In 1982, my final year at the Art Institute of Atlanta, while driving from home (Spartanburg) to school, I saw a billboard on I-85 near Greer. It said that Naegele Outdoor Advertising would soon be opening offices in that location. Since I would be needing a job soon, I called to see if Naegele needed anyone to work in their Art Department. Coincidentally, Tom was looking for an assistant.
We set up an interview for the week after I graduated. To my delight, Tom hired me immediately! I'm not sure why he decided so quickly, but I know he liked my portfolio and I felt like we had "hit it off."
(Tom told me, years later, that our boss, Darrell Merchant, was convinced that Tom and I were having an affair, since Tom had hired me on the spot! Tom assured him that we had never met before. We had a good laugh over that!)
If Tom hadn't hired me I would never have met my husband. Cliff was a Field Engineer for Visual Graphics Corporation. He did maintenace work on the Photostat Equipment we used in the Art Department. Tom always said that he took Cliff out for drinks after work and convinced him to ask me out. Cliff says, "He didn't need convincing, but Tom encouraged him."
For nearly 10 years I worked with Tom. Thinking back, I realize that during those years I probably spent more time with him than anyone else, even my family. Come to think of it, we were family! We worked side-by-side in a small room, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day (Most days we even had lunch together.) He came to see me in the plays that I was in. We even went to some movies.
It was just Tom and me in that room at Naegele for most of those years. We listened to music and books and talked about everthing from movies to politics to religion to life. We laughed, we cried, we argued, and, yes, we loved each other. I learned a lot from Tom. He told me, " Art is anything you can get away with!" You know, he was right!
Posted by Amy Howell
Tuesday April 10, 2018 at 3:44 am