Posted to OGR on 05/16/2010
When I was a teenager, the month of May was a time to figure out what I was going to do to earn money during the summer. Some of those summer jobs were interesting and some were just hot sweaty work.
When I was 12 or 13, my dad bought our first power mower. It was a drum mower similar to the push mowers that we had previously. I can remember pushing that monster up and down the street mowing the neighbor’s yards for all of $1.50 a piece. In high school, my brother and I got a job in a warehouse one year and another couple of years we worked for an uncle on surveying crews. I remember clearing paths with machetes and pulling chain. Rarely did I get a chance to look through the transit. I remember fondly trudging through the woods and fields or pulling pallets through the warehouse listening to my favorite tunes on a transistor radio. The music made the work go by faster. I didn’t get to listen to the radio when I had my paper routes; you had to be quiet at 5 in the morning. But that left the rest of the day free for the beach, the lake and the music of summertime. WAPE’s “Big Ape Call” still rings in my ears.
Between high school and college I had a summer relief job selling shoes. It was great being inside but it was also hard work. Many times I pulled out 10 pairs of shoes, but didn’t sell any to that customer. When pretty girls came in to try on shoes, they often would flirt and tease, and that was fun. Just in case you don’t remember, this was before the time when women and girls wore slacks or shorts out shopping. I can tell you that sometimes those days went past very quickly.
The most interesting summer job I had was working for another uncle between my junior and senior years. He ran a printing company that won the NASA contract for printing the blue prints for the very large vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center. Because of the time constraints on the contract, he hired all his nephews to run the night shift on the blue print machines while his regular crew ran the day shift. We worked 7 nights a week for 3 months. Even today, when I smell ammonia, my memory goes back to the hum of the machines and the sound of the radio playing my favorite tunes.
Copyright 2010 Rick Wrigley