It was a special summer for me....1957. I had just graduated from high
school and my good friend, Ben Garcia and I had gone looking for a job. I
don't remember all of the places we went, but, one was Curtis Mathes,
Ben Garcia and I knew that Curtis Mathes paid $1.00 hour, which
was probably a top wage in Henderson County for that day and time. We
were thwarted at every location by various "No's".
Each summer since I was eight, I had visited my Mother, Stepfather
and sister in Port Neches, so 62 years ago, this year, I visited again, this
time looking for a job. My stepfather, Paul, being a Big Union man, told
me all I had to do was go to the Union Hall and get a union card. So, off
we went to the Union Hall in Pt. Aurthur. I had in mind to apply for a job as
a carpenter helper and when I asked, "how do I get a union card?" They
replied "do you have a job?" "No" They said, "you cannot get a Union
Card until you get a job", so off we went to the site of where . Neches
Butane was being built in Pt. Neches in hopes of getting a job, in hopes
of getting a Union Card. Their question? "Do you have a Union Card?"
...."No" "Well you can not get a job until you have a Union Card." "What?"
God works in strange ways. My Stepfather, being the amateur
entrepreneur that he was had 2 trailer home connections placed in the
backyard and guess what? The personnel manager for Foster Wheeler
moved into our backyard with his family, and.......I had my job, (Thank you
God) thus....now I could get my UNION CARD!! As a Carpenter Helper I
would be getting union wages of $1.975 per hour. Wow!! I had to punch
in every day with a time clock and I was told that if I clocked in, I would be
I started to work for Foster Wheeler in early June of 1957 and after
working only a short while, a storm began brewing along the Gulf Coast.
The rains began and it was evident that we were in for the arrival of a
hurricane. At sunrise on the day of the storm, with Mother tugging at my
coat tail, I was determined to go clock in, even though the wind was
bending small trees and it was raining very hard. Dressed in my rain gear,
I did punch in. Well, needless to say, I did not get paid for that day, but
June 27, 1957 and Audrey will long remain in my memory.
By Don Henderson 6/27/ 16
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