“There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.”

Last night I re-entered the world. I went to my first Wednesday play of the season. We always have dinner at a friend’s house first so I bought a few appies then drove, a new adventure for me, to Harwich, had dinner then went on to Chatham. Wouldn’t you know it but this play had three acts so I sat far too long. By the time I got home, at close to 11, I was exhausted and the house was stifling. I closed windows and put the air on. Gracie was panting, a barometer of sorts about the heat and humidity. It was close to 12 before it was cool enough to go to bed. I slept until 9:30 and am still tired. That first foray into the world has exhausted me.

We have a breeze and we have rain, not a lot of rain but rain nonetheless. The breeze is enough that the chimes hanging from the trees are making a sweet sound. I have all the windows and doors opened. Gracie loves it as she can come and go as she pleases. Even if I could muster the energy, l’d go nowhere today as the roads must be clogged with tourists looking for something to do. This is the summer of the tourist. Cars are everywhere. I’m guessing people have a bit more money to spend, and the cape is a great spot not too far away and one with all sorts of accommodations and restaurants and then there’s the ocean, the beautiful ocean which surrounds the cape.

I didn’t get my first job until the summer just after I’d graduated from high school. Back then none of us worked summers. Until I moved to the cape, I lived in a town which didn’t offer a lot of jobs for a teenager even if you wanted one. Parents never pushed. We just had to live on the paltry allowance they gave us. We managed.

The summer after high school I worked in Woolworth’s in down-town Hyannis which was a huge store. It had front and back entrances and a long counter for food. I remember the menu slots on the wall and the plastic menus with pictures of the food. I usually took my break at that counter. Working there was an okay job as I worked all sorts of places in the store and wasn’t bored. I worked the jewelry counter, the register, the pet corner and the souvenir section. The only problem was it didn’t pay a lot, but I could understand why as it didn’t take a whole of expertise or talent to work there. The pet section kept me the busiest as I had to change cages and feed the animals every day. There were fish, birds, hamsters and Guinea pigs. Little kids used to come to see the animals and watch the fish. The register was an okay spot to work. I could make change which made me a valuable employee. The souvenirs were mostly from China and included shells, fake driftwood, small boats and t-shorts. People bought a lot of souvenirs. I worked there until Labor Day which gave me a few weeks off before I had to go to college. All in all, it wasn’t a bad first job.


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24 Comments on ““There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.””

  1. peterrocker Says:

    “Make Change”. That says a lot. Today’s shop employees can’t do it without the computer to tell them.
    Sympathize with the tourists blocking the roads & the awful humidity. Just happens here in January and not July.

    • katry Says:

      Yup, one of those big old registers with what looked like old round typewriters keys with numbers on them.

      I’m not as sympathetic. They hit the beaches when it’s humid. I’m sort of glad they clog the roads which means they haven’t yet found all the back ways we use.

      • peterrocker Says:

        And you get the beach for about 10 months of the year. They all have to go back & live in “Beachlessville”. Plus the beach is just as fascinating in winter.

      • katry Says:

        Okay, Pete, you got me on that one, and you are so right about the winter beach. It is beautiful and stark and filled with sights and sounds and very few people.

        I guess I’ll learn to be a little more sympathetic about the interlopers!

      • peterrocker Says:

        Yes! A bit of sympathy won’t go astray. Give ’em an extra 10 yards start before you draw a bead.

      • katry Says:

        I suppose I could extend that much kindness!

  2. olof1 Says:

    Really nice weather here today and strangely enough very few flies to annoy me when we walked in the forest. >Hector insisted on following us so we didn’t go far or especially fast 🙂

    I started working on weekends and holidays already in highschool and I payed for my drives license with that money. I worked in a big grocery store. They had all kinds of things but it was too small to be called a super market. I mainly worked in the milk department but helped with the vegetables/friúit and the register. Like You I could make change 🙂 I loved it but as You say, they didn’t pay much.

    I watched Cloud Atlas yesterday and I liked it a lot. A bit confusing in the beginning and it was easy to understand that they had skipped important things, like the star shaped birthmark. I guess it was rather important since they showed it but strangely enough never explained anything about it? Now I have to find the book and I think it was a good idea to see movie first because I can understand that many must have been disappointed if reading the book first.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      I’m glad there are few flies-there is nothing more annoying then bugs of any sort attacking you.

      When I was a teen, very few of us had our own cars. It just wasn’t the same as now when so many kids work a lot to pay for one. We’d use the family car to go out. There was only one grocery store in town and up town where there were stores like Woolworth’s and a fish market, all adults worked there, never teens.

      I didn’t see the movie because the book took so much concentration to keep involved, and I wasn’t sure I’d like the movie. I was glad I’d read the book but I’d be careful to recommend it as I don’t think many people would like it. I did tell my sister to read it as it is on the iPad I gave her. Now with your recommendation, I’ll watch the film when it comes on cable. The book will fill in those blanks for you!

      Have a wonderful evening!!

      • olof1 Says:

        Much the same here when I grew up, very few had their own cars but all of us wanted that licens 🙂

        I’ve just ordered the book and The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and the foundation trilogy at the same time 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I love The Hitchhikers Guide and The Foundation Trilogy. You couldn’t have chosen better books. The problem, of course, is you’ll want all of the books in each series!!!

  3. Bob Says:

    When I was in high school I found a summer job selling Good Humor ice cream in a shopping area from a tricycle. The tricycle had a big freezer box supported by two wheels and there was a half a bicycle attached to the rear. I had to take a bus a couple of miles to and from the shopping area, which was near my house, to pick up my trike and my ice cream. The freezer had a couple of cakes of dry ice which kept the ice cream cold all day. I then peddled back to where I got the bus to sell ice cream all day in the heat. Then, I had to peddle back to the plant in the late afternoon. The job description should have read low pay, lot’s of exercise and no future. I probably ate most of the profits.

    The humidity is up today along with the temperature. We are looking above 100 degrees by late this afternoon, but with a slight chance of a thunderstorm.

    • katry Says:

      I remember those tricycles with the freezer box. The ice cream was always still nice and frozen. I also remember the white jackets and hats the Good Humor men wore!

      WE have had rain on and off all day, but I think it has stopped, and I can feel the humidity creeping in so I’m thinking the air will on in the not too distant future.

      • Bob Says:

        Yes, I wore the white hat and the white jacket along with a coin dispenser on my belt. My favorite was the Chocolate Eclair bar. What was your favorite? I think you can still buy Good Humor bars in the grocery stores somewhere. I think the trucks and the trikes with the bells are long gone.

      • katry Says:

        I forgot the coin dispenser. Johnny, our ice cream man, not Good Humor, also wore one. He could click that so fast to make change.

        I also loved that chocolate eclair bar. I think you can still buy it as I think I had one not all that long ago.

      • Bob Says:

        Eureka, I just heard a clap of thunder. My idiot next door neighbor has his sprinkler system going every afternoon at four when the temperature is the hottest. We are under a stage three draught emergency and you are only allowed to water in the morning and evenings. They think that the laws don’t apply to them. They are Iranians so you would think that they have an understanding of conserving water. We have lived here for fifteen years and they never introduced themselves.

        Their driveway has a motorized gate which has never worked. They used to park in the ally and honk their horn until the old grandma, who spoke no English, comes out and pushes open the gate. I keep waiting for some neighbor’s kid to wander into their unlocked swimming pool through the gate and drown. They drive very expensive Mercedes and Porsche automobiles but they can’t fix the gate or lock their pool fence.

      • katry Says:

        Nothing better than the sound of thunder perhaps hinting at rain. Our rain has stopped, but we’re stifling because of the humidity. I put my AC on.

        I see the same idiotic moves here with sprinkles on in the middle of the afternoon and also on rainy days. Mine goes on at 7 as I am not usually up to see it, and the rain warning or whatever it’s called keeps it from going off when it is raining.

        I’m always amazed when people don’t introduce themselves to new neighbors. I went over to some new neighbors a while back and said hello then did a second time, but that was it. I waved when the husband was in the yard and last week they moved. THey were here only a year or so. Strange.

        That unlocked pool fence is just so dangerous as you’ve said. Maybe a discreet call to the police might be in order. It could save a kid’s life.

  4. Birgit Says:

    I don’t live in a tourist area, but for the next 4 days the city will be completely crowded. The annual downtown rock/pop music festival with 70 bands for free started today and they expect up to a million visitors. Late in the evening most of them are drunken and it is so crowded you hardly can move, but it’s bearable early evening, so old people like me better leave early 😉

    • katry Says:

      That is huge! 70 bands for free! I can’t imagine a million people all in one place for a festival. Like you, I’d be one of those listen to a few and then leave. I’d go crazy in the middle of so many people I couldn’t move.

      • Birgit Says:

        It’s a million or less in 4 days, not each day, but to give you an impression see 0:55-1:20 min of this 2012 video (you may want to lower the volume first) and then multiply with several stages and streets.
        Luckily it was not so crowded today, the masses will arrive Friday/Saturday.

      • katry Says:

        THat was crazy. I couldn’t believe the numbers of people when they panned the camera. The craziness in front was the worst. I’d hope no one fell.

        I’d stay home on Friday and Saturday!

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I worked from when I was 15 up until I retired at 59. If I wanted things, I had to have my own money.
    My first job was making the landing gear for those rubber band balsa wood planes.
    My next job was putting lead tinsel in boxes.
    The job after that was scraping mistakes off transistors.
    After graduation I went to work for the government and stayed there until retirement.
    I had a few asides working in a horse barn, a tack shop and my own massage business.

    All things considered, it’s been interesting and informative. 🙂

    It was damp and grey this morning. It rained. Now it’s muggy and warm and the sun is struggling to come out. It’s not winning.

    Take it easy on your back. Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      No one I knew back then worked until we were just about to go to college then we all had to work. I didn’t want a whole lot so I really didn’t miss having money.

      Those were great planes. I used to buy them at Woolworth’s. I know lead is the problem but that tinsel was so much better than the tinsel they sell now. I loved ball pieces of it up and throwing it at my brother.

      I worked at the post office for the other three summers before I went into the Peace Corps. The money was good especially with the differential after 6. I worked from noon to nine.

      My AC is now on-it got so sticky when the rain stopped. That sweet breeze disappeared.

      I hope your evening is a fine one!!

      • Caryn Says:

        The lead tinsel draped much better than the mylar stuff.
        And it didn’t stick out horizontally on the side of the tree closest to the television screen.

        When the cutter was broken we girls on the line would spend the down time making very compressed balls of lead tinsel and polishing them into shiny cubes on the moving conveyor belt. Then we’d chuck them at each other.
        The cube shape gave them a bit more sting. 🙂
        The foreman would yell at us and send us off to fold boxes.

    • katry Says:

      The lead tinsel looked o much better on the tree and walking by it didn’t make them all sway in the breeze. My mother always got mad when she’d find the balls of lead all over the living room!

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