Memories of past jobs enlighten


I’ll bet if you asked seasoned citizens like me what kind of interesting jobs they had in their early years you would hear some very interesting things.

Back in 1970 when I worked at the University of Kansas Print­ing Service my hours there were 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. That gave me the opportunity to take on a second job in the afternoon. I would eat my lunch in the car on the way to North Lawrence to the Exhibitor Film Delivery terminal where I delivered packages all over town and also picked up freight from several local companies from about 1:30 to 5:30. One memorable pickup in particular was Curtis 1000, which printed envelopes and shipped all over the country.

I did a little research and EFD was formed after World War I by a guy in Kansas City who delivered film to area theaters and it grew from there.

Some days, when my boss was short a driver, I would drive the collected packages from the day to the Kansas City terminal and wouldn’t get home until around 8:30 p.m. Then it was back to work at 5 a.m. the next day. I shouldn’t have wondered why I was so tired by Friday night.

Our refrigerator dealt out a big surprise this past week when I placed my glass in the water and ice access on the front. As I was getting some ice cubes in my glass, a little light bulb dropped in. I was wondering why the light hadn’t worked for a while.

I received an update from Charlotte Kennedy-Takahashi six months after the Tsunami in Japan. Here are a few excerpts from her report.

Dear Joel,

I thought you might be interested in a bit about what is going on six months after the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan on 3/11–

Japan is still reeling from one of the greatest natural disasters known to history with over 20,000 people dead or missing. The grief and loss of family members and the vastness of the loss penetrates all of Japanese society. Older people with no chance of recovering their life or finances are stunned; mothers, fathers, husbands. wives and children are missed and looking toward with hope to a new life is a challenge. The TV shows us story after personal stories.

Japan, not being a society that easily talks about problems and has a very miniature mental healthcare system, is taxed at the limit to support the thousands who suffer mentally and emotionally. Japan, the leading society for suicides, is now experiencing an increase of suicides as a result of the disaster. Last week a chicken farmer with his farm swept away killed himself as he could not pay his bills.(It is believed that 18% of the deaths of the 7000 who died as a result of the Kobe earthquake were self imposed deaths.) This most likely will be more extensive for the recent disaster in the coming months.

From another perspective–the earthquake and nuclear crisis brought out the best in the Japan-American relationship.

Our military was in the sea helping and there were thousands of US personnel helping with the aftermath, including the disposal of nuclear materials. The relationship between Japan and the US has been tarnished because of the ascension of a pro-left government who instigated a breaking of an agreement with the US on changes in the Okinawa military base. However, our service to Japanese people softened that a bit as well as the Japanese/Chinese confrontation over an island of rocks made the Japanese have a rethink about our umbrella of security. I must say that I was proud that the US military and our Embassy responded so quickly and efficiently to the disaster. The Japanese people feel that way also.

Now cleanup is a major issue. According to the newspaper, there is enough debris from the disaster for 1 million years of normal trash pick up. Getting rid of the debris is a gigantic challenge. Also the government has been weak and has not provided the needed core to finance rebuilding so that private money can respond around the restructuring of revitalized towns, etc.- -so much is still a wasteland–while many survivors live in temporary small huts. (though not in the poverty of Haiti)

The foreign community in Japan’s response to the disasters has been interesting-the Germans and the French were the largest communities to panic and just leave the country. Some executives just walked off their jobs and did not take care of the welfare of their Japanese staff. Obviously those people don’t have those jobs anymore. The American community stood pretty fast with our Ambassador Roos giving us frequent updates on safety. (Washington Defense department at one point did send a scare message which was really meant to comply with military policy and not for those of us in Tokyo) Families with young children were the most worried as radiation affects them the most.

Some Americans were concerned about food supply. Knowing how fanatic the Japanese are about food supply (limits Kansas beef into Japan when there seems to be no evidence that Kansas beef has foot and mouth disease), I thought those concerns would soon be under control. (Japanese run around grocery stores with hand computers that tell them what country a product is from, the date the product was made and when it will expire to make sure they buy quality and freshness ———of course much of this is directed to the contaminated food products that have come out of China and SE Asia)

I am on the Board of Governors of the Tokyo American Club and our foreign membership went down about 10% with many of our members not using the Club. Obviously it has caused our Board to face financial decisions that were unanticipated. We have spent hours getting finances under control, especially since we had just moved into a new club house a month and a half before the quake that cost 150 million dollars and we still have to pay for it. (But believe me that Club will be secure from a terrorist attack, as we are a soft target) We also only had our fifth floor swimming pool spill during the quake and the decorations never fell off the shelves-that is how well built the Club is. No one predicted the economy or the disasters when we rebuilt the Club.

Personally, since March, my company has been in limbo. Our foreign affiliated clients have not been making decisions about their businesses in Japan or contracts that were in place at the time of the earthquake stalemated. The business environment has been wait and see. We have seen extensive stress among the employees of our clients and with a limited power supply during the summer, pressure built up The stress for everyone in my company has been extensive.

Fortunately as fall comes we begin to see things return to more normalcy. Japan is still a good place to do business.

After all this, it was sad also to see Kansas having the drought and hot summer with records being broken—So nature dealt a blow on two fronts for us.

Charlotte Kennedy Takahashi


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