April 13, 2015

Willamette Years - It's Willamette, Damn It!

In the late 1990s I went to work for Willamette Industries in Ruston, Louisiana.  This followed several years of working in the Pecanland Mall Manangement office and a short stint working as an office manager for a therapy company in Monroe.

I submitted my resume after seeing a job posting in a local newspaper for a secretarial position with the company. Several weeks later I received a call from a lady named Dawn inviting me to interview for the position.

After going through a battery of tests and facing an interview board like none I had ever encountered, I was offered the position.  My new job was actually as a roving secretary; filling in for other secretaries throughout the office.

Dawn (the same lady who called me about interviewing) gave me my first lesson upon joining the company....the correct pronunciation of the company name.  It was not pronounced 'Willa Mette'.

The correct pronunciation was 'Will Am It'....as in 'Willamette, Damn It!

In my five years with Willamette Industries I moved from roving secretary to Human Resources secretary to Safety secretary and finally to Transportation Coordinator.  What a five year ride!

LtoR:  Dawn, Pat. Lena, Deb and Debbie - Christmas Parade, 1990s

Dawn and I would become great friends through my years of working for Willamette and continue on through working for Weyerhaeuser who purchased Willamette back in 2002.

Christmas Parade photograph is courtesy of Dawn.

February 1, 2015

Cats - An Inconvenient Truth


Cats can work out mathmatically the exact place to sit to cause the most inconvenience.
~Pam Brown

November 26, 2014

Nana and Pecans

Nana with her Grandson

Our yard was full of pecan trees that were planted over one hundred years ago by my paternal great grandfather, Isham Alfonso "I.A. or Al" Steele.  They produced pecans of every shape and size.  We had everything from the long, skinny pecans to the small round ones.  Some years the trees produced huge crops of pecans.  Other years they didn't do quite so well.

Pecan Tree on Home Place

Each Fall brought a familiar sight to our house.  My mother would spread out newspaper in the floor and get to work cracking pecans.  She would have different shoe boxes filled with pecans and a small hammer at hand for her tool.

Once all the pecans were cracked, the process was then moved to the kitchen table where she would begin shelling them and later chopping them up for storage.

In the photograph at the top of this page my mother is seen holding my son while shelling and chopping up pecans.

Top of Pecan Tree on the Home Place

A Grandfather and His Namesake

Grandfather and Namesake

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my son was the first grandchild on my side of the family.  He often enjoyed sitting with his grandfather in "the big chair" while my father watched television.

November 23, 2014

My Young Adult Years - Mall Days and The Pond

Arrow points to the location where the pond was later created

"The Pond", created on the southeastern corner of the mall property, was the scene for several events while I was working on the management team.  One such event was a fishing day for handicapped children assisted by local veterans.  The pond had been stocked with fish courtesy of the Louisiana Wildlife Association.

Ducks and geese donated by local residents also found a home at the pond and delighted many visitors.

Beach Party at the Pond

Another event (pictured above) was a Beach Party the management team sponsored for store employees. Sand was brought in to form a beach area around the pond where games, dancing and refreshments were enjoyed by everyone.

We did run into problems with turtles.  The turtles began to multiple at a rapid pace and were killing off the fish.  Traps were brought in and our maintenance team began the process of removing the turtles.

Years later the pond would be filled in to make room for a hotel.

To this day, when traveling back through the area, I still glance over and wonder about the price we sometimes pay for progress and the ability to gain more profits.