Every last Wednesday in the month of May I get the blessing of having dinner with some of the greatest people I know. And I’ve known them for the majority of my life…for over 25 years.
I began working at National Oats when I was 19 years old. I started there through a temp agency in the Data Entry Department. I was there a month and was hired on full-time. Within a matter of months there was an opening in the Customer Service Department which I was encouraged to apply for. I did and I got the job. After a year or so there, I moved to an Administrative Assistant position to the V.P. of Industrial Sales.
I left National Oats after the birth of our daughter, to stay home and raise our family, six years after starting there.
Those six year were some of the best years of my life. I “grew up” with these special people, and since I was the youngest employee the entire time I was there, many of them were positive influences in my life at such a young age. They helped me be who I am today.
I learned so much being employed there and from my co-workers. It was a family-type of atmosphere. We all had so much fun together, and we were treated wonderfully…lunches out, birthday parties, days at the ballpark, fresh-baked cookies every morning, fresh-popped stove-top popcorn every afternoon. It was a great place to grow up and to work.
The employees spent lots of time together away from work too. I remember our ladies’ slumber parties and all the crazy things we’d do together (some women were my mom’s age)! I recall the ladies’ camp outs in tents at Rose’s house and at Coralville Lake. Gosh, we had a ball together.
I knew it was a special place then, and I look back now and appreciate it even more. The jobs I held were incredible for such a young person. My office skills certainly grew while I was there, and I’ve used them ever since.
It’s hard to believe left there 19 years ago. The company has changed names, and only one in attendance Wednesday night still works there. Many were let go when it was bought out by another company. Two of my former bosses were there Wednesday. One shared he just turned 80, and he’s working through some health issues. One of my favorite co-workers shared he’s dealing with cancer. Another one has fibromialga, emphysema, and other health issues. I cherish these times with these friends. I want to be in each other’s lives for another 25 years, but I realize that probably won’t be a reality.
One of my former co-workers works part-time at a church we work alongside of at Mission of Hope in our neighborhood. That was a blessing to find out!
It was just great to connect with everyone again. And I look forward to next year’s meal and time together. It won’t come soon enough!
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