Saturday, September 13, 2014

Article #308 Memorial Jobs


                My exercise teacher Helen Hansen who is a spry chicken in her eighties shared this experience from her youth with our class. I asked her to write it down. Helen recalls her first job: The University of Minnesota experimental farm was looking for teenage summer help the summer of 1946. They were paying 50 cents/hour, which sounded like a fortune to me. My friends and I were 14 years old and required work permits to be considered for employment. We were hired to pick fruit, strawberries, hoe weeds in the fields and pick sweet corm.


            We all had visions of fat paychecks and a shopping trip to Minneapolis for school clothes as our reward. What we didn’t foresee was what a wonderfully fun and memorable experience it would be. The farm was 15 miles from home. So, transportation was a problem. The father of one in our group solved it by buying, an old used Packard, which comfortably seated the six of us. Our chariot the Packard awaited, but there was only one designated driver. My brother Bob, age 16 with newly acquired driver’s license was voted in unanimously. So off we went five days a week waving goodbye to relieved parents happy to see some of their teenagers gainfully employed for the summer.

The Packard with running boards was both a blessing and a curse. It seemed to be a reliable car in the mornings delivering us to the farm. It often proved reluctant on our trips home with its habit of  stopping without warning. Then the five of us would get out and push that huge old car down the road in an attempt to get it started. My brother at the wheel steering and trying to get it started was his part. Our favorite spot on the road was the crest of a gentle hill where we could launch the car so it could roll down that hill under its own power. The five of us chasing that car, laughing and shrieking, trying to hop on its running boards must have been a sight to behold. My brother nobly steered that car to a gentle stop at a gas station conveniently located at the bottom. The owner became our good friend that summer and always cured whatever ailed the Packard, but only for the moment. 

Do you have a fun story from your youth to share with us? NEXT TIME: Lessons Learned. 

1 comment:

Linda Kay said...

Lin, that's a delightful story. That old Packard! And the joys of having a summer job. Great post.