F Sheff at Work                                       in Los Angeles,
             and at Parks and Sheppard Air Force Bases

4. 1954 - 1956

Résumé as a window into ^ history

1. 1975 - Present  |  2. 1960 - 1975  |  3. 1957 - 1960 
4. 1954 - 1956  |  5. 1937 - 1953
 |   6. SCHOOL

GIF: Texas State flag

August 1956 - December 1956   United States Air Force
Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls TX
Airman Photo Interpreter trainee

  • Meet Bob Munns in the transit intake area
  • Learn to evaluate and utilize aerial visual photography
  • Learn to evaluate and utilize aerial RADAR photography
  • Execute and appreciate a truly monumental spit-shine
      Thumbnail: shoeshiners in the barracks (that's Bakyta [l.] and Homer Barrett [r.], not me)
  • Arise at oh-dark-thirty to perform Kitchen Police duty
  • Meander three miles to base hospital emergency room, seeking relief from 103 fever loaned by a fellow traveler from Hawaii by way of the West Coast to Calumet City IL, part of her goodwill- and mononucleosis-spreading tour
  • Lose 35 pounds
  • Hear every sound emanating from the Democratic National Convention through a television mounted out of reach above my hospital bed
  • Miss a PI class going to England, Japan, the Caribbean
  • Join a class on its way to Nebraska, Greenland, and Arkansas
  • Marvel at one Ronald J. Lupien ("Lupeer," "Lupeen," et al.)
  • Try to have lunch with Airman friends in a Wichita Falls restaurant
  • Find out what "discrimination" means
  • Try to have a post-movie sandwich at a Wichita Falls restaurant
  • Discover "curfew," "booking," "Article 15," and "Squadron discipline"
  • Spend significant time watering flooded quadrangle during thunderstorm
  • Meet, photograph and place one arm around Mamie Van Doren Thumbnail: Mamie VanDoren; click to see larger image     
  • Did I mention meeting and photographing Mamie Van Doren?
  • Get on a Greyhound for Los Angeles


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GIF: U.S. Air Force flag

June 1956 - August 1956    United States Air Force
Parks Air Force Base, Pleasanton CA
Airman Basic trainee

B    Thumbnail: Aie Force Training Flight 289  CLICK photo for Standard View   N
Click photo for larger view
Click "B" for BIG view, "N" for BIG view with names
Click H E R E for a page with anecdotes and picture access

  • Become oriented to military rules, procedures, attitudes, clothing
  • Absorb hazing and abuse from senior Airmen
  • Get my mind right
  • Quit smoking
  • Gain 25 pounds
  • Learn to enjoy marching in plain and fancy styles
  • End lifelong habit of going barefoot
  • Sing Hawaiian songs
  • Fight for first time, have a little fun at it
  • Broken '49 Ford rested at Torrance spread

1955     Railway Express Company, Grand Central Station
Los Angeles, California

Package Sorter, Car Loader

  • Sort packages, load cars (d'oh)
  • Work as many hours as possible during Christmas recess
  • Work almost daily for two weeks
  • Earn nearly a thousand dollars
  • Spend nearly all of it on Christmas gifts
  • Encounter Bob Munns on the street in downtown Los Angeles
  • Accrue some railway employee credits that were worth an eight-dollar a month increment in Social Security retirement benefits



1954 - 1956    S. Frederick Smith    1360 S. Hope Street
Los Angeles CA
Part-time Parking Lot Attendant

  • Park cars, collect hourly and monthly fees
  • Maintain security and cleanliness of the property and vehicles
  • Entertain student nurses-in-training from nearby California Hospital
  • Marvel at the diversity of parking lot automobile and human traffic (Bleeding-faced drunk on his way to the Hospital Emergency Room: "I got hit by a foul ball." Wife, clearly out of patience: "Yeah, and it hit you about three times.")
  • Encourage local alcoholic mailman to reduce volume of drinking
  • On a New Year's Eve accept as tip a fifth of Johnny Walker Black from Earl Scheib, whose first paint shop was next to the parking lot
  • Learn Three-card Monte the hard way
  • Learn Short-Stub (Be gutless, or ethical, and fail to practice it)
  • Decline opportunity to become frozen French-fry magnate
  • Watch fellow employee buy himself a prison term ("Borrowed" a '56 Olds to go on a date, ran it into a pole in a parking garage. Brought it back on time, though.)
  • Help "Solly" lay a brick patio on his oceanfront Manhattan Beach property
  • Ride the bus two hours each way each weekend day until the '49 Ford buy, then
  • Hit the Lighthouse after work on Saturday nights, sit in the back and swap pleasantries with June Christy
  • All for a buck thirty-five an hour (after a couple of raises)
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