Memories of a Lifetime: 2001-2005

Grandson Mark Geisel who was born one day after my birthday.

 

2001 – Mark Geisel was born on October 15, 2001 in Sulphur, Louisiana, while his father was the manager at the Domino’s Pizza place in Sulphur.  Mark has done very well in school and loves to read. He plays goalie and other positions on his soccer team. His red hair goes back a long way in family history. My mom had a red-headed brother, that was born in the 1920’s or 1930’s. My mom had two red-headed sons and a red-headed daughter and a daughter with auburn hair. I was the black sheep of the family with black hair.

We moved to Gibbons Street about this time and then moved to Linda Drive later that year in the Kingsville area.

September 11, 2001 – A day that will live in infamy.

 

September 11, 2001 was a day that none of us will forget. I had called the mechanic that morning checking on our car in his shop. He asked me if I had the television on and that is when I found out about the horrific events of that day. The memory of those planes slamming into the twin towers of the World Trade Center will forever be ingrained in my memory.

I couldn’t comprehend how four planes could be hijacked the same morning and that day let us know how lax our airport security was at the time. The nation was in chaos at the time, with aircraft being grounded all over the country. It was eerie hearing about passengers on these planes talking to loved ones, on their cell phones telling, about the horrors of what they were experiencing and then knowing those same people on the cell phones died a violent death minutes later.

It is difficult to believe that September 11 of this year will be the 12th anniversary of that horrific day.

The “War on Terrorism” begins with the invasion of Afghanistan.

Dale Earnhardt dies during a crash in the last lap of the Daytona 500.

Richard Reid known as the “shoe bomber” attempted to blow up an American Airlines plane.

The first iPod was released and Wikipedia was launched on the internet.

The average rent jumped $40 from $675 in 2000 to $715 in 2001. The price of a gallon of gas jumped from $1.26 in 2000 to $1.41 in 2001. A loaf of bread cost $1.82.

2002 – My favorite memory of this year was the 40th class reunion of Pineville High School. I had never attended a reunion until 2002. If I was scheduled to work on the day of reunion, then I would usually work, but this year I made sure I had that week off, so I could attend. It was great seeing classmates from the 1962 class, for the first time in many years. I hadn’t run into some of them even though they had never left Pineville. The saddest part of the reunion was when the members of our class that had passed on were mentioned in a Power Point presentation, with Duane Yates singing the Lord’s Prayer in the background. Sadly Duane died before our 50th reunion in 2012. Seeing the teachers and students from 1962 again made this a special time in my life.

The price of gasoline escalated to $1.61 a gallon, a 36 cent a gallon rise since the $1.26 gasoline of 2000, which was two years earlier.

 

2003 – This turned out to be the last full year that I worked at the Alexandria Town Talk newspaper. The paper was never the same, after it was acquired by the Gannett Corporation. The Christmas bonus we had received while the paper was owned by the Smith family and the Central Newspapers chain was the first thing to go, under the auspices of the Gannett mega corporation. That $150 we had received each Christmas was now a thing of the past, as was the free newspapers for employees.

Iraq is invaded on March 19 by the United States military.

Saddam Hussein is captured by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.

Gasoline prices jumped to 1.83, a jump of 57 cents a gallon since 2000.

 

2004 – My 36 years at Town Talk and 38 years in newspaper production ended in 2004, when I retired with my last day of work being Halloween night. I spent most of my working life at Town Talk. In fact it was my first job after returning from Vietnam in 1966. I had seen my pay go from $1.40 an hour in 1966 to $13.50 an hour in 2004. Still I never took home more than $28,000 in any year, that I worked for the Town Talk.

We had a traumatic event  this year when my stepson Justin was sleeping in the den and was woken by a burglar, who was rifling through cabinets and drawers, while looking for painkillers. Neither Justin or the burglar knew anyone else was in the house. Thankfully, Justin thought the burglar was a relative, who told Justin he was taking stuff because his mom owed him money.

A few days before the burglary a man had knocked on our door and wanted to know if anyone lived in the trailer next door. Evidently, he was casing the house and had a timeline of when my wife Rhonda and me would be at work. Anyway he had left, about 30 minutes before I arrived home from work that night.

Justin followed him from room to room and the burglar told him to tell his mom, that he would return the next night. The burglar did have an encounter with our cat, when the cat bit him and the burglar said “ouch”. The burglar would be later caught due to his own stupidity. He overdosed and the paramedics noticed painkillers all over his trailer, which included some painkillers my wife had in our house, after having major surgery. He lived only about five houses up the street from us and was arrested for burglary and sent to prison.

Facebook was launched in 2004 and was originally only for students at Harvard University.

Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits near Indonesia and the earthquake and resulting tsunami would take 290,000 lives.

Martha Stewart is convicted of felony and sentenced to five years in prison.

Gasoline continued to skyrocket to $2.10 an increase of 84 cents a gallon from the year 2000. Oil peaked at $50 a barrel in 2004.

 

2005 – I returned to work in 2005, when I was hired as a caregiver by Louisiana Community Care in Ball, Louisiana. Sometimes I would start a shift at 8PM and would finish the shift at 8:30 AM the next morning. It wasn’t hard work, but it was detail work, that required a set schedule of administering medicine. I found out later in Tennessee, that anyone administering medicine in Tennessee was required to take a course and pass a test to give meds to a client. However, Louisiana required no certification to give meds. I was giving meds my first night. There was a voluntary meds certification, but it wasn’t required at this time.

Later that year I went to work for Plasti-Pak in Kingsville area and I learned how much work is involved with factory work. I operated a box making machine for Procter and Gamble products the first night there. We went to work at 6:45 PM and the shift would end at 7:15 the next morning, so we would get a full 12 hours per shift, with a half hour break to eat. It was tiring and exhausting work and dangerous work. I back over my foot with a hand truck, which resulted in losing two toenails. I bought steel-toed boots the next day. It was a temp job with Westaff and the job played out soon and I was one of first laid off, since I was one of the last ones hired.

Then I went to work for Coastal Culvert operating out of Eunice, Louisiana. It was the easiest job of my life, after working the hardest job of my life at Plasti-Pak. My job was to be the manager of a new Alexandria branch for the company. My main job was to check inventory of the culvert pipes outside the office. I had to call the Eunice office each morning, to verify I was at work. Then I would read the paper, listen to old-time radio shows or watch Andy Griffith shows on the DVD player till it was time to go home that afternoon. The job lasted from November till February of 2006, before they decided to close down the Alexandria office, since there was little to no business.

I can’t say enough good things about the Coastal Culvert executives. They invited me to their annual Christmas dinner and they gave me a $100 Christmas bonus, even though I had been there less than a month.

Some of the damage from Hurricane Katrina seen the day after.

The major event of 2005 in Louisiana is when Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast of Louisiana and a break in the levee resulted in 80 percent of New Orleans being flooded. 1,577 died from Katrina in Louisiana. Many New Orleans residents waited five days for food and  water to arrive in the city. It was a colossal case of bad planning by government officials, who let people go for days without food or water.

Katrina didn’t cause much damage in Alexandria-Pineville area, but Hurricane Rita was a different story as many trees fell on houses in the area, with fallen trees closing roads.

Lance Armstrong won an amazing seventh Tour de France championship, as he demonstrated how he could live better through chemistry.

Video gamers saw the Microsoft X-Box 360 launched in 2005.

The price of gasoline climbed to $3.18 in 2005 an increase of almost $2 a gallon from the $1.26 price of 2000.

 

 

 

 

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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