Wife pens book on journey around the world

To prove one’s love by following their partner halfway around the world is rare. But Mott resident Geno Sloan was afforded that opportunity and now she’s telling the story.

Geno (left) and Sherman Sloan (right) sit at their dining room table behind Sherman’s old hard hat from MK. Geno recently finished an autobiography about her and her husband’s journey around the world while he worke for MK. [PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald]
Geno (left) and Sherman Sloan (right) sit at their dining room table behind Sherman’s old hard hat from MK. Geno recently finished an autobiography about her and her husband’s journey around the world while he worked for MK. [PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Herald]
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.com

To prove one’s love by following their partner halfway around the world is rare. But Mott resident Geno Sloan was afforded that opportunity and now she’s telling the story.

In the next few weeks Sloan will have copies of what she considers an autobiography titled “Construction Wife Life.”

In 1972, Sloan and her husband Sherman were given the choice to move to Coal Strip, Mont., or Harden, Mont., for a company called Morrison-Knudeson (MK). MK finds its roots dating back to the early 1900s and even had a hand in building The Hoover Dam.

The couple ultimately decided on Harden because it was a more established town, a decision Geno said turned out great.

“We thought, well, who knows, and it turned out great for us,” Geno said.

After spending some time in Harden they were transferred to Gillette, Wyo., for five years, again working in the coal industry. The company then moved Sherman to Washington where he was a concrete superintendent while MK was building nuclear power plants—they stayed there for another five years.

The next step in their journey took them further than they imagined, Columbia in South America. Sherman was offered the position and the two decided to take a chance; they moved thousands of miles away and would stay three years before being transferred back to the United States.

Geno and Sherman relocated to Tennessee where Sherman was involved in the building of a car plant for General Motors Co.’s former Saturn division. After a five-year stay in Tennessee, they returned to Washington to work on a plant for Boeing, a multinational American airplane manufacturer and retailer.

Their next stop took them abroad once again, this time to Mexico. Sherman worked there on a General Motors plant south of the border.

Their whirlwind concluded as MK put them back in Washington for a third time. He went back to work with Boeing when MK had formed a strategic partnership. They were there until retiring in 2000.

Throughout their journeys, Geno said they ran into all kinds of experiences, both good and bad.

In Washington they felt the rumble of an earthquake and were even present during the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

The duo ultimately settled in Mott.

Both Sherman and Geno were raised in southwest North Dakota and decided that was where they were going to make their home after retirement.

A few years ago Geno began to write down some stories from their adventures; little notes so the family could look back and remember the journey their work took them on.

But soon the little notes started to add up and Geno began to rethink the whole process.

“It just kind of morphed, little by little,” she said. “I didn’t plan to do a book.”

The process that took her from writing notes to getting a book published has been about three years and it was the Bakken oil movement that really got Geno motivated because she said they could relate to the same problems relocated workers face today. A thin housing market, new relationships and changing environment—it is everything a prospective Bakken oil worker would encounter.

“I can understand and relate to these Bakken people, and I think that may be what was the deciding factor for me,” Geno said. “There are so many people that are having to leave their homes and relocate for jobs.”

Geno said you could either make relocating a bad experience or a good adventure. She said that when they moved to another job site, they always tried to experience everything the area had to offer.

As the project began to progress, Geno was able to jot down much of the storied journey from memory. But what she wasn’t able to recall, she was able to reference in some saved past correspondence.

During their travels they wrote letters to different family members and when those family members passed away they were able to retrieve the letters.

Along with personal letters, Geno saved company-produced publications.

MK would put out different magazines and newsletters for its employees that kept detailed accounts of the various projects at the time. That material was especially valuable to Geno when trying to remember the finer details of Sherman’s projects. During one project the company poured what amounted to 11 million yards of concrete: an interesting factoid that added to her story.

She also utilized another source close to home.

Each chapter of the book begins with a narrative by Sherman detailing the specific project he was working on and the added content helped Geno tell the rest of the story.

When Geno was finished with the writing, she moved on to publishing the book.

She had taken some classes on publishing and investigated the procedures for doing it through Amazon. Some of the finer details of that process shied her away from Amazon, and after researching other publishers she decided it was best to self publish and have it printed in her home state.

“I’d rather have it printed in North Dakota; I would rather be a North Dakota author,” Geno said.

Geno designed the cover, which features a hard hat worn by Sherman throughout his career, and a neat direction sign donning the names of each stop they made through their journey.

The book is set to come out in early June. Details on how people can purchase the book have yet to be arranged. But those interested in Geno’s writing can find another work by her, available on Kindle. It’s a short story titled, “For Better or Worse,” about her grandmother falling in love with her grandfather after she was put into an arranged marriage with another man.

As Geno awaits the arrival of this book, she can only wonder what the response will be and hope for the best.

“I’m hoping that people will enjoy it and it help some of them,” Geno said.

Geno and Sherman never thought that the initial decision to take a job in Harden would ultimately lead them on an adventure-filled trip across the world.

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