As for Mike’s career, he’s retired now, but says he’s had “too many jobs to count.” In a good way. As Anita put it, “I never had to worry.” Highlights:
Mike’s job out of school – two days after graduation — was right there where the couple would eventually be married, at the Mission Inn. He worked doing deliveries for a pair of sisters who owned a flower shop in the hotel. “I worked five-and-a-half days a week and got paid $75 a week,” Mike recalled. “After a while, I started also doing floral design, but when I asked for a raise, the sisters turned me down. So I took an Assistant Manager’s position at Miller’s War Surplus Store — $90 a week.”
Mike’s longest tenure was with La-Z-Boy furniture, a total of 18 years. The young couple had moved to Arkansas, where Mike’s folks were living at the time, and when Mike heard they were hiring at the new La-Z-Boy plant, he decided to give being an upholsterer a try. That didn’t last long as he ended up with nine different jobs in his first nine months with the company, eventually becoming the plant’s first purchasing officer. His talents for cost and inventory control were spotted by headquarters and the company moved Mike and family to the corporate HQ in Michigan. Mike became Traffic Manager for Shipping & Receiving (and developed a system to reduce freight costs across all the company locations, saving $1.3 million in the first year of full implementation).
Along the way, Anita had a revelation about her own working life: “The kids were grown and I’d always wanted to be a teacher, so I thought, Why not? I started taking classes at Eastern Michigan State. I was in my forties and it was tough to get my brain going again, but I finished my degree, and my first job was teaching first grade.” (Below: Anita at her graduation party.)