Monday, April 19, 2010

Weeds and Yours Truly

Do you see them? Trust me, they're there.

The other day we were talking about the kids wanting to get a job this summer. That conversation lead to rabbit trails of thoughts in my own mind. I was thinking about many of the jobs I've had over my life. I was taught the importance of work at a very early age.

This could make for a very interesting entry. Here goes...

One of the earliest jobs I can remember was getting paid twenty-five cents (that's right, $.25, not $25!) to fill a 5-gallon bucket full of rocks from the garden. That was a long time ago. I knew even then that twenty-five cents was not a lot of money for such a hard and dirty job. There were no known child labor laws at our house. I did the job and hated every minute of it. I suppose the only other job I hated more when I was a little girl was pulling weeds from the garden. I didn't get paid for that job.

Pause here...

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate bugs? And snakes? And spiders? Guess where they lived? Yes, that's right. In the garden. And they are attracted to 5-gallon buckets and little curly-haired blond girls. I can still see me standing in the middle of the garden hysterically screaming and crying. It never got me out of work. Nope, not once.

OK, now that you really feel sorry for me, here's some more stuff...

My father woke me up most mornings at 4 a.m. to make his breakfast which consisted of 6 to 8 fried eggs and buttered toast. He didn't eat again until he came home for dinner, 12 to 14 hours later. I was paid $1 each day I made him breakfast. I remember feeling guilty if by chance there was a broken egg since he should only have the "good" eggs. I would often eat the broken egg. I was very happy to do this since I loved my daddy so much. When he drove down our long driveway to head into work, it was still dark outside. I would flick the front porch lights three times to say, "I love you!" and he would flash the head lights of his car three times to tell me he loved me too.

I have always had a love for horses. I wanted one terribly when I was 10. My father told me if I could pay for the food, I could have a horse. I got a job delivering newspapers. I walked. I rode my bicycle. I pulled a wagon on Wednesdays when the paper was a bigger edition. Sometimes I rode my horse. One time I delivered Christmas Day newspapers in wrapping paper and a bow. My father would often drive me on my route early on Sunday mornings. He would let me drive the car home...all by myself. Come on now, we lived in the country. Newspapers were $1.10 a week. If memory serves me correctly, I had about 52 customers. I don't know how much money I made. I just remember always having a pocket-full of change and riding my bicycle to a tiny little convenience store and spending it on candy and beef sticks.

I babysat a few times. I should never have been allowed to babysit. I didn't like kids. I didn't know anything about them. And I didn't know what to do with them. But I needed a job and babysitting jobs were everywhere. I have this terrible memory of reading the classified ads and calling a woman about a full-time babysitting job for her four kids. I don't know how old I was. Maybe 13. The woman was so desperate, she came and picked me up that day and drove me to her house. She lived in a big old house. She had four filthy children and a flea-infested dog. And a flea-infested house. I didn't know what to do with the kids (although I must have done something), but I knew how to clean. And I cleaned that filthy house and washed laundry. Oh, when I think of it, chills run down my spine. I'm pretty sure I babysat for this lady the entire summer. This was the first year I had to buy all of my own school clothes.

I worked at a pizza shop the summer I turned 16. I passed out cold on my first day. I just remember the manager walking through this big hot kitchen and the next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and there were all these people standing around me staring. She sent me home. I worked there for sometime and never had the opportunity to pass out again. Although finding a huge pig's tooth in the bulk sausage just about did me in. I left shortly after that.

I worked at a jewelry store. I must have been 16 or 17. It was in the winter. I remember having to take a polygraph test. When I finished taking the test, this old bald man sitting across the desk asked me if I was an angel. I got the job. I liked that job, by the way.

My first real job out of high school was working for a law firm as a secretary. I rode a bus downtown. Weird people often rode buses. I can't believe my parents made me take a bus. I could type 120 words per minute, you know. In my early days of employment, I didn't know proper phone etiquette and would often say, "yay" instead of "yes" when speaking to an important client. "Is Mr. So-in-so available?" they'd ask. "Yep, hang on," I'd answer. Terrible. The senior partner called me in his office one day and handed me a little book on how to answer a phone properly. Poor guy. To my credit, I was very, very teachable and learned quickly. And I did learn and became a highly coveted legal secretary by the time I left. When I turned in my resignation a few years later, another one of the senior partners called me in his office and told me if I stayed, they would pay for me to go to college and send me to law school. I didn't even think about it. I told him no. It was after I left this job I took that vacation to Cancun. By myself.

We'll stop here where it appears as though I must be the most stupid person living on the planet. Who on earth would turn down an offer like that? That would be me. Yours truly.

More on this tomorrow. Maybe.


  1. Oh, I love this...I'm gonna have a hard time waiting till tomorrow!! I'll be singin' "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you..." I'll stop there, I know...horrible voice 'n no talent for singing. Anyway, "this" turned on me "tear faucet", but it was the "joy" faucet!! I'm beginning to see why "the blogger" is a SUPER WONDERFUL mom!! Seriously!!! Hugz!

  2. I can hardly wait for you to continue the account of your jobs!! :) :) :) This was fun to read!