Sunday, June 09, 2024

Yet Another Back Story.... In The Snow...

 I received a lot of kind comments about the back stories I told about Pam and I.   While I am struggling through the final decline, I thought I would write about another one.  Actually, struggling is an understatement.  Being her primary caregiver for almost three years has been both emotionally and physically demanding.  But we are now at the most difficult part.  Pam is resting comfortably.  But with no food or drink, she has become unresponsive to being moved or changed.  There is little to do but remember the best of times and to grieve.  So here is another back story.

Pam and I met while working at Sanders Data Systems in Nashua, NH.  Several years later, Data Systems was sold to Harris Corporation and I began working with engineers in Dallas, Texas.  It became obvious to me that we would eventually be asked to move down there.  Pam and I discussed the possibilities and both looked forward to an opportunity to live elsewhere.  Sure enough, they announced that Engineering and Marketing would be combined in Dallas.  

When they did not encounter any enthusiasm for that idea, the grownups decided to fly everyone, with spouses, to Dallas to get the big show & tell and look at homes.  They divided the group in half and booked all of the flights... for what we affectionately called "The Cattle Drive".  Upon arrival, we were each assigned a relocation specialist that tried to understand our needs and wants and then show us all over the sprawling metropolis.  When the Cattle Drive did not produce any results, the grownups went about trying to get people to move by bribing us with an ever increasing list of financial incentives.  Even though Pam and I had already decided that we wanted to move, I received all the same financial incentives they were offering others.  By the time we were ready to leave, they were buying our house from us, moving all of our belongings, including extra vehicles, along with three months extra pay, two weeks additional vacation, round trip air fare within the first year, a per-Diem payment until our home was ready in Dallas, and rental payments if we needed to rent while waiting.

Pam and I decided to have a new house built out in the country, rather than live in Dallas proper.  We bought a yet to be built home in the town of The Colony, about 25 miles north of Dallas.  The Colony was a large land area purchased by the second largest home builder in the country in 1969.  They began developing a community.  When we took possession of our house, The Colony had a population of about 5,000.  Today The Colony is over 40,000.

 In January 1978, a moving van showed up to begin the process.  They first drove our 1971 Chevelle Malibu onto the moving van.  They assembled a floor over the top of the car and then loaded all of our belongings onto the moving van.  We had decided to drive to Dallas.  My vehicle was a Ford F100 Supercab with an 8' bed.  The truck was twenty feet long with big stainless western mirrors with a CB antenna on each.  It had a fold-down seat behind the front seats.  We bought a piece of four inch foam padding to fit the entire area and put a bed sheet on it.   The idea was that Pam and Courtney, our three year old, could sleep in the back while I was driving.  We said our good byes to family and hit the road.  We stopped in Yonkers, NY to visit my grandparents and made it to Scranton, PA that night.

The real adventure started the next morning.  It started snowing overnight.  As it turned out, the snow did not stop until we reached Little Rock, Arkansas.  When we left the motel, there was about two inches of snow on the ground.  The ride down turned out to be a lot of fun.  Courtney and Pam took sporadic naps in the back, while I spent much of the trip chatting with truck drivers on the CB radio.  My CB handle was Blue Beard.  In case you didn't figure that out, our truck was dark blue and I have had a beard since the fall of 1966.  The snow just kept falling as we drove south on Interstate 81.   There were exits that had so much snow, that you could not get off unless a tractor-trailer had used the ramp and left a path.  

Tennessee was an adventure all by itself.  We stayed overnight in Knoxville.  It took us the entire day to drive Interstate 40 over to Memphis.  That is normally a 6 hour drive.  But not so in the snow.  We had a special surprise  during that portion of the trip.  A couple of truckers called out on the CB about a rare sight.  It was about dusk and still snowing.  When I arrived on the scene, there was a wolf standing on the side of the road.  The snow finally tapered off to nothing as we approached Little Rock.  At that point we decided to continue the trek and make Dallas tonight.  I was exhausted by the time we got to Dallas.  

The next day, we checked into the house that we were renting while ours was being built.  Two days later, the moving van arrived with our goods and Pam's car.  And that was just in time, because the following day I had to fly back to New York to meet with the customer for the project that I was leading.  This left Pam and a 3 year old stuck in the house because she was in a new place with no idea where anything was.  That customer... was Avis Rent a Car.  I was the Engineering Project Lead for a new Wizard of Avis terminal for their rental sites. 



  1. Love hearing these back stories Cuz. Jess and I go to Dallas regularly to visit our daughter and her family. I'll check out the Colony one of these times and report back to you. Much love to you and Pam.

  2. Love the CB Handle.

  3. Learning so much - I didn't realize this is how you landed in Dallas! Love the story!

  4. The last two blogs are very interesting! You and Pam grabbed the bull by the horns and lived life! Carpe diem! Bless you and your family. Prayers for you and the care givers as you navigate these difficult waters.