After the putting the Navy behind me and the long ride home from Norfolk on the Norfolk and Western's Powhatan Arrow, there was a period of adjustment. Wedding plans were pretty well set.
Mom's health had improved to the point that she now had a job with a downtown bank. She delivered mail using a cart. She loved meeting new people so the job was perfect for her. At first it was part time. Her income was supplemented with a World War I widow's pension. She later went on full time at the bank. The pay was much better, so it was worth giving up the small pension which had an earnings limitation attached. With mom working, I had no financial obligation to detract from my new life.
I thought I was prepared for life in the Radio Broadcast industry and set out to find a job. There were none! I saw an office for the FAA (Federal Aeronautics Administration) at Midway Airport and knocked on the door. When I told the man that I was an ex navy ET looking for work, he asked how I knew they needed someone. Their employment office was in Kansas City and that is where they were advertising for the Chicago opening.. After an interview, I filled out an application which he would forward to KC. It sounded great! My navy years would apply to my seniority and thus my pay. I would be inspecting commercial aircraft radio equipment and certifying it for operational use. He said he really needed help and could not wait till I started. He told me, however, that the employment office was extremely slow and I should find a temporary job while I waited.
Mom suggested Western Electric. They were advertising for draftsmen and I had a cousin and the husband of a cousin working there. I was hired and started working in a huge office filled with drafting tables. It was said that when you entered the room, all you saw were "ass holes and elbows" (draftsmen leaning over their drafting tables). I settled in with no trouble at all. Teams of draftsmen (and women) worked for "checkers" who assigned the work and checked the results. We did our work in ink on linen. The drawings were to last a long time. We worked six days a week but the first 2 1/2 hours on Saturday were at straight time because we worked 7 1/2 hours a day the rest of the week. After being there about a month, I was called to see the department foreman. You didn't see him unless there was a problem! After stuttering around for a bit, He told me, "Most of the people were married, had mortgages, and car payments. They would have trouble making their payments if they didn't work Saturdays". I did not understand. Then he suggested, "Why don't you slow down a little!" I liked what I was doing and my co-workers were great. Not having been there very long, I was surprised when they took me out to lunch. I was even more surprised when I came back to find my desk covered in wedding decorations and several very nice wedding gifts on it.
There was, of course, a wedding shower for Anne. Her mom and dad pretended to take us out to dinner. They were buying a new house and her dad insisted on stopping at a local tavern to meet with the builder on the way. Anne was very upset because her dad had been on the wagon for some time. (Drinking had been a problem.) We went to the back room of the tavern and Anne was totally surprised.
Anne's parents had some friends who had an room with a bathroom in their basement. We needed an inexpensive place to start our marriage so we went to see Joe and Florence Jozaitis. It would do very nicely and they let us come over and clean and paint it before the wedding. On one side would be a couch that opened to be the bed. There was a kitchen table and chairs, a gas range and a refrigerator. There was also a large cabinet for our clothes. We had a great time decorating the place. You can't imagine how happy we were!
The Wedding and Honeymoon
Anne's friends Pat and Adriana were her choice for bridesmaids. Her brother Harry, was the groomsman and my cousin Bob from Grand Rapids was the best man. Bob was selected on my mother's suggestion. I had lost contact with my pre-navy friends and navy friends would not be available for the wedding.
The next morning, after having breakfast, we went back home, went to Sunday Mass, and packed for the honeymoon. Both of Anne's bridesmaids lived on the north side of town and stayed overnight at Anne's house. We drove them home on our way out of town, heading for the Wisconsin Dells. By the time we reached Arlington Heights it was getting late so we stopped for the night.
Our Beginnings as Husband and Wife
That room was a good place to start and it only flooded twice in the time we were there. On one occasion I got out of bed up to my ankles in water. Another time it had a foot of water when we came home from work. Florence sometimes made dinner for us and often she would come down for a visit. She was good to us and we enjoyed her dog who liked to sample our gin. I called the FAA office several times and was told not to give up on my application. They still needed me and no one else had applied. So I waited.
Mom decided to sell the house. She would move into a small apartment in a house owned by her brother George. Uncle George and Aunt Ella lived on the second floor with their sons Richard and George. It was closer to downtown and would make it easier for mom to get to work. And, ... Anne was pregnant. We needed more room.
On a Monday morning in early March, we were awakened by the doorbell. We both overslept and my car pool driver was at the door. Rather than make them late for work, I told him I would call in sick. We had a leisurely breakfast and I went through the Sunday paper again, this time looking at the want ads. I don't know why, because I was still waiting for the FAA. I noticed an ad for an electrical draftsman at Kelso-Burnett Co. and mentioned it to Anne. She had noticed it too but hadn't said anything. Deciding to call, I asked several questions and was told, "If you are interested, come in." I made an appointment for later the same day and met with Joe who told me that he was only screening out undesirables and I would be interviewed by Ed. At the end of my interview with Ed and discussing an hourly wage, He said, "OK, if you want to take a chance on us, we'll take a chance on you". I went home to tell Anne I accepted a job that paid the same for five days work that now took six days. I gave my two weeks notice at Western Electric and in the last week of March in 1956 I started at KB for $4680.00 per year.
Note.1 ...I retired from Kelso-Burnett in 1996. I had become a Vice President and member of the board of directors by oversleeping. ... One of life's Miracles.
Note 2 ...Several months after starting at KB, I received a letter from the FAA stating that they were moving their employment office to Washington, DC. My application would be delayed but I was still under consideration. ... I am still waiting.
What was happening in the world during this time?