Dawn over at Coming to a Nursery Near You has tagged me for the 8 Jobs I Have Had meme:
1. My first occupation, like a lot of girls, was babysitting. Back in those day, the hourly rate was, drum roll… 25 cents/hour! I had lots of clients in my neighborhood, and thank goodness some of them were very generous and often gave me huge tips. Like 25 cents! Not kidding! I was in demand because when I babysat, I also cleaned and/or organized. Yes, I organized kids’ toys, I folded laundry, I vacuumed… and, if I cooked for the kids, I also cleaned the stove top until it sparkled. I still enjoy organizing (just ask Audrey and Jane), and I LOVE making stove tops and ranges sparkle. I still remember the last time I babysat, though. It was for a family who lived in my neighborhood, a family with 4 daughters all under the age of 6. I babysat one summer day for 6 hours while the Mom lunched and shopped. When the Mom returned home, she handed me $2.00. I was excited about the 50 cent tip (for about 3 seconds), until she asked me if I had change. No, I didn’t. She then asked if I could bring her the 50 cents later. When I told my Mom and Dad, they were so furious and outraged that they not only did not allow me to bring her the 50 cents, but told me that they no longer wanted me to babysit. I guess it WAS time to move on!
2. I moved on to a job at a little country store at the first mall built in Rhode Island. I really hit the jackpot here, making $1.25/hour. I cut, measured, packaged and served fudge. I measured and bagged popcorn and candy. I hand-priced hundreds of little knick-knack things. And I restocked everything just about every hour. I spent every dime of my huge salary in the clothing stores at the mall. I left that job when I began dating the owner’s son. You know, nepotism. By the way, I dated that guy for 5 years!
3a. I moved on to what many college girls do at some point or other… waitessing. My first waitressing job was at a dinner restaurant (it no longer exists) called The Venetian Garden. The dinner choices were many and varied, which made it difficult as a first-timer. The owner/cook was a loud, abrasive madman, and his wife was the just-as-abrasive hostess. She demanded 20% of the waitresses tips. OK… my first waitressing job. I can do this. But during my first night there, I messed up one order and gave the patron peas unstead of green beans. When I returned the dinner plate to the kitchen, the owner/cook/madman looked at me and screamed, “What are you, f@#*-ing stupid?” I said to him, “Not studid enough to work here.” Took off my little black apron and walked right out of the kitchen, making nary a sound in my white wedge waitress shoes (which were too epensive to begin with, but required by the owner).
3b. I then graduated to cocktail waitress. Crazy hours, but substantially more money. Remember it is the early 1970′s, so it should come as no surprise that my first “uniform” was a red (I mean RED) corset with little ruffled white panty-things. I just prayed that my Dad would not come in, but of course he did. It was a rather dark bar in a pretty nice restaurant, and my Dad was more amused than upset at his only daughter walking around in a red corset, white “things” and oh, yeah, high heels. This was a pretty easy gig, as they say. The patrons could afford expensive drinks, and the men tipped well (note to aspiring cocktail waitresses: women bar patrons do not tip well). The bartenders were like big brothers to the waitresses, and the management kept a keen eye out for guys who could potentially get out of hand. We were walked to our cars each night (or AM, rather) at closing. I guess I could say that I cocktailed my way through college. I still remember the day I ceremoniously ditched my uniform… but the high heels? I am still famous for wearing high heeled shoes almost every day, at every occasion!
4. Ah, then began my teaching career. I began teaching English at a junior high school in Connecticut, but was “recruited” back to a vocational high school in Rhode Island, where I had spent lots of time volunteering while still in college. This is where I met my future husband, the guy with the great legs (I knew this because whenever he wasn’t teaching one of his Math classes, he would be playing basketball, tennis, baseball, etc. with the students). This handsome hottie made me laugh, laugh, laugh (of course, by then I had finally dumped the guy from job #2). Because I was certified to teach English, but also had a Master’s Degree in Reading, my 30-year teaching career involved teaching English, Reading, and oftentimes both. I treasured every moment of teaching the magic of words to the best students who ever graced the corridors of a school… William M. Davies Technical High School, in Lincoln, RI. AND that handsome, now AARP-member, former Math teacher still makes me laugh, laugh, laugh every day!
5. My husband and I opened a one-person printing/copy shop in our small Rhode Island town in 1981. We thought that this would be a good way to generate extra income to supplement our teaching jobs. After all, raising 4 children was, and still is, pretty expensive! Well, that copy shop certainly made me a jack-of-all-trades, because as jobs came in, production had to increase to keep up. So I learned to collate, fold, staple (every kind of stapling, by the way). I was the resident proofreader, I wrote copy, I learned how to use a light table and do layout and design. I used equipment that I didn’t even know existed until then. This “job” had the interesting effect of teaching all of our children about entrepreneurship… working hard while nurturing a close and loving family. Twenty-six years later, that little shop has grown to employ 40+ employees, including our two sons and one daughter-in-law. It’s very funny how life works…
6. Due to a lucky set of unique circumstances, I am a card-holding Screen Actors Guild member. I will pursue acting endeavors at some point, but for now I have but two little “jobs” in this industry. I had a speaking part as the school nurse in the film Outside Providence… but because the story line of the main character was, as they say, “left on the cutting room floor,” my part never appeared in the final cut. I also appeared as an extra in the film Me, Myself and Irene… I can be seen peering into the garage window when Jim Carey drives his car right through the garage door. Don’t blink, or you won’t see me! But really, the fim industry is very interesting and very fascinating. And I can play a mean cocktail waitress. Wait, no-one wants to see me in a red corset with white panties… and high heels!
7. My daughter Audrey and I wrote a book… Preconception Plain & Simple… that came about on Audrey’s journey to have a baby. We researched and researched, took notes upon notes, and wrote and wrote all about the medical and magical “things” surrounding conception. This was a labour of love, not a job! We did not start out to write a book… it just naturally happened, as everyone we spoke to or shared our information with said, “This HAS to be a book!” Our book is available in bookstores and on-line (Amazon.com)… and the best part is that Audrey and her husband have given my husband and me 3 beautiful grandsons!
8. And… our book and the many, many women we have met led us to develop our company Pinks & Blues, which is the culmination of Audrey’s, Jane’s and my passions, dreams, goals… and our “jobs” are now our collective life! I cannot imagine doing anything other than working each day with my beautiful daughters, writing, researching, sharing… meeting wonderful people, Mommy Blogging, growing each day.
I took an interesting “Job” journey to get here, but I think I now have the best job in the entire world!