All the jobs I’ve loved and hated before
In my long young life I have worked at many places some were nice and some were not so nice.
My first job was picking potatoes. I was only allowed to pick on Saturday and Sunday as Mom wanted one of her kids to graduate from High School.
The pay was peanuts: $.20 a barrel which holds about 3 bushels. A “section” was about long enough to fill one bushel basket with potatoes. By the way, the best way to pick the fastest was to stand and bend over at the waist and pick them up one by one using both hands. I could pick about 20 or 30 barrel a day. My mother could pick 100 barrels a day. Amazing woman! The funniest thing that happened was when one of the pickers put his arm around my Mother to get a little kiss. He had obviously drunk his lunch or he never would have tried that with her! She brought her fist up from her waist and laid him out, cold! No one ever bothered her again. We didn’t know we were poor. I loved canned Franco-American Spaghetti cold from the can for lunch more than sandwiches.
We also picked beans and it was harder than potatoes and no more money and it takes a lot more beans to make a bushel than potatoes.
My first real paying job was waitressing! I was so green and naive and the owner was a really nice guy, but had a cracked sense of humor. He told me that the Crullers (long round donuts) were called “Male Donuts”. I called them that until someone took pity on me and explained it to me. I got a lot of tips because even though I was not a great waitress, I laughed at myself along with them.
Another job was at a new Shoe Store. My boss told me all about this new shoe that was called “a pound a pair”. I was fascinated with it and soaked up all the best-selling points. One day a guy came in and I started telling him all about them, eve had a pair on his feet before he again took pity on me and introduced himself as the owner of the store. My boss was laughing so hard she nearly wet her pants. He was impressed though, unfortunately I didn’t get a raise.
I once worked as a waitress for Howard Johnson in South Carolina. We were supposed to carry everything on a big tray, even if it was a pat of butter! One day everyone was all in a twitter because the big guy himself was coming in for lunch. Nobody wanted the honors of waiting on him. I volunteered and everyone said empathically NO! I was told to hide in the back room and not to come out under any circumstances! That job didn’t last long as I was responsible for more broken dishes than the money I earned. Oh well! I hated the job and the uniforms!
Now the uniform of the next job was up my alley! A t-shirt and a pair of little red shorts (I was a lot smaller then) and a pair of rolling skates! I was a Car Hop if you didn’t guess that already! Girls my age (18) weren’t supposed to serve alcohol so when someone ordered Beer we served it in the plastic cups that milk-shakes were served in. I got tons of tips and several invitations to go out on the guy’s boats for an ocean cruise. Now, I am naïve, but not stupid! Out on a boat on the ocean miles from land with a couple guys and no way to walk home? I let them tip me real big, but no cruises.
Hey I dated one guy for a couple of weeks, and he seemed nice until two Men in Black Suits knocked on my door with guns under their jackets and nice gold badges in a wallet asked me a lot of questions about that guy. I spilled my guts! And the next week I packed up and left town. My Mother didn’t raise no fools! Well, I did have two brothers.
I moved to Hartford Conn and went to work for Hartford Fire Insurance as a Keypunch Operator. What a fun job, setting all day punching holes in cards that the guys across the file cabinets used in the computers? I put a question behind computers, as they were the very beginning of computers. My boss used to tell me “A change is as good as a rest” when she pushed something new on me. This great piece of advice was from a woman that drank her lunch every day. I lived with two room-mates and that was so much fun. One of them was such a ditz that the other girl and I helped and encouraged her to get married as fast we could. The other girl was nice but evidently Mom took such good care of her that she was incompetent at anything that had to do with cleaning. While I slaved every Saturday washing all my clothes by hand and hung them out to dry and ironed everything she seemed to always be neat and clean for work. I made the mistake of borrowing one of her blouses and discovered that she never washed anything, when most of her clothes were dirty, she mailed them to her mother, who washed starched and ironed them and mailed them back. She also failed to get up and get ready for work so many times and we had to pay a taxi that I started to leave her to pay it by herself.
I once got a job even thought my typing skill was minus 10 words a minute! I got the job because I knew how to set a tab.
Working in the Shoe Shop was an experience that everyone should have! My job was to zig zag the backs of Ice Skates, Bowling Shoes, and Golf shoes on an industrial sewing machine. I would do about 30 pairs at a time and cut them apart. I was and am still very fast with my hands and I am ambidextrous. I wanted a raise from 1 cent a pair to 2 or 3 cents a pair, so when the boss (not the sharpest tool in the shed) came by with his stop watch to time me (supposedly without me noticing) I did a lot of movements and not much work, until he left. I never got the raise and as a matter of fact, I was escorted to the door and told that they didn’t need me anymore. There were three very good reasons. 1. I talked up Unions. 2. One of the Supervisors called me out of the bathroom to tell me to get back to work! I picked him up by the front of his shirt and put him up against the wall with his feet dangling and told him never to call me out of the bathroom again. 3. Another Supervisor thought that we should date and dogged me everywhere. I dodged him but when he got too friendly at work. I told him NEVER to put his hands on me! Unfortunately for him he attempted it after I saw him put his arms around the girl next to me and fondle her boobs. I attempted to give him a vasectomy without the anesthetic. If he was slower with his hand I might have accomplished the deed.
When I explained number 3 to the Unemployment Department I was granted full unemployment benefits.
This brings me up to the time I settled down; got married and raised a family! Stay tuned for the next chapter to follow about 20 years later.