I was still working for Hank Thoms when I celebrated my twenty-fifth year with IBM. The company's appreciation is extended by granting membership in the Quarter Century Club. My wife and manager attended my recognition dinner along with the plant manager and president of the QC Club.
A few days previous to the dinner, at an informal Coffee Klatch I was given an elaborate chime clock. When asked to say a few words, I said the chimes were chosen because bells excite my wife and I would keep the clock in the bedroom.
Management would never let such an opportunity pass unnoticed.
After the dinner Hank guided us out of the main building with instructions to meet in the lobby of our own building. At the receptionist desk he handed Wilma and me a gift. He told us to exchange and open them after he left. Wilma opened hers first. It was a bracelet decorated with little bells.
I opened mine next. It was a cowbell.
Wilma looked to me baffled and I explained what happened at the coffee klatch.
"You didn't", she was horrified. The receptionist doubled over in laughter.
We met Hank in the lobby as planned and he took us to our department to meet the crew. As we started down the isle, everyone stepped out of their office shouting "Hi Wilma" and waving small bells. The gang went to extremes to make her feel welcome and explain our work
It was a great day.
Herm Koelmel was master of ceremonies at all the Schuplottlar Balls, they are gala German affairs. At some time during the night a group of women would play a well rehearsed musical presentation on bells. Before they began Herm would announce this presentation in honor of Wilma Coogan.
Little did I know my innocent comment would follow her the rest of her life.
For my twenty-five years I was also given a $1000 dollar appreciation check. We had discussed a possible trip to Great Britain and now it became a reality.
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