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40 Years in 40 Days: Class of 1979

Explorer C
Ah, the memories of long ago stir, and (with apologies to The Grateful Dead) “…what a long, strange trip it’s been.”  I was a mother of two teen-aged sons and had been working in doctors’ offices since 1966.   Besides my medical assistant position, I was also the surgical assistant, the office manager, and I kept the books for the private club in our building. 

During the baseball season of 1978, I took an additional job at the old Arlington Stadium working part-time as a cashier in one of the concession stands.  I made between $500-$800 a month, before taxes.  I had no benefits, and knew that I needed to make a change in my life following my recent divorce.  A friend who worked for Southwest Airlines in the Reservation Center in Arlington (DRC) sent me an application.  I recently found my old 1979 calendar  with questions that I had jotted down to ask during my interview for the job.  I had all kinds of doubts and insecurities about making changes in my life.  When I asked about benefits, I was told that I would have insurance, profit sharing, and free travel on any Southwest Airlines flight for me and my kids.  (WOW!)

I got the job! I started working for Southwest on February 24, 1979 making $900 every single month, working only this one job!  I sat down at my desk on day one and carefully lined up all my computer formats to use, made sure my Bunker-Ramo was working, put on my headset and waited for my first call.  The light on my phone came on and I could just barely hear someone speaking.  I apologized and asked that the Customer please call back because evidently we had a really bad connection.  I couldn’t hear him.  The next call came through, and I couldn’t hear anyone on that call either.  Now, wait a minute… What’s going on here?  Oops!  I guess this works better when you actually put the ear piece into your EAR.  You hear a little better that way!

I remained in Reservations until 1981, when I transferred to the Flifo office in Dispatch.  At the time, Dispatch was located in the old Braniff terminal at Love Field.  We were next to the Pilot lounge, and just down the hall from the Flight Attendant lounge.  Crew Schedulers were in the room next to our area, and the new and shiney Southwest Airlines’ Headquarters was a little further south down the terminal.  There remained plenty of empty spaces in which to grow.   We left that old terminal building, bulging at the seams in 1990 when our new Southwest Airlines Headquarters building was constructed on the west side of Love Field. 

I am now a member of the OCC Employee Resource Administration team, and I have seen the OCC Dispatch area continue to develop with new technical tools over these many years. 

All of the jobs I have had over the years have all been terrific.  I have learned so much, and I come to work every day knowing that there will be challenges and opportunities for growth because that’s what happens with Southwest Airlines.  Things are always changing and growing.  I am always meeting new and interesting people everywhere I go at Southwest.  I have been blessed and wrapped in Southwest Airlines LUV throughout these 32 years.  May you be just as fortunate during your career.