John Boyd suggested to me that writing this article and a good bottle of red wine go very well together so....
I have always been in the oil patch. My father worked in the field for a predecessor to Home Oil. At that time we lived on a tank farm and compressor station west of Hartell, between Turner Valley and "Little Chicago" and "Little New York" (Royalties and Longview). I began school at Royalties (which no longer exists) in a small two room school house. Even now on a warm spring day I have the urge to play marbles and put on my gumboots. My sister and I loved the country and roamed the fields and hills, bringing home shopping bags full of wild flowers, wrecking ant hills and such.
My fourth year in school saw our family move to Calgary, my father was in the Home Oil office then. We adjusted to the big city easily as we lived close to Nose Hill, where we could still catch garter snakes and pick flowers. I still see people occasionally from those school years.
In 1959 we moved to Carstairs when the Home Oil Carstairs Gas Plant opened. I always feel fortunate being raised for the most part in rural Alberta. I was on the basketball team, curling league, was yearbook editor and student union President in grade 12. I never did get a chance to ride a horse in the Rodeo parade though. I was Rodeo Queen the year the rodeo was postponed due to rain, so on the day of the parade the grade 12's were writing final exams.
I migrated back to Calgary after graduating high school. I did want to become a teacher, but math was my downfall, receiving a lower mark every time I rewrote the exam – so I gave up. My first real job was at Lowe Petroleum Engineers which became International Petrodata. The geologists would mark tops on well logs, which us peons would code and send to be keypunched. I left there in late '69 to do my little bit of world travel, hitching around the UK and down to Germany. Howard Geddes (ex Carstairs Gas Plant Super) was in London managing the Home Oil office and kindly offered their home as my "base" of travel.
On my return, I started at CDP Computer Data Processors, where my seismic education began in their copy center – SIB tapes, carter tapes, and the big round ones French Petroleum used to use (magnadiscs). I filled in blanks on film section labels – I have probably shown a lot of data that went through my hands back then. A few years ago I organized a CDP reunion, we had great fun, Neil Thompson, Bill Carr, Doug Bath, many are still very active in the geophysical community. Sorry I can't list them all.
In the spring of 1970 I became the first employee of Western Seismic Exchange we were all ex CDP (Howard Gibson, Bob Morris, Jim Silye and Ron Nickle). We were the fourth brokerage company in town. The brokerage industry has gone through tremendous growth – both in technology and personnel, since then. I have had the privilege and good fortune to meet and work with many wonderful people.
In the late '70's, still at WSE, I decided I was going to remain in the geophysical industry and should learn more about it, so enrolled and completed the geophysical technician certificate at SAIT. Graham Pye and Ray Baird were two of my instructors – thanks guys.
The beginning of the '80's and I started brokering – one of the first female brokers. I have enjoyed it ever since, in spite of the cyclical ups and downs. Brokers learn to accept rejection very well. It was during one of these downturns and having an interest in fashion, I began marketing a women's clothing line by the name of Leigh Morgan Fashions – which I still continue.
I have had the pleasure of serving on several CSEG convention committees, as well as being Secretary of the CSEG. Volunteering in any aspect of the CSEG is very rewarding.
The summer of 1995, I organized a high school reunion – the first in 30 years. It was at this reunion that I re-met a school mate, Norm Kirk. I have thus returned to my roots as Norm and I live on a farm outside of Carstairs. My current education now is not geophysics but agriculture. I have learned how to drive tractors, bale greenfeed, test grain for moisture content, and vaccinate a cow. (I closed my eyes). I enjoy the peace and quiet, the wonderful scenery of grain fields, sunrises, sunsets and northern lights, and clear roads in the winter.
I have a huge garden and supply my family and half the office with fresh vegetables. My mother was very proud of me last year when I won ribbons for some of my entries in the vegetable and pickle categories. Farming does not leave much time for skiing and golfing now, but I make good wine and can cook harvest meals – and have gumboots again.
After 25 years at Western Seismic, the company was purchased by Request Seismic Surveys, and we were all added to the fold. Exciting times again. I have been inspired by many in my life, beginning with my parents and teachers, co-workers and friends, to work hard, be honest and caring and enjoy life. And I do.