Mr. Babe Parks and I became very good friends. He was a good boss to have around, as he treated everybody the same. If you did good work for him he would always invite you for a dinner night out in town. He would invite his supervisors and workers together. All of the night's expenses were taken care of by Mr. Parks. After our dinner we would go around town and visit some fancy night-clubs with some good looking dames around. It was always early in the morning before all of us would get home. Most of us had too much to drink from the night before, but all of us would show up at work, regardless how much we drank that night. After a few strong cups of coffee our minds were ready for work. We didn't dare not to show up for work, as this would be an insult to Mr. Parks. He wanted us to have a good time, but not to lose any time of work for it. We did this for many years as Mr. Parks was around. Everybody loved to work for that man.
Jeff working in the Dairy Laboratory
During the Christmas time the owner of Embassy Dairy would invite all of his staff members for a steak dinner at the old Williard Hotel in Washington D.C. The owner would personally meet each of us. The first time I was invited I must say I didn't feel very comfortable at all, as there were a lot of people from the company I didn't know. The environment was very stylish. The dining room had beautiful chandeliers, and the log dinner table was decorated with colorful flowers and pheasants. At those parties I met most of the staff who were associated with selling our products. Most of them I never got to meet because they spent more time on the road trying to sell our products than in the plant. It was good for us to meet each other, and I got to know more about their work, what all that was involved. Many of those sales people were involved in all kinds of contract arrangements, like schools, country clubs, supermarkets, and all the little stores around.
As I progressed in my job I became a member of the Dairy Technical Society of the State of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. We had monthly meetings in a well known hotel with cocktail parties and dinners. There was always a well known speaker with some new suggestions for the dairy industry. At those meetings I met other supervising personnel from other milk plants. Somehow after a few meetings you got to know each other. Practically everybody who was involved in the dairy industry belonged to this society. Most of those people were specialized in their jobs and it was very important for me to become friendly with them. In case of need in one of my job problems I always could pick up the telephone and ask for their advice. It's unbelievable how much I learned from meeting all those people. I always carried a little notebook along and would ask questions about anything I was involved with in my job. I would ask them certain things they did in their plant, which I wasn't doing because I didn't know how to do it. But in our conversation I would never let them know I didn't know. I just listened and acted like we had the same program in our lab as they did. Since I didn't have much of a college background as most of them, I always had to be very diplomatic with the people I met.
In 1962 there were rumors going around that Embassy Dairy would be sold. I was worried a little bit that I had to look for another job again. Since I wasn't a U.S. citizen yet it was not easy for me to find a good job in the Washington area, as most large companies were associated with some Government contracts in their business. So I decided that it would be much better if I applied for a U.S. citizenship. I was glad I had done so, because later in the year of 1962 Embassy Dairy was sold to Southland Corporation. Southland Corporation was originated in Dallas, Texas, and specialized in convenience food markets. They operated convenient stores all over the country, and were called 7-Eleven. As Southland Corporation was expanding their market facilities in the Eastern and Southern part of the country, they also wanted to supply their own milk products in those 7-Eleven stores. This was one of the reasons Southland Corporation bought Embassy Dairy.
Since I applied for my citizenship at the Washington D.C. emigration service I was called in several times for paper work, and finally for an oral test in American history and how the American Government worked.
On January the 8th, 1963 I became a U.S. citizen. During the swearing in ceremony I needed to have two witnesses on my side. This was supposed to be two people who had known me for several years. Since I wasn't that long in Washington yet, asked two of my closest friend from work to be my witnesses. They both came from West Virginia, and one of them was an ex-coal miner. After the swearing in ceremony, I was a Dutch American and we had to celebrate. I asked my two friends where they wanted to go, as my boss had given me a half-day off to celebrate. My two friends took me to a Hill-Billy restaurant which they knew very well. We drank beer until late in the night, and not one of us felt any pains.