Character Number Twenty-Five

And then there was Arthur William Dewing.

On the last day of Europe’s six year war, or Victory in Europe Day, VE-Day, May 8th 1945, I met a 17 year old girl from the BBC at a VE-Day dance.  I was 18 and in my fresh-man year studying Chemical Engineering at London’s Imperial College.  Her name was Doris Dewing and we went together for about a year and broke up about February 1946.  During this time, Doris invited me to her home and I met Mr. and Mrs. Dewing for the first time.  Mrs. Dewing cooked meals for me and when I first met Mr. Dewing, he was hunched up in the corner of the room, right next to the radio listening to the race-track results.  He alternated between a happy “Yeah” and some long “Sh” word that he never finished. Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-Four

And then there was Neal Harris. DDS.

In 1965, I and my family moved to Atlanta, GA and we very soon got a family membership to Druid Hills Golf Club. I played there regularly, Doris joined the Ladies Nine Hole Club and our three kids, Nigel 11, Nick  9 and Melanie 7 were all involved in the swim teams year by year as they aged.  We all dabbled at tennis there but none of us were very good.  In 1972, Doris and I with Nick and Melanie moved to Jacksonville, FL, leaving Nigel, who had just been accepted at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta.  Around the club pool we had been noticing Nigel spending time with a girl named Beth Harris. Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-Three

And then there was Takuji Sakuraba.

I have related the details of my two trips to Japan in 1961 and 1962 in my Memory chapters 38 to 40 on this same blog. On both trips, we were accompanied by the Liaison Manager from Mitsui Corporation, Tak Sakuraba.  This time I am writing more about him than the trip details. Tak made all of our reservations, accompanied and hosted us with meetings at his company, the Mitsui Corporation and with the engineers and managers of Kobe Steel.  My company, Production Operators Inc. had, through Mitsui, the sales company, contracted with Kobe to supply a nitrogen plant to make nitrogen that we, POI would then compress to 3,000 psi to inject into oil wells of the Chevron Corporation on a mountain top in Evanston, Wyoming.  The reason for our two trips was initially because of the under performance of the Kobe plant but later it was to discuss the explosion that occurred soon after at the plant site.  Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-Two

And then there was Sergeant Moriarty.

In 1961, Rowayton, CT where we had lived for about three years was having a heat wave and there were warnings about the danger of fires. Our sons, Nigel aged seven and Nick aged five had recently been found in our garden playing with matches and I had got tough with them and delivered a pretty strong ultimatum on the subject.  About a month later, a neighbor told me some boys had been seen in the woods above our house lighting small fires and he though our two might have been with them.  Our house was the last house on a hill where the road dead-ended at the edge of a large wooded area and I had been concerned that it would be the first to go if we had a fire. Continue reading

Character Number Twenty-One

And then there was Al Domeshek.

My path crossed with Al’s several times but the first was about 1958 or 59 when I moved to the New York sales office of Air Liquide. I had emigrated from London in 1954 and had worked with L’Air Liquide in Montreal designing components for oxygen and nitrogen plants.  We were trying to sell an oxygen plant to the Chemico Company for them to incorporate in an ammonia plant that they were bidding on.  Their project manager was Al and he was comparing our proposal with those of our competitors.  Al and I had a good rapport, both being conscientious engineers.  I was able to use my limited budget, expense account to buy Al a lunch occasionally.  We eventually worked together on several proposal evaluations, quite a few with success.  Continue reading

Character Number Twenty

Billy GrahamAnd then there was Billy Graham.

William Franklin “Billy” Graham was born in 1918 in a small dairy farm and when he was young, was very active, always running instead of walking. He liked reading and when he was seven, read all the Tarzan books and taught himself the yodeling Tarzan yell.  He then climbed trees and scared animals and people with it.  He was not a good student and went to several different schools and colleges.  His parents were of Scottish decent and were Presbyterians.  He went to religious oriented schools and colleges and in his early youth went to what is now Florida College in Hillsborough, FL.  At one of his schools a teacher told him to make sure he did not get lost in some small town as their minister because with his voice he could spread the Word of God more effectively and broadly. Continue reading

Character Number Nineteen

liza minnelliAnd then there was Liza Minnelli.

In 1969, I was working with American Cryogenics in Atlanta and we were planning to put together a proposal for Youngstown Sheet and Tube steel company to install a 600 ton per day oxygen plant near their Chicago mill. I had been working with their Purchasing Manager and the Project Manager who would be involved in the study.  I had already got a favorable rapport with both of them and I had, at one time, mentioned that our Chairman lived in Augusta, GA.  With them both being golfers, they immediately asked if he could get them tickets to the Masters Tournament. Continue reading

Character Number Eighteen

Joe E BrownAnd then there was Joe E. Brown.

The stage-play, “Harvey” opened on Broadway in 1944 and the London version opened in 1949. I had served my two years in the army and was back at Imperial College, starting my third year of Chemical Engineering.  I was also in my third year of courting Doris Dewing,  a secretary at the BBC.  Our relationship was a little shaky because having met her in  1945, I had left her in 1946 and gone into the army so our relationship was mostly by letters.  I took her to the Prince of Wales Theatre to see “Harvey” the new play with some American chap called Joe E. Brown who was supposed to be funny. Continue reading

Character Number Seventeen

And then there was Don Bisplinhoff.

We moved to Jacksonville, FL in 1973 when I worked for a brief time with Ivy Steel and Wire Company. This was one of many wire product manufacturing companies operating in Florida due to the lack of steel mills in the South and the availability of the Port of Jacksonville that allowed a ready access for European steel mills to import their hot rolled steel rod into the US at attractive prices.  There had been a building boom and wire plant steel inventories were high.  Japanese steel mills were bringing steel into the States at below the cost of US production and a crisis was occurring in the steel and steel products industry, causing production cut-backs.  This caused a slump in the use of steel and wire products, particularly in the building industry.  When a wire producer placed an order for European hot rolled steel, it typically took four months before the steel arrived at the port, causing the company to have to predict their future steel usage.  Faced with a high yard inventory, a reduction in sales and four months more of steel headed for the port and needing to be paid for on arrival, wire producers had a financial crisis. Continue reading

Character Number Sixteen

And then there was Norman Gresty.

I didn’t know much about Norman Gresty’s early life because I first met him in 1975 in Jacksonville, FL   Norman was President of the British American Club and we were on a double decker, ex-English bus taking members on a mystery tour.  We had been invited as new members and we immediately knew we fitted in.  The bus was filled with ex-pats with accents from Scotland to Lands End.  There was a lot of singing on the trip even before the first refreshment stop.  No-one who was on that trip, ever remembered where we went, but we all remember the last stop. Continue reading