Thursday, August 05, 2010

In the good old summertime

The best summer job I ever had was being a teenager. I never had just a summer job. When I began working, it was year round.

My first real job, outside of baby sitting and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood when I was ten, was working at Gilbert's shoe storm on Town Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. I had to get a permit to work since I was only fifteen. I began as a salesgirl in the accessories department selling wallets, purses, shoe laces, etc. and then was promoted to cashier. With the job came a 20% discount on shoes. I had a lot of shoes in those days and spent a good portion of my paycheck in the store. How could I resist the newest styles and fashions? It was the only time I had a lot of shoes. I was fifteen and shoes were important to me then. I had a few handbags, too. Not so much now. I have four pairs of shoes: tennis shoes, slingback short heels, 3-inch black suede heels and sandals. I mostly wear the tennis shoes.

I moved from Gilbert's to a part time job at McDonald's. That lasted about six months before I got a job working with my mother at a data processing job. I made $100 a week 1971. The minimum wage then was $1.65/hour and I made $2.50 an hour, enough to buy my father a diamond tie tack for his birthday and my mother a pair of quarter karat diamond earrings for her birthday. I bought all my own clothes and gas for the car I bought with my own money. I had a lot of money in savings even though I paid room at board at home every week. I continued working in data processing for 25 years, moving to medical transcription and office management along the way. I still work in medical transcription, from home now, and supplement my income by writing book reviews and selling essays, articles, stories and books. I haven't sold enough books to quit my job, but I sell enough that I have to put aside a chunk of my income for taxes at the end of the year. I make a lot more than $100 a week forty years later.

No, my best summer job was being a teenager with no responsibilities and going to the pool when I could scrounge up enough money. I was told my parents couldn't afford a season ticket, which cost $15 in those long ago days, to the Hilltop Swim Club, which is why I started working. Until then, I sun bathed in the back yard, read a lot of books, walked everywhere with my friends and listened to a lot of rock and roll music. Those were the days.

That is all. Disperse.

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