I don’t remember how long I worked at the warehouse. It seemed to go on forever…but I was making money; a good thing. And in the evenings, I had my job as night manager at the Texaco station. I wanted to make enough money to buy a better car and two jobs would just about pull it off.
I do remember a certain “moment of truth” from a day at the warehouse. The crew; and I was the youngest…were eating our lunch while sitting on the loading dock. One of the old guys, a guy in his 40’s, told us that this was the best job he ever had and that he hoped to stay and retire from it. Charlie was his name and he was from Missouri. And it suddenly struck me that I didn’t want to be like Charlie. I had a sudden vision of myself accepting a gold watch after 40 plus years of driving a forklift and I cringed inwardly.
Maybe this job was what life in Missouri would prime you for…I had no idea. But I knew that I couldn’t do it, I had to find something else to do.
And around this time I was making inquiries into the possibility of getting a job with the Los Angeles County fire department. There were openings for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) and one requirement was a certificate for LVN. I already had that from my Navy experience. This was a brand new program for the county; paramedics were just becoming popular among fire and rescue agencies.
Then I was told that I wouldn’t qualify because of my vision. County firefighters had to have 20/20 vision. Wait a second! My vision was good enough for the Navy; to serve as a Hospital Corpsman…but they weren’t listening. Regulations were regulations after all.
Back to the warehouse during the day and windshield washing at night…