 at the time, wanted to know where I worked, Jan ‘simplified’ it by telling him I worked on ‘Sesame Street’. From this Chris decided that I must be Big Bird, so he told everyone that I was Big Bird on Sesame Street.

Maybe I wasn’t Big Bird, but I was busy. Besides the WBIQ job I was taking 20 hours at college, working as a part-time weekend Broadcast Engineer job at WENN radio, and was the Chemistry Lab Assistant at school, setting up the experiments for the Chemistry classes.

And earlier, before Brandi was born in September 1973, Jan worked a part-time evening shift at Newberry’s 5 & 10 at Eastwood Mall, AND, if that wasn’t enough, Jan and I were the grill team at what was then the busiest McDonald’s in the country, the one at Eastwood Mall.

We came in a little before 11am, and with me running the grill and Jan toasting buns and making fish sandwiches,  we made burgers as fast as we could until 2pm. Then we hung up our aprons and walked out the back door. So no cleaning, wiping, or scrubbing.

Pretty much the perfect McD’s job. At least as far as McD’s jobs go.

Looking back it was amazing that we could keep this up, But we were in our early 20’s, so it all worked out I guess.

Anyway circling back around, while we down in Montgomery in early December so Jan could get all her paperwork filled out before we moved, I had a list of Montgomery TV stations so I could see if any of them were hiring.

My first stop, being the closest to Jan’s hospital, was WCOV Channel 20, then the local CBS affiliate (now FOX). And like Jan, I was hired on the spot. In fact, when the Chief Engineer found out I want to work the night time sign-off shift, he wanted me to start that evening!

When I said I couldn’t start for a couple of weeks until we moved down here, AND that I wanted to check with the other TV stations first, he kept offering me more money, Enough so that I accepted, still saying that I couldn’t start until after the first of January. But the money he was offering was a substantial increase on what I was making in Birmingham, so I took the offer without looking further.

For us the move and job changes were a novel concept. We were each only working one job.

After our year-lease was up at the apartments, we moved into a small 3 bedroom, 1 bath rent house closer to both of our jobs.

Montgomery Matterhorn Dr House

But Jan says the real reason we moved was the rowdy bunch that moved across the hall from us and would ride their motorcycles up and down the breezeway.

Somewhere in here I heard that a cable TV company was coming to Montgomery, the first one in our area, so I tracked them down and went in to talk to them.

And suddenly I had a new job as Chief Electronics Tech for Alabama and Georgia for Storer Cable. (later to become TCI, and then parceled out into Comcast.)

But the look on the face of the Chief Engineer at WCOV when I told him I was leaving, (I thought he was going to cry) made accept his offer (his begging) to continue to work 3 or 4 nights a week as an Engineer, for even more money again.

So suddenly I was back to two jobs again.

And I’m not sure exactly how it happened but somewhere in here I ended up as the replacement Saturday and Sunday late night DJ on WCOV AM radio, located in the same building. This lasted about six months until they could hire a new DJ.

So make that three jobs for a while.

Also around in here, we bought our first house.

Montgomery Brookwood Dr House

Located in a neighborhood near our rent house, it was 1500 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with a big back yard and 3 or 4 pecan trees. We lived here until we moved to Houston in December 1978.

Driving around yesterday we were really happy to see that all three of our old homesteads were still in good shape.

Working at Storer is where I met Fred and his wife Susan, who was a school teacher.

Fred and Susan 2020 visit

Fred worked the outside ‘plant’, the cabling/amplifiers on the poles feeding the signal to the homes, while I mostly took care of the ‘inside’ stuff, the headend (the distribution hub for the system), the big 10 meter satellite dish, and pretty much anything electronic that wasn’t out on the poles.

Fred and I hit it off right away and spent a lot of time working in the other’s areas. Jan knew that if a big storm came through and knocked out part of the system, I was going to be out in the storm helping Fred out. And vice versa.

So we always get together when we’re back in this area, and last night we got to their house a little after 6pm for one of Susan’s delicious lasagna dinners. We’ve learned that this works better since we don’t have to worry about having the restaurant close down around us like we did with Nick and Terry last week.

And this was a good thing since we didn’t finally head back to the hotel until almost midnight.

But we had a great time catching up and reminiscing.

This afternoon we’re getting together with one of Jan’s old coworkers from Jackson Hospital for dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse up north of Montgomery in Prattville where they live.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 40 years since we left Montgomery for Houston.

Thought For The Day:

Procrastination is totally a good thing. You always have something to do tomorrow, plus you have nothing to do today.

Plus my addition to this is you’d be surprised how many problems will fix themselves if you just walk away and leave them alone.



One Response to Old Homes and Old Friends . . .

  1. Tricia says:

    There nothing like good friends & memories- except maybe free streaming & fast download. LOL

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