Friday, September 02, 2011


Why do we cease from our labors on Labor Day? Seems we should call it “Non-Labor Day.” Anyway since I am 75, I feel qualified to remember the “labors” I experienced throughout life.

I was hired in 1948 at age 13, to sell cokes at Stuart Stadium during the Beaumont Exporter baseball games. I earned a penny for every Coke sold. This was good money for a boy without a resume.

I became an usher at the Jefferson Theater when I was 15. This paid a whopping forty cents per hour. I was promoted to Doorman, and was raised to fifty cents per hour. This more than covered the gasoline for my 1939 straight-eight Buick.

Then it was off to Abilene Christian College and a new segment of life. I operated the campus switchboard (PBX Board) located in the Administration Building. There were fifty rubber cables on my board. When a call came in, I plugged the caller into the proper extension. I learned that I could break my boredom by listening in on the calls to hear what folks were talking about.

I had various summer jobs:

The first summer, I worked at The Man’s Shop, located on Pearl Street, earning $30 per week. My trainer was Sylvan DuCote, who later opened his own store a block north on Pearl, near Burrell’s News Stand.

The second summer, I sold Bibles door-to-door in Dallas. I bought a 1951 Plymouth and returned to Abilene Christian with ninety dollars in my pocket.

The third summer, I worked for the U. S. Post Office, located in the Federal Building in downtown Beaumont. One day I met Congressman Jack Brooks. As he left, he told me to “Have a good suppah.”

The fourth summer, I worked in my dad’s accounting office located in the Goodhue Building. The first adding machine I ever used was black with a crank handle. The front gold lettering was the manufacturer’s name, “BURROUGHS.”

After graduation in 1957, I returned to Beaumont and went to work for my dad.

Two years later, I joined the Army and became an accounting instructor with the U. S. Army Finance Center, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, not far from Indianapolis.

One year later, I transferred to the U. S. Army Band and was assigned as a trombonist with the Pan-American Jazz Band, based in the Panama Canal Zone. We played concerts for every high school in the country of Panama and every U. S. Embassy in South America. Uncle Sam paid me $150 per month to toot my own horn.

I returned to Beaumont and went to work for First Security National Bank. Vice-President Jack Darling interviewed and hired me. His favorite slogan was, “The bank with enough difference to make a difference.”

Five years later, FSNB transferred me to the Village State Bank in the Village Shopping Center where I was named Cashier in charge of bank operations.

Three years later, my wife and I moved to New Mexico, and entered church ministry with an emphasis on teenagers. We ministered in Lovington NM, Hobbs NM, Roswell NM, Big Spring TX, and the final ten years in Beaumont where we served as Youth Minister with the Ridgewood Church of Christ.

At age 56, I began working at Forest Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park, in Beaumont, owned by Service Corporation International, the largest funeral home company in the world.

Two years later, I transferred to their corporate offices in Houston as a Human Resources Officer.

I retired in 2009, and we moved to Benton, Arkansas.

I enjoy writing guest columns for the Beaumont Enterprise.
Also, I drive limousines for funeral homes in Little Rock.
Three days per week, I shuttle cars for Enterprise Car Rentals, driving more than 400miles each day.

But do you know what I’ll be doing this Labor Day? Absolutely nothing…

Winston Hamby


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