So, as told in Chapter Twenty at the end of The Early Adventures, The Little Orphan Granny married The Kentucky Girl on Saturday, June 1, 1957, and graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a Bachelor of
Science in Mechanical Engineering on Monday, June 3, 1957.
The Mighty Boeing Company (which was not so mighty at that time) had already hired The Orphan to work in Washington State.
The Mighty Boeing supplied two First Class airline tickets for a Friday, June 7, 1957, flight departure to Seattle, Washington, as well as approval to rent a car, reservations at the new Seattle Hotel Hungerford, a promise to pay all expenses for the journey and assurance they would co-sign a note with The Orphan for a loan from The Boeing
Credit Union (“BECU”) to pay the first and last month’s rent plus damage deposit for an apartment.
So The Orphan and his wife of one week departed for a new life in Seattle, Washington.
With two suitcases, a trunk and $200.00 from all of the piggy banks that existed, The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl went to the airport in Memphis, Tennessee, and boarded a Delta Chicago and Southern Airline Douglas DC-3 airplane to fly to Chicago’s Midway Airport.
At Midway Airport in Chicago, The Orphan and “wife” (the world of 1957 was different from that of today and it was not yet certain that the Wife was not just the Husband’s “property”) boarded a Northwest Airlines Boeing 377 Stratocruiser that, with only a few stops – some planned and some unplanned – flew them to Seattle.
Northwest Airlines Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
The Orphan learned that unplanned stops meant landing in airports not on the flight plan.
Several of these unplanned stops were caused by a problem described by the flight crews as a “failed detection system.” While somewhat curious, The Orphan never learned at the time what a “failed detection system” was on one of the four mighty PW4360 piston engines with variable pitch propellers, because on June 16, 1957, the day before The
Orphan was formally hired, The Mighty Boeing delivered the last piston-engine-powered airplane that The Mighty Boeing ever built.
This second flight took approximately fifteen hours total – but served many meals and all of the ethanol – in many flavors – that could be imbibed.
The Orphan had no prior experience with a form of ethanol called Champagne but Northwest Orient seemed to have a glut of it, since each time he took a gulp, a Stewardess (a permissible title in 1957) topped off his glass. The Orphan slept through almost all of the flights and stops from Chicago to Seattle.
Seated near The Orphan in First Class was a nice man named “Windy” Munson, a Boeing employee on a business trip, who chatted with The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl. After finding that The Orphan was a Boeing new hire, upon arrival at SeaTac International Airport Munson kindly drove The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl to the new Seattle Hotel Hungerford. The Orphan went to bed and celebrated being married one week.
The Orphan awoke the next morning, Sunday, June 9, 1957, to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of both his and Donald Duck’s birth.
That same morning, The Orphan went to the concierge at the hotel and rented a car in the name of The Mighty Boeing to venture out and find out what there was to find out.
The Orphan’s first venture was to Renton, where he found the newly formed “piece” of The Mighty Boeing named “The Transport Division” perched on the sand flats at the south end of Lake Washington.
Unbeknownst to The Orphan was that The Mighty Boeing was a very complex company with locations everywhere even then – particularly in the northwest of Washington State (not yet named The State of Taxes). There was even a piece of The Mighty Boeing located in Washington, DC. This similarity was a thing of consternation to Tennessee
telephone operators who did not know of any Washington that was in the far west (Texas was as far “west” as most Tennesseans knew!)
On Monday, June 10, The Orphan checked in with the Transport Division of The Mighty Boeing Company Personnel Department and found Sam Bennett, the Personnel person who had hired The Orphan. Sam Bennett recommended that The Orphan rent an apartment in the remodeled army barracks at Rainier Beach.
So The Orphan traveled to the Rainier Beach Apartments and found a furnished one-bedroom unit, then returned to Renton, where Sam Bennett accompanied The Orphan to The Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU). Sam (as The Mighty Boeing) co-signed a loan with The Orphan for $240.00 for the first and last month’s rent plus damage deposit on a
one-year lease, to be repaid at $20.00 per month by payroll deduction.
The Orphan returned to Rainier Beach Apartments, turned over the check and obtained keys. Then The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl moved in to their first home -- which took about one half hour. It didn’t take long to move two suitcases and a trunk.
The unit was on the second floor, with a small living room including a kitchen nook and a small dinette (with no dishes or utensils) and one bedroom with a single-sink bathroom. Fortunately the bedroom included linens and the bathroom contained towels – but no soap.
The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl had a “…home…” -- but no radio, television, books or other entertainment. There was a heating system but no air-conditioning – a phenomenon that was rapidly understood.
The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl suffered from climate change. Moving from Tennessee in June where temperatures were in the high 90ºs to the “…chilly…” Northwest, where daytime June temperatures were only 65º to 70º and dropped to the 50ºs at night froze them. Temperatures of 90º or more would have filled
Seattle hospitals with victims complaining of heatstroke. The two wore all of their clothes all of the time.
South Seattle-Renton areas, showing Rainier Beach, the Renton Plant and Boeing Field
The Orphan was set to report for work to the newly formed Boeing Transport Division at the Renton Plant a week later on Monday, June 17, 1957, with a starting salary of $525.00 per month, which was approximately $3.0288461 per hour or $6,300.00 per year – a veritable fortune in those days.
But with still a week before The Orphan would be on the payroll and three more weeks before the first paycheck (since The Mighty Boeing paid every two weeks and “held back” one week), life would be abstemious and perilous for four weeks until the first paycheck from The Mighty Boeing came. The only asset was the $200.00 from all of the piggy
banks that existed, which had to last a whole month.
Having brought no dishes or silverware in their trunk (since they did not own any), finding none in this furnished unit and having no money to spare, The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl went to inexpensive restaurants, and using some of the tricks The Orphan had learned from Sticky Jackie, “obtained” silverware.
Trips to grocery stores provided “Melmac” type dishes given as premiums to grocery buyers.
At the end of the week, The Orphan returned the rental car and became dependent on buses and walking.
The Orphan found a bus route -- that cost only a dime -- to get within a mile of The Transport Division offices, and would continue, as he had at Fairview Junior High School, to walk much of the time. Many walks would explore the Rainer Beach and the Seward Park area since walking cost nothing.
The new adventure was settling into place. The Orphan was ready to go forth and tackle The Mighty Boeing (little did he know where this forty-year adventure would take him).