Monday, June 2, 2008

feather matter

Didn’t know I needed it, didn’t know I missed it

Didn’t know how deprived

I’ve been for so many years

We tend to make do, and do we do,

For there’s always something else or something more that beckons.

Indulge yourself, treat yourself, have something you don’t need.


If it didn’t tug at you to have it, it isn’t on your radar.

I rolled over and heard the bed frame squeak. I stabbed the down-trodden down pillow and it did not punch back.

My feet fell off the end and my knees sunk into the recesses.

I rolled over and heard the bed frame squeak, again.


I slept for ten hours straight, uninterrupted.

Didn’t know I needed it, didn’t know I missed it

Didn’t know how deprived

I’ve been for so many years.

The down mattress top, the down comforter, the down pillows all covered with 600 count cotton.

I am the queen of the feather ball.


slumber, my little one,

slumber my pretty one

float on the starry stream

world of wonder

filling your magical dream





Victor said...

Comments by Vic Volpe to Michelle’s Shell’s Bells /

I was doing a Google search on “Army Packaging + Norbert DeMars” and your blog (Michelle --
Shell’s Bells from June 18, 2008) came up on the first page with “Norbert and Kathryn DeMars raised ten children” and I said this has to be Nubs – how many Norbert DeMars can there be who raised ten kids?

I worked for your father from 1972 to 1978 (I think he retired in 1977) at the AMC Packaging, Storage & Containerization Center at Tobyhanna. I glanced over the story and I was sorry to read about your sister. Your father was a “tough boss”, I do not know about the “not well liked”. You can be tough and still well respected, well liked, and fondly remembered. I remember him as all of these and I often look back at those times with fond memories of even some of the “negatives” that popped up during those times. It was just a couple of days ago that I was bring up one of these (so-called) “negative” experiences with another Federal retiree that had a similar experience in his career. I wondered to myself if Nubs would be on the Web today since he pre-dated it from my time at Tobyhanna (your father was very well known in Packaging circles both in Government and in Industry) and so the Google search popped up.

I noticed you had a blog for “Dear Dad”. You remember him as a father. I remember him fondly as my boss. Yes he was tough. He was also fair. He was also very dedicated to
Government Service, professionalism to the Packaging profession, and very much concerned about the proper conduct of employees (e.g., spending Government money, not accepting any kind of gift no matter how small, attire, etc.). He was also innovative – we had talked him into a desk top computer for the Center in the early ‘70’s (with emphasis on the ‘a’ in comparison to today. He ran an expert agency that was at the vanguard for packaging and was well known and respected throughout Government and Industry. I moved to the West Coast in 1978 to continue my Government career in Packaging and met many people who knew him and the Center he ran. It was a big benefit for me to tell people that I worked at the Packaging and Storage Center when Nubs DeMars ran it.

He was also a lot of fun and when we had parties you forgot about work. He could chew your ass out (with you wearing “tin pants”) during the day and forget about it in the evening when we were having a good time. He also brought the booze for the eggnog at the Christmas Party since we had to sneak liquor past the guards when we entered the Depot (he carried the bottles in his brief case which he carried every day to work, smiling as he went past the guards). I remember when he called a staff meeting to make arrangements for the Christmas Party and one of the girls was appointed for getting the eggnog and asked Nubs if he wanted the eggnog “strong”. “Of course I want the eggnog strong. It wouldn’t be eggnog otherwise.” “But, how am I going to get it past the guards?”, she asked. “That’s why you’re in charge”, he replies. Sure enough, when the Christmas Party came, the eggnog was spiked.

[to be continued]

Victor said...

When I went to Tobyhanna in 1972 I was in my ‘20’s and the Packaging Division had an average age of 53 – I think me and another guy and
[comments continued]

the secretary were the only ones out of twenty some people who were under thirty-five. I worked for Al Henry and Ray Luyet. I knew Lloyd Geer and Fred ??? all from Rossford, Ohio along with many, many others. Being in my twenties in the early ‘70’s was like hell on wheels in that organization. Although it was an agency that had many people regarded as experts, I was just starting my professional career so for me it was like serving an apprenticeship – not just for the Packaging profession but also for Government Service. Your father, Al Henry, Ray Luyet were tough task masters for me – but I look back at this as a good experience. When I left there and got older I wondered if they tolerated me because they all had children that were my age, so what they got in the office they also got at home.

I remember we used to have polka dot day in the office – the gals wore polka dot dresses and the guys wore polka dot ties. Well once me and two other young guys decided we were going to have a turtle-neck day instead of wearing ties (required dress). So there we were all day with Nubs coming by us all day, noticing but not saying anything. Finally late in the afternoon he says sarcastically to us, “You guys headed for the ski slopes after work?”

While your father was tough, as was others there, they were all fair. I was no angel and could pull a few fast ones to get something done. But I started working when I was 14 and my very first boss was much tougher than Nubs, and still fair. I have had a long working career – almost fifty years. I have had other tough bosses and some real easy ones. I have had my run-ins professionally. That’s the way it goes over a long career. After my first boss, Nubs was easy.

I’ve had many a run-ins with your father. I worked directly under Al Henry for a little over a year before he got promoted to Division Chief and Ray Luyet became my immediate supervisor. Al used to get on me all the time, then it switched to Ray. I was constantly being dragged into Nubs (we used to call him “The Pope” – not to his face) to go a few rounds. After Ray was chief for a while (with Al his boss), Ray was chewing me out and wondered if he wasn’t being too hard on me. He said Al told him he was going too rough on me. And I said, “Al said that?” [Al used to chew me out worse than Ray.] It was their way of trying to get the very best out of you because people in Government and the Industry put high expectations on the Center.

We (me, Al Henry and Ray Luyet) could have a little fun pulling something over (trying to anyway) on your father. I think you know as a child that when your father went on the road to give a presentation he took a hundred vu-graphs. We had to use these vu-graphs if we went on the road for our own presentation. We would go through many dry runs before Nubs until we got it right. He had some favorite vu-graphs that had to be in every presentation regardless of what the subject was and each vu-graph would have three, four, or five points that had to made with each one. You could not skip over one of the points or leave out a favorite vu-graph with Nubs. So, sometimes me and Ray would intentionally leave out one of the favorites in the middle of the presentation and after it was over Nubs would say, “Where is the xxx vu-grpah” (we had names for each of the favorites, like the ‘What If’ vu-graph for “What if it happens again?”) and we would kid him saying, “I thought I would leave that out, Nubs.” And he would say, “NO, NO, NO!”

Victor said...

[comments continued]

One time when going through the dry run I put up one the favorite vu-graphs that had about three or four points you were suppose to make and I told Nubs, “I’ll give them the usual bull shit on this one Nubs.” And he looks at me and says, “And just what is the usual bull shit, Vic? I’d like to hear it one more time.”

Nubs was very concerned about what kind of impression we made with folks both in the products (reports) we published and well as our personal appearance when we traveled or made presentations to groups. I look back at all of these experiences as good learning experiences – even the so-called negative ones. They made me a better employee, worker, a professional, set a good start for Government Service, and good life experiences that you pick up from your career. I have met few people like that in almost fifty years of work – over twenty-five with the Government.

What happened to your sister was tragic; but, don’t let the demented thinking of one person’s judgment of your father spoil all of the good feelings that many of us who worked for him (some for twenty years or more) have. If your mother is still alive I hope you will let her know, as well as your brothers and sisters, that you have much to be proud of in your father, not just as a father, but how much he was respected and still remembered by those who worked for him.

Vic Volpe
Camarillo, CA