Summer Job? Check
Daytime hours? Check
Outside work? Check
Great pay? For that time in history . . .
It was a rite of passage. Turning 14 so you could get a summer job and earn money. Literally, out standing in corn fields. Detasselling corn. Working for three to four weeks to quickly remove the tassels from the seed corn in the designated fields. Big business that paid $1.50 an hour.
I remember . . .
hot, sticky days when we prayed for a breeze to lift the humidity
the dew on the corn as the leaves cut your skin as you raced through the rows
riding on a machine meant looking down on the corn and the obvious tassels
having a radio to help the days pass more quickly
the difference in supervisors and their expectations
literally being stuck in the mud after a week of rain
the sun burn and the “farmer’s tan lines”
days of double shifts and working 14 hour days
wearing garbage bags as raincoats
praying for lightning in order to have a day off
tired, deep down, bone-tired and yet
a community of workers who laughed, talked, and shared life stories
Learning that still sticks: the value of hard work, the impact of promises made, and that the body can endure what the mind finds tolerable.
What do you remember from your first job?
What were some of the lessons learned?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum in March. Check out the writers and readers here.