I did well at the Telephone Co, and was soon promoted to Evening District Traffic Superintendent in charge of the night switchboard operators in San Antonio. I also was put in charge of the employee cafeteria. I had been in charge of the enlisted men’s mess in the navy and started looking at the huge loss the cafeteria was running at the time. I broke each food item down into cost per portion. We lost money every time we served liver, and we made the most money on Mexican food. I changed the menu with liver every other week and started serving Mexican food every week. I made other management changes and the cafeteria started making money. After about six months, the boss called me into his office and called me down regarding my management of the cafeteria. He said that we were not supposed to make a profit on the employees and there had been a grievance against me for “exploiting” the employees. I had not changed any of the prices. My first experience of life with the Unions!
On January 9, 1950 we had a long awaited addition to the family and with the arrival of our first son, we became a family of three. He weighed in at 6lbs 11 oz. We were so happy to have that little guy join us and we named him George Addison Field III. It didn’t take long for his Aunt Alice to dub him “Chip.”
In February 1950 I was promoted to be the District Traffic Superintendent at Uvalde, Texas. I was the youngest District Super that they had ever had at that time. Since Chip was just one month old, Charlotte kept him in San Antonio for a couple of months before moving to Uvalde. I had 29 towns in my District, with the largest being Laredo. Most all the towns were still operated manually and had not been converted to dial. They still had operators that would answer and complete your local calls. There were about 700 employees in the district, with 55 of them being management employees. The Rio Grande River was my west boundary and the district extended east to halfway between San Antonio and Houston. I went from the hill country and Kerrville on the north to Zapata and Hebbronville on the south. It was a huge territory and I was on the road a lot. The first two years I averaged driving about 5000 miles a month trying to cover all the scattered towns.
I really loved Uvalde, a small-town of about 8500 friendly folks. It was located on Hwy 90 between San Antonio and Del Rio nestled on the Leona River at the site of one of the original Texas Forts. Fort Inge was established in the 1850’s to protect the settlers from the Indians and as a stage stop. I drove up and parked right at the back door of my office, which was less than ten minutes from home. I could walk anywhere in town. When I walked the three blocks to the bank on the square it would sometimes take more than an hour because you stopped to visit with friends on the way down and again on the way back to the office. We had our municipal airport named Garner Field for hometown hero John Nance Garner, Vice President under Roosevelt. Downtown was centered on the courthouse. The streets around the courthouse were appropriately named North Street, South Street, East Street and West Street.
My supervision was pretty loose in Uvalde. The following note came from Dick Goodson, my boss, who I had not seen for about two months. Since I got another raise, and had had one every six months since I had arrived in Uvalde, I guess I was doing a good job!
Photo of 1950’s Uvalde found here.