Norm Foster sends us another of his memories -
Four days before Christmas and the excitement and anticipation had never been more intense. It had been months since I wrote my first letter to TCA and the penultimate exchange had been sent last week. Finally, the response arrived on December 21 and was hung on the tree.
About 4 months earlier, it was like a jolt of electricity when rumors that TCA was hiring pilots swept the Toronto Flying Club. Caught up in the excitement of the news I contacted the local TCA office and inquired about how to apply for a position as a pilot. After several transfers, I eventually ended up speaking to a member of their employment office and received the promise of an application.
Good as her word, a few days later an application arrived in the mail, along with the name and address of where to forward the completed document. Having just had my 19th birthday, and with a private pilot license, a total of about 90 hours and little else, the completed application looked a little sparse, so I added as a post script that I had just retired from the Air Cadets with the rank of Warrant Officer 1st Class. Satisfied, I sent it off to God, alias Captain G.K. Edward, Montreal, Quebec.
On learning of my brashness there were a few muffled snickers around the club, which were soon stifled by a return piece of mail from Captain Edward. Treated as a bonafide application for employment in his Flight Operations department, he pointed out the areas where my qualifications were insufficient. Thanking me for my interest he suggested that I contact him again upon attaining them all.
Over the next months, I regularly forwarded Captain Edward any information pertinent to my progress towards the commercial license. Items such as a night flying endorsement, the necessary dual flying time, and eventually my written exam results. Each received a muted but cordial response, but hoping for more, I devised a plan.
My next cross country flight was to Montreal’s Dorval Airport, arriving about noon on a Friday. With little difficulty I obtained Captain Edward's phone number and, after a short pause, his secretary put me directly through to him.
With all the correspondence I had bombarded him with over the past several months, he recognized my name. Soon, after a too brief chat, he offered that if ever I had some spare time, to drop into his downtown office.
An hour later, via Airport Bus, followed by a sprint, I soon found myself breathlessly being ushered into Captain Edward's office. My mind is blank as to the conversation except that very little of it involved my flying experience or my qualifications. Consequently, I guess that I looked a little dejected when I took the hint that it was time to go and with slumped shoulders, headed for the door. I stopped short and turned as he called my name.
“Norm, Get the rest of the requirements, and you have a job here!”
December 21, 1956 the following telegram arrived, hand delivered:
NOW ABLE OFFER EMPLOYMENT JAN. 7…. STOP……. ADVISE BY WIRE IF ABLE ACCEPT AND WILL FORWARD CONFIRMATION AND AIR PASS……. CAPT G.K. EDWARD
Sixty-four years later, I still have that special Christmas tree ornament. I shared my career with many exceptional TCA/Air Canada employees. None was more respected than Captain Edward.