The Office. (and I’m not talking about the TV show)
To me, it is still a narrow brick building with a mysterious welding shop beside it. It has a wooden flower box in the front window that Mom always tried to keep stocked with bright red geraniums. In the front room, employees have come and gone but there was always Freda Miller, at a desk somewhere in there. Then in the back of the front room was the most mysterious (and my favorite) place in the whole office. In the old days of paper tickets there was a mysterious machine that would print tickets and invoices without anyone even touching it. It was enchantment at first ticking. And on top of that, it was filled with office supplies. Oh, office supplies! So wonderful, and interesting. I would literally walk around the room, just listening to the ticking and watching the papers magically come out of the printer and looking at all the office supplies. I would imagine all the things one could do with them. And wonder what in the world those brown clampy things with fangs were.
And then there were the agents desks. Some of them had many mysterious and exciting things on them as well. On others, the only interesting things were the phones and headsets. (computers were quite boring, for some reason.) But the exciting ones had things like real live Post-It sticky notes on them. Mom never bought real, live, Post-It sticky notes. They were too expensive. We bought Office Max sticky notes. And then others had these mysterious little pink/yellow slips of semi-clear paper that was sticky on one half of the bottom part, and came out of this little dispenser that magically pulled the next on to the top. Sometimes if we would come there after hours I would sneak back to the agents desk and pull them out just because it was so fascinating. And then I would bury it deep in the trash can and creep guiltily back to Dad’s desk in the back and look at the file cabinets.
Behind the front room and ticketing room, there was a hallway. There was a bathroom first in the hallway, then there was a very small kitchen with the all important fridge. The fridge was all important because it usually contained pop, although a lot of the time it was diet. And then it was the back room where Dad worked. There was also a door leading from the back room to a side alley outside. That’s where we usually parked and then came in through that door. We got the VIP entrance ’cause we were Dad’s kids. In the back room there were very tall filing cabinets that had lots of important papers. I liked to pull out the bottom drawers (cause I could reach those) and look at all the papers and wonder what they meant.
That was the VA office to me as a little kid. Part II will be about the KS office and my experience working there.