On Monday, June 17, 1957, The Orphan reported to an orientation class that The Mighty Boeing required for new hires – kind of like the hazing initiation into the college fraternity except without blindfolds and water pistols filled with warm water (see
Chapter Nineteen of The Early Adventures) – but The Orphan thought this orientation to be a colossal waste of time.
This “…colossal waste of time…” included classroom work that was in a building located on Harbor Island near downtown Seattle and included orientation on Boeing design and engineering standards, reference libraries, locations, local Boeing transportation, systems, tours, lectures, attempts to have one sign up for
United Good Neighbor Funds, saving bonds and various other ways for the world to share in The Orphan’s wages -- and lasted for two agonizing weeks.
There was even an attempt by people from “…The B-52 Group…” to entice “…new hires…” to defect from the fledging Transport Division and join the only “…real…” airplane program. The Orphan was not the least bit interested in doing such a thing. The Orphan wanted to be a part of starting a new world!
There was one highlight -- which occurred on the first day, June 17, 1957 – during a tour of Boeing Field when a snarling KC-97 Stratotanker tore down the runway and took off.
(This Mighty Boeing Stratotanker was a derivative of the B-29 “Super Fortress” Bomber and was used by the military for in-flight refueling tanker. The piston engine Boeing 377 Stratocruiser airplane that took The Orphan to Seattle a week earlier was a commercial derivative of this Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker.)
The tour guide remarked that the plane had been “…delivered…” in the previous day or so and this was the very last piston engine airplane to be manufactured and delivered by The Mighty Boeing.
The Orphan got goose bumps as he realized that he was beginning his new life on the first day of The Mighty Boeing beginning the commercial jet airplane age.
The Orphan felt like he held his breath for the whole two weeks of orientation because he was anxiously waiting to really “…go to work…”
Finally The Mighty Boeing was ready to begin The Orphan’s career with his first job assignment. The Orphan was told to report to The Mighty Boeing’s Transport Division at the Renton Plant cafeteria and joined one cubic mile of new hires.
After being “…badged and tagged…” The Orphan waited anxiously for someone to “…find him…” so The Orphan’s capture could be completed and he could start to “…work…”
Little did The Orphan know that he would shortly be manacled to the oars of The Mighty Boeing Slave Ship where he would be told the Captain of the Ship “…wanted to water ski… and that he would have to continue rowing like mad for forty years.
Soon, Sam Bennett arrived to take The Orphan to the Renton 10-80 building (a carpeted warehouse one building away from the cafeteria) where The Orphan was introduced to William A. (“Brilliant Bill”) Reinhart –one of the finest human beings The Orphan had ever met -- in spite of his being a Catholic and a Texan.
Brilliant Bill was the 707 Airplane Noise Suppressor/Thrust Reverser Lead Engineer.
The Boeing 707 Airplane was new, with jet engines that would fly fast since Boeing had decided that people would not “continue” to want to fly for fifteen hours to get from Seattle to Chicago. However, the 707 jet engines were noisy and had to be quieted with Noise Suppressors. They also needed help from Thrust Reversers to slow down and stop
during landing or to stop when the pilot changed his mind about taking off.
Brilliant Bill sat The Orphan down and looked at a “folder.” The Orphan was to learn that “folders” with Social Security Numbers were used to identify, represent and store all information about all employees at The Mighty Boeing.
The Orphan, since he was now a grownup, graduated, degreed engineer, had decided that he would abandon the public use of the name “Granny” for a more professional “Granville” image (there were stirrings of apprehension from The Real Granville.)
Brilliant Bill then said,
“…Granville – you mean like Granville “Granny” Hamner, the famous baseball player?…”
The Little Orphan Granny now realized that the name Granny was a “…patience and wisdom …” situation for all time and abandoned any insistence on using The Real Granville’s name (there was a sigh of relief from The Real Granville). However, until the telling of these stories, The Orphan never revealed the complete name of The Little Orphan
Granny or divulged the existence of The Real Granville.
Now resigned forever to the name Granny, The Orphan began a career that would make that name famous – at least to some – for a while.
The Orphan asked Brilliant Bill that his first assignment be in the air conditioning, refrigeration and heat transfer area, his engineering majors chosen during his Junior and Senior years at The University of Tennessee.
So Brilliant Bill assigned The Orphan a task of calculating whether an air conditioning system would be more efficient as a turbo supercharger pack or from the use of engine air bleed. The Orphan listened learnedly to Brilliant Bill, was elated that he was now at work in his chosen field and undaunted the he did not understand one word of
Brilliant Bill’s assignment.
This assignment lasted for several days until Brilliant Bill came and told The Orphan that there was a noise suppressor and thrust reverser test that was in trouble at North Boeing Field (wherever that was) and he wanted The Orphan to take charge and get the test on track.
The Orphan confidently found a Boeing Transportation bus which said “Boeing Field,” and after arriving and asking where the North Boeing Field engine test rig was, was directed to “…over there where all of that noise is coming from…”
Much earlier, when the unsuspecting Orphan had decided to select air conditioning, refrigeration and heat transfer as his engineering majors, he had also decided he definitely did not want to work with “internal combustion” engines.
This was the moment that The Orphan – still unsuspecting – was first manacled to the oars of The Mighty Boeing Slave Ship and -- ironically -- started on a forty-year career focused on “…jet engines….”
At the end of three weeks – two weeks of orientation and one week of work -- The Orphan finally received his first paycheck. Imagine his surprise when The Orphan learned that he had to share his salary with not only “FICA” and “Withholding,” but also Lloyds of London Insurance and Savings Bonds (somehow during “…orientation…” The Orphan had
inadvertently been signed up by some sneaky self-serving clerk who probably had a quota), not to mention The Boeing Employees Credit Union to which The Orphan owed $240.00.
The Orphan did not remember any agreements he made with The Mighty Boeing to donate funds to the parasites and leeches – but rapidly learned this also to be a “…wisdom and patience…” situation.
The remainder of the paycheck, called “…net pay…,” was just barely sufficient for the needs of The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl. At least they could afford occasionally to go to movies for less than a quarter each.
But life for The Orphan and The Kentucky Girl would remain abstemious and perilous for several months.