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#13 Don't Forget Your Galoshes

I head back to California to close out my stuff and then return to Cinci for 2 weeks of training.

Like every guy ever, as soon as I started making real money I financed a car. I had a sweet brand new Toyota SR5 4WD - there were a few washes and some fire trails in the mountains above Ontario and I had fun exploring them a bit. Great truck. It was the only car I have ever bought new. Dianne and I bought a Camaro, but that was really for her and she kept it. Like every boy ever my first car got repossessed. What happened was I could not sell it in time so I simply drove it to the Toyota dealer and said, "I'm going to the Philippines. Here's your truck back" and tossed them the keys. Today I it would be a huge drama with penalties, credit score damage and a huge debt on the remaining loan vs. KBB wholesale value. Back then there was no Equifax or internet and I never heard a thing after that.

I get back to Cinci and I am put up at the Howard Johnson's. This place looked like a bomb hit it. All the carpet was out and they were remodeling. They had an indoor pool with a Tiki bar setup and the whole place smelled like Chlorine. The room was a standard room - no executive suite - and the carpets were stained with lots of unidentifiable stains. But I've lived in a lot worse places. I guess I am not being courted any more. This is how the staff live - LOL.

The rest of this memoir is gonna be filled with what today would be atrocious "male" behavior. I am not gonna apologize for it but I will explain context as I go along.

In my second foray with company ink I met a young female engineer in -50 school named Jane and we sort of had a drunken fling. She was my first experience with "wild sex." She was pretty adventurous. I crossed paths a few times in my career, she married another engineer and we exchanged embarrassed looks across one conference table or another - LOL.. I couldn't figure out if Jane wanted a relationship at that time but I wasn't gonna get distracted.

One night I am sitting in the Tiki Bar and a statuesque long haired blonde was sitting a couple chairs away. I have never been a good "pick up" guy. Horrible at it. Somehow she starts a conversation. She introduces me to Long Island Iced Teas and we get hammered. The next morning I find out she's a Deputy Sheriff. She hands me a business card and tells me I have a friend in the po po! Wow. New job and two one night stands in two weeks - Life is changing!

As I got to know Field Service in the mid-80's it was pretty obvious everyone was banging everyone. Secretaries and reps, secretaries and bosses etc. etc. It was a pretty hedonistic boy's club TBH. Up until the late 90's I think there were only 2 female reps. One was in Czechoslovakia because I think no one else would go there and one in Scotland who turned into a great friend.

I start CF6-50 Line Maintenance School. GE has a complete training school. We train tons of customers. The way it was structured back then is that if you buy our engines, you get a "rep" on site, a bunch of negotiated training credits, often some infrastructure like tooling, fixturing all the way up to on-site consulting on building engine repair shops and test cells (with all the tooling bought from GE. For years I had a great buddy named Chuck Loux. He eventually ran the tooling business. We built the Philippine Airlines engine shop and test cell while I was there. PAL sub-contracted the whole thing to GE and we sub-contracted to Burns & McDonnel They had two lead guys over the time. The first one was a pretty uptight married dude and I eventually bought his car from him when he left. He was replaced by a ginger guy named Mark Frentsos. He was single, about my age and we got up to all kinds of nonsense.

The airline students all love coming to Cincinnati and it is an honor to be selected. Thai International had recently bought a bunch of engine and I was in a Thai customer class. I was also in class with a guy named Bill Shirko. Bill was a hoot. He was almost totally deaf and had huge "ice cube" hearing aids. He and I would sit in the back of the class, Bill would turn his hearing aids off and read the newspaper - totally ignoring the class. He was a great guy but definitely not the best hire GE ever made. Bill was also a food hound. He probably went 240 pounds back then when I was still pretty much at my high school fighting weight of 175. Bill was always looking for breakfast lunch or dinner.

The Thai's were great. Completely gentle, sincere and warm. Unless you crossed them. I became really good buddies with a guy named "Woodie." Woodie had a distinct feature. In some sort of street fight in Thailand a gun was pulled and Woodie was shot through his cheeks across his face and it split his tongue so he had a distinctive scar and speech.

During this class the King of Thailand was having his birthday. Woody invited me to the Thai apartment to celebrate with them. Thai had rented an apartment for community living and lower costs for their students. Each new class inheriting the same apartment.

I arrive to find basically no furniture in this place. The carpeted living room had a very ornate table cloth laid on it and we had a community feast. Back then there wasn't a lot of customs control and the classes would bring food and drink with them. I got totally hammered on Mekhong and beer. I had lived with Pakistani exchange students in A&P school and they cooked the spiciest shit I have ever tasted. I'd walk into the house and my eyes would water from the spices. Some Thai food is like that but the food was nuanced and tasty. I passed out on the floor with the rest of the gang.

When I woke up the next morning it had snowed about 2 inches overnight. I'm from freakin' California. Snow belongs on mountains and Christmas cards for Pete's sake. So I get to the car and start wiping snow off with my hand and my Tiger Eye rings goes flinging off into the snow. Dianne had bought me the stone and I had it ground and mounted. It wasn't Dianne sentimental but I loved that ring. Poke around in the snow a bit but give up. When I get to the ice layer I realize it's gonna take forever to clear with the defroster so I start shuttling pots of hot water and dumping it on the windscreen. Of course snow people know this is a bad idea and I was lucky the windshield didn't crack. That night I headed back and with a spatula excavated the parking spot and eventually found my ring.

In the second week of class Karl called me up and told me my Senior Rep was in town and was gonna meet me at the school. John is still a legend in GE. He was a Vietnam era rep for Pratt & Whitney and I think was married like 4 or 5 times. His first wife was from the East Hartford Connecticut area and she was long gone by the time I met him. I probably don't know where John was originally from but I am guessing mid-upper-east. No distinct accent but a growly gravelly voice from too many cigarettes and beer. John was like a God - he was from everywhere all at once - LOL.

He had two kids with her and I was to meet and spend time with Mike in Manila. Tracy was a tragedy. John had a condo in Florida on New Smyrna Beach and Tracy made home in Florida. I met her one time on a trip. Shortly after she and her boyfriend tried to rob a gas station for like a spare tire and the boyfriend shot and killed someone. At like 18 years old Tracy spent the next 20 in prison.

But I am ahead of myself. So I see this 40-ish, handsome man with a big belly and a hitch in his giddyap. John had chronic lower back pain for years and always looked in pain if he wasn't drunk and walked kinda sideways like John Wayne.

He kinda looked at me like I was dog shit on his shoes. "Oh jeez, what has Schneider saddled me with?" John didn't suffer fools and was skeptical of anyone who wasn't 300 years old. "OK, here's the deal. There are 4 things you gotta have in Manila and you can't get shit there so bring it with you. First you need a good umbrella. It rains all the fucking time and you'll need it. Second you need to bring good galoshes. It rains all the time and the streets and roads flood like fuck. Third you need a short wave radio. The local news is corrupted by Marcos. In fact the whole fucking country is corrupt. You need a short wave radio to listen to the BBC so you can find out what's going on in the world." I am speechless, mouth hanging open, like I am talking to an alien. "The fourth thing you need is $2000 in cash or you will starve to death in your first month. Your paycheck is gonna be fucked up and I am gonna have to teach you how to get money from the black market." WTF???? Now I knew GE authorized 2 weeks in the hotel so there would be no housing or food expense at first.

So I am like, "Yes sir. No sir. Would you like another sir?" all the while wondering how I'm gonna dig up $2,000 in cash. My mom and dad were getting divorced and I was basically supporting her and until recently splitting expenses on a 4 bedroom house in Fontana. Turns out I had like just enough to get an umbrella and a short wave radio. Fuck the galoshes.

My flight date was December 26th and arrival date December 27th. "OK. When you get to Manila the airport is gonna be a fucking zoo. There will be like a million people in the place. Everyone is a scammer, everyone is traveling for Christmas. Hang on to your fucking bags and don't give them to anyone or you will never see them again. After you come out of customs, I will be there and get you on your way to the hotel. See ya!" and he turns and giddyaps back to his car.

So the final thing is getting my travel shit. GE had a whole department of ladies taking care of Field Service. This blog in fact is in tribute to Kathy Ward who was there when I started and retired only a few years before me. In this office they bought tickets - remember paper tickets? They issued travelers checks for cash advances and issued and maintained what GE called a travel card. It was a credit card to be used only for buying tickets and travel like hotels. They also worked up the payroll, making sure you go all your COLA and hardship bonus money.

So I am in Karl's office and his is giving me my final pep talk. Then he says, "OK. All that's left is to go over to GETSCO in the basement of building 500 and get your tickets and cash advances. You are gonna see Millie Bacon. Don't piss her off. She runs everything and can make you miserable. And the most important thing is if she wants to fuck you then you better smile and fuck her. That won't be a problem will it?" - What the holy fuck? Karl was totally deadpan and was watching the extreme confusion on my face. "uhhh... Yeah I guess so.." Then he busted up laughing and told me to get my ass to Manila.

So I go to GETSCO. The basement system in Cincinnati was amazing. There were blocks of buildings the big manufacturing buildings were Bldg. 500 and Bldg. 800. 100 had the exec offices 200 had labs and machining I think. Along I75 there were like 3 main gates. There were gates on the ends and in the back. It's a big place and most of the buildings have huge basements connected by tunnels. I mean like 3 golf carts wide plus pedestrian walkways on each side. In the basement were banks, restaurants and all kinds of shit in the hallways and intersections. You could live in the plant and never go home if you wanted. There were strong and credible rumors of a brothel being run in one of the many back trailers on the lot. After visiting GETSCO (GE Technical Services Company - a subsidiary business as a tax shelter) I explored the basement at the risk of getting lost never to be found.

Anyway, I descend into 500 and find a door labelled GETSCO and step inside. Imagine the shadiest Mafia back room with clouds of smoke. Papers piled everywhere. 4 little desks with ladies sitting at them. In the center back is something I can only describe as a mix of a vampire, a dragon and a witch - at least 800 years old and like drywall paste makeup. She is coated to look like some macabre mime mixed with the Joker from Batman. Chain smoking with overflowing ashtrays and at least 2 burning cigarettes in different ashtrays. Millie Bacon! I can see why fucking her would scare off any but the most committed young rep.

"Whooo'reyou?" shouted, drawled and groaned all as one gravely voiced word. "Uhhh. I am Dan Deutsch..." " Ahhhhh. Deutsch... Hold on a minute." Puff puff shuffle shufflle looking for a file. "Whooo're you again?" Tentatively - "Ahhh... Deutsch?" as if it is a question. I knew I didn't have to fuck her but she is the person that is gonna be doing my payroll so I ain't gonna piss her off. Ring, ring.... "Millie Bacon. Whooo're you?" So a brief phone call. Puff Puff, cloud of smoke... "Who'reyou?" "Deutsch?" - Ahh. Yes right here..."

I don't think Millie ever died. She just went back to wherever gargoyles come from. So with tickets, cash advance, divorce papers, umbrella and short wave radio I head to Manila after a brief stop in California. GE was gonna ship my personal effects by sea or air depending on the load so I had to get that organized. I didn't have much except more clothes and the basics to set up an apartment. No furniture as GE also provided that!

So on the big PanAm bird to Manila we go!

Here are some photos of photos. Scanner is down right now so I will scan replacements later.

Foreman Frank - One of my first mentors. Shown with his wife. Looks like a Christmas party.

My ultimately repossessed truck somewhere up on Mt. Baldy. Pictured with Robert Nelson my absolute best friend in HS. Robert Joined the army and we lost touch. In those days you had to write letters. We exchanged a few letters but broke contact for years. We recently reconnected (2021) and he is living in Kansas. He married a Captain, retired from the army and opened a dojo.

This is a tennis club party around 1985/6. From left, Helmut - A German guy we were friends with through the club. The most amazing thing he told me was that growing up in Germany in the 50's there was absolutely no teaching of WWII and Hitler. It was like it never happened. He only learned about the atrocities after he started traveling. Sam Lee - Sam was a Garrett APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) rep from Phoenix. He was single and we were partners in crime all through my PAL years and beyond. He stayed in Asia and I think is retired there in Thailand. I last bumped into Sam in a bar in Bangkok. Just serendipity. Creatures of (bad) habit always going to the same watering hole. John Grosvenor - A huge mentor in my career, a legend and God among Field Reps. Mike Grosvenor - John's son visiting Manila.

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Lots of wow in there.

I knew Robert Nelson from junior high I think and met him again at Chaffey, then you and him became best buds and I never saw him again :(

This is all putting things in to place for me as I knew you from my visit to LA in 82-83 and then my trip around the world (the trip from hell) and seeing you in Manila in 87.

As to every boy having his first car repossessed I beg to differ - my first car actually caught on fire instead. It all happened on the the day I proposed to Margaret. After we got out of the shower she called all her friends (so…

Dan Deutsch
Dan Deutsch
Jul 28, 2022
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I entered CHS in the 10th grade. Are you sure you went to JH? I always thought you started as a freshman?

I am guessing the VW wasn't financed? Every guy I know who has gotten their first paying job buys a new car on credit that they can't afford.

This is more of a career blog. I will eventually point a lot of the GE players to it for commentary - hence public. I may write my personal memoirs after this - i.. everything up to starting at GE.

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