I was a reporter in the early part of my career with Rubber & Plastics News, and I was assigned to cover the meeting for our publication. It was one of those assignments you didn't mind too much, getting to flee Ohio's winter for a few day's in Arizona. That included covering the main business session of the meeting and interviewing a number of the company executives, and writing stories based on those. It also brought with it the chance to play a couple of rounds of golf, something we don't often get to do in Ohio in January.
Back in those days, the tire companies really went all out to show their dealers a good time, with ongoing parties and events that also were geared toward getting the dealers to spend heavily on the company's tire lines (complete with the opportunity to earn a wide range of gifts).
The first couple of days were pretty non-eventful. That is, until the final night's gala. For this event, General planned a multi-course dinner. Bison was on the menu; I'm not sure why I remember that, other than it's a dish I haven't opted to try since. And Paul Anka was brought in as the star entertainer of the night.
I was one of the last people to come into the banquet hall at the hotel. I didn't know a lot of people there, but I was able to find the table where Dave Zielasko and his wife Gwen were seated. Dave at the time was editor of Tire Business, a sister publication of RPN, and he currently is publisher of both RPN and TB. Much to my luck, they had one seat left at the table.
Megan had brought her sister Beth with her to the dealer meeting. During dinner I actually sat next to Beth and some of Megan's other colleagues at General. After dinner was completed and Paul Anka had done his gig, I excused myself to get a cocktail at one of the bars out in the hallway.
I was out there awhile and was ready to call it a night, but went back in to tell Dave and Gwen goodnight. But they had left by this time, and Megan was the only one at the table. We started talking and found we had some things in common. Both our fathers were deceased, but had long careers in the rubber industry.
My dad (also Bruce) actually had worked in outside sales for General Tire in the 1960s in Ohio and California. He later moved onto Long Mile Rubber Co. and then was the first manager for the Goodyear retread plant that still operates in Brunswick, Ohio.