Bademalor – Dance after a hard day’s work. – Wanting to celebrate. – Chapter Twelve
In Chapter Twelve of, “To Dance with Ugly People,” Dani experiences the J.O.B. = Joy Of Bonding. She finds employment in a city new to her and develops real friendships. Friendships being very important to a young lady whose felt she’d spent most of her life on the outside looking in. Writing this, I was flooded with the memories of the best place I ever worked – Kemper Insurance, Orlando, Florida.
What a cast of characters! I was employed there from September 1977 until April 1999 – I loved it! In my mind, I would never leave – Probably die of old age, sitting at my desk. I met a group of the most amazing women and men there, and am in touch with many of them today. We bonded emotionally and socially through monthly outings such as bowling, movies, dinner theaters, etc. But, unable to generate premium income from the issuance of new policies, the company collapsed. One of the most devastating days of my life was the day I was laid off! I was numb.
My car broke down and I had no money to fix it, so after what seemed like an endless bus ride I stumbled into the Unemployment Office. A sheet of paper was shoved at me giving the dates and times they handle new cases and I was sent on my way. I had called first, why didn’t they tell me that on the telephone? I cried all the way home!
Well the big day arrived. I was going to apply for Unemployment for the first time in my life. I had to convince myself that I deserved it – after all, I’d worked since 1966 as a File Clerk after my High School Classes as part of an In-School Youth Work Program and at National Bank of Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, after Graduation.
To make myself clear, I found the Florida Unemployment Office to be one of the most unpleasant places I’d ever visited (The worst place being the Michigan Welfare Office).
I was placed from desk to desk to sit with eye rolling, surly, teeth sucking, acting like they didn’t want to be there women I’d ever met! And, they definitely didn’t want us – the Unemployment Recipient – there. We were herded in groups from one room to the next and then to a row of telephones to call in our claims. Lastly, we were shut in a room and advised of the Hell Fire and Damnation that would come crashing down on us if we should ever lie on a Claim! I cried all the way home!
Every time I had to visit the place, I cried all the way home! I began to pray. “Lord, if you would get me out of this and Bless Me with a Job, I promise you I will never treat people the way I am being treated by that Unemployment Office. Amen!” It took me Eight (8) months to find work and I had run out of Unemployment. I admit several months was spent at my son’s bedside after a major surgery. I finally got a call for an interview to work at The One Stop Career Center, Deland, Florida. I had no idea what a One Stop Career Center was nor what position I was interviewing for – I ran to my interview!
I got a job running the Front Desk and answering the phones, January, 2000. And guess what is done at a One Stop Career Center? It had become the place for submitting Applications for Unemployment, Case Management of those receiving “Cash Assistance” from the Welfare Department and Job Search. GOD had to be testing ME!
The young lady who’d preceded me, trained me to be the meanest individual I could imagine – Otherwise. She said, “These people will run all over you.” I’d watch how she treated the clients and I would cringe! I was advised to never smile! But, I had made a promise to GOD! She and I had many disagreements, believe me. She said I’d never make it at the Front Desk. I smiled. I used a kind, gentle and caring tone of voice – because I did care. I gave out hugs, dried tears, came around the desk to hold hands, helped those struggling to fill out paperwork and even sat on the floor and held a woman’s head in my lap who’d passed out. Everyone called me – Miss Lorene!
My reputation as a kind woman was known far and wide. Every December, I was awarded a Certificate for working “Above and Beyond,” with a cash reward. To this day I can be driving down the street and hear someone shout, “Miss Lorene.” Believe me, the public did test me! Punctuality is key and those arriving late were not allowed into certain meetings they were required to attend. Ignoring me and busting up into the meeting anyway, they would find me right behind them dragging them OUT! The stories I could tell would take two more blogs – but I gained RESPECT!
All Dani wanted to do was celebrate a hard day’s work. How? Why? Read, “To Dance with Ugly People.”
Lorene Stunson Hill –