Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Born's Retirement Speech

They say you’re always hardest on the ones you love. Well we all really love Sandra. But she might not love me after this speech (that I never actually gave).

The year was 1986. Cyndi Lauper’s “I See Your True Colors” was the number one song. Somehow that seems appropriate. I don’t even know what that means. Sandra started over in the processing office, in Bill’s scheduling department. Several ladies worked in that office, and they kinda ran things. Frances, Sandra Thompson, Jane Smith, Sally Kowalski, little Patty Kerlin, Sandra Born, and old what’s her name who retired last week (Sherry). Maybe it just SEEMED like a lot of ladies. Probably time to change the subject.

Neil Hollingsworth gave Sandra a nickname: Zilla, short for Godzilla. She wasn’t supposed to LIKE the nickname, but for some reason she did. Neil used to say “Born is the type woman who makes you appreciate your wife.” Just one of those statements that for some crazy reason always stuck in my head. Back then things were a lot less politically correct.

You probably wonder what Sandra talked about before she had grandkids (wait for laughter to subside). Well I can tell you. Can you guess? That’s right – she talked about her kids. It’s to Sandra’s credit that Tonya and Brian grew into successful, responsible adults. In spite of their mother. We see them and Tony at company picnics and other events, watching them grow up.

Sandra advanced from as-is scheduling to scheduling the slitter. She invented the “block-down double-pass”, which is not only an effective play in football but also a complicated setup on the slitter. It’s a term still used today. Even after Sandra, Ronald Pruitt, and Bill retire Joy Saxon and I will try to pass it along to a younger generation. I’m sure the term will be engraved on her tombstone.

After a trainee never came back to work, Sandra was promoted to inside sales - first on the processing side and then later on the tube mill side (if these details aren’t correct, let’s just pretend they are). Along with schedulers Frances and Patsy, Sandra quickly became THE inside sales tubing expert. For years almost all the tube mill and roll form orders went through Sandra. This may be her most important contribution to the company. Again, if these details aren’t correct, let’s just pretend they are.

In 1999 I was finally able to land a position away from the processing office. I tried to move on. But Sandra wouldn’t let me, no matter how hard I tried. She always included me as part of the old gang, like I had never left. I always appreciated that (shed tear).  

Eventually the general line, coil processing, and fabrication sales departments were all consolidated here on the second floor of the corporate building, so Sandra had a whole new group of coworkers to bother. Later the program sales group moved upstairs into their own palatial third floor offices, and it wasn’t so ba – I mean I didn’t get to see Sandra as much.    

Over the years I’ve often wondered what retirement would be like. I wonder if I would drive my wife crazy being home all day. For some strange reason she already finds places to go on Saturdays. Sandra I guess if Tony has put up with you all these years – number one he must be a saint – and “B” tell him if he needs somewhere to escape to, he can come here. Sandra who are you gonna talk to for 10-12 hours a day? Is Tony like that referee in the commercial, taking an earful from the coach the entire game, then coming home only to – uh, never mind.

So long, Sandra.  

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