I left the UK in October 1964 (green card). I had served an apprenticeship as a grocer and attended college to gain expertise in my trade. In a nut shell I was a bit of an expert. I was persuaded to come to the USA by my parents and George Seybolt. I arrived in October and stayed in Dedham Mass., in George's house.He had two daughters and two sons all at various stages in their education. Once I was settled George organised an interview for me with the head of personnel at SS Pierce. I was a bit green, only 20 yrs old, and didn't know much about the USA. I was offered "a start" at the Chestnuthill store but was told not to say anything to the manager about my connection to Seybolt and how I got the job as I would be suspected of being a "plant". The manager, Howard Shaw, spoke to me for five minutes, didn't understand a word I said about my qualifications, my accent probably made it really hard for him, he handed me a brush and said keep sweeping the floor. I was taken aback but since George got me the job and it was paying three times my UK salary I decided to give it a go- after all land of opportunity etc. I lasted three days, got bored, walked up to the large bank of cold counters , which were a mess and re-merchandised them. The assistant manager came up asked me why I was not sweeping, looked at the cold counters and before I could answer shot off to the other end of the store, dragged Howard Shaw back who asked me where I had learned to do that...had to be my accent..I just shook my head, he thought I was quiting so he offered me a dollar an hour more and put me in charge of the dairy counters- I had only just begun!! I ended up manageing all perishable goods in the store. I coudn't progress further without a college degree so sadly I left but on good terms. I made a lot of good friends and think of them often. Sadly too SS Pierce never really used more than 40% of what I was able to do as a grocer- I could have solved a number of the problems they had in distribution across the ten stores as well as the lack of training their managers had which ended up costing the business.I learned a lot too but one thing stuck. I used to talk to a guy "eddie".He stacked shelves but I found out he had a degree from Boston College. I made up my mind then that I would never do this type of work again, I would get that degree and move on to better things and returned to the UK in 1970. I learned a lot from the USA,for all its faults it had much to offer and still does-
SS Pierce stood for quality, right down to the very best canned products under the "epicure" label- where else could you get pineapple spears- no not Dole but the best in the world from South Africa- with the right soil conditions to produce fruit, properly packed in the right weight of syrup , when served just melted in your mouth! Dole was always too acidic due to the volcanic soil it grows in.
I have never shared this wee tale before so please forgive the ramble.