|BY EVELIO PEREZ|
|Me and my Dad|
My immediate reaction was to jump off my chair and yell in total euphoria, just knowing that the starting hourly wage was $3.15 an hour was enough to get me very excited. That was a huge amount of money those days when you could get gasoline for 20 cents a gallon! Heck, my folks even bought a house in Coral Gables for 15 thousand dollars!
I was to report at 5:30 am to the union hall in the port and hopefully work as a Checker for The I.L.A. (International Longshoremen's Association) early next morning.
|Me and my twin |
brother Eddie (RIP)
I remember showing up in my first day at the I.L.A. Local 1922 Union Hall around 5:30 am sitting in a big room full of people wearing their hard hats. All of them were waiting for their name to be called. As the room started to empty out, my name was finally called by this big intimidating burly man named Bill Boyle. He says with his heavy, raspy voice, "Hey kid, you're Bebo's (My Dad's nickname) son right?" Of course, I stumbled and babbled around just to say the words yes sir. Then he says "go to CCT Shed C and start at 8:00 am............ Good Luck"
Yes, on my very first day I was sent to one of the busiest companies in The Port of Miami as a shipping clerk to work at receiving and delivering cargo in this huge and busy warehouse.
My first thoughts when I got there (before work started) was that there was no way that I could last in this crazy place, it was a complete madhouse! There were drivers everywhere and they all wanted their cargo. I was stunned and overwhelmed.
Little did I know that as soon as 8:00 am (starting time) came around, the Checkers would quickly have everything running smoothly and under full control.
|40 Years of service award|
On that first day, from 8 am all the way to quitting time at 5 pm, Mr. Bosh was taking care of me like he was my own father. He showed me the correct way to receive and deliver cargo, he would also explain that any one little error could lead to thousands of dollars in losses to the customer.
|With President Jerry Becerra|
|Here's Butch having some|
nice words to tell me.......
My father was not only my best friend, he was my mentor. He was the most honest and kindest man I've ever known and there was no way that I was going to let him down.
|Monument for |
The hours are always unpredictable, you are on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week............ that was part of the deal. It could be a regular starting time of 8 am or ship times that could start close to midnight. There was a lot of times that the hours turned into days in which turned into a very descent paycheck. But let me be perfectly clear, there is no substitute for having the right amount of training and skills to efficiently work in the port.
|With V.P. Luis Gonzalez|
|With friend and boss,|
|With long time friend,|
The operation as successful as it was, left me with one paralyzed vocal cord during the procedure (I had no voice). My stomach replaced my esophagus and literally moved close to my left lung where it was not able to expand as needed to freely breathe after a tiring day.
The operation to remove my cancerous esophagus was experimental and the complications that arose from it required another major operation, just to save my life. But with God's grace and the many prayers from many friends and family, the cancer had not spread to other parts of my body.
|Me with Vivian on our |
When I finally left the hospital, I was a total mess. I was so weak that I was barely able to walk. I had to regain my strength just to walk again. I couldn't sleep (without chocking a few times a night), walk, talk or able to breathe very well on my own. It was going to be a very long and rough road ahead for me to be able to be well enough to provide for my loving family. My days as a Longshoreman and my ability to provide for my family seemed in serious doubt.
Well, to make the story short, I rehabilitated myself enough through hard work and much needed therapy to walk and talk, but was having a tough time adjusting to my new and dilapidated body............... I would never be the same. The smell of car fumes alone was having a effect on my ability to breathe, and my lack of sleep because of my condition was taking a huge toll on my health and my family.
|My work station|
|Getting my watch! |
My journey began with me wanting to make good money, have good insurance and the ability to have all the comforts that my family and I needed. But I also ended up with an undying allegiance and respect that I have grown to have for this great Union and the awesome band of brothers that I've grown to love.
|Thanks to Danny and |
Michelle for this awesome
and yummy cake!!!!!!
I am a better person having known you all.
See more Pictures here.... http://evelio-perez.blogspot.com/2014/11/ila-pictures.html
MAY GOD BLESS THE I.L.A.