What's on my desk? Parking attendant happy to share space, stories
Fargo - Walt Seeba spent a good part of his working years with J.C. Penney, putting in more than three decades with the company, many of them as a manager.
By 63, he was retired and looking for something to keep himself busy.
He landed a job manning the attendant’s booth at the Radisson Hotel parking ramp in downtown Fargo, and 22 years later you can still find him there several days a week.
Seeba said the past two decades have been largely uneventful in the parking booth, though now and then someone would break through the barrier arm connected to the booth.
But even those events have dwindled since the wooden arms were replaced with bright orange tubes made of plastic.
When struck, the new barriers pop off rather than break like the wood ones did, but few people seem ready to test them.
“They don’t know, it might be solid steel,” said Seeba, whose booth contains magazines and a radio to occupy his thoughts when he’s not interacting with drivers coming and going.
Taped to the windows of the booth are several images that remind Seeba of special people and times in his life.
1. A photograph of daughter Anne, one of 10 children Seeba raised with his wife, Mary Jo.
2. A photo of his wife, Mary Jo.
And tucked in the corner of one window is a decal of a small yellow shield emblazoned with a horse’s head and a diagonal black stripe, the insignia for the 1st Cavalry Division, the Army unit Seeba served in during the Korean War.
What you won’t find in the booth is a photo of the late Roger Maris, the one-time resident of Fargo renowned for hitting 61 major league home runs in 1961.
But there is a connection; Maris’ widow, Pat, is Mary Jo Seeba’s sister.
Walt Seeba said he may have played a role in his in-laws getting hitched.
“I liked him, he went to school with my younger brother,” Seeba said, referring to Maris.
One day when they were chatting together in the backyard, Seeba turned to the Yankee slugger and let him know that Pat Carvell, who Maris was dating at the time, could have her pick of any number of impressive suitors.
“I said, ‘If you want my advice, Rog, you’d better get her (Pat) spoken for,’” Seeba recalled.