A recent Twitter hashtag queried “What were your first seven jobs?” Celebrities and common folk chimed in, and got me thinking. Babysitting, check. Nanny-type duties at a house in the Finger Lakes, check. Salad girl, check. Maid, check.
Wait a minute, let’s think about a life lesson or two along the way.
First, I must admit that I was incredibly naive. I mean really unsophisticated, except I read books. Reading, at least, offered a view of the world outside my hometown, which had a total population of 2,000. I was 18.
At the lake house, I was in charge of a family of children. I think there were three or four; some came and went. Their Dad had custody for a month, but he was home at night very occasionally and sometimes on weekends. Some things I learned:
- Actual cooking is hard.
- Always keep bread and peanut butter and jelly in the cupboard.
- Maggots in the garbage container can be killed with Tide detergent and hot water.
- Night thunderstorms are best endured if everyone gets into the same bed.
- Some Siamese cats like to sleep under the sheets.
- Reading aloud is fun.
- When walking to the beach at night, wear a big hat to protect you from bats.
- If your employer’s mother asks you to hide his evening beer supply, do it.
- Alcoholism is a real disease.
- Families are what you make them, even if they only last a month.Stay tuned–coming up: “A Maid in the Woods” and “Tales of a Salad Girl.”