Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Memory Trip On Memorial Day 2017

I had lots of things to do today, but I just couldn't force myself to work at them.  It was just one of those days that I had to get out and drive around a bit.  Of course, I headed to my favorite place that is close by, Loveland.  My plan was to go to the Fairgrounds Park and sit and meditate for awhile. The place was very crowded with large groups of people gathered to have picnics and reunions and have a good Holiday at the park. And there wasn't a shady spot in the whole parking lot. So I meandered south and west to the lower entrance to the old Hewlett Packard campus.  This was my way to work when we lived on North Garfield Street in the 1980's.  I know this route very well. Although today there wasn't a guard at the entrance and no one else was around either.  I drove to Building B first.

                    To get there I had to pass Building D. This is now occupied by another company.

Building B was the last one I worked in.  About a year before my retirement the Gage and Metrology Lab was moved from Building C to Building B.  Things were starting to slow down at that time and we knew things were not going to stay the same for much longer.  I had already decided to retire in 1997, but now I seemed more anxious to make it happen.  I have always liked to call my own shots about when I left a place I was working.  I was not fond of being laid off. I decided I would rather choose it for myself than have that happen.   

But today I sat there for a while, recalling the last day I worked there. I left after my retirement party through the door that looks just as it did that day in August 1997. This coming August it will be 20 years since I retired from Hewlett Packard. I pictured in my mind all of the people I saw that day as they came from other divisions, Fort Collins and Greeley, to wish me well on my retirement.  So many are not with us anymore.  The place was busy and buzzing with activity as I finished my working career there that August.  Today it is completely empty and quiet. Although I have to say the property has been maintained very well and it still is a pretty campus.  Loveland was the first HP Division built outside of California, and it was always a favorite of Bill and Dave.  I can still see them as they visited Loveland. Of course, they are both gone now. It was so neat to see Dave walking around the buildings talking to employees. He was definitely a people person.  Bill was a bit more quiet when he visited Loveland, but still a real nice down to earth person.

Building C was my home building for most of my HP career.

Building C was home to the Gage and Metrology Lab from its inception until the move in 1997 to Building B.  It was tucked way back in the north west corner of the basement as it needed to be as stable as possible.  Vibration is a big enemy of precision measurements.  Also temperature and humidity.  So it was located and controlled for all of these things.  The view you see of Building C is the courtyard where we used to go for our breaks.  It was the place the smokers gathered and "shot the bull." There were pretty interesting conversations that took place there.  Everything from politics, to rumors, to the latest romances going on in the plant. I can imagine what it would be like these days. When I started to work there in 1981, the area you see with the windows was the Tool & Die Department. Those fellows would always come out to smoke with us and they weren't the bashful type of conversationalists.  They were my favorites.  It was a fun time and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

I sat at the back of Building C today and looked out over the completely empty parking lot.  I can still see it when it was packed with cars around the clock, every single day -- except maybe Christmas.  I looked for the little window that was in the upper outside wall of the east side of the building, but didn't see it anymore. It must have been bricked in. It was a special window where they tested the Laser Distance Meters for accuracy by having it measure the distance from the building to some far off spot.  I never did know where the target spot was. What a fascinating place it was to work.  And I had the best job in the whole place.  I was so blessed to find this wonderful place to work and with such wonderful people.

I finally moved on and went up and around Building C to the area that used to be the cafeteria. It was almost the whole side of Building B. The huge barbecue grills are still outside the main door to the Cafeteria. In the summer they would cook fresh hamburgers out there, and hot dogs as well. It was a huge cafeteria. Eventually they "farmed" it out to an outside vendor, but when I started there the cafeteria employees were Hewlett Packard employees.  Things in the world were starting to change in a big way, especially in the business and manufacturing world.  At that time people expected to stay with a company until retirement, but unfortunately that thought is not even on the horizon now.  I am glad I was in the "old fashioned" days.

Image result for hewlett packard loveland co

                                                                       Bldg A⍗
                                                                                Bldg B⍗
                                                                      Bldg C ⍗  Bldg D⍗

I continued my tour around the four buildings and finally exited out where I came in.  I felt good after reliving my pleasant memories. Things and people I haven't thought about in a very long time.

Thanks for joining in my trip down memory lane. We all need to do that once in awhile. I enjoyed it.

Who knows where I may go next.  Stay tuned, Patj

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