Tag Archives: busing tables

No skein, no gain

All this week, the Today show has been running a series in which the hosts revisit their first jobs. Whether delivering newspapers, babysitting, cleaning pet store cages, stocking grocery shelves or teaching dance, hosts shared what drew them into their first jobs and what challenges and rewards they had experienced. Some even talked about how much they were paid.

What was your first job? What obstacles did you overcome and what reward did you reap?

I too was a babysitter for years, from age 12 up until the day I got engaged. Even in college, I used to line up my New Years Eve gigs well in advance. Even though my wage at retirement was $3 an hour, I did what most highly paid nannies did and more.

Aside from that, though, my very first job was working as a bus girl at a hotel restaurant in Virginia Beach. I cleared dirty dishes and cleaned tables for a dollar an hour plus tips. Only there were no tips.

My second job was at a place called—you’ll love the name—VIP Yarns. Why did I choose to work there? Because I didn’t have a car and I could walk to the store. In an early Word Nymph post, I talked about what happened when I lied and told them I knew how to do all kinds of needlework. That was probably the last lie I ever told. Actually the story is that, once I realized I needed actual skills, I asked my friend’s nine-year-old sister, who had just gotten a Girl Scout merit badge for needlecraft, to teach me. Thank you, Little Susie Lewis, wherever you are.

Thinking back, I wonder if breathing in all those yarn fibers contributed to my battle with chronic bronchitis. Or my 30-year battle with crafts.

I was the youngest employee at that VIP Yarns store, by about 40 years. And just for the record, I wasn’t fired. I was part of a 20 percent reduction in force, when the store went from five employees down to four. There went $2.35 an hour.

We’ll just say I never attained VIP status.


Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas