My Attempted Name Change & Intro

Share your memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA in Gurnee
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My Attempted Name Change & Intro

Post by NotBill » Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:20 pm

My first real job, obtained mere days after I got my license in the summer of 1988 was at SFGAM. I was independent minded, wanted to set out and clear my own path. I also had a terrible idea, trying to go by the short form of my first name, Bill, instead of the name I had been called since birth, my middle name, Guy.

It was tough getting a job at SFGAM then I think. I tried when I was 15 the year before and didn't have much luck. But fortune smiled on me and I was rewarded with a wonderful job in -- Kiosk!! Yes, the wonders of the wacky Kiosk crew. I loved the people but hated working with food so I sadly had to leave food service after "Making Great America GREAT in '88" as the bumper sticker proclaimed.

Since I was good enough to get rehired I of course got my pick of where to go and anyone who had half a brain knew who the Top Gun-like fighter jocks were at GA -- rides baby!! So I got in rides and was assigned to Power Dive ("Dive" in its second year) and Cajun Cliffhanger ("Cajun"). My lead was Jim Hartke and a friendly strawberry blonde who's name escapes me right now and I'm certain it will kill me when I remember because she and Jim both went all the way to Sup. Anyway, I gotta tell you, he was an absolute stitch and at 17 I idolized the guy. I remember going to the first training meetings weekends in March when it was cold as you would not believe. We ended up all sitting on the floor in Cajun to stay out of the wind. Needless to say Jim had some rather interesting names for Dive and once I feel out this board some I might share some of his antics. It all ended though when I decided to hook up with a fellow crew member who could not keep her hands off of me. It was too much for everyone to stomach and Jim politely took me aside one day and said "Bill, we gotta transfer you to Shockwave, you two can't work together". I was upset to be leaving Jim but to get the biggest baddest coaster in the park? Hell yeah I was for that, Dive/Cajun were history and so was that relationship before too long!!

I reported to Shockwave and can't remember the lead there and that is really embarrassing since I knew him vaguely from the Methodist Church in Antioch we both attended. I believe his greeting, upon seeing my hickeys that were my goodbye that morning, is also something I shouldn't share regarding advice for my girlfriend. I had a great time there, they were a bit more tight there the coaster jocks but it was a load of fun. I stayed the entire year until the last day and thus ended '89.

I'll share more later but I started '90 back at Shockwave hoping to get a shot at being PLUSed but for some reason I can't remember was moved to Iron Wolf (I think they were having issues and split that crew up and shuffled a bunch of people around) with my old lead from Dive/Cajun. I worked '90 until I had to leave for school in August and did manage to get PLUSed by the end of the year under my old lead's wing (I want to say Debbie, don't think that's right though).

'91 is a bit of a loss, I'm pretty sure in my rehire they wanted to make me assistant lead but for some reason I remember going to Lobster/Whirligig ("Gig") as a transfer early in the season and for the reason of being promoted to assistant lead. I can't remember, I may have even tried to go back to Shockwave again only to be moved. Anyway, I was there and made the mistake of dating a co-worker who made Lead and then I managed to get Lead at Carousel/Tower for the last couple of months with a famous red haired big guy who's name also escapes me. He was a training lead and as I remember he got busted down to Carousel/Tower as punishment or something, I can't remember. I remember him and a Dale (also training lead) being quite close friends. So, it was back to school.

I came back in '92 to be very upset that the best I could rate was lead at Condor/Rue Le Dodge ("Dodge"). I got there early as school was out real early that year due in part to the LA Riots. There were hardly any leads and I ended up having to run Carousel/Tower as well as my own unit and training a pack of full-time "silver badges" to certify and run rides the day of Physics Day '92. I stayed a good part of the year but due to incidents I shouldn't get into and highlight my shortcoming in social skills I left.

I still think I had one of the best "college jobs" anyone could ever have, I think a lot of the spirit of the park was still very evident then and people still remembered how Marriott's ran it. I go by today and frankly don't recognize it any more.

Would love to catch up with cohorts just remember to call me Guy because while my Six Flags name was "Bill", it never stuck!!
Guy Finley
aka "Bill" Finley
SFGAm Employee 1988 - 1992

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