Roger Carpenter…Fortunately both Barb and I have remained COVID free.
It’s a scary and restrictive time in our society but all we can do is practice good hygiene and daily protection procedures. The virus has certainly curtailed our life style as we rarely eat out, spend far less time than normal with children/grandchildren, and have missed many opportunities to socialize with friends. I have been in our church only once since early March and that was to attend a friend’s funeral. Thank goodness our parish has live streaming Mass on YouTube. The China virus even forced me to cancel my annual 10 day fishing trip to Minnesota for the first time in over 20 years. We had our home constructed in Naperville in 1976 and have lived here since. Since this past March “NOT MUCH” is what we’ve been up to. This pandemic that has spread across our country and dramatically affected the manner in which we carry on our daily lives. Can’t even go to the store without a face mask. Most of our socializing and all of our entertainment has been cancelled or postponed. Thank goodness both our White Sox and Cubs are playing great baseball so we have some recreational outlet, even if just on TV. We have reservations for 2 weeks in Puerto Vallarta, a week in Cabo, and 2 weeks in Scottsdale this winter but will no doubt cancel if COVID situation doesn’t get better. Barb loves to travel so we have shared many great vacations. Our most recent trip last January was to Kona on the big island of Hawaii. We had been to Oahu and Maui 3 previous times but Hawaii is unique, distinctive and very enjoyable. Probably our “best vacation” ever was 2 1/2 weeks that Barb put together to southern France and Spain. She made all the arrangements and it turned out great! Highlights were Provence, Marseille, Avignon, Cassis, Chateauneuf de Pape, Madrid, Toledo, and Barcelona. Barb had some help from our Time Share people but she assembled a plan for each day including lodging, sights to visit, high speed train connections, etc. My major, maybe only, contribution was picking the restaurants and was the food ever delicious. Wow, it is hard to whittle a list of great memories but I will share a few. First, Barb and I both had job offers from Osco when we were seniors in pharmacy school at Nebraska. The job offers were in Rockford, IL and neither of us had even been inside an Osco store. So over Spring break we drove to Rockford to check it out. When we walked into each store and introduced ourselves to the Manager (Jerry Klinghammer for me and Walt Meinheart at Barb’s store) it was an instant welcoming committee. Not "are you going to accept our offer" but "when can you start”. The enthusiasm and family atmosphere made an immediate impression on us and I told Barb as we exited the store that this is the outfit we are going to go to work for. Little did I know that in 2-3 years as the company's Pharmacy Recruiter I would be the “pitch man” selling the graduating pharmacists on an Osco career. What an exciting time!!!! After I became a Store Manager it was always fun to attend the annual Manager’s Meeting and Christmas Show, usually at Pheasant Run. The all night (or nearly all night) poker games were a detriment to both my physical and financial health. I was an attendee initially but later as a merchandiser I on the planning and presenting team. After running a store I was moved into the Merchandising Dept. at 3030. I was responsible for the Candy category as well as a slew of other commodities that I was equally inept at and initially incapable of keeping all those balls in the air. So after my first Christmas the price of raw sugar was going through the roof. The people at Bob’s Candy, our candy cane supplier, told me that if I would come down to their Georgia headquarters and place firm orders for the following Christmas’ needs, they would produce the product at that day’s sugar price and store it until we requested shipment the following October (they made candy canes year around and stored in temp/humidity controlled warehouses). So off I go with my purchasing records and all the enthusiasm that a rookie buyer can generate. Upon returning I showed my Merchandise Mgr. the humongous non-cancellable order that I had placed on behalf of the company as well as a more moderately humongous calculation of the extra profit that I made for Uncle Osco. Well, unbeknown to me there were historic rules and restrictions on the size of an order that a Buyer can place and I had just surpassed those parameters by a magnitude of 20 or 25 times. So the problem eventually bubbled up to Have Ready, VP Merchandising, and John Spurlock, VP Marketing. All of a sudden I went from zero to hero. They said that is the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we want to kindle in our Merchandising Dept. and in the next week’s department meeting I was singled out as an example of how a Buyer can impact the company’s bottom line and the antiquated restrictions were lifted. Another vivid but bitter memory was when the Merchandise Mgrs. (Braden, Dvorak, myself, Osterman, Paul Pence, John Brooks) and VP’s (Bob Quayle, Mike Kaplan, Russ Wright, and Herb Young) held an off-site planning meeting at Green Lake, Wisconsin. The question presented to us was “how would we go about structuring our merchandising team if the Turn Style volume was absent and a corresponding amount of overhead was to be eliminated?” So we are sitting there planning our own demise. It was like being in a court room where you are not only the accused, but also the jury. Or being at a wake where you are both in the coffin and in crowd paying tribute to you. Anyway, the soft-goods guys went on to other careers and the Osco folks ended up doing other functions temporarily and stayed on until the conclusion of their careers. Lastly, I would share that being on the Alumni Club board for 14 years and President for 11 of those years was a very rewarding experience. My final few years of active work were kind of a downer for me, not the work itself but that somebody no longer supported or appreciated the work I was doing. I made the choice that rather than being bitter about a career decision for me that I felt was totally inappropriate that I would finish my work years with the same positive attitude that I always had. Then when I did retire Tork invited me to be on the Alumni Board of Directors. It was very rewarding and a great opportunity to stay in touch with the hundreds of people who you interacted with and whose lives you touched. We really worked hard at sustaining the Osco/Savon culture and, with the assistance of some terrific folks that served on the board with me, made great strides in growing the membership in the organization. Gary and his terrific staff are continuing those trends and we should all thankful to them for their fantastic and dedicated service. So to all my fantastic friends - - - sending best wishes for good health and happiness. God bless each of you and please make every stride that you can to stay in touch with your friends from the past!!!!!!