Bob Job
Home Up

The Story of Bob Job
Written by Rick Archer, February 2007

Louise and Bob Job

Bob considered himself to be an expert at Charades.  If I remember correctly, that was
the only game he was any good at.  ;-)

Some unknown good-looking girl that
Bob was flirting with at the studio.

Bob and Risa Beckham

Have you ever had a best friend who completely disappeared from your life?

It happened to me.  One day sometime in the Eighties my buddy Bob was transferred by Shell to the Netherlands. His lovely wife Louise, who he had met here at SSQQ in 1983, disappeared with him.

That is when I completely lost track of both of them. 

Every now and then there would be a rumor that Bob Job had been in town, etc, but I never knew how to get in touch with him.

In the meantime, here are some of the fun stories about Bob and me.  I will start with my favorite adventure story.

  IN A LITTLE CAFE JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BORDER...

Once upon a time Bob and I decided to take a plane trip to Acapulco (1983?).  We were going down there to chase beautiful Mexican women.  The trip was short -  get there Friday night, all day Saturday, home Sunday afternoon.  If we were going to do any damage, we had better get right to work!

Bob and I checked into our hotel room at 6 pm Friday night.  We decided to take a quick siesta so we would be fresh when we went on the prowl later that evening. 

Lo and behold, we didn't wake up until 9 am the next day. Once we came to our senses, we realized we had thrown our big night away.  Hours and hours on the plane and mucho dinero down the drain...  What a couple of morons!

We both immediately pointed fingers at each other - "You were supposed to wake me up!"

Well, it was Saturday now.  So we played a couple games of chess, then laid around at the beach to pass the time.  Very pretty beach, by the way.

That night we went dancing. Everyone in the Disco danced Freestyle.  Hmm.  I decided to show them some city dance moves.  I studied the women on the floor and identified the best dancer. So when she became available I asked her to dance.  After we developed a rapport, I started to partner dance with the Mexican lady.  Suddenly every eye in the room was on us.  Wow!  I was flattered.

Bob was cheering for me.  He was more of a Western Twostep guy which explained why he wasn't out there with me.  Bob was nice enough to enjoy my celebrity without being jealous. Here in Acapulco, Disco still ruled in the land that time forgot. I was in my element.  Even though Urban Cowboy was in full swing back in Houston, Disco had been my first love.  It was fun to dust off my Latin Hustle again.  The Hustle was the forerunner to today's Salsa.  For a moment there, I was transported back to the glory days of yesteryear. 

Turn the Beat Around, m
akes me wanna move my body... yeah, yeah, yeah!

When I sat down, a big Mexican guy came over. He didn't speak any English, but he  could point pretty well.  He pointed towards a senorita who was sitting across the room.  As I looked over, the girl smiled and raised her hand.  Through a series of gestures, I gathered that I was supposed to ask her to dance.  Why not?

So I walked across the room to her table.  As I approached, I nearly fell over.  From a distance, I had no idea, but now I realized this young lady had to be the prettiest girl I had ever seen before.  I also noticed she was surrounded by four big Mexican guys and they were all frowning at me. 

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.  The lyrics to a song haunted me.

In a little cafe just the other side of the border,
She was just sitting there givin' me looks that made my mouth water.
So I started walking her way.
She belonged to bad man, Jose.
And I knew, yes I knew I should leave...
then I heard her say..."Come a Little Bit Closer!"


It was too late to turn back now. The pretty girl gestured towards the dance floor.  She wanted to dance with me.  Now I knew where the word 'irresistible' came from.   So we went out on the floor.   I soon found out she didn't speak English beyond "My name is Elena."   Damn, why the hell did I sign up for German in High School?

No problema, Elena, let's dance!   So we danced.  Of course all eyes in the room came back to us.  People on the floor gave us lots of room.  We were officially 'The Show'.   First we danced the Latin Hustle. And then we danced freestyle.  We paused for a moment as Elena asked me my name.  Then I led her in a Cha Cha.  We were out there at least for 5 songs.  The fifth song is the one that I remember best because Elena cut loose.  It was obvious that till now the young lady had just been warming up.

I realized why I had been chosen.  I was likely the only man in the room even remotely worthy of  dancing with her.  Besides her obvious natural talent, I suspected she had received plenty of dance training as well.  I wondered if she was a performer.  She was THAT good.  The moment Elena started with that hip motion, I almost died.  The temptation to grab her waist made a danger signal flash across my mind 

I trembled like Pavlov's dog when the bell rings - one side of me salivated with lust and the other side trembled with fear at what those goons would do to me if I was stupid enough to touch her the wrong way.   It dawned on me that I was losing control.


I heard her say..."Come a Little Bit Closer!"

Thank Goodness I wasn't drunk.  As my pulse raced, I forced myself to think.  For starters, this girl was way out of my league.  If it were not for my dance ability, I would never have gotten this kind of attention from a beauty like her.  

Then came the age barrier.  At age 33, I was at least 15 years older than her.

After the age barrier came the language barrier.  Maybe if we spoke the same language we could share a laugh or two, but as it stood, we could communicate only on the dance floor.  

Then came the culture barrier.  I had no idea what was going through her mind, but her smile told me she was enjoying herself.  In America, her body language would indicate come a little bit closer.  It probably meant the same thing in Mexico.  But maybe not.  I knew if guessed wrong, there was one bodyguard for each of my limbs in case they wanted to play tug of war.

The reason I was getting such a crush on Elena was her friendly nature.  You would expect some sort of attitude from a woman this beautiful, but I saw nothing but appreciation while I danced with her.  Elena was drop-dead gorgeous, but unlike some beauties, she seemed gentle as opposed to aggressive and tough.  Her elegance increased my attraction to her.  Be still, my beating heart.

In addition, I had never seen a woman move like this before. Beyond her beauty, Elena was a very gifted dancer.  Beauty and Talent - a dangerous combination.

Nevertheless, no matter what my heart wished for, as it stood, this girl spelled "t-r-o-u-b-l-e" in any language. 

And I knew, yes I knew I should leave...

I had to constantly remind myself this didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of working.  Finally I decided I couldn't bear to watch Elena dance one more minute.  A beautiful woman should not be permitted to dance this gracefully and this provocatively at the same time.  She wasn't trying to tease me at all, but her dancing had the same effect nonetheless. Some instinct warned me to break it off now before it was too late and I did something foolish.

So I indicated to Elena it was time to sit down.  I walked her back to her seat, gently maneuvering the young lady to her seat between the four men who accompanied her. Surely they couldn't all be her brothers. They didn't seem related to her. I had never met anyone with 4 bodyguards before.  Who were these guys and who was she?

Elena smiled and beckoned for me to sit in the empty chair next to her that had magically been made available.  I was tempted to sit down just for the opportunity to stare at her a little longer.

Oh my goodness Elena was pretty!  Help me, somebody, please! 

Lead me not into temptation...  Oops, too late, I am already there.

I wondered how dangerous it would be to sit next to this pretty girl from another country.  I decided 'Mucho Peligroso' - great danger - when she has 4 bodyguards.  This was worse than dating the President's daughter.  Then I remembered she couldn't speak English.  How did I keep managing to forget that?   What exactly were we going to talk about?  That thought helped me come to my senses. 

I smiled at her wistfully, then I looked over to Bob and pointed at him.  "Roberto es mi Amigo", I said.  Thank goodness Bob waved to indicate I should return to him.  He looked concerned.  Maybe he guessed that I was in trouble. 

"Don't go, Rico.  Stay.  Dance more?"  She smiled.  Suddenly she was speaking to me in English... a huge wave of weakness overcame me.   I bit my lip and hesitated.  I did not want to go, but some instinct called 'self-preservation' insisted I leave.

Summoning what little resistance I had left, I said I had to go.  I said it in English, but I think she understood. 

The pretty girl made a sad face.  "Adios, Rico."  Then she nodded to the Goon Squad to let me go without crippling me.  They all stood back and made a path. 

This was way too weird.  Why don't girls in America who speak English ever treat me this way?  I guess Elena was simply doing her best to use body language to overcome the language barrier.  If so, it worked.  Her body language had me scared to death.  I kept reminding myself to look but don't touch, smile but don't leer.  

I had never come under the influence of a beautiful woman before.  Her beauty was so intoxicating and her dancing so riveting that she made me think in ways that were not in my ultimate best interest.  But I thought those thoughts anyway. 

I was under the spell of a beautiful woman.  Are you sure your name isn't Circe?

I felt shaky and disoriented.  I walked slowly back to Bob lest I stumble and humiliate myself.  I idly wondered to myself if this was a Twilight Zone episode and no one had told me.

The dizzy feeling did not leave.  I deliberately kept my back to her.  I was afraid if I looked back, I might change my mind.  I couldn't help but wonder what horrible fate I had barely managed to avoid.  Or what incredible night I might have missed out on.  Why was I running from her?  What was wrong with me?  Why was I so scared to take a chance?   Faint heart and all that...

When I sat down, Bob had the most amazed expression on his face. "Rick, do you know who that girl is?"

"Yeah, her name is almost certainly 'Muerte Instante'.  Why?  Who is she?"

"While you were out on the floor, this guy came over to me.  He is with her group.  He was checking you out to make sure you weren't a drug dealer or international fugitive."  Bob stopped for a second while I took this in.  

"While we were talking, he said she is the current Ms. Teenage Mexico.  She is here in Acapulco for some special event and this is her night on the town.  And, get this, he said she really likes dancing with you."

I said nothing for a moment.  I was actually trembling with all the conflicting emotions.  Finally I calmed down a bit. 

"You know what, Bob, that doesn't surprise me a bit.  She is the most beautiful girl I have ever had in my arms in my entire life.  With her looks, maybe someday I will see her again on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue."

Bob said, "Let me buy you another margarita to help you forget her."

I replied, "No way.  I am weak enough as it is.  Let's get out of here before I change my mind and race to her.  And if I do change my mind, trip me or hit me hard enough to stop me."

I took a deep breath, then added, "I swear, Bob, I couldn't take my eyes off of her.  I never knew before what beauty can do to a man.  I don't know why I am so crazy, but I honestly have never felt so out of control in my life.  That girl is so beautiful, I am afraid of her."

 

I have no idea who she is, but she's cute and much too young for Bob

Playing Charades

Bob and Leanne dancing the Western Swing

DISCO ON THE RUN

Bob Job was the guy who helped me decipher the secrets of Western Swing back in late 1980.  If I remember correctly, Bob was dying to learn the dance so he could use it to pick up women in bars who were too young for him.

Actually, now that I think of it, after that last story, who am I to talk?

All kidding aside, I was completely lost on this dance.  Would someone please explain what rhythm those men are using to turn those girls?

Urban Cowboy had sparked an unprecedented amount of interest in Western dancing here in Houston upon its debut in July 1980.

In addition, again thanks to Urban Cowboy, Disco had died an instant death here in Houston.  Left with nothing better to do, most Disco guys had turned in their polyester dance threads for boots and rolled with the tide.  However, there was trouble in paradise. Boredom set in very quickly.

Twostep and Polka were ridiculously easy dances compared to what they had been doing to Donna Summer music just a few months earlier.  As a result, they got restless and began to tinker with the Twostep. In particular they found ways to turn girls with one hand.  Whatever they did, it worked.  Pretty soon, all those ex-Disco guys started finding ways to double turn girls to a western beat. 

This was new.  It was also exciting.  Bob and I realized that a completely new dance was sprouting up before our very eyes.  It had no name, but it was definitely an improvement on the 6 Twostep moves we had been stuck with. 

Bob and I called it "Disco on the Run".  However there was something about those turns that eluded all our attempts to mimic what we had seen.  We assumed it was only a matter of time till we figured it out, so we made a bet which of us was going to figure it out first.

Truth be told, I never figured it out.  Actually, Bob didn't either.

One day a guy named Herb Fried off-handedly showed me the secret.  Finally!  

Herb was a western buddy of Bob's. I think also they worked together.  Bob claimed that since Herb was his friend, he should get the credit.

Fine, Bob.  All glory to you. 

I didn't care who won any more. I was just happy not to be miserable any longer.

Herb's suggestion was all the help I needed.  From that point on, I worked furiously to put together a system of dance patterns that I could use to teach this new dance.  We were highly motivated.  One night Bob learned a move in a club and raced to the studio to show it to me.  We practiced the new pattern out in the parking lot for an hour.  That was the night we learned the Pretzel.

With Bob's help, the two of us cooked up other patterns like the Rope, the Wild West Shuffle, the Y-Pattern, the Lariat, and the Dishrag.  Do those names sound familiar?  Those names go all the way back to the days of 1981 when Bob and I put the finishing touches on the new dance. 

Mind you, I did not invent the dance, but I did create what was likely the first comprehensive teaching system in the city.

However, we had one more problem. We decided 'Disco on the Run' was not a very catchy name.  It probably wasn't very marketable. So we decided to call it Western Swing.  Twenty five years later, the name still sticks. 


(SIDE NOTE: I wrote a lengthy story about the events that led up to my discovery of how the Western Swing worked and how Bob helped me develop the dance. 
History of Western Swing

Bob and our famous photographer Jim Fogo.
Jim was the man who took our
Halloween Pictures

THE 1981 HALLOWEEN PARTY FROM HELL

Bob and I shared one particular interest - we both loved Halloween parties. 

In 1978, we had a Halloween Party in someone's apartment clubhouse.  In 1979 we had a lame party at Stevens of Hollywood.  In 1980, we moved into our new location at Dance Arts just 10 days before Halloween. That didn't give us much time, but we threw something together at the last minute.

As Halloween rolled around in 1981, we had been at our new location for a year now and we decided to push the pedal to the metal.  For starters, I sprang for some decorations.  A couple ghosts, a couple hanging pumpkins, Dracula... Woo wee! 

As the party approached, Bob said he had a good idea for the party - why not let him be in charge of the punch?  

Sure.  Why not?  I asked him what he needed.  Money.  Okay, that was easy.  So I gave him money.  

It turned out to be the best money I ever spent.  Bob put on his magician's hat and went to town.  His smoking dry ice was an especially nice touch.  But best of all, Bob seemed to have the magic touch with the Rum Punch.  He added just the right amount of Everclear to give the Punch some punch.  Oh yeah.

That hit the spot. Here's the group picture. What a happy bunch! 

Everyone agreed Bob was the early MVP of the party.  Hey, what about my decorations?

Well, obviously Bob was Mr. Popular.  Big deal.  So what?  I had an ace up my sleeve that would make everyone forget about Mr. Pointy Hat - without telling anyone, I had hired a bunch of beautiful half-naked dancers to perform at the party!

   

Bob as The Mad Wizard

This was the year Bob won the Costume Contest by coming as the Superbowl

Bob and Mae West.  Hey Big Boy, why don't
you come up and see me some time?

Bob and the ever beautiful Louise. I think this was the year we told Bob no more punch.

Bob was friendly to everyone, even my mother!
No jokes about the family resemblance...

The dancers would provide the perfect finishing touch.  So far, the 1981 Halloween Party had been fabulous right from the get-go. Bob's punch was DEFINITELY the hit of the party to this point and Bob had found the perfect costume for the occasion.

Dressed as the Mad Wizard with a cloak and a conical Magician's hat, Bob certainly looked the part as he hovered over his Witch's Cauldron carefully stirring his strange brew. Adding to the magic was the smoke that emanated from the Cauldron.  Bob had added dry ice to give his work the eerie appearance of mixing a Wizard's Potion. The illusion was very impressive!

Bob's Magic Punch was the place to go if you didn't bring your own stuff and wished to become chemically altered. There was a long line as many of us availed ourselves of the delicious punch. Yum. It tasted great!

With the help of the Punch, the party quickly burst into animation! Everyone was having a great time! We danced, we laughed, we carried on, we made complete fools of ourselves. Gosh we were having fun!

Then came the dancers.  As you can see, the outfits left little to the imagination. The women in the audience immediately gave me a disapproving look, but I have never seen more grateful men in my life.

Our women may have been in shock, but the guys didn't mind at all. They quickly pushed the women to the back of the pack so they could get front row views! We all stared appreciatively.  I am sure I was not alone as I admired the awesome figures and beauty of each dancer.

Oh, yes, the dancing was spectacular!! The dancing was lurid, suggestive, arousing, all of the above. Think of belly dancers on speed. It was a wild, provocative Jungle frenzy of some sort. They worked their hips, shimmied their chests, undulated their waists, and moved with wild abandonment.

Drunk out of their wits, the men were soon panting with lust. This was better than a topless bar - the women were not only naked, they could really dance!  By the time it was over, the men were just barely hanging onto any self-control. These girls were unbelievable!

Something funny happened - the girls cut their performance short. They were supposed to dance a second number, but instead they only danced 5 minutes.  I think the girls saw something in our eyes. The moment their number was over, they sprinted out before we could even congratulate them!! Probably just as well - as drunk as we were, things might have gotten crazy!

After the dancers left, a curious thing started to happen - People began to act like stark raving maniacs! That marvelous Jungle dancing had the men so worked up, they immediately headed for another round of Bob's Magic Brew.

It was 11 pm. We were now about 2 hours into the party. Typically the party is still going strong at Midnight. That's when I announce "Last Song", then we clean up and go home. But something was different tonight. The dance performance had altered the rhythm of the party. After the Jazz Dancers finished their show, the dancing had a lot of trouble starting up again.

It wasn't like we didn't try. I put the music back on and the guests attempted to dance but it was obvious they weren't doing very well. They were clearly exhausted. After one or two songs people gave up and started to leave the dance floor.  Not only were people exhausted, they began to act bizarre! Our guests began to wander around the studio like zombies.

Of course Halloween is all about letting loose and getting a little crazy, but something was clearly wrong. These people were way beyond "a little crazy". They were out of their minds!  No, we weren't poisoned. But we were drunk. We were very drunk. We were wasted out of our minds! Yes, the whole damn party was drunk on its butt!!

Throughout the evening, Bob had spiked the punch with Ever Clear, an alcoholic additive that had no taste and no smell. And Bob did not hold back. He used a lot of Ever Clear. I mean a lot of it!!

So we were already drunk to begin with. But things were about to get worse.  After the dance performance Bob decided to pour all his remaining supply of Ever Clear into the punch. He had some extra bottles and didn't feel like taking it home.

We had no idea what was going on. Sucking us in like the Pied Piper with the smoking cauldron and the delicious punch, we drank as if there were no consequences. As a result, many of us were in big big trouble.

We didn't even realize the punch was double-spiked until it was too late. And like idiots we went back for more because at that point we were too far gone to know any better. There was not even one remotely sober person in the whole building!

Suddenly we were so drunk none of could even dance!! The floor quickly became deserted. The people who could still move began to leave. But many people were way too drunk to drive. They began to look for a place to collapse.

The partiers staggered around like extras from the "Night of the Living Dead" hoping to find a chair or a couch to fall down on. Soon every seat in the house was occupied. Eventually the rest of the people sat down wherever they happened to be because they were too damn drunk to stand up any more. Some would fall on top of someone already sitting on a couch. The others would semi-collapse on the floor next to the people on the couches.

That's when the hysterical laughter began. The ones who were still conscious laughed their drunken butts off. But it didn't last very long. Soon people began to nod and doze off.

The music kept playing, but the dance floor was empty. Everyone was in the hallway where the couches were. Bodies were strewn everywhere!!

Sorry to be gruesome, but the hallway looked exactly like the infamous Jim Jones massacre in Guyana years back. Bob had killed all of us.

Truth be told, I drank as much as anyone that night.  I completely passed out.

I finally woke up around 4 am.  The studio was totally deserted.  When I finally came to my senses, I realized everyone was gone and the music was still playing.  I rubbed my eyes and looked around.  That's when I realized that all the trash from the party was still sitting right where everyone had left it. I had the unenviable task ahead of cleaning up after the entire party.

After the Halloween Party from Hell, I think I gently suggested to Bob that maybe next year we would get a keg.  I think I hurt his feelings, but tough.  He didn't have to clean the whole damn studio up by himself at 4 am!

(Side Note: Something else really weird happened that night that I think you would enjoy reading about. 
To discover the bizarre conclusion to this story,
Click Here )

Bob Job and Louise Campodonico.

My Birthday Party at Bob's House

Dancing and Romancing

Hail to the Master Chemist,
my friend Bob

BOB AND LOUISE GET MARRIED!

The moment I began to write about Bob and Louise's marriage, I realized I didn't have a clue what to write. I honestly don't know when they got married!

It seems to me that Bob and Louise Campodonico went together for a long time.  If I were to guess, they started dating in 1983.  They acted in public like married people, but maybe they didn't feel like getting married.

My vague recollection is that Louise didn't want to get married.  I think they broke up and got back together several times.  I remember their romance as having several rollercoaster ups and downs.

If I had to guess, Bob and Louise got married somewhere else because I just realized I wasn't at the wedding.  Hmm.  Aren't they sneaky?

What I do remember is that Bob and Louise quietly disappeared from the studio in 1988.  They were not the only old friends I lost - at some point or another I estimate 30 people left SSQQ to go over to the Southwest Whip Club in 1988.  This exodus was a very painful experience.  Friends who had been in my life for many years suddenly quit coming to the studio to go to another studio.  Ouch!

After that, I didn't see much of Bob and Louise anymore.  I guess we went our own ways.

One day Bob showed up at the dance studio to tell me that Shell was transferring him to the Netherlands for a year. Louise was going too.  I guess this was around 1989 or 1990.  He said he would be coming back to Houston, but quite frankly I cannot remember seeing Bob again after that. 

I had completely lost track of the man who once was my best friend.

Sometime in the 90s a rumor floated through the studio that Bob and Louise had been seen dancing at some Western club.  Theoretically they had moved back to town and had bought a house out in Katy.  That's what they said, but I do not recall ever seeing the guy.  The rumor drove me crazy, but I didn't know to track him down.  I suppose I could have asked for a phone number.  Isn't a shame we get so busy we don't keep track of people we care about?

 When the SSQQ web site went online in late 1998, I discovered that I enjoyed writing stories. Finally I figured out a way to deal with my sadness about losing my best friend - I would write some stories about Bob. 

The first story I wrote about Bob was in the article titled History of Western Swing.  That recounts the tale of how Houston went from Disco to Western overnight and a new dance was born.  A spin-off from that story included the Tales of the Winchester Club, the dance spot where I first got to know Bob in 1981.  And then I wrote my masterpiece about the Halloween Party from Hell.  Then in 2006 I wrote a story called the Matchmaker which included a special section on the people who had been important to me during the Eighties.  Naturally Bob and Louise were mentioned there as well.

You want to know something?  I secretly hoped he would read one of those stories and check in to say hi.  You might say I was sending up a Bat signal of sorts.

Believe it or not, my strategy worked!  One day in 2006 I got a very special email.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Robert Job
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 2:37 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Halloween message for Rick Archer from Bob Job

Dear Rick; Greetings!

As usual around this time of year, I fondly recall your 'Halloween Party from Hell'.

Louise and I are now safely ensconced in our log home atop a mountain northwest of Ft. Collins, Colorado. After we'd been here a couple of weeks, the dancers found us. I guess the Archer two-step we do still catches as much attention as it did 25 years ago when you and I practiced your new moves late at night in the Sears' parking lot. If you ever get nostalgic about Ft. Collins, please come by for a visit. We've got a comfortable guest suite and some beautiful sunrises and sunsets to show you. (I might even let you win a game of chess.)

Sincerely, Bob Job

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 1:43 PM
To: Robert Job
Subject: RE: Halloween message for Rick Archer from Bob Job

Holy smokes! What a great Halloween treat to hear from you, Bob!

I heard a rumor you were living in the Houston area and couldn't figure out why you never came to visit. Now I feel better knowing where you are.

I am no stranger to Ft Collins having gone to grad school at CSU for a year.  Plus I am a big fan of Rocky Mntn Nat Park and Estes Park... just a quick
drive into the mountains from where you are.

Marla and I try to come to Colorado once a year around Memorial Day... the next time I get a chance, I WILL look you up! My chess game is pretty good - I play a handheld computer chess game all the time to amuse myself any time I have a free moment.

How did you run across the 'Halloween From Hell' story? Did you google your name? You are all over my web site. I can think of at least three places
where you could read about yourself on my web site. I miss you so much I write about you all the time!.

At this point, I smile when I think of the Halloween Party from Hell. It was miserable when it happened but everyone loves the story! It has been passed around the story all week long ("Have you read the story about the drunk lady at Rick's studio?")

Do you remember anything from that night? If so, please share! Was my story accurate? Did you know about the story of the drunk lady? To be honest, the ravages of time dull the memory, so anything you can contribute would be great.

Give Louise a big hug for me! 

From: Robert Job
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 3:39 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Halloween message for Rick Archer from Bob Job

Dear Rick;  All the time we've been away, I periodically check out the SSQQ website. A few years back I ran across the story about the Halloween party from hell. I must admit that you do tell a good story but, since my date forced me to leave early, I missed out on the later drunkenness episode.

I looked up the other stories you indicated in your e-mail and generally felt a strong pang of nostalgia. Also even some guilt for not being there for you during your breakup with Pat. I completely understand your solution to depression (201 nights of whip dancing).

Through the years since you fist taught me to dance, I've always headed for a dance hall whenever severe depression hit. My problem is that I never thought country would die so I didn't take advantage of the many opportunities to get good at Whip/West Coast Swing.

At one time there were 26 clubs around Houston where C&W could be done properly. Now there are approximately 3. Whereas Whip/Swing has always been around and is still alive all around the U.S..

If you can find the time for a visit, we'll take you to the only dancing place in Fort Collins. We came up here to retire but, since our builder walked out at least 3 months before the house was done, we've had nearly a full time job getting the house finished and live-in-able. The Chemistry Department at CSU voted me in as a faculty affiliate - which doesn't mean much more than I have library privileges and can attend seminars and assist in a bit of research. So, hopefully my brain won't be allowed to atrophy.
 
Hopefully by next spring or summer, we'll have the house sufficiently under control so that we can take the time to explore Colorado.

Sincerely, Bob Job
 

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:37 PM
To: Robert Job
Subject: colorado state

Fort Collins is a good choice for a place to retire.  Seems like you told me you had a mountain home in that area.

Do me a favor - help me figure out where you have been over the past 20 years!  I keep thinking you have been thru Houston a couple times and I can't believe you didn't drop by to say hi!

I have another favor... send me a picture of you and Louise so I can add it to my studio's romance page

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Job
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 11:06 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: colorado state

Not a home, but a mount in the foothills. It's called Mount Simon and is located about 11 miles west of Livermore (~30 miles NW of Fort Collins). At 7580 ft, its the tallest hill around. When I bought the 37 acres of land in 1977, I got to draw my own property lines so I drew them halfway down the granite cliffs to the north, halfway into a gulley to the west and down to the access road on the other sides.

We have a 360 view from the Colorado plains to the east to Fort Collins to the southeast to Rocky Mountain National Park to the South to the Mummy Range to the west and to the high plains of Wyoming to the north. The chief of the local volunteer fire department has been using our mountain as a fire lookout spot.

Like a lot of the old crowd, we had deserted SSQQ to go over to the Southwest Whip Club and to the Space City Ski Club for social activities in the late 1980s. Shell Development Company had an exchange program where one scientist from Houston exchanged places with a scientist from the parent company in Holland for a year.

In 1990 it was my turn to go, so Louise and I got to spend our honeymoon year in Holland.

Since the only place we could twostep in Holland was at the local bowling alley (and only to Tom Jones music) we took ballroom dancing lessons in Holland for a while. After returning to Houston in late 1991 we eased back into the C&W club dance scene (Louise threw me a surprise 50th birthday bash at the Post Oak Ranch).

We must have dropped in to a couple of SSQQ parties from '91 to '95 - I remember getting you to play Mary Chapin Carpenter's "The Bug" at one of them.

In 1994, the FTC made Shell spin off our part of the company as a separate entity. I tried to stay with Shell but upper management said that, since 30% of the patents in the new company's portfolio had my name on them, I was required to be a part of the new company.

In early 1996, Union Carbide Corporation bought that company and their management decided that, if I remained in Houston I would be likely to bolt towards other employment - so they shipped us off to Bound Brook, New Jersey (that in addition to assuring we senior scientists that we should never expect another raise or another promotion).

In 2001, Dow Chemical Company bought Union Carbide. It looked like the Bound Brook site would be subverted into a weak sister joint venture with Exxon/Mobile with future prospects looking bleak. So I petitioned Dow to sent me back to Houston. Shortly after returning to Katy (in September 2001), I sent you an e-mail about the Midnight Rodeo in Katy having a nice dance floor and decent dance music.

Over the next 4 years, we showed up at a couple of SSQQ parties but didn't recognize anyone and didn't stay long. I called 861-1906 and got a person (named Judy?) who said she would forward my message to you. This selfsame person was also in charge at one of the SSQQ parties and said she would relay our greetings.

After those abortive attempts I told Louise I would drop by your house but she pointed out that would be rude and that I should call first. However since you old personal phone number didn't work -- catch 22.

By late 2004 the writing was on the wall that Dow Chemical didn't want any of their senior scientists working in the laboratory.

This put me in a very uncomfortable position since I'm not a library chemist and firmly believe in doing exploratory research and that it should be hands-on.

In early 2005, Dow was undergoing a huge downsizing. They wanted their first round of people out by June 30. This timing was nearly correct for me since I would be eligible for retirement on July 9. They agreed to give me credit for the extra 9 days I officially became a retired person at the end of June. The sad part is that, because I had in effect worked for 4 companies, Dow refused to give me any official notification of what my retirement pay would be (even though I could do the calculation in 10 minutes on a pocket calculator and come within $14/ month of the final amount they came up with). As a consequence of not having official notification of income, we couldn't get a mortgage or a builders' loan for our house in Colorado so we've had to pay cash for it all. That meant cashing in a chunk of my retirement kitty as a lump sum which not only means lower monthly retirement pay but also put us into a ridiculously high income tax bracket for that extra amount.

Chopin (our springer spaniel) and I moved to Colorado just after last Christmas while Louise followed on Valentine's Day. That first winter was cold since the cold wind blew through the logs at a higher rate than warm air could flow through the heating registers. We spent the whole first month caulking the walls from the inside. (This summer we hired someone to caulk all the walls from the outside.) We didn't have shades on any of our 40 windows so I had to cut coverings for them from leftover cardboard boxes (in the spring we had a contractor install cellular blinds everywhere). We couldn't use the fireplace because the builder had not installed the hearth according to code so that I had to rip it out and redo it properly. This winter I believe we're ready. Since I saw you last, I've joined the Antique Wireless Association and have accumulated over 100 wooden console radios from between 1927 and 1942 which I plan to fix up if I ever really get to retire.

Sincerely, Bob Job

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 12:31 PM
To: Robert Job
Subject: Bob Job timeline

I cannot imagine how you and I failed to connect while you were living in Katy. I do remember 2001 as being my year from hell because that's when I got my second divorce, but I still can't understand why I would not respond to an email from you about the Katy Mills dance hall. After all, I am Mr. email! Please forgive. I am really regretting not seeing you.

I am so glad we have reconnected, albeit since you moved to Colorado.

My life is pretty good, but not perfect. My wife Marla and I are awesome together. We are just as much in love five years later as we were when we met.

My daughter is smart, but she is a bit of an underachiever as a HS sophomore.

My ex-wife Judy has made my life a living hell for the past six years, but I am restrained by a recent custody agreement from sharing the story on the Internet. I probably should write all the gory details down anyway before I forget.

My shopping center was taken over by a ruthless set of doctors who have made my life miserable for several years now.

My two biggest problems are fighting burnout and finding a person to continue the legacy of the studio. I am very uncomfortable thinking all this work might go to waste without the right person to hand the reins over to.

Sounds like all the shuffling around your various companies made you do in the past several years had to drive you nuts. How can a scientist be effective when the political situation around him is constantly being disrupted?

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Job
Sent: Sunday, November 26, 2006 6:47 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Pictures from Bob Job

I finally downloaded Chessmaster 9000 so that I can practice up on my very rusty chess game. It was actually quite an ordeal because, since our satellite internet only allows us to download 450 mB per day, it took over 48 hours to download. Why so slow you ask - when the satellite advertises 750 kb/sec? That's because one is only allowed to utilize the 750 kb/sec rate for a very short time. After about two minutes the rate decreases to about 1/7 of that then after 30 minutes it gets choked down to about 1/3 of what dial-up would be for the rest of the day. I do miss not having DSL. If we had been willing to pay the phone company the $35,000 they requested, we not only could have had a land line, we could have had DSL too. We just didn't think it was worth it (not to mention the fact that we didn't have any money left).

We finally have got the basement walls plastered and painted. Now it's ready for me to put in shelves and to unpack and set up my shop. I had hoped that being retired I could have time for rest and relaxation but, as far as I can tell, one never really gets to retire. 

One more thing - h
ere is a picture of Louise and I for your scrapbook. I've also included a collage I put together of our house when it was almost finished (just in case you decide to visit next spring and need to recognize it from the outside). Also included is a collage of the views from various windows and decks in almost every direction.

Sincerely, Bob Job

   

EPILOGUE TO "In a little Cafe just the other side of the Border"

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Job
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 12:19 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Rick's latest SSQQ article

OK Rick;
As usual you've told a colorful and humorous tale. I've only one point to bring up.

1. The reason we stayed in the hotel room so long in Acapulco was that you had brought along some game played on a checkerboard, with pieces which were light on one side and dark on the other, and you insisted that we play game after game until I let you win one.

I hope you can make it up for a visit sometime.

Sincerely,  Bob Job

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2007 12:27 PM
To: Robert Job
Subject: RE: Rick's latest SSQQ article

Hi Bob, just got back home from a ski trip.

I do not recall you dominating me at chess. I have a declining memory, but I still find it hard to believe I would lose a string of matches because I remember FAILURE much better than success. -;)

Since you seem to have a good memory, are there any other anecdotes or adventures you recall?

One more thing - what do you remember about the young lady in the Disco?  Was that my imagination or did the story go the way my memory told it?

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Job
Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2007 12:59 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Rick's latest SSQQ article

Hi Rick;
The game wasn't chess. The pieces were round and flat and were dark on one side and light on the other. One player was light and the other was dark. When pieces were captured, by surrounding them on the board, they were flipped over so that they became the color of the other player. The object of the game was to get all of the pieces to be one color.  Maybe it was called "Reversi" or something like that.

I freely admit that you were probably a better chess player and that I really had to concentrate in order to win the few games that I did.

The story about the Mexican Senorita is pretty much accurate as well as I remember it. Any embellishments you've made are certainly the same ones I would have added.

 

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