This was my first experience with an electric typewriter - the highest form of technology for the time. This was before copy machines. Does anyone remember carbon paper? I had to do 5 copies of contracts on legal sized paper. Everything had to be perfect - no strike-overs or corrections of any sort allowed (this was also before white-out, which would not have been allowed even if it were available). I can't even tell you how many copies of those contracts I ruined and wasted that summer. I was afraid I'd lose my job if they found out, so I went from one trash can to another when I threw away whole sets of 5 ruined pages. But it was an invaluable experience and I made some money.
In an aside, I will never forget where my very first paycheck went - to pay a speeding fine. I was a brand new driver. I was going after someone for Sunday school, for Pete's sake! I had not driven on the interstate much, and I was thinking deep thoughts about something and neglected to slow down when I went from the speedway into the residential area - doing 45 in a 30, so the officer said. I was sure I'd get off easily, since it was my first offense. I had to take off work to go to court. Everyone else was getting $10 fines, so I breathed a bit easier as the day went on. The judge looked at my offense, asked me if I was guilty. Then he said, "If you drive like a man, and you speed like a man, I'm going to fine you like a man. $50 and court costs!" Bang of the gavel - all of my first check gone. A very sexist judge, by today's standards, and a very hard lesson learned. (I wish I could say it was my last speeding ticket).
So - the next year, I coasted through the spring semester, sure that I had that job sewed up for the summer after graduation. Imagine my shock when I was told their business wasn't doing well enough that year to warrant summer help. I was heading to college, as I wrote about here, and desperately needed money. I could not find a job anywhere that summer - you realize this was pre-McDonald's. I ended up going to several weeks of church camp, both as a worker and as a camper. It was a wonderful way to spend the summer, but not helpful for my upcoming expenses.
When I got to college that hot summer day in 1969, I immediately went to to "employment office." It wasn't much in those days. There really wasn't much available for someone without a car and who wanted to have some fun as a student! I was determined to not work in the school cafeteria - I'd been there, done that in elementary school and at camp. I know I should have been willing to take what I could get, but I REALLY did not want to do that.
I did manage to land a "little" job. It involved spending the night with an elderly lady who was bedfast. It definitely wasn't ideal, because it involved going over to her house, across the street from the dorm, at about 9:00 in the evening and sleeping there. My role was to be sure she had someone there to help her with any needs during the night. I won't go into details about the very worst night of this short-lived career, but suffice it to say it involved changing bedding and everything else in the middle of the night.
The good news? A whole $5.00 per night. The bad news? I was already paying to sleep on campus, and now I was being paid not to. I was missing all the fun of the nighttime ritual in the dorm. I was very lonely.
And - I wasn't really very good at this job. I slept too soundly. I'll never forget the morning that I finally awoke to this poor little old lady hollering as loudly as her ancient little voice could muster - and never woke me up. I didn't awaken until her daughter came pounding on the door to relieve me to go to class - late for my 7:30. I thought she'd fire me on the spot, but she must have been desperate.
I did this on Monday through Thursday, and on Saturday, if I remember. My boyfriend and I walked for our dates, and we were walking past her house on a Friday evening when I noticed a wreath on her front door - a black wreath. That didn't seem quite right. When I called the next morning to see what was up, I learned that Mrs. Ridings had died that Saturday. I was ever so thankful that it wasn't on my watch! I felt bad - for the family - and for myself. Though I didn't enjoy the job and really wanted to be back with my friends in the dorm at night, I was now unemployed after only 5 weeks. Back to the employment office.
Job #2 to get through college - a laundromat down the highway needed someone to work several afternoons/early evenings a week. My job was to give change and keep the machines cleaned out. The problem? They had no business! Nobody needed change. The machines were never used. It was another very lonely job. I had plenty of time to study and knit. I had to walk home in the dusk and dark over a mile down busy Route 66 (yes, that Route 66). That job ended when the boss came in one night to check on things. I went back to get the broom - he followed me in there. He backed me up against the wall - we were kind of back behind the dryers. I had the broom in my hands, kind of keeping him from me. But I came really close to being violated behind those dryers that night. I must have prayed, though I don't remember it. Or somebody was praying for me. I remember being afraid, but not hysterical. I said, "Don't you have a wife?" He said, "Yes, I do." I said, "Why don't you go home to her?" God must have given me that courage, because it wasn't my own.
I really don't remember what happened at that point - I think the other guy who was with him came back. It seemed to me that the other guy knew what was going on. I remember shaking all the way back to campus on that busy highway. It didn't hit me until later that night how close I came to disaster.
After those two experiences, I didn't get another job that school year. I knew I should. I needed one. But I just didn't have the heart. I just totally enjoyed being a freshman, confident that God would take care of my needs. I did some occasional babysitting, which I did not enjoy. But it was a bit of cash for hose and toothpaste.
That summer I managed to snag two jobs - causing me to work 7 nights a week. I hated missing Wednesday night and Sunday night services, but I really needed the money. Four nights I worked at the Dairy Queen in our neighborhood - for $.75 per hour! My plan to lose the Freshman Fifteen was derailed daily, as we were allowed to sample our wares. Oh, my goodness! This DQ was the summer hang-out for a large group of really nasty junior high aged latch key kids, who made my life miserable.
The other nights were spent at a grocery store, the name of which I totally cannot recall, nor can I remember what I did there. It is all a blur. Obviously, it wasn't too enjoyable either. Bottom line - I worked 7 nights a week and barely dented my freshman year's school bill.TO BE CONTINUED. . .
P.S. Please head over to Kristen's place to see a pictorial diary of Care Bear's first day of school. Note the bling she's wearing - 5 necklaces and 4 rings, early birthday presents from Kevin and Sema, who noticed that she always likes to wear jewelry. As Sema said, she's going to be High Maintenance for some guy someday!