Posts Tagged ‘nj’

The Compac Song

January 24, 2013

For 3 years I worked at a factory known as Compac Corp. in Stanhope, NJ where the main product was reinforced insulation backing paper.  One of the operators of the machine I ended up on was Don Davis (not the actor.) One time when I came in for my shift, he handed me a piece of paper and said that he wrote a song about Compac and that it took him all of 5 minutes to do it. Somehow I remembered it all of these years, though I did have to wrack my brain a bit to do it. I place before you the song he wrote with some clarifications of what the heck he’s talking about at the end.

Don has since passed beyond.  I know that many of his co-workers disliked his surly attitude, but he never did me any harm. In the microcosm that Compac was, I only ever found one individual that had no redeeming qualities.

The Compac Lament

by Don Davis

to the tune of “Detroit City”

I wanna go home. I wanna go home

Oh how I wanna go home.

Today I worked a shift here at Compac

And  tell you that I think it was a sin.

Number 2 fell apart, Number 8 would not start.

Where’s the help? The wheel wrapped up again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey John, I wanna go home.

Night shift really sucks here at Compac.

Just look around there’s clowns ev’ry where.

There goes a foil ball through the air, and a firecracker over there.

Where’s the help? the foil broke again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey Frank, Let me go home.

One day I’ll quit working here at Compac.

I’ll get a job and work 8 hours ev’ry day.

I’ll make money by the ton, and I’ll have lots of fun.

And I’ll never say ‘Where’s the help?’ again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey Charlie! I’m gonna go home.

Clarifications:

  • The machines in the lamenation department were all numbered with even numbers. Don Davis was working on machine #10 at the time which was in the same ‘room’ with laminators #2 and #8. #10 was the newest machine at the time.
  • The wheel wrapping up refers to a huge wheel on #10 that contained spools of fiberglass string. The spinning wheel created a diamond shaped pattern in the product and added strength. Occasionally one or two of the strings would break and sometimes grab a few others. Sometimes the entire wheel of strings would start winding around the axle assembly and the machine would have to be stopped and each string restrung.
  • John was the foreman on the day shift.
  • Frank was the night shift foreman.
  • Charlie was the plant manager at the time.
  • The lamenations department operated on two 12 hour shifts, day and night.
  • The product was manufactured by gluing together aluminum foil and paper wit the fiberglass strings between the layers. Occasionally the foil (or paper) would break and create a mess of varying degrees.  I either case it required the full crew of (usually 3 men to get the machine running again.
  • As mentioned, the shifts were 12 hours long. Many of us wished for 8 hour shifts.
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Two Books and Counting

November 14, 2012

Apparently I haven’t yet mentioned two books that I’ve written and are now available for purchase from Lulu.

The first is called Sussex Branch Tales. This book stems from my research into the Sussex Branch of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad. Reading all the newspaper articles about the railroad I got the idea that short stories about different time periods would be fun to write.  The book consists of six short stories. It is available here for purchase and makes a great Christmas gift!

The second book is a novel I wrote, The Observer, the development of which stems way back to my high school days.  I wrote it back in 1995-97, mostly on a Commodore 64 and a Macintosh SE.  I had the text available online for a time, but decided to make it available in print, chiefly because my niece wanted to read it.  My daughter now enjoys it as well.  The Observer is available here.

My third book is still in the works and is to be a history book about the station building of the Sussex Branch. The title will be Remember the Sussex Branch.  I hope to have it available early in 2013.