Alan Graham


Photo: Alan shopping for music CDs for his granddaughter's birthday. 08/09/2003




I was stationed at Red Canyon for approximately a year and a half, circa 1956/1957, after having taken basic training and post basic ( "skill" ) training at Fort Benning and Fort Gordon, Georgia respectively. My duties at the Canyon consisted entirely of manning the telephone switchboard up on Commo Hill and I was part of a small team ( 6 or so ) of Signal Corps personnel assigned to cover that operation. We pulled no other duties and were exempt from inspections, K P, formations and all other normal camp routines. We took our meals and free time pretty much whenever we were able since the hours required to man the "board" were both irregular and lengthy. We reported to Sergeant Franklin - a gem of a man.

Having completed my two year ( active military ) draft obligation, I left New Mexico and returned home to Marlboro, Massachusetts where I completed the obligatory four additional years of active and standby reserve duty. At the time I was drafted into the Army I was employed as a wood carver at a local church furniture manufacturing facility and upon my return I found that the job had been permanently taken over by someone else, and so I went to work as the shipping manager for that same concern. After a year or so I was presented with the opportunity to train as Assistant Designer under the chief furniture designer, and, after serving in that capacity for six to eight years, was in a position to take on that function, which I held until the company, suffering mainly from uncollectible receivables, went belly up.

Somewhere along in there I attended a few evening courses at the Worcester Fine Arts Museum School in an attempt to augment my tutelage under this design genius ( he was awesome! ) and to develop some personal painting and drawing skills. I had married Beverly during this working period and now had three additional mouths to feed ( a delightful daughter, Lisa and two wonderful sons, Danny and Barry ) and a recently purchased ( circa 1890 ) house to maintain. After a lengthy job search, I was fortunate enough to stumble across an opening as the Trade Show and Exhibit Manager's Assistant for the then Dennison Mfg. Co. in nearby Framingham, MA.

After four or five years as assistant I stepped into the manager's position and held that job for 26 years until I was down sized out of work around the middle of 1993. I then set up a small home "office" and for 6 years or so continued to provide exhibit and trade show supervisory services on a per-show basis for what had/has become the current west coast based Avery Dennison Corporation.

Four and a half years ago, at age 65, I retired completely ( Yay! ) and now spend a great deal of time pursuing various hobbies, interests and activities including flower gardening, photography, needlework, music ( listening ), tramping the local forests, computer image designing, and reading. My only complaint is that there are never enough hours in the day to suit me. The job of trade show manager consisted of the designing, coordination, shipping, traveling to, hiring and supervising ( union ) labor for, and the erection and dismantling on site of all exhibit parts and components, machinery and other related company products. At that time we were producing in the neighborhood of 8000 various items under six autonomous divisions - I was "corporate" and covered all six. In the most active years Dennison participated in 70+ trade shows per year. Much of my active working life was spent on airplanes, in hotel rooms and in the cavernous exhibit halls of most of the larger cities across the U S. I am quite intimate with the streets and sidewalks of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, St. Louis, Dallas, Anaheim, San Jose, Las Vegas, Montreal and, of course, Boston.

I presently live in that same 120+ year old house not a quarter mile from where I was born. I'm bearing down on seventy years of age ( 5 more months ) and have yet to figure out what it's all about, but I never stop trying and, hopefully, I never will.

Alan Graham