Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trip Back to Delphi Thermal Systems Tuscaloosa

I started out this morning as I have countless mornings with my first coffee, and my news blogs. Blessed mundane routine. For a brief period in time the emptiness I’m feeling was overridden.

It was my early trips to the skill center at work that introduced me to journalling back in 2001. Over the years I chronicled my life as a factory worker and the dramas that played out at the plant. My last visit to Delphi was in 2005 just as the facility was finally closing down. There was a floppy disc saved for me I inadvertently left in my old computer in shipping. As luck would have it, this disc had the journal entries from 2004 I had recorded at work. These entries were ones that were lost when the site was hacked. I was so grateful to Paul the trucker who put it aside for me.

My little shipping office that saved my sanity when college was cancelled: This picture was taken in July 2004. My transfer file to the Corvette Assembly Plant located at Bowling Green, KY is opened up with the relocation telegram on top…

When we would be working and the tornado sirens would sound, there was a protocol to get into the basement, with each department assigned a certain area. Team leaders would account for the workers in their departments. Management hated when this would happen. The braze ovens had to keep operating with nobody to do the unload job. There would be a huge pile of cores piled on the floor when we returned to our jobs to sort through.

Delphi closed the plant and gave it to the city. Tuscaloosa reworked the building to house environmental services and the emergency response units. The basement skill center and classrooms were put to good use.

That facility took a direct hit from the tornado. The ramifications have not fully sunk in yet. As I understand, pretty much the entire fleet of garbage trucks is gone.

It really upsets me to see the destruction. I had to make one last trip to my old factory. This morning I headed out on my bicycle. The curfew was lifted at 6:00 a.m. and I was able to sneak in the back way off Greensboro Ave. At this early hour there was no traffic. I have driven this route so many times; I knew every business and house. It is forever changed. There was debris everywhere. The flattened landscape turned my stomach the closer I got to the old GM facility.

Guard Shack: How many times did I pass through the turnstile to the left of the guard shack, saying Hello to Martha the guard? The front doors to the lobby are gone.

The driveway going straight on went to a large overhead door that opened to the braze oven of Department 257. My little shipping office was way back in the far south west corner of the department.

There used to be trees and picnic tables outside the building. I luxuriated there in the open on my breaks to warm up. The chillers could not be regulated and the factory was so cold in the dog days of summer. I bundled up so in hooded sweatshirts: Gwen said it looked like I was from the “hood”!!!

It pains me so to think back to the happy memories and then see the utter destruction. We will survive this….


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.