A place of prosperity . . .

Posted: November 30, 2010 in General Blogging
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If you have been following my blog, I am telling a story about myself and my marriage to my husband, the father of  my son J.O.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . ,  Hard times: a need to relocate . . .  and There are good people in the world . . . or to learn a little bit more about my son, read:   And then it begins .

We lived in Dallas during the 80’s. There was a lot going on in Dallas at this time. It was a booming city. These were the years of J. R. on the show called Dallas. Mary Kay lived in a pink mansion. Ross Perot was beginning to make noise. Billy Bobs was a famous bar in Fort Worth. Two women from Dallas started a children’s PBS show called Barney. And the Dallas Cowboys won the super bowl.

One of the other big events happening in Texas and elsewhere in the country was the failed Saving and Loans institutions (S&L). Just before this occurred I got a job at a saving and loan bank, which was owned by a commercial real estate company. My job was to create delinquency reports for the mortgage loan department.

Keep in mind I was a country girl who happened to go to college and ended up in Dallas, which was a big city for me. I think at that time the population of Dallas was about 1 million people.

Within a month, after being hired, the bank was having their Christmas party. A formal Christmas party. The party was in a huge ballroom of a hotel. Free food. Free drinks. Music.  And surprising entertainment. The opening act was Diane Carol singing.  She was known for her role in a sitcom called Julia.  This party was becoming very impressive. Then the main entertainment started, which was a comedy act starring Bob Hope. Yes, the real Bob Hope. I was a little shocked and thought, what have I got myself into.

Now as you have probably already guessed this S&L bank was one that was took over by the federal government. The feds came in their black sedans, with their black suits, and gathered everyone in a big room declaring the company insolvent. But then they announced that a new bank had been created and two other S&L’s were merged together.  We were no longer a  S&L.  Instead, we were a federal savings bank.

The real estate company, that owned the S&L, was owned by two men and they were charged with 10 counts of bank fraud.  Both men were 36 years old and I heard they were going to be prison for 20 and 30 years, which was the longest conviction of the S&L crisis.  Later I heard that one of the men tried to leave the country.  He did an OJ Simpson and attempted escaping authorities on a Los Angeles freeway. The authorities caught him, and his prison time went from thirty years to sixty years.

Lucky for me I still had a job. Shortly after the federal take over of the S&L, new management came in. Prior to all this happening I was working on a special technology project for the vice president of the lending division. So when the management came I reported to the new VP, who was also the chairman of the Cotton Bowl.

I stayed with this bank for ten years. My boss was pretty good with me.  He let me choose what projects I wanted to participate in. I did all his budget reports and created a department doing analytics for CRA (Community Reinvestment Act). The purpose of the department was creating analytics to ensure that we fairly made loans to all of the locations where we had deposit customers. This VP taught me that loyalty is everything.  Every one that worked for him was very loyal to him.  He also showed me that it was a good old boys world, especially in Texas.

Near the end of my ten years I went on a business trip to Austen, Texas. On the day we were returning, we stopped at the hotel to get our luggage. I was getting out of the back of the van, stepping onto a cobble stone road when I twisted my leg and fell. I don’t really know how I did it, but I was on the ground in excruciating pain. It hurt so bad I wouldn’t let anyone touch me. Once the waves of pain reduced I got up with the help of one of my co-workers, and I tried to step on my foot. Something was seriously wrong. I could not walk on that leg.

My co-workers got everyone in the van and took me to the nearest emergency room. To this day I don’t know what the name of the hospital was. The emergency room took x-rays, and yes my ankle was broken and I needed surgery. Unbelievable.

They did the surgery and put a plate and screws in my ankle. I stayed in the hospital for three days. They put a temporary cast with an open front because they were concerned about swelling. I would get my permanent cast in one week.  So I had to fly home to Dallas with a broken leg. As a result of this, I was off from work for about four weeks.

All this time while I was off, I did not get one phone call from my boss. I can not tell you how angry that made me. I could guarantee that if it had been one of his “good old boys” who had broken their leg he would have called them and probably would have visited them. So I stewed about it for four weeks. I went back to work in a wheel chair. The very first day I rolled into his office and told him I was resigning from my job.

My husband and I were tired of Dallas, and tired of Texas in general.  When we first moved there I was surprised they still referred to northerners as “damn Yankees.”  By the time we left, I was pretty proud of being a damn Yankee.  The people were arrogant.  The state was hot and went through two seasons.  There was a brief spring with blue bell flowers and then eleven months of brown and gray.  I missed my home state.  I missed the winter.  In winter if you are cold you can always put on more clothes.  But in Texas when it was hot you could only take off so much and then you were still hot.

Well my boss was shocked that I was resigning.  He asked me where was I going, and I told him I was moving back to the north, probably Chicago.  He said I should hold off until I was back on my feet, and in the meantime he would reach out to some companies that he had connections with and see if he could refer me for a job.  Wow.  That was nice.  In the end, he arranged an interview with a mortgage company in a suburb of Chicago, which ended up with a job offer. 

At the same time a friend of mine was working for a consulting company and the owner hooked me up with an interview in a bank in Chicago.  In the end, I had offers from both companies.  I ended up taking the bank technology job.  Finally my cast came off and I was ready to move.  My VP threw a going away party and gave me a gift of $1,500.  That was pretty remarkable.  I resigned, and the bank gave me a good-bye bonus. Sweet.

So off we went.  Good bye Dallas.  Hello Chicago.

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