Thursday, June 5, 2014

Looking Back at Past Summer Jobs

School Days

In next to no time school will be out for the summer and many teenagers will be looking for work. College and university students have been out there already for weeks. I hope all those willing to work, especially those who are depending on summer employment to help pay for their education, will find their ideal job.

Looking back, I think our own two boys were fortunate. They were never in a position of having to look for a summer job because of our family's landscaping business. Like their father and uncles before them, anyone with a strong back and a willingness to work in the dirt, the heat, and occasionally the rain, could get on. Both our sons, and a number of their friends besides, spent their summers hauling heavy rolls of sod onto the truck at the farm and then off again at the job site. "A dollar a day and all the grass you can eat," my husband used to quip.

Like many girls, I started my own summer job experience, eons ago, babysitting and selling greeting cards. Pretty lame, considering that some teens were heading away to work — for very good money — picking tobacco in Tillsonburg. They'd return just before school resumed, sporting spectacular tans, fingernails stained from the tobacco plants, and with a new-found maturity that set them apart from the rest of us, something gained from being away from home for a whole season.

We lived in Toronto when I was in grade 10, and one summer I got a job in the gift-wrapping department of the Robert Simpson Co. at their big downtown store. It didn't hurt that my uncle was the manager of the china department there. That job experience led to my being hired to wrap gifts at Christmas time at the exclusive Creed's Furriers. That experience itself is worthy of another blog at another time.

After moving to small town Ontario, I worked one summer and again at Christmas at Chainway, a sort of low-budget Woolworth's. I was paid 42 cents an hour. But I loved it. It was staffed by kids not much older than I was, and it had a bulk candy counter where sampling did not appear to be frowned on.

My final high school summers were spent as a playground supervisor. That job appealed to my "inner teacher." I loved planning each day's activities to include quiet and active games, trips to other playgrounds, and especially lots of messy "arts and crafts."

What were some of your most memorable summer jobs? Did any of them enable you to learn skills you still find useful today?

I can still wrap an attractive present, and I can tie a round-turn-two-half-hitches knot with one hand. In fact, I have to admit I'm a little sorry those handy gift bags we buy today have made the art of gift wrapping obsolete.

Till next time.

photo credit: <a href="">Enokson</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


Arlene Bonsma said...

Your memories bring back memories of other summer jobs and happenings. Thank you for sharing your memories, that know sounds interesting, I may just have to look that one up. Looking forward to another summer of enjoyment.

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...

So good that some of our memories connect us with old friends, Arlene. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...
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Jennifer Martin said...

Your gift wrapping talents always made me envious. I think my only summer jobs were working as a camp counsellor, something I loved because of the freedom of being away from home. Because I had jobs during the year such as accompanying a ballet class, I guess there was less of a need to work during the summer.I wonder why I never did anything else during the summer, except love the free time!

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...

When did you go to Switzerland as an au pair?