Wednesday, November 14, 2007


There’s been some interesting posts lately on other genealogy
blogs using topics suggested from writing prompts or memes.
I’ve been meaning to respond to them myself but haven’t until
now. This one is about “What was your first job?”. I’ve thrown
in other jobs I’ve held over the years.

My first paying job was delivering flyers for the Talbot Ave.
Laundry in the Dorchester section of Boston. I was 8 or 9 years
old at the time, I think, and I got ½ cent for every flyer that I
delivered. I had family help landing the job since a cousin of my
mom’s, Bobby Ramsey, worked there. I got a brown paper
wrapped bundle of a few hundred single sheet flyers and went
about the neighborhood stuffing them into the mailboxes. Since
there were quite a few triple-deckers(three family apartment
houses) in the area it was pretty easy to do, and I would
then quickly spend the money on baseball cards which were only
5 cents a pack back then.

When we moved a few blocks up the street to Evans St. I got my
first paper route. It was for the old Boston Daily Record, a
Hearst tabloid. I rode a huge old clunker of a bike up to the
projects over Blue Hill Ave. for that one. The Boston Strangler
was at large then and collecting money from customers was
interesting to say the least as many women were afraid to
open their doors, even to a paperboy. I also delivered the old
Boston Herald for a bit then too, back when there were 6
newspapers in Boston. By the way, you’d be amazed how many
packs of baseball cards or comic books could fit into a newsboy’s

We left Boston and moved to Abington before my sophomore
year in high school, and once again I delivered newspapers, first
for the Quincy Patriot Ledger and then the Brockton Enterprise
and was usually accompanied by the family dog and once or twice
the family cat who rode along in the ever useful bag. I have
sometimes wondered over the years if any of my customers were
allergic to cats.

My first REAL job was as a busboy at the Teel’s Cabin Restaurant
in Abington. I actually witnessed one of those visits by a Pepsi
Cola representative who posed as a customer to see if the waitress
said “We serve Pepsi.” when someone ordered a Coca Cola.

The Summer after I graduated from high school I worked at a
machine shop in the neighboring town of Whitman.(part of our
backyard actually was in Whitman.) I’m ashamed to say I can’t
recall the name of the company anymore(and that worries me,
too, btw.) and I’m not even sure just what the heck they were
making. I do recall the machines that I hauled long rods of metal
to turned out little round plug shaped objects and that I cleaned
out the shavings using a pitch fork and wheelbarrow. Then I’d
take the scraps out back, walk up a 2x4 plank and empty the
wheelbarrow off onto the pile. I’d walk home at night and take a
bath and the grease would float on top of the water.

What I most recall about that job was the heat and there were
salt tablets next to the water cooler and that I didn’t get the
reason why they were there until I passed out one day from the
heat. I was lucky I didn’t get a concussion when I whacked my
head on something. I never forgot to take an occasional salt tablet
again there and I made sure I drank plenty of water after that.

And the next summer I worked as a camp counselor instead.

That’s a good place to stop for tonight.

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