Back to that Twitter hashtag about first jobs…The summer after my sojourn on the lake in upstate New York, I sought a job in Old Forge, the gateway to the Adirondack Mountains. As a family, we always went “to the woods” in the summer. This summer, after my freshman year in college, I lived with my gram, in a funny green shotgun house behind the laundry she and my grandfather used to own.
Old Forge is a resort town, full of summer vacationers and fun-seekers. Many visited The Enchanted Forrest, a resort that featured circus shows, reenacters, rides and animals. A statue of Paul Bunyon lorded over everything in the park. To my fascination, Gram rented a cabin behind her house to a man with a long white beard. In the winter, he lived in LA and played Santa Claus. In the summer, he was a gold rush prospector. The Flying Walledas also summered at the Enchanted Forest. But that’s another story.
The daytime job I secured was as a maid to a family from Virginia. They owned a “camp” at the very exclusive Adirondack League Club. Founded in 1890, the Club owns 53,000 acres, with “rustic” camps on private lakes. To this day, the public is not allowed on club land, which is for the use of members who hunt and fish and relax. It is a gated community. I live in one now, but it’s not the same.
Things I learned as a maid in the woods:
- A near-perfect house would be like the one I worked in. It was on Little Moose Lake. All the rooms were joined by a long, winding, covered boardwalk. The bedrooms, kitchen and dinning room, living room, guest houses and a huge game room-all were all separate. Bathrooms were attached. Every time you went to another room, you had to go outside. It was perfect because you always got to see the lake and the loons and the tall evergreen trees.
2.Some people are rich enough to afford a house like this AND a cattle farm.
3. A cook is a really good idea if you can afford it.
5. A separate laundry room with a window rocks.
6. Rich people might ask you to buy your own uniform.
7. You can say no to some job-related requests.
9. Adirondack lakes are mist-covered early in the morning.
7. Loons are fantastic birds. They call each other incessantly and it sounds creepily romantic.
10.Adirondack style is a real thing. Handmade furniture and deer antler chandeliers are beautiful. Stuffed heads, not so much.
11. Last, Enchanted Forests are sometimes turned in to huge Water Safaris. There are no gold rush prospectors, but Paul Bunyon remains.
Coming up, my Old Forge night-time job, salad girl….stay tuned as I move up in the culinary world.