Thursday, August 25, 2011

On a Day Like Today . . .

. . . I sometimes think of the long ago, back when I worked at the Red Arrow Freight Line in the summers (that's me standing in the back of the truck). It was just as hot then as it is now, if not hotter, but I spent five days a week from eight to five in a warehouse or a truck cab or a trailer with no air-conditioning. I don't remember thinking that it was horrible, though I'm sure it couldn't have been comfortable.

Often in the late afternoons, we'd take an empty trailer to the Futorian factory and load it up with Stratoloungers (I think they're still being made, but not in Mexia, Texas). The chairs were in big chair-shaped cardboard boxes, and they had to be stacked in the trailer. Since I was the young guy, I got to climb on the first level to help stack the second and third levels. The first few rows were the worst because they were in the front of the trailer. No air at all, and the heat had built up in there all day. Occasionally I'd make the rookie mistake of raising up a little too high when I was standing on the chairs. Then the back of my sweaty shirt would touch the metal roof of the trailer. The shirt didn't provide a lot of protection, and the other guys would get a big kick out of my reaction. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to be a source of amusement for them.

As for the other guys in the photo, the one on the left if N. D. Hendricks, known as Little Nap. In the middle is Lynn Fulwiler, the manager of the Penney's store and the father of my sister's first husband. On the right is Thedford Rhodes, father of Ray Rhodes, who was just a tyke when the photo was made.


  1. Brings back long ago memories of my own. I loaded trucks from nine to five in July weather, ringing wet with sweat every day when I got home. I don't remember being especially put out by it.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Bill. Reminds me of all the old jobs I used to do. Weirdly enough, I miss them. Things seemed so much simpler then.

  3. You know, Mel, sometimes I think it was the best job I ever had.

  4. I went from loading trucks to loading airplanes for the USAF, but rarely by hand. The photo didn't show up for me, BTW.

  5. Gerard11:50 AM

    GO Pack! (I'm 11 years late on that.)

  6. Anonymous1:01 PM

    When I was a kid my father had a store selling and repairing vacuum cleaners and other small appliances. I had to put cards advertising his place in the mailboxes and under the doors in Canarsie, which often meant climbing up 15 step staircases, over and over again.

    And I got paid zilch for it!


  7. I get the feeling. At one time I was a (no joke) ditch digger, it was shovel-and-foot work and it was often in the hottest part of the year and the day. That's a job I can't say I miss, especially after the doug the trench and the crew laid the pipe (no backhoe then) and while they went off for a cool drink I had to fill the damn thing in again and then run the tamper, which was an attachment on a jack hammer. Pretty bad.