Thank goodness for nosy neighbors

Enter next-door neighbor with a heart of gold aka Mimi Desbrough. On 9/14/83, I was sitting on our front porch, talking to my dad and crying because I was turned down for a job yet again. Mimi saw us and came over … she told me she knew exactly what I needed to do, go to USAA. As she put it, her daughter Alice Collins worked there and she had no experience before she starting working at USAA. Alice went from full-time mommy to full-fledged working girl learning everything on-the-job aka OJT. I was intrigued … I knew I too could learn OJT so the next day I went to the employment office on Blumel to apply.

Though I lived in San Antonio all my life, I mostly stayed around my neighborhood – Highland Hills on the southeast side of town, never venturing further than the Galaxy theater or Windsor Park Mall to the northeast or the airport to the north. The northwest was unchartered territory for me.  Driving out to Blumel road was like going to another city.

I arrived before the doors opened and a line had already formed. Everyone was eager and talkative.  Several folks were applying for a 2nd or 3rd time.  At 7:15 on the dot, like a cattle call, we entered the building.  I got in the line for first time applicants; filling out paperwork and taking three standardized tests to include a typing test. The proctor told us to have a seat and they’d try to get to all of us that day. Several people left and I remember thinking the more people who left, the better for me because I would move up in queue. I was afraid to leave for lunch so I ate peanuts and drank a Dr. Pepper from the vending machines.

At @ 4:45, Oz Moseley came out and called my name. The interview was short:

Oz “You did well on your tests, typing is 75 words per minute. So why aren’t you in college?”
Me “I cannot afford it yet”
Oz “what are you doing now?”
Me “working at the mall”
Oz “what job are you applying for here”
Me “uh, well, I don’t know, my neighbor said you teach people OJT”
Oz “yes sometimes. Do you have any skills?”
Me “yes … at least I think so and I will learn quickly, I can be a gopher.”
Oz “OK, well we’ll call you, thanks for coming in”

That day was 9/15/83 (coincidentally Brian and I would get married one year to the day later). I did not follow-up on the interview and just continued to work at the mall, planning to eventually take some classes at SAC. My dad was very encouraging and kept telling me that they would call me.  I needed his reassurance and constantly asked, “how do you know?”  “I just do” was his steady reply.  And  wouldn’t you know it before I registered for a single class, I got the call, right after New Year’s Day 1984. I went back for a second interview … to the main office this time.  Roy Kotzur gave me the tour.  I stood in awe, in C Building. So big, much bigger than I ever realized. What I did not know is that the interview was a formality, I had the job if I wanted it (since no one else would). And oh did I want it!

More to come …