Wednesday, May 27 couldn’t come quick enough for me! I had looked forward to this day all month long! Actually, I looked forward to this day for probably a year!
I used to work at a very special company, which was eventually bought out by another company, and so is no longer in existence. I didn’t really realize how special this company was, and how special its people were, until I got out into the “real world.” Besides waitressing throughout high school, this company was my official first place of employment. I was nineteen at the time, and I had just decided that the college life wasn’t for me. I had moved back home with Mom and Dad and at the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life! 🙂
To try to make a long story short…I applied at a local temporary employment agency, and within a week, I had my first placement…at this company. I was placed in the Credit Department, and my job was to do different kinds of administrative work. Gary was my boss, and my co-worker was Chris. I felt very “wet behind the ears,” and like the “new kid on the block,” but everyone made me feel welcome. I was the youngest person in the entire company! I soon was invited to lunch with some of the women and got to know many of them quickly.
Within a month, I was hired full-time there as a data entry person in Customer Service. The women in that department were so much fun, and I was able to interact with different people in different departments. In the next couple of years, I applied for a job opening in the Bulk Oats Department as an Administrative Assistant to the V.P. of Sales, and got the job. I became very close friends with Linda, who also worked in that department. Linda and I still stay in touch, and even though we live 1-1/2 hours away, we meet each December at a mall half-way in between our homes.
The people at this company were absolutely wonderful. They were my extended family! Since I was still single, many times I would be invited over to others’ family dinners! The company was small enough that everyone knew everyone. We women did sleepovers together, camping outings, boating outings and fun things like that. The company did amazing picnics, nights at the ballpark, Christmas parties, and many events where our families were invited. I met Bill while I was working there, and most of the people there came to our wedding. I began my Mary Kay business while working there too.
I decided to leave my job after Ali was born to be able to stay home with her. It was a tough decision at the time…I felt like I was saying goodbye to a major part of my life AND to major people in my life.
Through the company buyout, down-sizing, early retirements, people leaving to find employment elsewhere, and etc. began to take place. The environment and faces of this amazing company changed. The men began to meet the last Wednesday of each month for dinner at a local restaurant…just to stay in touch. Well, a few years ago, we women were invited to join them the last Wednesday of May! I went, and felt like I had arrived back home! It was wonderful to see everyone again and to catch up with old friends who were once like my family! That has been a yearly event ever since!
I had gotten “the call” a couple of weeks ago that the “co-ed” dinner was on for the last Wednesday of May…May 27! I couldn’t wait to see my previous work family! When Wednesday finally came, I was excited…thinking which of my friends I might see and how much fun it was going to be to catch up with everyone…especially since I wasn’t able to go last year!
When I arrived, I was greeted by Alice…a co-worker that I hadn’t seen since I left my job fifteen years ago. We sat by each other the entire night catching up on on everything. It was great to see my former boss, Gary, and co-worker, Chris. Most of the women I used to work with came. Most of the men are retired now, and it was fun to hear about their children and grand children. It was so refreshing for me to be there with all of them! I’m still the youngest of the group…believe it or not! I guess they never wanted to hire another “youngster” again after me! 🙂
As I laid my head on my pillow that night, I thanked God for these people in my life. I recalled what one of the women said to me during dinner. She said, “We grew you up, didn’t we?” Her comment took me by surprise, but was so full of truth! I responded with, “Yes, you were my family away from my family. You were my mentors and my friends, and all of you helped form who I am today.”
I look forward to the reunion next May! I pray that God protects each one of them and their families until we see each other again next year!
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