Thirty-five years ago this week, I rolled into Hartford, Connecticut for a permanent stay. I had been here in June 1981 for an interview, but it wasn’t until August 3rd that I arrived here from Seattle, Washington via the Trans-Canada Highway and a few days of vacation in Montreal.
My interview in June had been hastily arranged after another interview with the same firm (Peat Marwick Mitchell) fell through. It didn’t so much fall as it was thrown. A partner in their New York City office stood me up after I had traveled 2 hours from CT to NYC. Late that night, when the partner from Hartford called, I wasn’t interested, at first. We talked until well after midnight, and I grew to like him. He offered me the chance to interview later the same morning. Since I had never been to Connecticut before, I asked for directions.
“Can you find your way to I-91?”
“Good. From your hotel, you can only go north on 91, so do that. We’re in a building in Hartford called ‘The Gold Building’, if you can’t find that, I wouldn’t hire you anyway.”
For some reason, his snarky answers only made him seem more interesting.
I left for the interview at 6:00 am and I felt pretty silly when I arrived, over an hour early, especially since Hartford only had 4 tall buildings at the time and only one was gold. The interview is another story, but suffice it to say, I took the job and returned in August ready to work.
Once inside on day-1, I was introduced to the only consultant who I hadn’t met in June, John M. I was also sent to Office Accounts to have my picture taken and to complete my paperwork. I spent the first part of that process, standing at the shelf of a Dutch door that protected the accounting staff from the riffraff of alleged professionals like me. With the paperwork complete, I was told to go get a haircut. I protested, thinking that it would be hard to find a barber on a Monday morning, but I was pointed in the direction of a shop that was open.
That barber, is still my barber. John M. is my best friend, and was my best man two years later when I married the woman who helped me fill out the paperwork. I had been to that door, many times in two years, usually asking for a travel advance. I’ve been asking her for money ever since.
Within the span of about an hour, I met what a friend of mine has labeled “my trifecta” – 35 years later, these people are all still in my life.
One Financial Plaza, the official name of the Gold Building is 344.6’ (102 m) tall with 26 floors of commercial space and a lobby and basement level with a little bit of retail space. There was a restaurant in the basement in 1981, but none of us can remember its name. It served quiche. It also had a nice bar. The building has a helipad on the roof, and it was rumored that Harry Gray, then Chairman of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) was the occupant of the only helicopter to regularly land there. We were on the 15th floor, but you knew when Harry had arrived.
On a personal note, the Gold Building figured prominently in a recurring nightmare of mine for years. In the 80s, the building was owned by UTC (makers of jet engines, helicopters and all things military in nature). In my dream, those vertical round tubes separating the windows, were actually rocket engines. The building would take off from Hartford and John and I would pilot it into space.
This post is part of the ongoing study of doors being conducted by Norm Frampton each Thursday. You can drive for about 5 hours up I-91 (& I-89) from Hartford to Montreal to find Norm, or, you can fly your building to his website. Check out his doors, click the blue button and either add your own door or view lots of others.