As per usual I drifted off course, those damned crosswinds, in that last little blurb, I’d intended to write more on the loyalty bit.So you’re going to have to suffer a bit longer whilst I get that out of my system.
In 1960 there were still several of those old blokes that had stayed with Reg through the bad times.They were untouchable, they could never be fired or, disciplined Reg had given them his word.
Surprisingly there was one old bloke who abused that ‘honour/privilege; he ‘worked’ in the city office as a t/o, if he didn’t feel like attending passengers he just told them to move on to someone else, he was busy. reading the paper as a rule. Anyone else would have been shown the door; quick smart. Reg deserved better!
Out at Essendon we had a half a dozen or so STO’s; Senior Traffic Officers. These were the blokes that really did keep the airline flying, and we had one old bloke, probably the oldest bloke I ever worked with, nearly said under.
His name was Stu. Cockerill, little bloke, must have ben born in the 1890’s, always looked as if he carried Ansett ANA on his old shoulders, I got to love the old fella, straight as a die, and you probably guessed it, one of Reg’s originals. Never abused the privilege, never mentioned or spoke of the ‘bad old days’, and the only one permitted to call Reg, ‘Reg’, I never saw them together, so I don’t know if he did, somehow I think not, Stuey wasn’t that sort of bloke.
One of the STO’s called him Reg, prefixed by Uncle, wasn’t a bad bloke Reg’s nephew Barry Pascoe, never played on the family bit, had a fair resemblance to his uncle. Around my age a few years older but not by much. We got on well.
Okay; I’ll leave the other four or five, but if I continue this saga; then you can expect to have more thrown at you. As I said the STO’s were ‘IT’!, Well as far as I could see.
We had an Airport Manager, Jock Balding, who knew figures not much else, an Assistant Airport manager, Ted Sutton, who knew less, and Mr Butler the Traffic Manager (the bloke who gave me the job) who didn’t have a clue. But they were treated with respect, then again it may well have been pity.
The main check in counter I mentioned in the previous rant, besides having the weigh-in spots there was a slightly raised section manned by a ground hostess, as opposed to a flight hostess. At busy times there’d be two of ‘em, and sharing their space was the T/o on the cashier shift.
We actually issued real tickets back then, and the passengers would pay by cash or cheque, most of the XV’s used credit cards, or had them charged to their company accounts. Naturally there were free loaders travelled FOC or managed an NCV ticket, one step up. Passengers on all aircraft were issued with and obliged to have real tickets before being allowed to board, none of this boarding pass will do. The tickets were also an Insurance policy of sorts.
My initial duties were easily learned, and after a few shifts, Mr Butler advised me that I was satisfactory, and issued me with an order for a uniform, and all accoutrements, and directed me to the tailor, wear I was measured, told to come back in a couple of days for fitting, and within a week I was rigged out, looking very sharp.
The only mistake in my uniform was in the cap, I was issued an “Air-crew” cap; these differed from a Traffic Officer cap, and it wasn’t spotted for a couple of years; by which time I was firmly established and nobody gave a ‘tinkers’.
In under three weeks I’d gone from a trainee in mufti, to a fully fledged T/o; sort of. I had yet to front up on the check-in counter and actually handle the passengers but I was now ready to ‘go’.
Whilst all this was going on, life on the home front was going from bad to worse. I suppose in all fairness, I should write the not so good times, that were going on at the same time as the good, and which were entirely of my doing.
Me first! As my sister once stated in a comment, I was always about me.
I’m going to have to sleep on it!