Each year when I flip my calendar from April to May, I immediately mark off the last Wednesday evening of the month. It’s a special annual event. It’s when 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.
These amazing people I used to work alongside of what was then called National Oats Company. I began there when I was 19 years old. Yes. Nineteen. Through a temp agency, my first assignment was in their Data Entry Department. Within a month I was hired for a full-time position, then soon moved to the Customer Service Department. Within a year I was promoted to Administrative Assistant to the V.P. of Industrial Sales.
I look back now and realize how amazing my journey there was!
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 and role models in my life at such a young age.
They helped me be who I am today.
I’ve never experienced a more special work environment. We were like one big family. Memories warm my heart of the fun we shared together…lunches out, birthday parties, days at the ballpark, fresh-baked cookies every morning, fresh stove-top popped popcorn every afternoon (thanks Bill M!). It was the perfect place for me to grow up.
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. One year we women t.p.’d many of the guys’ homes. The thought of 50+ year old women throwing rolls of toilet paper in trees is hysterical to me today!
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 someone my age. The skills I learned I have used ever since. I’m so grateful for that early foundation!
It was a joy to catch up with everyone again. Two, I hadn’t seen since I left the company, which was 20 years ago. After the birth of our daughter, I left to be a stay-at-home mom, and to build my Mary Kay business. My time of employment there was six and a half years.
Those six and a half years were some of the best years of my life.
When it was my turn to share about my life, I couldn’t help but mention following my dream of writing. I wrote about last year’s event, and told them I’d be writing about this year’s. They wanted to read it too, so this post will be forwarded to these dear friends of mine.
They will always be my National Oats family. None of us are getting any younger, however, and I’m still the youngest of the group. Some are fighting health issues. Some are recovering from some. Some are retired. Some are working. Some are not. The hope we have and the memories we share help keep us going until the next year’s dinner.
I don’t like to rush time, but truly, I can’t wait until the last Wednesday night of May 2015!
A big shout out and thank you to these very special friends. I love you all!
Tony & I (He was my boss for five years.)
Maria, Rose & Gary
Don, Kory, Jill & Dennis
Gary, Tony, George, Abby & Jack
Pat, Martha & Denise
George, Jerry (who just had oral surgery) & Mike
Lori, Chris & Don
Thank you for sharing in my story,
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