Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Memories of childhood jobs


As far back as I can remember, I was always trying to make money. Maybe it's in the genes, since my grandparents were well-known antique dealers who used to do shows all over the country. My mom inherited their amazing haggling talents, and a few rubbed off on me, too.

From the beginning, there were lemonade stands, going door to door and selling apples from our tree to the neighbors, and of course, babysitting. Back then, money earned was for buying fun stuff, so I'd pick something I wanted to buy, have it put into layaway and pay it off as fast as possible.

At 16, I got a job working in a very exclusive country club, hidden deep in the woods, at the end of a very long and creepy private drive. The lovely Tudor-style mansion had been brought over by one of the Rockefellers, brick-by-brick. It was old, with low ceilings and interesting rooms. I was a banquet girl, who helped with all the weddings and parties of local rich or famous. Every day, it was a big job to stuff all my bushy hair under two to three hair nets, otherwise my boss would freak out. I think she was a drill sargeant in a former life. She was tough and ran a tight "ship."

My job was to put a lemon slice and ice in every glass, set the many tables perfectly and formally, and serve the food. It was fun to watch normally reserved, highly manicured people end up wild and crazy by the end of the night (thanks to the endless open bars served at all weddings.) One businessman wrote me a love letter and left me a rose from a bouquet sticking out of a crystal glassful of mousse.  He was bombed out of his gourd, but it was flattering.

Then, there was one wealthy family that I babysat their daughter, who was only four years younger than I. The father would pay me very well, usually $30 to $40 per day, back in the 1970's. They would take frequent trips out of town, leaving me alone with their 12-year old daughter in their huge, sprawling estate. I was only 16 but it was fun, because they let us go to the country club and eat whatever we wanted, at any time. So, we'd go swimming, check out the cute teenaged caddies, and eat Chicken Cordon Bleu and desserts until I was sick of them. Ahh, the good old days. It's time for me to me to warm up leftovers and sit out on the veranda, I mean, my balcony. Not fancy, but peaceful. And, working from home beats everything. Life is good, and those old memories remind me how glad I am to be independent and grown-up.

Here's a blast from the past, love the animation and music!
Sleeping Beauty

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