When I worked about 45 miles away from home, my husband wasn’t too thrilled. A friend of ours, Tom Sawyer (yes, that’s his real name), being aware of the problem told me they were hiring where he worked. He worked for a construction company’s maintenance crew inside of the Georgetown Paper Mill.
“We need a nurse for an upcoming shut down. We need someone who can run the First-Aid office,” Tom explained. “It’s a temporary position but the job is for six to eight months. Maybe during that time you can find something closer to home and Reese will be happy. If nothing else he’ll be happy for six months.”
I wasn’t really interested; however, Tom had a good point. It would get Reese off my back for six months. Begrudgingly I agreed and said, “Bring me an application and I’ll fill it out.”
A week later, Tom calls me and says, “I just talked to my boss. His name is Jimmy Johnson. He and his boss, Jack Simms, want to meet with you this week for an interview.”
I asked Tom what he thought my chances were. He conceded they were not good as Jimmy and Jack were wrapping up interviews and I was the last one they were taking. “Please come anyway and give it a shot. You never know.”
I met with Jack and Jimmy at the paper mill. After salutations and pleasantries were exchanged, Jack said to me, “Michelle, I’m going to be honest here: We’re only granting this interview as a favor to Tommy.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve had over 150 applicants and we’ve managed to narrow it down to only three,” Jimmy explained. “If you don’t want to do this, we’ll understand.”
I kind of smiled and said, “No, that’s okay. You two got me here and I don’t have anything better to do, so let’s do it.”
We went through the entire interview and then Jack asked, “Do you have a problem working with Dr. Williams?”
At the mere mention of his name, I started laughing and said, “No, I don’t have a problem with him. We’ve never really met before but I’m sure he’ll remember me.”
Jack and Jimmy looked at one another before asking, “Why is that?”
I tried as hard as I could to explain it to them without laughing but I couldn’t help it. I laughed through the entire story. “Last summer, my husband and I were boating out on Black River. Dr. Williams has a house on Black River and we were right in front of it. He and his son, also a doctor, were standing on the boat dock when I had jumped into the river.”
I stopped to catch my breath and contain my giggles. Failing miserably I went on, “When I went to get back into the boat, I couldn’t. My soaking wet fat ass kept pulling me back into the water. At one point, my husband jumped into the river and tried to push me in while two of our friends were pulling me in. I was laughing so hysterically that I kept falling off my husband’s head as he was pushing me up (I demonstrated with my hands the motion of him pushing me upwards into the boat) then everyone started laughing, including Dr. Williams and his son. I bet Dr. Williams will remember that,” I concluded.
Both Jack and Jimmy were laughing as well. Jack stood up and excused himself for a minute, directing Jimmy to go with him. They stood on the other side of the room talking in hushed whispers, but I heard everything they said.
Jimmy told Jack, “I want her. I don’t care how much she wants an hour, either.”
Jack concurred and whispered, “Do you think she’ll take $7 an hour?” (That was top dollar back then)
“I don’t know,” Jimmy answered, “Let’s go ask her.” Walking back to the table, Jack asked, “How much will you take an hour, starting pay?”
“I’ll take nine,” I answered straight-faced.
Jack pointed his cigar at me and said, “Done! You start Monday.”