Wednesday, February 03, 2016

"You're Going to Go to Work"

Me at work now this past Monday evening

When I was ten years old my Mom told me "You're going to get a job."  I was ten years old and about as dumb as a bag of doorknobs. "A job? What job?"

She told me that "No child of mine is going to do NOTHING.  You're getting a job." Then she told me that Mrs. Lindermann, the Paper Lady would be by our 2nd floor apartment on Washington Avenue that night.  The job my Mother secured for me was as a paper boy.  

Mrs. Lindermann making her weekly collection of my nickles, dimes and quarters in our 50's kitchen - my Mother is to the left and my brother Isaac is to the right of Mrs. Lindermann - my leftover papers are on the kitchen chair - this is the only picture I have from my Paper Boy Days - selfies were not taken in the Fifties - I took this picture with my Kodak Brownie

Mrs. Linderman brought her little black three ring notebook with the names of about fifty paper route customers. I would be delivering the (afternoon) Philadelphia Bulletin to those customers seven days a week.  Five days a week after school, on Saturday and the Sunday morning (the worst) paper.  I would earn about $5.00 a week which I almost always squandered on candy and comic books.  I was a paper boy until I entered ninth grade, four years (I think, my friend Larry will correct me if I'm wrong because he took over my paper boy job).  Unfortunately I don't have any "paperboy" photos of myself, which is a shame.  There are so many photos I've missed over the years.  I wish I could have a do over on those lost opportunities.

Me in my Paperboy days with my bicycle with the basket for my newspapers - the only known photo I have of myself during those days - note the festive (gay) steamers on my handler bars - gay early

Fast forward from that date sixty-four years ago and I'm still working.  Here are just some of the job I've had over the years:

  • Office cleaner (took over the job from my Mother)
  • Mowed lawns
  • Ran errands to the local grocery store (actually my very first job when I was five years old - relatives used to give me a nickel to run to the local corner grocer and pick up milk, bread, etc.
  • Dishwasher
  • Meat market clerk (get you mind out of the gutter)
  • U.S. Army (after I graduated from high school, three years in Army Security Agency - NSA)
  • Hotel night auditor (where this blog is going)
  • Accounts payable clerk at junk steel yard
  • Banking trust operations career (37 years until job eliminated)
  • Estate gardner (a swift fall from grace)
  • Hotel night auditor (again, what goes round come round)
  • Hotel front desk agent (where I work today)
For the past seventeen years I've been working (again) as a hotel front desk clerk.  

Me taking a reservation - wish I had a series of photos like this during my paper boy days

I will probably work as long as I can walk and my health holds up.  I love my job.  I work at a wonderful hotel with great folks.  I'm not paid a lot (you'll never get rich working at a hotel) but I earn enough to enable me to indulge myself (occasionally) in trips to California, Canada and Philadelphia.  The extra income from my job enables me to buy just about every Apple product that comes on the market. The extra income allows me to keep up with the ever increasing prices of our household (electric, heating, taxes) and insurance bills.  

I'm pretty sure I was the first in my class to get a job (or have one dropped on me). And I think now I am the last one of my school classmates who is still working.  My friend Stuart still works but he certainly didn't have a job thrust on him by his well off pharmacist doctor father when he was ten years old.  Oh no, many of my school classmates had that college fund waiting for them when they graduated from high school.  And I have a confession to make here folks, I've always resented those folks who had their Life Path cleared for them.  Maybe I shouldn't feel that way but I've never had much sympathy for folks who wanted more tax breaks so they could "send the kids to college."  I managed to live my life quite successfully in spite of not having a path cleared for me.  Would I have liked to go to college?  Oh sure?  That was one of the most painful things I've ever had to endure.  But I did get to go to college eventually, on the G.I. Bill.

Pierce College, Philadelphia, PA

I earned that one folks. I never had the parents who encouraged me, told me I could do well, and who supported me financially.  In retrospect I think that was a good thing because I've never taken anything for granted in my life.  Anything I have I have earned.  Nothing was given to me.  And again, that's why I also have a deep resentment of all those telemarketing calls I now receive in my senior years, that whole industry out there who is devoted to parting me from my hard earned (small) nest egg and depriving me of a comfortable and dignified exit from this world.

Since I have returned from California

Me and Travel Buddy Pat in California last month

(and that free and easy lifestyle) thoughts have gone through my head how my life could have been so much different if I had chosen to take a different path.  But where I am is the path I have chosen and I am quite happy as I coast out of this life.  

This time last year two of my friends departed this life.  Ed Cage died January 27th and Wayne Juneau died February 16th.  Hard to believe it's been almost a year since both of these fellows, who were so much a part of my life, have died.  

Ed me and Wayne a few years ago when we were all alive

One day I too will no longer be here.  This blog and this posting will live on long past my demise.  To all who read this blog now and in the future, know this.  I have lived a good life.  Do I have regrets?  Oh sure, plenty but they were all learning experiences.  Would I live a do-over on some of those regrets?  Oh sure.  Maybe in my next life.  See you then!


  1. Ron - my life is a history of various jobs too. And my first "job" was selling pop to teenagers with my older brother at the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) dances at our parish hall. We did this because our dad was the caretaker of the Church and Hall. I must have been in grade two. And then jobs ever since. Now I've never really minded work - but, man, I feel like a millionaire being retired. Also, nice parting shot.


    1. Pat,
      We have very similar backgrounds. Maybe that's why we're so compatible because we've always had to work for everything. Nothing was handed to us. But you know? I am glad we were brought up that way because we appreciate everything we have now. Nothing is taken for granted, is it?

  2. Ron:

    What a beautiful picture!


    1. Linda,
      That's me at my post.

  3. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Thoughtful post as usual, Ron. When are we going to hear about the Air B-n-B that you stayed in for the second part of your California trip? ~~ NB

    1. NB,
      When am I going to write about that Air B n B? Good suggestion! I'll write about it tomorrow. It needs to be written about.

  4. Ron, one of my intense annoyances is that wretched song of Edith Piaf, 'Je ne regrette rien', something which is adored by untold millions worldwide. Okay, she didn't actually write it herself but it was purposely written for her to sing - and she delivers it like she means every word. I don't buy it for a second. If anyone tells me they haven't any regrets about things they did or didn't do, in my book they are flagrant liars!

    1. Ray,
      Oh so many regrets I have. At one time I thought I had no regrets but when Jon (Lone Wolf blog) reminded me that EVERYONE has regrets, I remembered . . . I have LOTS of regrets. Oh that I could have at lest a couple do overs. Oh well,, one manages.

  5. I filed my first tax returns at 14, opened my first checking account at 15 (before I had a drivers license.) I grew up in farm country and there was always work to be done in the summer, the farmers had learned that if they wanted to deduct as an expense what they paid the neighbor kids, they had to W-2 or 1099 us. I turned my parents down on the offer of college straight out of High School, and the worked my way through college starting a couple of years later.

    1. David,
      You surprise me. I thought you were one of those privileged guys who received generous allowances from their parents (I never received a even a dime) and had the college education guaranteed. Refreshing to know there are others like me who worked their way to where they are now. I don't think either one of missed the four years of party time that goes for college education these days.

  6. Anonymous3:31 PM

    Ron your collection of pictures from your life is amazing.


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