Posts Tagged ‘Alyce Kaiser’

Ale Kaiser’s Pink Christmas truck

posted on December 19, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

FC-170 Jeep truck - Xmas gift for Ale Kaiser, 1958

FC-170 Jeep truck – Henry’s Christmas gift for Ale Kaiser, 1958

Henry J. Kaiser may have been a bold man of action and an international industrialist leader, but he was also a devoted husband. So it should come as no surprise that he was perfectly happy to break with 1950s gender-stereotyped gift giving by buying his wife a pink truck for Christmas.

Kaiser and his second wife Alyce “Ale” moved to Hawaii in 1954, where they enjoyed the island life until Henry died on August 24, 1967 at the age of 85. Alyce’s favorite color was pink, which was the reason why some of the Kaiser facilities in Hawaii are pink. Not just any pink, “Kaiser Pink.”

It had all started when ordering custom-dyed leather for furniture in his Hawaiian Village Hotel. What was supposed to be a mild coral pink showed up a far deeper hue. Too late to change for the opening, the color proved to be a popular hit.

Henry declared that “Pink is a happy color,” and he and Ale proceeded to use it for everything, from building trim, to cement trucks, to catamarans. It was even rumored that Ale once dyed her poodles. And oh, by the way, since it turned out that Ale also liked trucks…

This Christmas story from 1958, written by a Kaiser Industries public affairs person, is a window into their personal life.

Mrs. Henry J. Kaiser started a while back letting the word get back to her industrialist husband that what she wanted most for Christmas this year was – a truck.

At first, Mr. Kaiser couldn’t believe it. One night he exclaimed at dinner table, “I guess I’m being kidded … Everyone in the house seems to think your heart’s desire for Christmas is a powerful truck.”

“But it is – really!” Mrs. Kaiser declared.

Henry J. Kaiser and Ale Kaiser, wedding photo, 1951-04-10. [C10-Oakland Trib - Box 22]

Henry J. Kaiser and Ale Kaiser, wedding photo, 4/10/1951.

“Now what on earth would you do with a truck?” asked Mr. Kaiser, who manufactures Willys Jeep trucks in the United States, Argentina, and Brazil. [The year before moving to Hawaii, the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation had purchased Jeep manufacturer Willys-Overland for approximately $60 million. It would remain under Kaiser Industries control until 1970.]

“It would be great,” Mrs. Kaiser explained, “if I had a truck to haul landscaping plants and gardening supplies when we build our new Portlock Road house. Think of all the uses.”

“Now wouldn’t that be a sight when the family gathers at the Christmas tree and opens packages,” Mr. Kaiser remonstrated, “and I’d say – ‘now come out to the garage, Ale, and see your present’ – and there’d be a pink truck wrapped in cellophane.”

“Just the same,” Mrs. Kaiser replied, “that’s what I want for Christmas.”

So that’s the story-behind-the-story of the Kaiser Pink truck that created something of a sensation among Honolulu people who saw it lowered from the S.S. Leilani, or rolling over to the Von-Hamm-Young Company Jeep distributorship and then out to the Kaiser Kahala avenue house.

FC-170 Jeep truck - Xmas gift for Ale Kaiser, 1958

FC-170 Jeep truck for Ale Kaiser, 1958

The Kaiser gift to his wife is the new Forward Control Jeep FC-170 that can carry 3,500 pounds of cargo on its nine-foot truck body. Mr. Kaiser explained that the 1,700-pound heavy-duty vehicle has nine forward and three reverse power combinations.

Mrs. Kaiser forthwith took the powerful Jeep out for a rigorous drive. She came back beaming.

“It’s a living doll,” she exclaimed. “It’s the most useful Christmas present you could have – simply terrific.”

P.S. – Mr. Kaiser, who thought he was going along with a gag, had another present wrapped and under the Christmas tree for his wife, but decided she wasn’t joking – she obviously was so overjoyed over getting her wish – the pink truck.

 

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The story of the Color Coded Files – Kaiser Walnut Creek Hospital, 1953

posted on August 10, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

ColorCodedFiles2

 

 

Jack Chapman photo and caption, KaiPerm Kapsul, 1958-06

Jack Chapman, KaiPerm Kapsul, June 1958.

Jack Chapman was hired in 1951 by Kaiser Permanente physician founder Sidney Garfield to be the assistant administrator of Oakland Hospital. Chapman personally supervised the construction of our Walnut Creek Hospital for Henry J. Kaiser and became the hospital’s first administrator. He was also a keeper of Kaiser Permanente’s heritage and a master teller of corporate folklore to generations of employees.

When Jack left this earth in 1999 a Kaiser Permanente obituary called him “a legend in his own time.”  This is one of his stories captured in an interview, about the brand-new Walnut Creek Hospital that opened September 15, 1953 and the open house held August 23-30.

 

“Sunday morning, it was about 5 o’clock in the morning and the phone rings.” Jack!” “Yes, Mr. Kaiser.” He’d call you all times, time did not mean anything to him. “We’re having a meeting at 8 o’clock down at the Clinic.” “Okay, yes, right, you bet, Mr. Kaiser.” “I want you to be there.”

So, Wally Cook, Fred Pellegrin and myself, yeah, that was just the three of us. Well, we got there. Sidney is there, Ale Kaiser [Henry J. Kaiser’s second wife Alyce, whom he married in 1951] and Helen [Helen Chester Peterson, Dr. Garfield’s second wife, whom he’d married less than three months earlier].

“Jack, what’s this filing system you have concocted here?” I said, “It’s called the terminal digit system. Filed by the rear numbers. We have been filing by numbers, Mr. Kaiser, in sequence. But, God, if you misfile, how do you find the thing. This way, you always have the last two numbers and misfiling is very rare. Some people will invert them, a 90 can become a 09 or sometimes people will put them upside down like 06 or 09 but at least you can go to those bins and, you know have a pretty good chance of finding the record.”

I said, “Well, I don’t think that is any good at all.”

Ale then says, “We don’t want to treat our members as numbers.”

I tried to argue, you know, and I got about from here to the end of that desk and that was the end of it. “It is going to alphabetical.” “Alphabetical, oh God,” I said.

Filing medical records, 1965 [circa]

Nurse filing paper medical records, Kaiser Permanente Oakland hospital, circa 1965.

“And, we are going to have a color code.” “You mean, different colors for the different letters of the alphabet.” “Yeah.” “Fine” I said. So here we are, we pull all the charts out and here’s the A’s and Mr. Kaiser is putting the A’s, and the B’s, C’s. Finally, with charts on the floor on a Sunday morning, I said, “Jeez, I wonder if they have enough colors to cover the alphabet.” “We’ll have them make ‘em up.” So sure enough, I don’t know what those chart jackets cost, it must have been ungodly to have these all made up. You know, we had puce, purple and all different colors, my God! Lime green, you know, it looked like Jell-O up there.

“But anyway, we had color codes and then you had to understand what each color meant, that that was an A color and a B color and a D color or whatever. I can recall that incident so well, oh my goodness gracious. Well, it was kind of funny. Finally, the hospital was really going along and we were getting ready to open … we got the whole thing dolled up. We had an open house here like you’ve never seen in your life. We went on for two weeks, every night. 35,000 people marched through this hospital.”

 

Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/2bjsVuo

 

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