Selling A Dream – Where Are They Now?

Elizabeth Harper 1979

Elizabeth Harper – Woolco Department Store -1979

In 1979, I worked briefly in Woolco department store which was owned by a name you may more easily recognize as Woolworth’s. While my job title was ‘Camera Department Manager’ the only thing I had to manage beyond inventory and sales was the boredom I felt on the job everyday. (See goofing off image above)

Woolco was well into its decline when I landed there as most of its potential customers had moved on to the new malls that offered more excitement than our discounted merchandise and a long-term lay-away plans.

While I did my job well enough to receive an employment offer from a local station (religious broadcasting, as I remember it) for finding some dated equipment that they had not been able locate anywhere else, the biggest deal I closed was with two young men about my age who were passing by the camera counter during a slow day in March of 1979.

After realizing pretty quickly that they were not interested in camera gear, I remember talking about the future and what I wanted to do with my life. At that point, I was secretly considering joining the military. Having graduated early from high school and spent six months studying commercial photography by the time I’d turned 18, I was back at home with my parents while working and trying to decide what to do next.

I probably told them that I had three immediate goals which were,  to see more of the world, save money for school (University) and become independent. I can’t remember what they said or how I convinced them that three years in the army might give them opportunities they could not get by staying where they were, but by the end of our across the glass counter chat, I had talked two strangers into a life changing decision.

A few days later, they met me at the recruitment office and before anyone could say, ‘ I’ve changed my mind,’ we were all in the employ of  our Uncle Sam. I came in at a higher pay grade having earned one stripe for bringing two qualified candidates in with me which fit the requirements for the Buddy program in place at the time.

All this occurred 34 years ago this month and I can’t help but wonder how things turned out for the daring young men who joined the army after talking with me. I guess I was doing a bit of life coaching before it was trendy.

One of the things I like about Facebook and the internet is the ability to see what folks you haven’t heard from in years have done with themselves. I enjoy seeing who they’ve become, what dreams came true, and what new ones are in front of them. I wish I could remember the names of the two young men who enlisted with me so I could see if the leap they took on an afternoon in March was one that helped them live a bigger life than they had imagined possible in 1979.

I know it sounds crazy, but I thought with the internet being what is today and the way we can share information, if you could pass this along to your social network, then perhaps someone who has heard a similar story from a man, describing how a young woman with a dream talked him into a bold adventure at a camera counter on an afternoon in March … maybe I might find out how things turned out for them.

Thank you.

7 thoughts on “Selling A Dream – Where Are They Now?

  1. Elizabeth, I reposted on my FB page, asking for help in finding these two young men. Who knows, if enough people do it, it just might work. Good luck!

  2. first of all, love the boots. very hispter these days. and how interesting to know that you changed two lives like that. i wish you well in tracking down how the story turned out.

    • Thanks, Angella and thanks for the complement on my boots. I’d snagged those from the men’s section to take a playful photo, but some in my size would have worked given the flannel shirt I was wearing. Fingers crossed about the story … I will do updates if anything comes of it.

  3. I think you can get closer by referencing what you know, as far as the town and military branch. There are specific chat sections where you can post your question. For example, my husband’s pleasure boat was taking on water, on the Med. in the early sixties. He knew it was a US ship that saved him. I posted a question on a navy chat site and several weeks later got a response from the young sailor who threw him a tow line forty years ago. He didn’t remember husband so much as the pretty girls who were sinking with him:)

    • You’re right, English Rider. I’ll reach out through some forums to add to the efforts, but if those two were like me and only served one tour of duty, they may not be reachable through conventional military forums. It’s worth a try though. For the record, we all enlisted in the Army, in March of 1979 in Marietta, Georgia. That’s all I know. (They were between 17 & 21, but I don’t think they were as old as that)

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