I got my first real job, other than occasional babysitting, the summer before my junior year of high school. Actually, Mom arranged it. She worked in an office at a shirt-making guild and got me a summer position as cafeteria assistant.
Mom and I rode to work together. She drove and I slept.I wore a professional white uniform and an ugly hairnet that made my bangs vanish. My face absolutely requires bangs. I pulled random wisps out for a bang illusion.
Like me, my boss’s name was Mary. We became Mary C. and Little Mary. I was Little Mary.
Minimum wage was $1.25; just call me Miss Moneybags. I returned to the same position the following summer, and the minimum wage jumped to $1.40. My first pay raise, by default.
My small cafeteria was located in the basement.
I helped prepare mass quantities of food and washed dishes, manually, as lunch was served and eaten. Serving looked like a lot more fun than dish washing. Another cafeteria worker with seniority in experience and age usually helped with the serving and left the washing to me. I had plenty of washing experience from my stint as a milkmaid.
One day, Mary C. pulled a large pan of fruited jello from the upper shelf in the refrigerator. It fell on the cement floor, landing upside down with a shlump.
After Mary C’s initial yelp of ‘Oh shit’, the three of us silently stood looking at the jello pan’s bottom, now facing up.
“Don’t tell anyone about this,” said Mary C., while scanning around for other witnesses. “I just mopped the floor this morning, so it’s okay.”Hmmm, I never thought of the cafeteria floor as being so clean I could eat off it. I scanned the freshly mopped cement. My opinion didn’t change.
Usually, Mary C. served her jello in spatula’d rectangular blocks. Today’s dessert got scooped in messy chunks. I watched to make sure Mom didn’t take any jello, and later warned her never to select messy food.
When offered, I declined the leftover jello even though it was free.
Lesson learned: The saying ‘What you don’t know won’t hurt you’ is up for debate. It probably works better if you’re the one in the know who has decided not to share the knowledge.
Now it’s your turn: Let’s hear your jello story!
Related posts: Chapter Twelve: Cow Poop, Barn Cats, and a Milk Maid
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