Change is Welling Up

When I got to be a grown up girl, but not quite ready to believe it, I got a job for the summer.  I was in charge of a water survey for the Huron County Health Department.  My job was to ask businesses, those businesses who served water to people, some questions:

  • Do you have a well?  (I knew what a well was, that one was easy.)
  • Where is your wells?  How deep?  Where is it?  Do you have a well log?
  • Is the welll casing grouted?  (Isn’t grout that stuff between the bathroom tiles that’s so darned hard to clean?)
  • Do you have a submersible pump?
  • Where is your pump?  Can I see it?
  • Do you have a pitless adapter?  (Huh?)

My  training was one day of riding around the county with an Sanitarian Tom, while he inspected sewage systems.   “Tomorrow you are on your own,”  Sanitarian Tom said.  What?  My heart skipped a beat.  It didn’t know a pitless adapter from a hole in the ground.

The next morning, Sanitarian Ed, a much more compassionate fellow advised me, “Start out at Coral Gables.  It’s close by, and the owner, Bill Baily, is a good guy.  If you get stuck, you can come back here, and ask questions.”   That was before cell-phones, lap-tops, e-mails, or text-messaging.  That was back when self-carbon paper was a great innovation.  I clamped official looking metal clipboard under my arm and headed for my Huron County Health Department car; a blue Ford sedan; no air-conditioning and no radio.  Tax-payers didn’t want government workers to be driving around the county in the lap of luxury.

Indeed, Bill Baily at Coral Gables was a good guy.  He offered me Continue reading

Paying it Forward

Once I started working at The Grill, I met a lot of people; people way different from me:  a super tough-cool girl who had her own brand-new blue Mustang, The Gang, and grown men who had too much to drink.  Once Mom and Dad came in.  Of course I knew them.  Still, having them as customers was way different then having them as parents.

I worked the evening shift, which was the busiest.  Days were slower, so less running around, but fewer tips and more chores like raking the parking area and washing windows, and cleaning the trays.  Maybe that’s what made Brenda, the day car-hop so darned grumpy.  She got to pick the day shift, so she should have been happy, but Brenda rolled her eyes every time I came in to relieve her, counted out her tips, threw her apron on the counter and took off in a flash.  Sometimes the Mustang-Girl gave Brenda a ride home.  I never knew that girls name:  she had raven hair down over her shoulders and when she laughed Continue reading

Working at The Grill

A picture of a picture of The Grill. I took this, with permission, at the Railroad Museum

I got my first job when I was sixteen.    I was old enough to get out there an earn some money with a real job.  M-78 Grill decided to give me my first break:  A summer job as a car-hop.  My memory fails to recall the name of the owners, so I will call them Floyd and Mabel.  Hazel was the cook.  I thought I knew so much, at sixteen. I was no longer a little girl.  Yet, I was still a lot younger than I thought.

Deanna already worked at the William’s Drug Store for a whole year.  She made sundaes and sodas and sold people Nickle Cokes and made up special Cherry Cokes, which you couldn’t buy in a bottle back then. A squirt of cherry syrup got mixed into the coke, special at the fountain.  Deanna was Cool; everybody liked Deanna.  Especially Boys; they all came in and ordered Nickle Cokes, just to be close to Deanna.  Half of them were afraid to even say “hi” to her.  Sometimes she worked behind the counter.  Once an old man about as old as Dad came in and asked for rubbers. Continue reading