Sunday, December 26, 2010
This is a very rare picture of the kitchen in Dad's House at 6721 Oak Road, Vassar about 1950. I am the boy in the back with sister, Linda, in front of me with Allen Reamy in the lead. We are in my wagon that I left by the road and had stolen. Notice the wringer washer in the background by the door. Mother would slide that out in the middle of the floor about where we are. She heated all the wash water on the stove. We had a wash house out the screen door about 25 feet away. All water was hauled from there up the porch and through the screen door. The country was much darker then. This house had been wired for electricity in 1946, 4 years before. You could hear the crickets out through the screen. They were much louder then. Of course, the grass was much higher then because we wouldn't have a power lawn mower for five more years. Grass was cut by the field mowing machine. The house was heated at this time by fuel oil which ran about $240 per year. Dad paid for the fuel oil with the wheat crop that he raised for several years at this time. The floor was covered with linoleum like all the floors were when I was little. Bathroom facilities were 35 ft out thru the screen door. Life was very different then. We were still listening to the radio every night for entertainment. Dad and Ralph Reamy were both working at Universal Engineering in Frankenmuth where they both had a solid job until retirement about 32 years after this picture was taken. Of course, when this picture was taken, we had four people in our family. Laura would change all that in about a year.
This family picture has many of the players from my typical family get to gathers. Julie and Steve and family are here. They have lots of places to go on these days but do manage to be with us a good bit of the time. John and Nancy Welch are here especially because it's their house and they did the dinner. My mother-in-law, Loraine Hayes is with us and feeling and geeting around better than last year. And , of course, this is my nephew, Blake Karr's second appearence. He is the life of the party.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Our phone was much more modern. We had a four digit number, 3502, that other Vassar phones could dial with their black rotary phones with no operator involved.
Cost was very high. Three dollars for three minutes when we called Grandma Crane in Vermillion, South Dakota and it took an hour to make the connection.
Grandma Welsh who lived only a mile and a half away was with Millington Wolverine Telephone Co. So she was long distance. Calling her was fifteen cents so that was seldom done either when Dad made two dollars an hour.
Today we live in the sold of free communication. Things are very different.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Keith and Tricia are in Japan right now so even talking to them is different. I did send a birthday greeting card and got him a gift certificate to Amazon. That always seems to be a hit.
We had a party for Kris. The picture shows part of the people who came. Andy Erdman was there as was Chris Johnson. John and Nancy came out and my mother-in-law, Lorraine Hayes was there too.
Sue had a very nice meal which she made while she was cleaning up storm damage in the yard. She is amazing.
Everyone had a very nice time.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Linda Welsh McRoy, sister, told about Sue Ann Burns loosing her husband this past year to carbon monoxide. Some of us had heard about that at the time but others were not aware of it. Lee Preston told how he had lost is wife a couple of months ago. That was news to some of us. I didn't know that even though I live close.
Everyone really wanted to talk and be brought up-to-date with each other so the time really flew. Spouses did a good job mixing and being a part of the festivities too. I met Steve Ulrich's wife for the first time. Steve told how he had gone to a farm sale on the other side of the state. He bought an Oliver tractor at that sale and arranged to pick it up a few weeks later. The time passed and he came with a friend to pick up his purchase. The tractor would not start. Finally, they decided to try ether to get it going. None was on site. Steve saw the woman of the house drive in so he asked her if she had any ether on the farm. "No" she said " I had the sale when I lost my husband and now all that is gone". On the way to get that can of ether, Steve had his first conversation with his wife. It had been close though because when they returned, Steve's friend had that tractor running. It had started just after Steve left to get the ether. Some things just seem to be met to happen.
Bill McCorkle always surprises everyone because of his height. Billy was under five feet when we graduated. He was small. Now, he is about 5'6" and is involved in prison ministries. He does quite a bit of public speaking and added to the fun of the day.
Dave and Debbie Sebert Cobb where there. I enjoyed talking to both of them. Dave had been on the school board in Millington. Debbi and I talked about how things were in high school in the 1960's and how many social changes there have been. She lives in Millington now and knows Uncle Richard Hauger. She had her own story to tell on him.
Janet Taylor Lucias and her husband John were there too. Janet told about her seventeen grandchildren and about how she had helped with her son's bike store. John and Bill McCorkle had so stories to tell about the night John broke Billy in on a job at Buick.
Larry Ill and his wife spoke of their experiences. Larry is working for Bader Bros. in Birch Run right now. Normally, he has been working out of Saginaw. His wife is a teacher. I enjoyed talking to her about the conservative/liberal split in the country now and how it is essential that we learn to listen to different points of view.
Ed LeBean and wife were present too. His sister, Priscilla lives right up the road so I see members of his family on various social occasions.
Marth Crump Jensen was a real hit with my wife Sue. They are both nurses. Sue told me that Martha is living up north of West Branch but gets to Millington to visit her daughter. Martha did work with me at Flint Truck Assembly for a time. I was an industrial engineer and she worked in the medical department.
My sister, Linda Welsh McRoy, the always faithful one, drove over from her home in Caledonia, Michigan. Linda is a retired teacher who taught in the Kentwood(Grand Rapids) School System. She is now in realty and is my chief running buddy on trips all over the place that she usually dreams up.
Sharon Walker Beemer (did I come close on the spelling) came too. We shared conversation on how things have changed over our lifetimes and how things were in Millington high in the 60's
Sandy Harding Honsinger got a chance to see the garage I have been talking about on Facebook for the last year. Sandy was a music teacher at John Glenn in Bay City and still is very involved with music. She has a surprising ability in wood working that you can see if you go to her Facebook page. Sue and I were both glad that she came. Sandy has a cousin named Sandi Pavlawk who is a good friend from the Bay County Historical Museum where I volunteer, make friends, talk, and really enjoy myself. Finding Sandy, our classmate's, Bay City connections was a surprise to me.
Bette Sebert Chambal has been a real worker on these reunions. She brought the meat dishes to this one. (I loved the food by the way). Bette lost Ken Chambal, our classmate, several years ago. Ken was a bright spot in everybody's day. I was really sorry when we lost him. Betty is also the person I know the longest in our class , outside of sister Linda that is. Bette's family had parties with their relatives and neighbors when I was four or five and since one of Bette's aunts, Ernestine Kerns was a friend we often went to these parties.
All these folks worked really well to make the reunion a success. I really enjoyed it and I think that was the general feeling.
Part of the
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Now, this roof is a 6 12 pitch. That means that for every 12 inches you go forward you will find yourself 6 inches higher. Roofers can stick like glue to these structures but overweight, sixty-four year olds seem to slide right down the roof. That had been my previous experience soooo, little progress was made until.. I made this quick attachment for my loader.
This thing started out as a set of forks to plant the crimson maple tree. It worked great. The forks were on both sides of the earth ball and the three rings I installed to the forks and the bucket centered the ball perfectly. I simply drove over the hole with this contraption and lowered the bucket. The twelve foot tree was seated perfectly.
These forks moved around a little though. That is a discomforting feeling when seated on the edge of a roof fifteen ft above the ground. I added some braces and locked the structure to the metal bucket and I was good to go.
It only took about three hours to get the siding tools out again and finish these annoying little loose ends. Now, the job is done. I need something else to side.
As for the attachment to the bucket. It is going to be used as loader forks to pick up downed limbs this morning.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
He had just graduated from West Point when the Civil War began. Custer was a genius or very lucky in the Civil War. He was in tens of battles and survived without a serious injury'
Gregory J. W. Urwin, the author of this book, says that he has come to know the role politics played in the careers of officers in the Army of the Potomac.
Urwin praises The Union Cavalry in the Civil War by Stephen Z, Starr as the seminal book on the topic. Starr said:
Next to Sheridan in credit for the accomplishments of the [Federal ] cavalry in the Appomattox Campaign stood Geroge Custer.
I am looking forward to reading Custer Victorious.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Image via WikipediaI never got to notice much of the heat yesterday because Corby and I had a job to do. We got up at 2:30am to drive to Indianapolis to take care of some business there.
I remembered when Dad got the 1955 Ford Fairlane. It was his first new car. He paid $70 per month for three years on it. It was also the first car we had that could stand 70mph all day long.
In May of 1955, we took this car to Vermillion, SD to see my grandmother, Anna Crane. Dad went about 600 miles in one day. Yesterday, Corby and I split the driving and went 680 miles in my 2009 Chevy truck. It just didn't take the same amount of time on the expressway that Dad had to spend on US 2 going to grandma's.
This trip did take most of the day though. I didn't do much else. Today, I was off to a good start. I got the first floor boards in on the deck. About 1pm I took a break because of the heat.
I'm getting to be like my Dad's Father. I don't do that well in very hot direct sunlight. I had a plan to go back out when the shade moved over the deck in a few hours but by the time a few hours had passed, we were in the midst of a real downpour.
Inside, I got to work on my Medicare package. I am sixty-five on October 5 so I get government health care. My doctor says it is better than what I've had so great. The problem is that I have to change some things with GM. I think we will end up having Sue and Candice on St. Mary's Insurance. I think I will get my supplimental insurance there too.
When that task was done, I went to work on Custer in the Civil War. I have a presentation on Oct. 6 at the Civil War Round Table in Saginaw at the Bateman-Fish Library. I have to have a finished hour and one half presentation done by then. That puts me focusing on the Civil War more than I have in my recent Custer efforts.
In the midst of all this, the storm knocked the web out. It seems to be back now so we'll get back to the Civil War.
To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit www.verizonwireless.com/picture.
Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.
Monday, August 30, 2010
I did a lot of nailing with my Bostic Palm Nailer. These cost about sixty bucks. I wouldn't be without one now. The treated wood in the deck requires galvanized fasteners so I drove quite a few 20d galvanized pole barn nails.
I got my first 5/4 deck boards. I'm ready to put them on now. This project is a little more than $1000 in materials.
Saturday night, we went to the Tiki Lounge in Bay City for a work party for Sue. I really enjoyed it. They had a Reggae band. Cover charge was 2 dollars. Sue's work friends were a lot of fun.
What a remarkable service. Blogtoprint http://blog2print.sharedbook.com/blogworld/printmyblog/index.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=adwords&utm_campaign=feb09 takes all those postings and pictures and prints a PDF file. You can buy a copy for $8. If you want a soft or hard cover, bond book, you can get it for a few dollars more.
Just the PDF copy of what I have written would be great for me. I am sure I will use this service.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Last sunday, Sue and I went to Kaylee and Kadence Karr's baptism at the Catholic Church in Vassar. These two twins are the center of attention in the family right now if Blake isn't. We all had a good time and a wonderful time to take pictures like this one of one of the twins and Nancy.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This is a picture of me at Flint Assembly sometime in the 1970's. I appear to be filing process sheets which had a picture, part specifications and change history for every part on the vehicle. I would have been building Blazers and Suburbans at the time.
The IBM terminals in the background were connected to a IBM 360 mainframe two floors above. We didn't have any personal computers at this time.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Sue did games for the kids with the mandatory water balloons. We had filled them in the old bathtub at our house so by the time we got to Vassar a bunch of them had broken for unknown reasons but the rest of them were luke warm. I had to hold the bucket in the balloon toss so I like warm water balloons.
I talked to Jake Leiber for quite awhile. We talked about my dad in the war and what I knew about what he did. I related what had happened at the Battle of the Tenaru that Dad took part in.
Eric Hauger was there. He is going to do some logging with horses next winter. I offered to help The experience would be great.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Sue and I bought two resin love seats for the patio yesterday at Rite-Aide. We found out about their new shoppers card and about signing up for the online coupons. I did both today. Their shopper card is very like what Kroger does. In order to get the sale price on a item you have to have the card. You don't have to carry it. The clerk can enter your phone number and qualify you. At any rate we got our rebate and learned about another way to save money.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I plan to put a few hundred hours into this project. It's necessary to spend that much time in preparation. At this point, I don't have a structure or a theme I want to develop so I will be doing some survey reading on Custer in the Civil War.
I'll take notes in my OneNote application and work the course up from there. It will be a blast.
It's a strange little room where so many discoveries are made. Yesterday, we had a young man come in with a uniform shirt from the Bay City Brahma's, a semi-pro team from the 1990's in Bay City. I had never heard of them because no one else had asked about them during my years at the library, but a quick look in the vertical files under sports, football brought out this big folder filled with clippings. The young man eagerly went through the stack and his quest was answered.
A young woman, who is beginning her genealogical quest looking for information on 600 different relatives came in. She is just beginning but the joy of discovery is in her eye. She's beginning a long journey but one with enough discoveries to carry her well into middle age. I bet she goes there. I hope she comes back with reports on her discoveries.
That's the way it often is in the world of a library researcher. When people leave with smiles on their faces, I know we are on the right track.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
We have the book for sale in the Bay County Historical Museum store. It is critical for understanding Bay City Architecture.
This group of people took part in the walking tour from Carroll Park in Bay City that I guided on tuesday morning. I worked about 30 hours on this tour but like to work more like 75 hours on material that I haven't given before. All turned out well though and the group was just super.
They were from the Bay County Council on Aging and had set up a lunch as well as the tour from this pretty Bay City park.
I told them that the D.H. Fitzhugh family had donated the land for the park in about 1875. I described how different parks were at that time and how cemeteries often filled that function.
Of course, I had to mention Frederick Law Olmsted's contribution to the design of this park. I believe that it is probable that his firm designed the layout of Carroll Park. Olmsted was the first landscape architect in America and the designer of Central Park in New York as well as Biltmore in North Carolina. He also did the grounds for the Columbian Exposition.
I studied Dale Woliki's book on Bay City Architecture once again to prepare for this tour. This time, I noticed how crucial understanding his pages on architectural style are to conducting a higher quality architectural tour.
One of the houses on the tour is shown on the left. This is the Gilbrith House on Center Avenue. It is a colonial revival home that originally belonged to the owner of the World Star Knitting Mills. This house is almost on the corner of Trumble and Center.
After the tour, I shared lunch with the group in Carroll Park. It was really a pleasant experience.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Dave Deland met Sue and I at the intersection of M-55 and M-65 to follow us into the cabin. That is something of a trick since it is located about 2 miles of the main road. Once you know where to go it isn't a problem but until then it can be.
There were about forty people at the wedding. The deck on the cabin was able to hold all of us comfortably. The balcony up above the deck was perfect for the cermony. The minister who was a lady conducted the service well with an overtone of fun for all.
Bob was funny when he forgot the ring during the ceremony and had to return to the cabin t o get it.
Sue and I had brought up roast beef and chicken that Leigh had bought at Norm's in Richville. Dinner was very nice. Sue brought up her decorated cookies as well.
Sue and I stayed until the end of the day when we left to spend the night at Dave Deland's in Gladwin. All in all, it was a super time.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The ships included replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, the Viking long-ship that had come from Norway, the whaling ship, Progress was in Chicago too. I went over the Illinois which was a brick and mortor battleship replica at the Fair and the whaleback, Christopher Columbus that was used there too.
The Midway Plaisance had a lot of interesting concessions, including the Ferris Wheel and Sitting Bull's cabin. I don't think that I was able to get the excitement of this area across though. I plan to listen to my audio of the presentation so see if I feel that way in retrospect.
The whole thing has been a lot of work but a great deal of fun. I expressed interest in doing a class in the fall. We'll see what comes of that.
I'll bet that an acoustic shutoff switch would not have been about to stop the oil spill at the BP rig in the Gulf. I suspect something is wrong with the blowout preventer itself. I thing this is true because the "dead man" switch didn't shut the valve and the remote vehicles weren't able to shut it either. I'll bet an acoustic switch would have been unable to get this probably broken device to function.in reference to:
"BP says the Deepwater Horizon did have a "dead man" switch, which should have automatically closed the valve on the seabed in the event of a loss of power or communication from the rig. BP said it can't explain why it didn't shut off the well."
- Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device - WSJ.com (view on Google Sidewiki)
This article has information on what the oilspill site looks like and what techniques are being used to stop the leak. The schematic of the operations being undertaken is veryhelpful.in reference to: The Gulf oil spill: What lies beneath | The Economist (view on Google Sidewiki)
Friday, May 14, 2010
I had two hours to talk about the buildings of the Fair. That got me through the fourteen major buildings and two or three exhibits in each of them. I got to go over the careers of the successive architects which added so understanding to what their thinking on design was. I also got to review the material we had last week.
This class of seventeen went well. I am quit happy with it, but , like normal, there is so much that I would like to do. I'd like more video of the time to show what was happening. I'd also like to put on an effective section on the music of the era since so much was changing right then with the advent of the phonograph.
I have done nothing with the medical field of the 1890's. That area would be interesting too.
I do want to cover military developments as well since this was a time of great military change as well. The Krupp exhibit at the fair had a piece called "the Thunderer" that was capable of a fifteen mile range. The United States had several artillery pieces at the fair as well.
I could enjoy doing a ten week course on this fair but time only allows me one more session.
Today, I had 100 students studying the lumber industry. That went well. It ended up dealing with City Hall as well. The kids were great and a joy to have.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Then, I watch Corinne do a presentation to a group of 11 young people on the trilobite exhibit and fossils in general. The young people really got into this. When that was over, it was time to take the truck to Mount Pleasant and bring a load of Candice's things from college home. That went very well but took about five hours. Next it was the mowing.
I did get about half of the lawn mowed so I am happy.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sue's Mom went with us. I think she enjoyed the film as well. We had planned to go to the matinee, when tickets cost only $4.50 but Sue had to work earlier in the day. Once again, this is a great date movie.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I'd love to get to see him but that doesn't seem likely for awhile.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
When I was in school many years ago we had the assignment to pull different ads from newspapers and magazines to analyze just what was being said. That was a simple assignment compared to the analyzing the messages of the digital age
This Tiger Woods ad has been judged as brilliant by professionals in the field. It will convince millions that some sort of father/son conversation is taking place where middle class values are reinforced and Tiger sees the light. On some subconscious level, we will all take this as a real event. That is how moving pictures work. That's why we scream when we see a horror movie. I know that I am in a theater, eating popcorn but my physical systems think I am in the movie. That's why I want to run from a picture on the screen. Millions will believe that this is how Tiger feels and that this is what Earl Woods, his father, would think and say. Those millions will believe it with absolutely no evidence that either Tiger or Earl feel that way.
Earl's been dead since 2006 but that's not so long that Tiger wasn't playing his tricks at the time. Gossip has it that Earl played some tricks of his own. What basis do we have to believe that Earl would be asking "What have you learned?" with the implication that fidelity is best. None, as far as I'm concerned. What basis does Nike have for using a dead man in this way?This video is very well done propaganda. It should be studied in depth by all of us.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
About an hour after I arrived a young man walked in the door. I knew that he had come to see the regular exhibits but I had no idea what he wanted in the library so I explained what the library did.
It turned out that he was interested in research in the Bay City area due to his family connections in Reese. This young man had Mexican and German connections and was quite interested in the social effects of immigration. He was a principal of a school in Oakland, California and was very knowledgeable in many historical areas. We talked about Mexico, the border, Brazilian immigration to Japan, and many other topics.
My great regret is that I didn't get his name. I do hope that he comes back into the library. I would like to see him again.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I should try to tell my story of life with my grandma, Julia Welsh. Each of the people who knew her would have a different view point but I have my own. I was privileged to have her with me for thirty-five years. I first knew her when she was many years younger than I am now and I had her with me until 1980 when she was eighty years old.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
This is my grandson Aiden. He is the apple of his parents eye. As a grandparent it is wonderful just to be able to see not only what he is doing but how his parents are reacting to him.
My only problem is the distance to where he lives. Raliegh, North Carolina is a great city but it is 800 miles from here. I also think about how different his life will be. He will be a city kid, raised in the new south, in the twenty-first century. I was a farm boy, raised in the industrial bread basket of the world, in the twentieth century. That makes for quite a difference.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
We have another show at the Pines on Davison Road next Monday. I am looking forward to it. We are doing more four-part harmony. I really have to push my range to do first tenor at this age. *It would be better if I could go to second.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I had new music to work on.
- I'm Sitting on Top of the World
- Me and My Shadow
- Button up your Overcoad
- Have I told you lately that I Love You(done before many times)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This video is very impressive and filled with great information. It is an example of what I would like to see in a video interview. The questions show thought and the answers cover the questions. Nice job Bill!
This is an example and a snippit of what Bill and Katy are doing now. I think many of us would be surprised. Some of us, like me, learn about modern communication and design by following these discussions. I like them.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The 1982 movie TRON hit my world of 386 computers right between the eyes. I like the movie. I knew just enough to know that TRON was the word for trace-on. In those days you could think about getting inside of the machine because you often had to do it. Besides, the IBM pc was lucky to have a disk drive in those times. so the machines were much smaller. The Apple II was on its way out so not many did machine language, but nobody had the likes of microsoft offfice and movies where out of the question.
I have to see this sequel TRON 2010.
I'm not bad on Facebook. I use it for all sorts of things. My Blackberry Storm Facebook Application is one of the first spots I visit in the morning, but I am still a bit lost about how to use it effectively. Don't get me wrong. I often get the word first on what is happening in the family, but I wonder if my science posts should really be mixed in with a note about going to the movies and what was playing.
I use twitter because it is a searchable, wide spread tool that will load Facebook. I like tweetdeck too because of its ability to set up searches on whatever. In fact, I almost never use twitter from within twitter. It always comes from my phone or tweetdeck or my new hootsuite.
Right now, I am very confused about how to use all of these effectively. Maybe, in ten years I will get it.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I found an American Heritage book from 1967 on the 'Gay Nineties' .
That will fit right in with my work on the Columbian Exposition.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
About 9am I started working on the Bay City History District. I was able to finish it up good enough to turn in for the first draft. That might be the end of this project for me. I need that to happen because I have to start doing my Fair Presentation.
Then, in the afternoon, I went to America House with the Bros in Song were we did about the besty job we have seen. Like I said, it was a good day.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Most of this is done with Polk City Directories, which we have in the Historical Library. In the earliest years, 1867 say you pretty much have to look at everything to see what might be there. Later on, in the 1880's there are three Bay City Directories on books.google.com . Finally, from 1920 on you can check who lived in an area by address.
I'm making progress, but I have a bunch more to go.
Friday, January 1, 2010
As the new Millennium dawned, I was still working. GM was much more of a player than today and I was in the truck engineering business. It was exciting. I had the best boss of my career and had just come back from working in Japan. I loved the new systems we were using to build trucks and I had surely built trucks. I built engines and frames for 1973-1975 pick-ups and utility vehicles. I built frames and dressed them out for SUV's; connected the trimmed out bodies to these frames and drove them off the end of the assembly line from 1975 to 1980 then I went into the interior of the cab to build dash boards and install all the trim that makes a vehicle a finished thing instead of a glorified tool box. About 1983, I started building those bodies in the cab shop. I had many fewer people and a lot more hard automation. I learned the machine gun like stutter of a manual spot welding gun and how to dodge the sparks these guns could shoot six-ten feet. I also had the paint department. What a different world that was. When I started, people were doing most of the painting. In my last years in paint, robots did almost all the painting and people cleaned metal and watched them. During the first Iraq War, Dessert Storm, I was in Lordstown, Ohio learning how to build the big Chevy van which we called the G Van. There, we had two men who worked one hour on and one hour off painting the entire inside of this big van. They had breathing devices they had to wear to survive. When they entered the vehicle, sat down on a plastic bucket and started to paint, I saw them no more until they got out of the truck. Baltimore Assembly had a new, electrostatic robot doing this job a year or two later. That robot would reach into the body through the back doors and paint at a terrific rate. The inside of that Astro van was done in about one minute with no human touching anything. It was a marvel.
Robots were far from the biggest changes though. These were caused by part design for assembly, systems changes that scheduled each truck so much better and simple ways that each person's job was set up. All these things together made a working building a truck in 1990 about the equal of 1.5 people from 1973. These were effects of the 'Toyota Production System' which was about as big a change as Henry Ford's assembly line concept.
The seventies were a decade in waiting, as far as the computer was concerned. Oh, big things were happening, especially from the outlook at the time, but computers didn't dominate the decade except in the thoughts of a few of us.
Then I found the teletype that lived in the backroom. Nobody was doing anything with it. so I got a plan. I found out that you could run programs written in Basic on that machine. You hooked the telephone handset into a cradle, dialed a number, listened to the chirping and prayed on hot days. Then you were time sharing on the big computer in the sky. ie Swartz Creek Parts Division. After hours and hours of learning to write basic and coding this program that never ran even the fifth time. I got one running. and put the calculator program out of business. The teletype replaced the two men with only one for two hours per day. Progress!
For my birthday in 1977, I got what has to be the most important present of my life. My friend, Ron Sprague and I drove to Apple Creek Station on the corner of Northwestern Highway and Inkster Road where I bought a newly introduced Apple II for $1190. I was making $1060 per month by then. I brought it home, connected the TV that served as a monitor and was not included. Found and connected my cassette player that would serve as a disk drive and uploaded a program. The theme from 2001 a space Odessey started and my life changed forever. Then came computing magazines and trips to the Apple club in Detroit where people from all kinds of business met to learn about their machines, VisiCalc was invented and business was revolutionized. Visi-Calc was the first program like Excel is today. I had it at home three years before we had it in GM.
In 1980, my plant was ready to try personal computers. My friend, Kiley Reid and I went to Computerland on Dort Highway in Flint and bought an IBM pc with a copy of the brand new Lotus 123. We also got a copy of dBase II which was a relational database like Access. We got it on a friday and my bosses who know nothing about computers ordered me to have a water leak program running by Monday. I worked a long Saturday but we got it.
Flint Assembly spent huge amounts of time and money for the next ten years teaching most of its salaried staff and some hourly how to run these machines. I did a lot of the training for this and set up the original machines. I really was doing industrial engineering work about half the time and PC coordinator work the other half. By 1990 most departments had a PC or two and tens of people were using them every day.
These machines were small though. I got caught up in the scrap problem at Flint.. A big plant like that had about 50,000 different part usages that need to be tracked. PC's of that era had no hard drive at all, The ran on 180 kilobyte floppy disks. most of which had to be for the operating system and some program like dbase or Lotus 123. The scrap program had to run on the main frame.
All kinds of resources might be buried and not used in a large plant like Flint. We had three terminals in industral engineering that connected to the mainframe and ran TSO or Time Share Option. You could do alot with TSO in an era when parts lists were written on sheets of paper with 80 columns and keypunched by a lady two floors above you. TSO let you do keypunching online. No More Lady... TSO let you do computer copying. so if I had a card that was just like the five below it except for one or two keystrokes, I could type one, copy four and edit a couple of characters and be done. No more writing 80 characters x 5 lines or 400 letters and numbers with a pencil. Great!!
Of course there had to be something better than TSO and there was. It was called EZtrieve. Nobody could write it but in GM fashion, we had it, whether we knew it or not. That could sort records. Move them around and add them up. It could write reports. Viola.
Well, not quite. It was not a relational database. In fact it wasn't a real database program at all. but you could fake it. Now relational databases..then and now.. let you do a neat thing. If you have one file that says something like
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9&C60
- 81010103010010 00103122 Radiator LS9-C60
- 00103121 CA21
- 00103121 CA71
- 00103121 CC01
- 00103121 CC05
- 00103121 FB05
- 00103122 CA23
- 00103122 CA72
- 00103122 CC05
- 00103122 CC01
- 00103122 FB06
You can join the two files together on a common key in a one to many relationship and end up with records like
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9&C60 CA21
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9&C60 CA71
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9&C60 CC01
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9&C60 CC05
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9&C60 FB05
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9-C60 CA23
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9-C60 CA72
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9-C60 CC05
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9-C60 CC01
- 81010103010010 00103121 Radiator LS9-C60 FB06
In 1991, I got the chance to move from Flint Assembly to Ottawa Towers in downtown Pontiac. It was a great move. and for a few months I wasn't an industrial engineer. I became a process engineer. After almost twenty years, I didn't have a stopwatch. I didn't have standard data books to tell me how long it takes to move a human arm 18 inches.and I didn't do cost studies or work with the union. I made assembly documents. It was probably the best job I ever had. We would decide how to assemble a piece of the a truck in my case medium duty trucks like school buses, gravel trucks, stake racks etc. make a part list and cut and paste a picture of an exploded assembly with leader lines to the parts. I liked it.
Change happened and I ended up with this job and an IE job. OK, that was alright. I helped build the Savanna Van in Wentzville, the Astro van in Baltimore, pickups in Arlington, Texas, and a couple things in Shreveport, La. Finally, I was put on the Colorado, small pickup being designed in Michigan but built worldwide. That is how I got to Japan. and worked for a few days in the Fujisawa Isuzu Plant.
In 2000, Sue and I had three three teen-agers at home and spent a lot of time parenting.. The house was so much busier than it is now and had a fair share of inter-generational conflict. At the end of the decade, I am really pleased with all my kids. They have done so much. That may be the biggest magic that happened this last decade. I started with mostly teenagers and ended with a whole set of these impressive young people that you see dashing through airports with a laptop and a cell phone in full glory.
The computing revolution that began way back at the end of WWII has been a major piece of my life. I have spent so much time on it and it has been so important in my daily thoughts that at this age events prove that it is a major theme of my life.
I have a bunch more to say but I will post this for now.