Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sunday Afternoon with ZZAJ

…ZZAJ Music Infusion …

Our community has the good fortune to experience free concerts weekly that various musical groups are hired to present as mentioned in my previous post, "Music and Memories." On a recent Sunday afternoon one such group, known as ZZAJ, provided an enjoyable music infusion to the soul and spirit of those of us fortunate enough to be present. They didn't play just any music, but being extraordinarily talented musicians they performed some very special jazz including traditional, current and original songs.

As they describe themselves:
"ZZAJ is a contemporary music group offering a blend of Jazz, R&B and Latin styles."

The ZZAJ group consists of:
Rich Sumner, guitar; Joel Paat, keyboard; Tom Barnett, bass; Roger Gillespie, drums
with DiAne Gillespie as vocalist.

Their impressive musical backgrounds and experience can be read about HERE.

We enjoyed the music that afternoon as we sat shaded from the hot direct sun at large umbrella covered tables. The comfortably warm weather embraced the slightly cooling breezes dancing around us, as though drawn by the music. We listened, swayed to the sounds that some accompanied with rapid head nodding, others tapped a foot or fingers to the beat, as these professional musicians performed well-known familiar tunes plus their own compositions.

I enjoy their instrumentals, but especially appreciate the singing quality of their vocalist, DiAne Gillespie. She is a unique performer in her own right that I first heard sing last year. I'm quite impressed, as I was then, when she sings "God Bless The Child," a classic jazz tune primarily associated with Billie Holiday, "Lady Day," an icon of jazz vocalists. DiAne's special vocal expression makes the tune her own.

The group performed a recent arrangement of a favorite song of mine, "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon," highlighting DiAne's vocal skills as she emotionally conveys the longing feelings imbedded in the excitement of anticipation in seeing a missed loved one again.

She shared the story of an unexpected pleasure the ZZAJ group recently experienced at a local resort performance. The well known singer, Jack Jones, unexpectedly joined them on stage to sing with DiAne another favorite song of mine, "Love Dance." He has a solo CD album recording of that tune.

This is not an easy song to sing requiring challenging vocal changes, but when I heard her solo rendition again, I could only wish I'd had the good fortune to hear her duet with Jack Jones. Her vocal nuances with this tune clearly and effortlessly evoke in her audience the feeling sensations that exist in that dance that engages lovers around the world.

DiAne is also an accomplished artist who creates the group's CD album covers. Her picture titled "Rehearsal" reminds me of ZZAJ and groups from my husband's music days. That picture and others can be seen HERE.

I'll be looking forward to ZZAJ's continued future appearances on certain Sunday afternoons that others, too, can enjoy.

I find myself wondering what music genre most appeals to this blog's readers; if similar pleasurable quality music is as readily available where you are? Music feeds the soul, I believe. As an afterthought, I wondered who else might say similar words and discovered Laura Niles, classical violinist, expressing a similar idea at”

She has an interesting article with a link to the “…2007 Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award recipient and soul great Booker T. Jones” where you can listen to this accomplished rock and jazz musician.
Music forms are all connected to each other and to us, whatever the genre’.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Music and Memories

Joined with Computer Woes and Blue Flowers

At a recent regularly occurring informal musical concert I attend, the name of singer, Jack Jones, was mentioned.

The name reminded me of many years ago when he appeared on the TV show with which I was associated then. His coming to our studio was no small effort by him, as it meant he had to arise early for this live hour and a half morning talk/variety show. He had been up into the wee hours the night before singing in his own local engagement limited performance.

As with many artists who appeared on our show, he was generous with his praise of our musicians and vocalist. In fact, performers often registered enthusiastic surprise with the talent of our musical quintet and would ask to sing or play with them. They often told us later they had intended to graciously decline performing using the excuse of the early morning hour. For the singers they could cite concern for their voice health that early in the day, but rarely, if ever, did they, after they heard our musicians.

The subject of Jack's famous father, Allan Jones became a show topic. You can also read about Allan HERE.
Many older viewers at home, we learned later, had fond memories from their parent's stories or from their own youth of his Dad's celebrity. Our live audience had similar thoughts brought to mind as did our popular vocalist, Jeanne Cummins, who provided her own recollections, stimulating interesting, sometimes humorous conversation with Allan's son, Jack Jones.

Jeanne surprised me in July of '06, not having known earlier I had returned to town for a short time, by coming to the airport as I was departing from the city where we first met. Fortunately, I had an hours wait for departure which allowed us special moments together to talk about so much in so little time. I might add that after all these years she appeared vivacious and attractive, much as I had remembered her. I have since phoned her across the miles as I have a heightened awareness of how important keeping in touch and renewing contact with old friends can be for all.

When she was "Jeanne Bennett", she sang with the Bernie Cummins Band, later married his vocalist brother, Walter. Scroll down on her name link for her reappearance in recent years in New York City. The orchestra had played all the famous NYC hotels along Park Ave., 5th Ave. for dinner and dancing. Here's a U Tube video link of the band's 1920's era performances before she joined them.

When they had toured the country, after starting in Akron, Ohio, one frequent performance location was at "Pappy's Showland" located between Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas. Thanks to Cowtown Pattie at "Texas Trifles" who surprised me about a year ago having located some interesting photos associated with "Pappy's" HERE. Pattie has a fascinating treasure trove at her blog and access to more that I appreciate her having shared on occasion.

Music was evolving into a quite different style from the twenties music, while Jeanne was singing with the band. It wasn't until the late 1950's that I met her as the family was growing and the road tours stopping. I was young and single, delighted to visit their home for moonlight ice skating on a frozen pond, thanks to her daughter loaning me her skates. A nearby bonfire provided warmth when the winter's chill penetrated our woolen wear.

I had the good fortune to work with Jeanne when she created a weekly children's TV show. She selected for the shows theme a relatively unknown song, "Put On A Happy Face," from the Broadway musical titled "Bye Bye Birdie."

The lead character of this Bye Bye Birdie was patterned after that new gyrating white singer who made rhythm and blues music more acceptable to a young white audience in a place and during a time when segregation reigned supreme, but this post isn't about him, that music or social transition.

I wish there was a recording of Jeanne singing this song for me to enjoy, so I might provide a link. I could only wish that we'd had then the abundant inexpensive technology that is available today. I'd have her voice on a CD or a music video. So I have to just use my visual and auditory memory to recall the pleasure of hearing this song, with a sample by a male vocalist available HERE.

I've found myself thinking of these lyrics from time to time, as some of the little annoyances, much as we all experience, have complicated my life. In my case, issues associated with keeping my lawn and other greenery watered became a problem along with a few other matters. Then just as all seemed headed toward resolution, my computer became contrary. I would indulge in what seemed to indicate relatively normal operating as I was able to send occasional emails, make a comment on a blog. Then when I thought all was clear for blog posting, more commenting, other blogging activities, suddenly all went awry.

Night before last, several hours last night, now in the early hours today I have engaged in that tech dance during which I met seven new people with various levels of tech knowledge through my outsourced ISP. They were all quite nice, helpful, ready to acknowledge when they had reached the extent of their skills to solve my problem, thus referring me to another. I had the usual need for some verbal repeats from some of my "problem solvers," as might be expected when talking with some people using a second language.

I have learned a great deal. I like to learn. That is a good trait for anyone learning new skills and using a computer. Yesterday my problem was diagnosed as a line problem. Last night my problem was determined to be my modem. They said I might need a new modem within three to six months; that mine had aged to the point of being ready to "die," or whatever they do. But they had fixed everything for the time being while this "dying" process proceeds. Several hours later as I was contemplating my choices, what should occur again, but "the problem." I thought, dying so soon?

I called for help and am now told that once again I have a line problem they will address. Meanwhile, I'm on a dial-up connection that seems none too steady to me as I watch one or two of the green lights on my modem fluttering occasionally. Maybe someday I'll get back to my regular irregular activities in the blogosphere. Meanwhile, those activities will be more regularly irregular, or something like that. Wonder if it's my ISP and I should think about a change?

Meanwhile, "back at the ranch," (as used to be said in the days of movie westerns,) in honor of resolving my grounds watering issues, I purchased a plant I have wanted for years. It's not expensive. This plant first caught my eye many years ago upon entering the city where I now live. I planted my drought resistant plant that has touches of tiny white flowers at the upper edge of the blue flowers and it's thriving. The flowers look almost the same as the fresh ones when dried. I especially like blue flowers and these remind me of the ocean. Also, I'm taking better care of my dwarf citrus than I have the past year. They are now in bloom in their half whiskey barrels. Maybe everything, including me, is coming more to life again in 2007 in a more calmed less hyper manner.

Just to see me through as I await resolution of my computer problems, I'll keep these lyrics in reserve just in case I might need them on any given day. Read them below and HERE, while I re-live in my mind the sound of Jeanne Cummins' happy lilting voice delivering the promise of these words:

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook,
Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that "full of doubt" look,
Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy face!
Put on a happy face
Put on a happy face
And if you're feeling cross and bitterish
Don't sit and whine
Think of banana split and licorice
And you'll feel fine
I knew a girl so glooming
She'd never laugh or sing
She wouldn't listen to me
Now she's a mean old thing
So spread sunshine all over the place
Just put on a happy face
So, put on a happy face

Friday, June 15, 2007

Conclusion of Brash Young Adult - Part IV

(This is the final part of the first three or so years of my early ventures into full time employment. Scroll down for those three successive posts immediately preceding the special one on "Friendship".)

Brash Brazen Young Adult

These stories of my ventures into the full time employment world as a young adult surprise even me. In retrospect there were more than I initially remembered, my actions seemed more than a bit erratic. Actually, I experienced those times as quite exciting while I was living them. I did also enjoy activities that allowed me some creative expression and social life during those years. While I tired of the routine nature of some of the tasks in my work positions, wanted new challenges, I generally appreciated the moment in my actual day to day activities. I also enjoyed most of the people with whom I was associated. This has been true throughout my life.

I have been able to see the value of what I've been doing. I have been able to refine work tasks when possible, so that each position became worthwhile for me while benefiting my employer. Despite all that, I just wanted to be more challenged in a less predictable environment, have the opportunity to contribute more creatively. Also, I wanted to know there was potential for developing new skills, possibly leading to new and even more desirable positions, to have experiences new and different to me; to believe that what I did mattered.

During these years and what must have been a lull between seeking other positions, I recall I also had an interview with what was then one of the major airlines. My motivation for inquiring about such employment was rather spur of the moment when suddenly the imagined perks of a lot of free travel became very attractive. Airline positions had lots of applicants, were glamour jobs in demand, partially for the reason of lifetime flight benefits. A few weeks later, a letter revealed no offer was forthcoming to me. I was only slightly disappointed, but my ego had me wondering what I was lacking, or if the competition was such there were just too many superior in appearance to me. Those were the days when airline coach travel was more pleasurable in comparison with today's flights. What coach passengers today experience is more like being compressed cargo, or virtually vacuumed packed baggage.

Back then, I had also answered a help wanted newspaper advertisement placed by an employment agency in a major metropolitan area that was a distant (by mid-western standards) two-hour automobile drive from where I was living. They were seeking a promotion manager for one of the television stations in their city. I didn't know much about that local TV because our area didn't receive any stations. There was topography signal interference and cable was just beginning to penetrate such areas. Later I learned the wanted advertisement was for one of three affiliate stations associated with what was then just the three major networks--ABC, CBS, NBC. The agency had obtained an interview for me at the TV station. Following that interview, when I received an offer, I thought, "I must get my 'foot in the door'," so again I too quickly accepted the position through the employment agency.

Then when I got home, I started thinking about that windowless room slightly larger than a closet, with a desk piled high with papers and more strewn about, which would be my office. I recalled the position had been vacant for some time, and thought about why they hadn't promoted from within or hadn't been able to fill the job. Common sense left me with apprehensions. TV positions were highly sought after with lots of competition, usually. Just to work at a TV station was often thought of by many people as quite glamorous work and many wanted to be part of that world. I knew the realities of that partially erroneous perspective. I pictured in my mind, again, that suffocating room environment, knowing I would not tolerate it for very long.

I knew that just getting my foot in the door of the business was important, but I decided I wanted a different door. Years later after becoming quite familiar with all those TV stations, there was no doubt in my mind that I had made the correct decision. Ironically, at a much later date, I had another opportunity to work at that station, but this was the second instance which I described earlier, where I turned down the job, due to the employer's love affair with the bottle which meant lots more work, little additional pay for me.

Back to the first offer through the employment agency. I thought, how silly to go through an employment agency that I would have to pay for finding me this job, when I had just learned there were only a few stations in that market, so why shouldn't I just apply directly to them myself? I did take some liberty when I expanded on the kernel of truth in the story I gave the employment agency for the station, as to why I must regretfully withdraw from that position. I have no idea if they had told the station yet of my acceptance, much less if they had, what the employer's reaction was to my change in plans.

The employment agency representative was very accepting and understanding of my withdrawal, but I'm sure they were not happy. I allowed considerable time to pass, then I sent my letters of application accompanied by a resume as I had begun doing, to all those television station general managers (including the local PBS) except the one where I had previously interviewed. I knew by now, it was the low ranking station of the three.

A resume was rather unusual for a young woman to have prepared and submitted at that time, at least as far as I knew -- something generally only male management executives did. I included samples of some of my commercial writing based on station sponsors I viewed, because by that time cable and television had come to our town. The resultant effect was that I garnered myself an interview at one of the stations where I ultimately was employed.

I have since wondered, whatever was I thinking and doing during those three to four years. My family was not in a position to underwrite me financially. If my bank employer had not generously kept me working, despite my, perhaps, overly self-confident attitude toward leaving, I realize now, I would soon have found myself in dire financial straits, as I had no savings.

Actually, despite all this, after I started work at the TV station weekdays, then drove home every weekend, my old employer invited me to continue working on Saturdays when I came to town. We had bankers hours then, so once the bank closed, at noon on Saturday, the bookkeeping department balanced all the bank accounts for the day, we were free to leave. Usually, I was home by one or two o'clock every Sat. The cost of my commuting was amply covered, in those days when the price of gas was considerably less than a dollar a gallon.

Before starting these employment searches, I had just completed the final payments on a private loan from another family member. Her generosity in those days before federally-backed college loans, had enabled me to attend college in the first place. No doubt this release from that obligation contributed to the euphoria I felt at finally being free of financial debt, coupled with the earlier freedom from emotional entanglement.

Perhaps the confluence of these factors had contributed to the beginning of my restless employment change dance. During those years, I was much like a skiff swept by waves on the rough seas crashing against the rocks in pulsing but erratic movement, forced out to sea, then back to a different spot along the shoreline, by the ever-changing tide of employment waters.

Ah, the brash, brazen, bold risks we take when young.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Story of a Friendship

(The final portion of my early employment years story will be posted at a future time. I felt compelled to write what follows, but oh, how I wish thare had been no reason to do so.)

Story of a Friendship

Our families met when she was in her early thirties and I was pushing forty. All of us sometimes gathered at a neighborhood pool on those late summer afternoons where we all enjoyed the outdoors, the light warm breezes that wafted through the air around us, and the cooling water. Our children became friends in those early years. We kept busy with our own separate activities, only occasionally crossing paths. She was teaching part time at a local college, completing academic classes in English literature toward her doctorate.

She had a special rapport with younger students, so was sought after each year to teach entering college freshmen writing skills they had been unable to hone adequately during their high school years. She had established her credentials as an outstanding instructor, warm, personable, a caring individual with a sharp keen wit, who was quick to laugh when the situation warranted. Her knowledge, teaching skills with young adults, and personality had resulted in her obtaining a steady position at a time when others did not, as she pursued her own higher education.

She could be demanding with high expectations for a student's performance, but also recognized their limitations. She was able to maintain just the right tenor in her relationships with students, sometimes having to tactfully cope with those who developed a crush on her. She gave every indication of being on a path that would allow her to successfully meet her goals and fulfill her dreams. Some of her dreams shattered years later due to circumstances not entirely a consequence of her actions.

But before those times, over the next few years our friendship grew as we seem to come into contact more frequently. Our trust and confidence in each other evolved, ultimately resulting in our recognition that on occasion we might have need of each other for additional support toward reaching our goals. By that time, I had returned to university classes as a student to fulfill plans of my own. One afternoon, I remember the frantic phone call I received from her. There had been a meeting of mothers to select volunteers to assume responsibility for various committees in our daughters' branch of a national girls organization.

Because my friend had not been present to explain her unavailability at that time, she had been appointed to head an activities planning committee. Her daughters were pleased and she did not want to let the group down either, though she was annoyed that someone else had confirmed her availability to do this in the first place, having not checked with her. This may not seem like much, but was the proverbial straw that could have broken our camel backs.

I certainly didn't have the time to take on those duties myself either, so for our children's sake we agreed to share the responsibility. I knew between the two of us, we would complete the task quickly and efficiently. We did so within several days or so, then we were no longer burdened with the matter. We only had to show up once a month to accompany the girls to each different scheduled activity location.

During the ensuing years there were times in both our lives when, having settled our children for the night, we noted our husbands were engrossed in their own interests. We would engage in our own studies, then one or the other of us would spontaneously phone the other to determine if a study break was being scheduled there, too. If so, we walked to a nearby restaurant for relaxing conversation, coffee and an accounting of how we each were progressing along this part of our life's journey. Yes, there were sometimes serious matters we discussed, but we always found something about which to laugh before returning to our homes, and often more studies, into the wee hours of the morning.

Then we were always up bright and early to send household members out the door to work and school. We had to think about and perform all the household duties, go to our respective classes, study, and in her case teach, too. There were other family responsibilities for each of us associated with parents. You could say, we were "sandwiched." Those were extremely hectic, challenging, times, mixed with periods of pure joy and happiness for each of us. Our families managed occasional varied vacation trips though not together. My friend's family often enjoyed camping trips driving off in their VW bus on their journeys.

As I write this, I am aware that last night at this very time, my good friend was making that final journey we all make at some time in our life. She was entirely too young to go on this journey. She was only in the early years of the second half of her life. Her youngest daughter phoned me from along the Atlantic seaboard across the miles this afternoon. I was quite unprepared to accept her words informing me of the finality of her mother's life on this earth.

Only this week, the thought had crossed my mind, wondering if my friend's California family had moved as planned to the Midwest, or if she might come west anyway, and we would manage to spend a few hours together. I remembered last year at this time she had phoned weeks earlier to express her sympathy when she learned of my husband's death, then let me know she would be coming later in the summer. I remembered just how much that time together had meant to me, though what brought her here was related to the death of her parent some months earlier.

During this time we had together, we had shared a humor predicated on similar type unique coincidental events associated with circumstances that occurred long after our loved ones deaths. We had each long since shed many tears, so we indulged our residual pain by engaging in a type of emotionally releasing humor that we could not have shared with anyone other than each other.

We laughed, then laughed some more. I held my side from the ache of laughter, leaned my head on my hand with my elbow on the table, pounded the table with my other hand as I was regaled by the real life story I was being told. I shared my own in similar manner. My friend and I shared a special bond in our ability to find humor in what to others might have seemed irreverent or even disrespectful to the loved ones about whom we were sharing memories. This was the kind of conversation I could only have with someone who knew me intimately and I them. This was the kind of relationship that had developed over many years, many confidences, many shared experiences, that rarely occurs with anyone known for a lesser time.

We had much history together, our families, each other. There had been additional sorrows, an earlier death, and other tragedies of life. There was a mix of joys from our children and more positive life experiences, we each had, along with some we had shared together. Our family members had gradually scattered about the nation those years ago. I had once given much time and energy to this friendship, but the distance of miles and changing circumstances had resulted in a lessening of contact between us.

Mostly our contact had dissolved to an infrequent once a year holiday greeting by mail, or that additional visit if she happened to come this way. We just seemed to be on different paths and I was quite preoccupied with my own activities as she seemed to be with hers. Yet, on each of her visits westward she always arranged for us to spend some time together and I made myself available. I didn't initiate contact other times, perhaps I should have.

When we did talk, I skirted asking specifics of her day-to-day life, nor did she volunteer them. She carefully painted a rosy picture in generalities and I left the matter at that. She did not die from any intentional deliberate act, but then she did not have a traditional terminal illness or disease, either. I don't think she consciously meant to die. I think she died of heartfelt pain from within, deep inside her, not associated with any one individual other than herself. I think she ceased to love herself.

Heaven only knows, had she sought love outside herself, there had always been an abundance of that available wherever she looked, had she wanted it. She had the admiration of adults and students, love of family, love of friends, but she self-destructed. I cry for her, for her family, for all those who knew and cared for her, for all those who will now never have the opportunity to know her. I will miss her.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Onward Brash Young Adult

This extended story of my first years of full time employment is happening over a three to four year time period described in the previous two posts about the actions of this brash young adult.

An opportunity for me arose at the local radio station owned by the same family who published the local newspaper. I interviewed, then accepted the behind-the-scenes position at that station. A couple of weeks before my start date, I became aware that the owner/employer with whom I would be working, had a rather serious debilitating habit. Now I was no prude, but this was the first of two instances during my early employment years when I avoided desirable positions offered to me because the individual with whom I would be working reportedly had a serious social problem that came in a bottle. My reasons were based simply on the fact that confidential information had been provided to me indicating that I would be doing all the work there. Much of the time I would be covering for and doing that person's duties and my own for little pay accordingly, and that person would be reaping all the financial benefits.

I phoned that new employer-to-be, told him that I would honor my commitment to accept the position, since it was so close to my scheduled start time, but I thought it was only fair to tell him that after a period of time that I would seek employment elsewhere, probably out of town in television. Now, television wasn't too highly regarded by radio people then, since fear abounded in many that radio listeners would abandon radio to become TV viewers. Radio would die as broadcasting employees would simultaneously lose their jobs. I had literally waved a red flag in front of the bull, so to speak, which likely escalated his anger toward me, because he did become more than annoyed. He, of course, did not know all of the factors motivating my decision. He, also, likely resented being placed in the position of having to accept me under those circumstances, or needing to hire someone else.

He tried to convince me of the folly of my intent when his position had so much to offer me. I was firm in my conviction which escalated his outward expression of displeasure with me even more. I didn't mind his anger, since my forthrightness allowed him to save face, essentially forced the withdrawal of the offer, which is what I wanted in the first place.

By this time, I was feeling a bit guilty about having withdrawn from positions I had accepted much too quickly. I was beginning to realize I was allowing the enthusiasm of the interview moments to affect my reactions. Also, affecting my actions were my concerns that if I didn't act immediately the job would no longer be available to me. I just was not giving the positions ample consideration before accepting or rejecting offers. This kind of behavior was not in keeping with what I believed to be a moral imperative, which was to honor commitments, not back out on them once made. Throughout all this, I was creating dilemmas for myself. There was little doubt how the employers felt as each, finally, vitriolically informed me that if I ever wanted to work for them again they would not be favorably disposed to hiring me. Their words were in considerably stronger terms.

Years later, as news of our nation's first manned flight into space emerged, I thought, just think had I accepted employment at that college I would probably eventually have met their famous alumni, astronaut John Glenn.

I had already given notice and a final employment date to my present employer at the bank. After they learned of my change in plans, I did not rescind my resignation much to their consternation. I remembered the previous conversation with them about future opportunities for my career progression. I pictured that glass ceiling still hanging pretty low, so I knew I would leave there.

Despite all that, my employer at that time ultimately did seem pleased I was still around, and asked me to stay on there despite all my machinations, though I hardly viewed them as such then. In all my wisdom, I knew for my own well-being I needed to leave that town. So, I politely declined, saying I was leaving sooner or later. They must surely have thought I was crazy. They accommodatingly said I could continue working until I actually had a position to which I could go.

Somewhere in the time frame of all this, I answered an ad for an interesting sounding position in the northern part of the state by one of the Great Lakes. There was a distance problem for me as I would not be able to drive home quickly and easily, if needed. There was no commercial airport in town, but then air transportation was not used as readily as is done now.

I was invited for an interview, so drove up the day before, stayed overnight in a hotel, entertained myself the night before by going to a movie premiere of "South Pacific." I quite enjoyed the story, the music, everything about this show. This trip alone to a new and distant city was quite a rather adventuresome undertaking for a single young woman such as myself in those years. Questions would be raised about a single young woman seen out and about, especially at night, in the minds of most men, and many women, too. You can be sure very few, if any, of the young women in the town where I was, would have done such a thing.

The next morning I had my interview. The only thing I remember about the actual event was that it was with some new publication hoping to capitalize on the television mania sweeping the nation. They hoped television viewers would eventually subscribe to this weekly publication that was named TV Guide.

I wasn't really interested in celebrity stories and gossip, though I had met a few such individuals who peopled the then considerably more limited entertainment news, so expect that attitude came through loud and clear in my interview. They said they'd let me know of any offer after they completed other interviews. Obviously, they weren't concerned I wouldn't be available if they didn't hire me on the spot. Ultimately they didn't offer me a position. I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed.

Employment life went on at the bank, I continued to be restless, and searching for a special employment niche I hoped I would recognize on sight. Then, what should appear in a newspaper from a more centrally located metropolitan area, but a "want ad" for a position at a television station. I'd better save that until next time.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Glass Ceiling for a Brash Young Female Adult

My Brash Young Adult story published here June 1st, provided an account of my introduction into the full time working world.

This is a continuation of that story which includes a dispelling of some youthful ideals. I was a bit reckless following my own standards, but then I learned the older adults were, too, in the interest, I suppose, of what they believed to be justifiably good business practices.

I could not quell my restlessness that resurfaced not too long after that frustrated employment change effort I first wrote about. Once again I sought to satisfy this need for more challenge in my work by seeking employment at a different business, but locally. They said they wanted to hire me, but had to resolve some issues beyond my control.

Little did I know, there was an unwritten understanding among the major employers in town, national companies, banks and other establishments that they would not hire employees from each other. If they did hire another's employee, I expect they wanted to be certain that competitive salaries didn't enter into the mix. This was the matter my prospective employer had to resolve with my then employer.

Because of the efforts of my previously described employer-guardians, as I now thought of them, (one was the son of the company president, the other my immediate supervisor,) they prevailed upon the president of the company to act in a manner I would want. I could not believe it when I heard, that this top national company official, of the second largest corporation in the country in their line of business, had met with the president of the local bank, where I had applied for a job. I was told they had to discuss my situation, agree they would let me change jobs, then establish there would be no hard feelings between them. I began later to wonder, just how far such business management networks extended.

I was allowed to change employers, but unfortunately, once I mastered that bank position, I immediately wanted something new. I inquired about the opportunities for my advancement now, considering I had been one of the two first women they had ever selected to attend special banking classes. I was among the top performers completing that class that was now no longer gender limited to just males. The question to my bank vice president employer was, what other positions did they have for me, coupled with increased salary? I indicated a willingness to pursue additional education and training they might require.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned just how low "the glass ceiling" for a woman was at the bank. Any move would be, at best, basically lateral, or would consist of a title and little more. Even that wouldn't happen until someone then in that position retired. Plus, that would be as far as I could go there. I was already frustrated to know I was making considerably less than my male, married with children, co-worker, who was employed after I was hired. This clearly illustrated my gender as a college educated woman (he didn't have any post high school education) and my single marital status with financial obligations of my own, were hardly assets deserving of a higher pay range. They were, possibly even liabilities for me.

About that time, a change in my personal life resulted in ending an "affair of the heart," as certain relationships are sometimes described. This added momentum to "my restless nature" surfacing once more. I became very discontented, making successive arrangements over a period of time for several employment changes that I later cancelled each time, a couple of weeks before I was to start work. One was a position I had accepted at a college some miles away to which I had planned to commute, together with a younger acquaintance who had simultaneously been hired at that same institution.

After accepting my position, on a first meeting with her parents, I was told how pleased they were that she would be with me, with words to the effect I was being viewed as being responsible for her well-being. This was a responsibility I did not want. I had enough of my own. So, for that reason and other second thoughts, I withdrew from that employment position, assuring her she would do quite well without my presence.

I stressed the opportunities she would have to meet new and interesting young people her age with wider interests than those she knew in our town. Additionally, she could begin to pursue a college education. That wasn't enough motivation for her, I guess, as I learned later she withdrew from her position, too. I know the high level university administrator for whom I was to work was more than a little unhappy with my decision. I was angrily told that if I ever applied for employment there again, I would not be looked upon favorably, to put it mildly.

I could have conducted myself better in these employment pursuits, and resolving my various personal issues. I certainly did subject myself and others to considerable drama. I blithely proceeded ahead during this early period as a young adult, but I was not yet finished creating complexities in the manner with which I was directing my life.

Then, an opportunity for me arose at the local radio station owned by the same family who published the local newspaper, but I'll save the portion of this story for later.

Friday, June 01, 2007


One of the interesting aspects of aging is that over the years we generally tend to become much less brash, brazen, and reckless, reducing risks in our actions, compared to when we were younger. I guess this is probably a positive state in which to be as we get older. Perhaps I should have become that way earlier. Nevertheless, when I think of some of my youthful actions, I find myself not at all remorseful over what I did. That's not to say I recommend young people today should model themselves after me, as the consequences of what they might experience could be quite different now.

I've often wondered what stories others might have about their own youthful brash and brazen behavior. My story started with feelings of dissatisfaction immediately after college graduation. I uprooted myself from tentative plans for career pursuit due to a sense of obligation pertaining to my mother's welfare. Thus, I found myself moving some distance to another state, ultimately into a very small community, where I knew no one, nor did she, for that matter.

I successfully sought employment there, though hardly of the type of which I wanted to make a career. The promise of working with the advertising and sales promotion manager who hired me, expressing an intent to help me develop further writing skills in the areas of his expertise made my position palatable. After a learning period developing my position's basic skills, practicing these same skills for a relatively short period of time, the work quickly became incredibly boring. To make matters worse my employer was so overwhelmed with his own responsibilities, as he worked at home to 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. many mornings, the expected special training he intended to provide me, understandably never materialized.

I became so dissatisfied, coupled with the fact that other opportunities in that town were so limited, I desperately answered an advertisement for a position which would take me out of town quite frequently. This was hardly a wise move at that time in my life, on many levels, other than this was designed to help me retain my sanity.

My employer seemed extremely sympathetic and sensitive to my needs when I told him of my intent to leave his employ. He arranged for us to meet with his good friend and immediate superior, a vice president and son of the president and primary founder of this company. They tactfully intimated that talents well beyond the artistic variety might well be unofficially expected of me by some male business leaders in some towns where I would be sent by this new employer. I was not completely naïve, just very anxious for reasonable change in my life. They cautioned even my artistic skills would be unreasonably tested.

I agreed to visit a nearby town, unannounced at a public fund raising theatrical performance comprised of a cast garnered from local people. Producing such events was to be the primary function in my proposed new position with the new employer. I could see for myself another person in the same position I was considering, perform some of the public skills entailed in the job.

They, in turn, arranged for an appointment with a former university instructor of theirs at a private university that had been my unfulfilled childhood dream to attend. He also worked professionally in a manner to which I aspired as he commuted to NYC, moonlighting in broadcasting assignments. I am forever indebted to having had my welfare taken so seriously by these employers-turned-guardians, and their efforts made on my behalf. After visiting that nearby town, witnessing a theatrical debacle of which I knew I would never want to be part, I remained in that original position. I had reconciled myself to staying a while longer in town.