It was forty years ago today …

carters hamburgers by sean manuel.jpg

… since I left my hash-slinging job, and, though these photos below may be a little blurry and faded, the memories are not.  I’m going to stray from squirrel stories and Fall foliage to time travel today, where I’ll revisit my job at Carters Hamburgers, the diner where I waitressed during my college years.  A local artist’s rendering of the diner is featured in the photo above.   Sean Manuel has captured the image of Carters as I remember it best, because now the building is burgundy and named Harry’s Corned Beef and Ham.

I believe there are certain choices you make which are life-changing.  I can honestly say that starting a walking regimen, then writing about it, are two decisions that have been very positive moves for me.  Working at Carters, a friendly little diner here in Lincoln Park, was the best decision of my life.  Taking a job slinging hash was one that changed me forever.  It turned this shy, just-turned-17-year-old girl into a confident young woman.

On October 29, 1978  I donned my white uniform and perky black apron for the last time.  It was my final day for slinging hash, and, by the way, that’s a job description you don’t hear anymore.  That is because we are a politically correct society (some of the time), so the more correct term would be that I was a server, or a waitress.  Honestly, to say I was “slinging hash” sounds like I was Flo, the tall, wise-cracking, gum-chewing waitress from the old T.V. series “Alice” – you may even recall her Southern twang and favorite expression “well, kiss my grits!”

Well I was no Flo and my boss was not named Mel.  His name was Erdie.  Erdie Eugene Pugh.  And, on the final day of my employment, he wrote his name on that last paycheck giving me his autograph.

last check enlarged no soc.jpg

He was my first real boss and I thought the world of him, and his wife, Ann, who was one of the waitresses and had worked alongside him for decades at this burger and breakfast joint.

ann and erdie enlarged

That last day was a real drippy goodbye, full of hugs and tears for all of us, because for Erdie, it  also marked the end of a long stint of managing Carters, and before that, managing a coffee shop at the busy Michigan Central Train Depot.  Though Ann was ready to retire, Erdie was not, and he had to have been close to 80 years old by then.  He was spry, full of wit and the customers and employees all loved him.  But, Erdie was retiring because the new owners were bringing in family members to manage and run the restaurant and he had taught those new folks all that he knew, so it was time to turn over the reins.  The previous owner had died suddenly in late Summer of 1977 and the new owners would take possession of Carters on November 1st.  When I graduated from college in June 1978, I knew about the new owners and told Erdie I would stay on for weekends, so he did not have to hire someone for only four months.  Thus, Sunday, October 29th was my last day on the job.

Here is how it all began.

I consider my waitressing gig at Carters my first real job, as I don’t count that brief stint at Kentucky Fried Chicken back in June of ’73.  It was one week before graduation from high school and I landed my first job at Kentucky Fried Chicken.  In those days, we never called it KFC – that just happened when people started balking at any food that had the word “fried” in its logo, so Colonel Sanders’ famous chicken dinners were rebranded to KFC.

I started this job the day after high school graduation.  I had my food-handlers card and a fresh white uniform when I began the shift at around noon.  I was a little bleary-eyed, as the all-night party sponsored by our high school had just ended hours before.  I was handed a red-striped apron which was mine to keep and wear for when I worked my shift.  In the course of that first week, I learned how to run the cash register, tell the five pieces of chicken apart – sure, it is easy to tell a drum and a wing, but there was the keel (breast) and thighs and ribs.  When it had the Extra Crispy coating on that chicken, and I peered into the big oven with my “metal grabbers” and my wire-rimmed glasses steamed up, it wasn’t so easy picking those pieces out.  But I caught on, plus I learned what chicken pieces went into a barrel, a bucket, a family meal and a snack pack.  I learned how to don a huge plastic sleeve over my forearm and spoon a ton of mayo into a large vat of dry coleslaw and swirl it around.  Ugh!

I came home stinking to high heaven of grease from peering into the warming oven.  My hair and skin smelled of fried chicken.  Oh my!

I received my first paycheck after a week’s work and was feeling pretty pleased with myself, especially after my boss said “good job, so maybe we could make you an assistant manager one day – would you like that?”  I reminded him, as tactfully as I could, that once college started in the Fall, I would have to cut my hours significantly.  “College?  Cutting your hours – what do you mean Linda?  We just trained you!”  In short order, I was told a replacement would be found for me, then I’d be out.  That happened in a matter of days.

Truthfully, getting let go was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I scoured the classifieds for a new Summer job, one that I could also work part-time once school started.  But everyone had already scooped up those jobs before school ended.  My mom suggested I go to Carters as she remembered seeing a help wanted sign in the window when we had driven by recently.

I walked to Carters and the help wanted sign was still in the window, so I went in and asked for the manager and/or an application.  The manager, who wore a jaunty paper cap on his head, and a large apron to cover the front of him, came out whistling.  I told him I was there to apply for a job, and, without pulling any punches, I told him why I lost my last job.

“So, do you have any waitressing experience Linda?”

“No” I answered while shaking my head.

“Oh” was his answer, then rather reluctantly he asked for my name and number and said “I’ll call you because a couple of girls are coming to interview this week.”

I thanked him, but felt dejected.  Two days passed, then three … my mom suggested I return to Carters and ask for the manager and tell him our phone was not working properly and inquire if  he might have called and we missed the call?

That sounded a little far-fetched to me, but I rehearsed my story as I walked to the diner.  The sign was still visible in the front window.  I didn’t have to ask for the manager this time as he was standing at the grill and glanced up when he heard the door open.  He came over to the register, and was whistling.  I laid my spiel on him, and he paused for a moment or two, then said “well I didn’t try to call you, and I was hesitant because you have no experience.”  Silence.  I piped up with “I’ve got a food-handlers card, three new white uniforms and white shoes and nowhere to use them.”  He smiled and asked if I could start tomorrow. “I sure can” was my answer.  “Okay, my name is Erdie, so, get yourself a little black apron and be here at 6:45 a.m. before shift change, okay?”

I know I floated out the door.  My wages would be $1.10 an hour and I could keep all my tips.

The first day.

I was there the next morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to take on the world.  Erdie told me to just watch and observe Ann as to how to wait on the customers and where everything was, then after the morning rush was over, I’d go out on the floor alone.  Suddenly, my confidence was waning and I was nervous because I was so shy.

At 10:00 a.m. he said “okay you’re up Linda, good luck and your first customers are Jack and Bernice Loveday – they own the Dairy Queen down the street.”  Erdie said “you can set your watch to Jack and Bernice; they get here every day at 10:00 o’clock sharp.  They want to be waited on promptly, to be out of here by 10:45 to open the Dairy Queen.  I was introduced to them.  Jack, a retired Lincoln Park police sergeant, was a flirt.  He made me blush after mentioning my short uniform and long legs, but hey … 1973 was the age of miniskirts, after all.  Bernice gently reprimanded him for being foolish and he winked at me.  I know I stumbled and bumbled around while getting their small order just right, but it was all good until I didn’t bring the coffee pot around a second time. After they left, I went to pick up the dishes and wipe off the counter where I found a napkin twisted up to look like a Dairy Queen soft-serve “curl” and, after I untwisted the napkin I found $0.12, a dime and two pennies, plus a note on the napkin that read: “half coffee, half tip” … well, I was crushed and Ann and Erdie laughed and said “don’t worry about Jack, he’s a kidder, but always give them their second cup of coffee!”  They would become my all-time favorite customers and I looked forward to their return every Spring to open the Dairy Queen again.  I had a standing invitation to go visit them at their Florida condo on my Winter school break, although I never took them up on the offer.

Those first few days, even weeks, became a college of hard knocks several times.  I’d write out customer’s orders very neatly and Erdie got on me the second day asking if I was there for penmanship or to wait on customers.  He meant no ill will as he said it with a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face.  He told me “better yet, memorize the customers’ orders – they like it when you do that and you’ll be faster.”  That was easy … most customers ate the same thing every time they came into the diner.  For years after I left, I’d see my former customers and would greet them by their name and rattle off an order like “two cheeseburgers with, a side of fries and a Coke – no ice.”  What a memory, huh?

A slow metamorphosis began as that shy girl was no more.

The best thing was interacting with the customers.  Most all the employees at Carters were from the Deep South and most of our clientele were as well.  Erdie and Ann met as high school sweethearts in Alabama, and our cook’s name was Georgia and she was born in that state.  People would spent half their lunch hour driving to the diner to down Georgia Massey’s homemade soups and chili – none of that waxed chili in a block for Carters; we only served the real deal.  So many Southern customers came up north to work at the Big Three.  They missed their kinfolk  and how life was back home, so they dropped by to be with other Southerners.  I  even picked up a few expressions and could ease into a Southern twang at the drop of a hat.  For years I said “it’s coming up a storm” instead of looking outside and saying “it looks like rain any minute.” I had never known Southerners before Carters and I found them to be the nicest, and most-genuine folks I have ever met.

At the diner, we prepared all the Lincoln Park prisoner’s meals and various police officers would come in to pick them up.  Policemen always got a free cup of coffee and a donut, or a reduced price for their meal.  I got to know most of the patrolmen, and often I’d be driving or walking and they’d see me, turn on the sirens and call my name on their loudspeaker, then wave.  The old me would have been mortified; the new me laughed it off and smiled.

Carters was also a break-time stop for many of the City workers.  They came in shifts for their morning and afternoon breaks.  There were all the guys who ran the street-sweeping machines.  All the Parks and Rec guys.  It was bedlam twice a day, as a rush of about 20 workers filled up the stools quickly when coming in to down hot coffee or icy-cold drinks.  They’d clear out in about twenty minutes’ time, leaving a large load of dishes.  One day the Parks and Rec guys told me they had left a special present at my house and I got home to find a huge tar “X” at the foot of the driveway.  My father was furious and it took many years to wear off.

I was hired to work all Summer, six days a week, then during the school year I worked every weekend, any holidays and/or semester breaks.  The only time the diner was closed was Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  There were swivel stools throughout the diner and the counters were like two horseshoes with about five stools over the sink area.  I had my own horseshoe during the week and worked the entire diner every Sunday.  I got about 15 minutes to sit down and eat and other than that I ran around the entire day.

Linda standing a.JPG

In the cold and snowy Winter, though I don’t like to drive in that weather now, I was fearless in my Biscay Blue VW Beetle back in the day.  But sometimes Erdie would call the night before and tell me he’d pick me up the next morning so “you don’t have to stand out in the cold and snow in your short dress and coat scraping snow off your little car” … your boss couldn’t say that to you nowadays, as it would be considered harassment.  I would just grin and say thanks and I could sleep in a few minutes later too.

At the end of the Summer, the day before my first day of college would begin, Erdie told me he was glad he took a chance on hiring me.  He confessed “when I saw you walking along Fort Street on that first day, in your short uniform, the apron almost as long as the hem, I wondered if I’d made a mistake.”  So, I told him it was my turn to confess and said “there was nothing wrong with our phone” to which he said “I knew that, just as I knew you’d get around to telling me sooner or later!”

Linda sittinga

A couple of years later, Erdie’s granddaughter, Leslie, was hired to work the other “horseshoe”  during the Summer months and Saturdays during the school year.  We got to be friends at work as well as outside of work and still keep in touch via Facebook.  Erdie and Ann’s family were close to them and they always were popping by to visit.  When Leslie started working, I realized how close she was to her grandparents, especially Erdie, and I began to envy her as my own grandfather had been an ogre, not the kind of grandpa where you’d climb up onto his lap for a bedtime story when you were young.  In fact once he yelled at me when I was a toddler and I went onto the floor and bit him in the ankle.  I was not a precocious child, but I was upset and I got a lickin’ when I got home for biting him, but I never regretted my action.  I got to meet each member of the family and when Erdie had his 90th birthday party, I was invited and got to see everyone all grown up – it made me feel kind of old, but special too, for being welcomed into this special family gathering.  Most of the kids had been pre-teens or teenagers and some were now married with kids of their own.

More memorable moments.

During the course of my five years of employment, the 40-something owner of the diner decided he wanted to marry and start a family.  He returned to his native country and brought back a young wife and the following year they had a daughter.  She was named Linda, after me, because Jimmy said he admired women who wanted to further their education.  He doted on that little girl, who was beautiful with her springy black ringlets and dark brown eyes.  He’d bring her in and I was immediately given a break to sit there and chat with my namesake, or he’d thrust a $5.00 bill at me and say “you and Linda go play the jukebox with this money.”  Linda would be long gone and tunes would still be playing – I think they were three songs for a quarter back then.  After Jimmy died, his wife and Linda returned to their homeland and I never saw them again.

I planned a surprise party for my mom’s 50th birthday in 1976.  I arranged for my grandmother and aunt to come from Toronto by bus and I met them at the Greyhound bus station downtown.  We went to the diner where Erdie had picked up a pre-ordered cake earlier that day.  We had a meet-and-greet and then he drove the three of us and the cake home.  I opened the door and said “Mom, I’m home” and my grandmother carried in the cake.  We pulled it off and my mom burst into tears, as she was so surprised.

One of my favorite customers, a guy named Charlie Brown, won big at the racetrack one day and came in for his usual one cup of black coffee.  He handed me a $50.00 bill and told me to keep the change – of course, I was over the moon with that tip.  That was the first and only time anything like that happened – but wow, (and remember this was the mid-70s)!

I learned how to cook on the grill and could take over for the cook when he or she had to take a break.  The poor clean up boy was also the official onion chopper for all our burgers and every Saturday, he’d sequester himself in the backroom, where he chopped up a 50-pound mesh bag of Spanish onions  We daren’t go back in that corner for fear of teary eyes, so if I needed more diced onions for burgers, I’d have to stand at the doorway and yell for him to bring me some.

Earlier this year I wrote about a post about going to Carters wearing my graduation gown on the day I was to graduate from Wayne State University.  Because I had a mouthful of metal braces I refused to smile as I posed with Erdie at the counter…

linda and erdie on graduation day

… and then took another picture at the side of the diner with both of them.  (It is poor quality unfortunately.)

final linda and erdie

Ann wrote me a beautiful note which I’ve kept, along with these mementos, in a scrapbook all these years.

letter enlarged.jpg

On the last day of work, many of the regular weekday customers stopped by to say goodbye.  One brought his family and I resorted to writing out a receipt, and turned to Erdie and said “I couldn’t memorize the order, but I made it messy, just for you.”

last receipt enlarged.jpg

I visited Ann and Erdie every Summer.  I’d walk over to their house and sit on the porch and spend some time with them.  I’d call on their birthdays and catch up with what was happening with their family.  When each of them passed away, I couldn’t bring myself to pay my respects, as I wanted to remember them as I last saw them, at Erdie’s 90th birthday party.

I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to share this 40th anniversary story.  I originally was going to post it as a “Tuesday Musings” on Bosses Day, October 16th, but decided against it, choosing to make this a fond, look-back post instead.

Artist rendering by Sean Manuel.  The rest of the photos are my own from my photo albums and scrapbooks.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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65 Responses to It was forty years ago today …

  1. I enjoyed that Linda! A real transformative experience! You must be the sentimental type to keep all these mementoes from your past. I have some myself & guess we all do.
    I couldn’t believe your wages! Only $1.10 a hour! You could work there for 8 hours & not even come away with 10 bucks.Did you mean $10.10?

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I am glad you liked it Wayne and yes it was a real transforming experience for me. I was bullied when we first moved here due to my accent and the teachers and the classmates were cruel – I hated it here and I was very quiet after that. We only go to Grade 12 here and for my Grade 10 and 11, our millage did not pass in our City so we only went to school four hours, no extracurricular activities … just school. The last year of high school we had more things like sports, clubs, talent shows, dances, etc. but I just had five friends and the six of us hung out. I was extremely shy and this diner experience was great because the customers and employees were a great bunch of people and you could not be shy or introverted working there … it was a good experience. I have mementos around the house that I probably will never part with – little tidbits from my childhood too. It is funny as I was going to say to you before you read it that I was a real sentimentalist as I’ve saved so many things from my past. I have a scrapbook from when I was young as my mom saved everything as I was growing up. And I saved things and took pictures after my mom gave me her Baby Brownie camera and I took B&W photos. Plus I got all the family photo albums, so I have many photos. Since I was an only child, there were a lot of photos taken. I know you said you asked your mom for the box of family photos when she asked you what you wanted. Photos are important and since I’ve digitized them, even though so many of them are not finished (and what I’ve been doing is enlarging the photo page, taking a screenshot of what I need and saving the image that way), the project will be years until it is completed, but at least if I want to use a picture here, I can find it and look at old pictures as well. But it has worked okay so far, as the pictures I used today were very tiny and I had to enlarge the receipt and the paycheck to make it legible. Yup, that was all I made and happy to make it and I counted on tips to supplement my income. I did good on a Sunday when I worked by myself, and that’s considering most people just left change but $0.50 or $0.75 was a lot back in the mid-70s, I only got paper money if it was a family and I had to work hard. If I hauled in $25.00 or more on a Sunday in tips it was a good day! It was a diner so the highest priced meal on the menu was probably $3.50. Don’t forget this was 1973 to 1978 when I worked there. Thanks for reading it – I know it was really long.

      Liked by 2 people

      • you’ve remembered your past,I’ve forgotten most of mine.You must have many scrap books I bet.

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        Wayne – I have parts of my past which I would like to forget – I had some horrid bullying incidents when we first moved over here – I have written a post about it … I was shaken to the core and never told my parents for a long time as my father had a helluva temper and I was afraid what he would do or say and he likely would have been angry with me for taking it as long as I did. That’s why I like to reflect on nice memories such as these. I’ll bet you remember more than you think … do you sometimes have something that triggers a pleasant memory? I do have many scrapbooks and photo albums … I think between my parents and me, we’ve documented everything about my life from the time I was born … “only child syndrome”. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bullies grow up to be Presidents!
        Photograph everything & keep that external drive elsewhere in case your house burns down.

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        Agreed! Who had teachers for bullies – shaking my head as I remember. I got paddled for chewing gum or making spitballs because the other kids said I did. I never got the strap in Canada and was a good student. I was happy to leave those school years behind and get a fresh start. I did put it in a safe place ,,, safety deposit box.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was strapped twice.In hindsight I should of kicked the guy & bolted! & it turns out on of the guys who strapped me is now up on sexual charges
        https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/news-story/8871800-historical-sexual-assault-case-of-stanley-mcbride-jr-returns-to-court-next-month/

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s a terrible story Wayne. We just have the paddle here and I had this sadistic woman teacher who used a wide paddle with holes in it. When I finally went to the principal and told my sordid tale, I had kept a list and I spilled my guts but good. She was put on leave til the end of the school term, BUT she also was pregnant at the time, so it really didn’t mean much as she likely would have been on leave soon anyway, and by then I was out of the 7th grade. I had her for multiple classes.

        Like

  2. It is so good for one’s “being” to reminisce, thank you for sharing some of yours. Love your pictures from Carters days they are so of the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      It sure is Andy and these were really fond memories of time spent with people who cared for one another and we had a genuine camaraderie. I hesitated to use a few of the smaller and blurry pictures but you’re right – they are so representative of the 70s.

      Like

  3. Very sweet and interesting stuff, Linda! 🙂 Times were sure different back then! Not so much going on with crazy drugs and with people staring at their iPhones perpetually. It was more of an innocent time, though a lot still had to change with prejudice going on deeply; seems like that ugliness is having a comeback. I remember the mom and pop places before the McDonalds and the Food Chain groups started. Miss the look of the classy cars back then… 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Tom – I am glad you liked this post. Since you grew up in that time period as we are close in age, I knew some things would resonate with you. No phones as distractions … a VW Bug or a classic Mustang were our vehicles of choice … we were years away from a digital age and it was a happier time. Our diner competed for business with the local White Castle in the overnight hours and I never worked that shift, but the customers I waited on were warm and wonderful people who took a genuine interest in you as a person, not just a person bringing their plate of food and beverage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, i miss my stick-shift, little VW Bug! It sure was fun to drive! Now i’d probably crash the thing! Yes, people were generally warmer and more caring about you back then. Now the young people are all looking down at their cell phones (even many of the older folks too) and there’s not as much warmth between people as there used to be. We sure got along well then without all of our fancy technological stuff! And there were more bees and butterflies! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more … except for the car part. My VW Bug was an automatic stick and they came out on the market and didn’t last too long as they had a “bug” in them (pardon the pun). You only had to shift over 55 mph and it had no clutch. But they stalled all the time – my poor little car would stall if it rained or it snowed and it got the least bit damp. It was a lemon from day one. Brand new and brought it home and parked it in the driveway – neighbor across the street called to say, the car had slipped out of gear was is in the middle of the street and leaking transmission fluid. I miss those good old days Tom.

        Like

  4. susieshy45 says:

    Dear Linda,
    You need to make this into a book- you remember so much of those times, you have put out only the good memories but there must have been bad/sad times too. It was lovely the way you completed your education and that was priority in your family. The Carter’s Diner seems a real godsend for you and thank God the KFC job didn’t work out. Those days, taking the bull by the horns to ask for a job would often lead to good jobs- I wonder if these days that would work. You got a good place and a good family to be with, safe and warm, for your times away from school. I loved to read about your mother’s 50th birthday surprise. Do you have a Canadian family still ?
    Those times seemed quiet with a lot of love and honor and admiration for a good work ethic. Do you still retain some of those cooking skills you learnt ? You are a beautiful woman.
    You got a lot of Black and White and other photos of those years and they speak of a great age, one that will perhaps not come back again. Why did those people draw an X in your driveway ? Was that an ill gesture ? I would be spooked if the people who were my customers knew where I lived these days. Is the Canadian accent a lot different from the US accent ? Did you spot the real Parker ? Did one of the Parkers’ get the PB sandwich ? Eager to know.
    Susie

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Susie – I’m going to address your comments later if you don’t mind – my late hour in finishing this very long post and responding to comments and not even treading into Reader had me getting up later than normal this morning. I have to get going on a walk since we’re having a couple of rainy days, but Parker was there yesterday and I spoiled him rotten with peanuts and he forgave me. I maybe should have clarified the “X” … they thought it would be funny to put an “X” like the expression “X marks the spot” … I might have a picture in the pictures I’ve scanned in and I’ll find it and send it to you. You know nowadays someone putting an “X” would be bad, this was just horseplay … my father was furious as he thought it looked ugly – it was about 12 inches square and a black tar “X”. My grandmother was visiting at the time and thought it was “cute” … she and my father got into an argument about it being there. It took years to fade. I will address your comments later today okay?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. ruthsoaper says:

    Linda, thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. It took me back to my days in high school when I worked as a dish washer/cook at a small restaurant/bar in town. Sadly, like Carter’s, it no longer exists.

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad it took you back Ruth – I have such fond memories of those days and KFC letting me go did me a big favor. I was the only non-Southerner amongst the employees (until Leslie began working there) but I never felt like an outsider and looked forward to time off from school and weekends when I could spend more time with this second family.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved reading this. Our first jobs can have such an impact on us too. 🙂 I worked at the co op for years and I loved it. Learnt so much and I loved chatting to all the customers. xx I loved your mum’s reason for phoning. And it worked! 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Heather – I am glad you liked it. I’ve met a few people through the years that really impacted my life and I had another boss after this one; it was at the ad agency where I worked after I graduated from college. One day I decided to reach out to him and say “hi” after a fellow blogger wrote a post about how easy it is to find people and keep in touch, not like the “olden days” … like me, I graduated high school in 1973. I lost touch with my close friends (there were six of us) as we went our separate ways, but we thought we were inseparable. At the ad agency, this boss was like a mentor to me and he went to another agency – ad people are always on the move. I decided to track him down and say “hi” … it had been 1979 since I saw him. I Googled a bit – didn’t have to Google long as I discovered he had died suddenly just two weeks before and they had set up a scholarship for journalism students at his alma mater. It hit me like a ton of bricks, even though I’d not seen or spoken to him in decades.

      I truly was so shy and the diner, just like your co op job, was an opportunity to interact with people and I became a “chatterbox” as a result of that job. That’s okay because that was a good thing. Yes, my mom had a lot of wisdom and I came home and told her and we celebrated with a nice dinner. I really thought he wouldn’t buy that story, but I was glad he did!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have never waitressed. I don’t think it’s something I would be good at but it does teach you how to deal with all kinds of people.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes it does Kate but I think you’d do fine – you write a blog and interact with people here and you have to admit that any one of us who writes and puts our thoughts out there for everyone to see invites interaction by others. You can’t stay silent and either could I. I often wonder if I would have stayed the quiet and shy type if I remained at KFC where the most interaction I got was at the cash register?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I waitressed for most of my pre-career jobs. I really enjoyed interacting with the customers… and the tips weren’t bad either. I can remember all the places I worked but definitely not down to the details you do. How nice that you had such a close relationship with your boss at Carters. Considering how much time is spent at work, your co-workers really do become a significant part of your social network. Thanks for a glimpse into your past!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Janis – The interaction was the best part and about 90% of our customers were regulars, so you got to know their home and work lives, and you built up a continuity with them. I used to look forward to weekends and catching up with my customers. I had people that only came in on the weekdays in the Summer, but would pop in on the weekends during the school year, sometimes just for a cup of coffee, to catch up and ask about school, etc. I remember a lot of details about those years and probably could have written another 1,000 words or more about some of the funny or memorable things that happened, but the post was way longer than I thought it would be. I’m glad you enjoyed a glimpse into my past as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, that was an amazing blog! Really, really enjoyed it, as we are a similar age. (I graduated in 1979). I never waitressed, but in my first job I dusted shelves for several weeks, until they found out I could type, and then I typed the rest of the summer. I made $2 an hour, which was probably fairly decent in 1976. I remember the short skirts too! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. PS. I’m reflecting on how different people were back then, you were a person, not just an employee filling a shift.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Joan and I figured it would resonate with people around my age who lived through the 70s … the short skirts, a minimum wage that was so low, but again … look how long ago that was and it would be comparable I’m sure to what is the going pay rate for a waitress now. We have the movement here by the fast food workers that want $15.00/hour. Waitressing is tough too, on your feet and running around all those hours – it is for younger legs, that’s for sure. You lucked out when they found out you could type. 🙂 You have said it best, back them you were treated like a person, with feelings and you shared experiences in that workplace, not just someone who shows up for their shift. The best thing was losing the KFC job and I often wonder what I’d be like if I had stayed there all those years?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Minimum wage jumped here from $11.60 to $14 an hour last January, it was supposed to go to $15 but the new Ont. govn’t, halted it for now, as it was too hard for the small businesses to adjust to all at once. I’ve noticed most restaurants now have less staff on, so they work harder. They are trying to make it a living wage for everyone.

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        They have had some major protests here by the fast food walkers and the protests involve them marching en masse, then laying down in the middle of the street. They pick a protest site near McDonald’s usually and sometimes get arrested. And the restaurant owners have to do something or they’ll have no profits, so some will lose their job in the long run as customers won’t pay sky-high prices. I looked at WNIC tonight – there was nothing about when the Christmas music was going to start, though they had a recent pool to see if it should be before Halloween, November 1st and then other dates in November. I’ll let you know if I hear anything. You can always stream it as well at https://wnic.iheart.com/

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie says:

    Linda, you have an amazing memory. I could not recall that many details and stories about my first job (which was at our community pool’s snack bar). We both graduated from college the same year – 1978 – and that is the year I got married, too. When my children were little, I quit my teaching job to stay home with them but worked as a waitress at night. My hubby and I would pass them back and forth as I was going out the door just as he was coming home. I worked several different places, but the place I worked for 9 years (I continued on a very part-time basis even after I started teaching) was a family-run business with very kind owners. That was one of the best jobs I ever had! Sadly, the restaurant closed just this month. The owners’ son (who is my age) inherited the restaurant, and he ran it for years, but his heart was not in it. Anyway…sorry for the ramble. It was fun to walk down Memory Lane!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Laurie – I could have written another 1,000 words or more as I have so many little stories and fond memories of Carters. Perhaps it was the era, maybe it was like your small restaurant, a family-run business, where you got to know all the customers – it all felt like one big happy family to me. We think exactly the same because to me it was a meaningful place to spend my working hours i.e. a place to appreciate and be appreciated. I never went back once it was the new owners – I wouldn’t want to tarnish any of my own memories. You weren’t rambling, you were reminiscing and I’m glad you enjoyed the walk down Memory Lane.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Regular customers still see me and recognize me from when I worked there, even though that was 30 years ago!

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s amazing but you must still look as young as you did back then – you look young in your pictures and now I know we are around the same age. I would see regular customers at the mall or the grocery store for years after I left and people didn’t recognize me as readily as I often had my hair down as opposed to being in a ponytail. We did not have to wear nets, just tie back our hair.

        Like

      • Laurie says:

        You are very kind, but I definitely do not look like I am 30 anymore! Not even close!!! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        Your picture here and in some posts makes you look younger. I used to tell everyone my age as I always looked much younger than I really was – probably my long hair made me look younger. I don’t do that so much now since I’ve gotten older. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Ha! Same here!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Two peas in a pod I tell you – I had a driver’s license one time with a good picture, not being narcissistic but it was flattering. During the 8 years I had the driver’s license, I’d go somewhere and use a credit card and say “do you need to see my driver’s license” … shameless promotion!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Actually, I like my driver’s license picture now! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I renewed mine this year – first time in 8 years and I look like a criminal. Hopefully the next one is better!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        Haha! we have to renew every 3 years!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That’s interesting. We are every eight years (if no driving infractions) and this year when I went to renew, I had studied the “What Every Driver Must Know” booklet the weekend before. I had looked at the booklet online and realized I didn’t know a lot of the signage and road markings and started to worry. They have trick questions on top of it. So, my head was crammed with driver knowledge that I never use on a daily basis and in some cases never (hauling a trailer or putting a baby in a carseat) and I got to the Secretary of State – no written test (whew!) However, I have to go back in 4 years – I did not do well on the eye exam and she asked when I was going to the eye doctor next – I said a month. She said “good” and when I got my permanent license in the mail, the photo was ghosted so it’s only good for four years. Probably a good thing as the picture was terrible, but I truly wonder if it is because I am older now – maybe they had concerns about my vision.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie says:

        I have to wear glasses when I drive, but I typically don’t wear them any other time. I like them, though. They make me look smarter! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I wore hard contact lenses for years, and I was so vain that I would try to give my eyes a break on Sundays so I would wear my glasses. I’ve worn glasses since my 7th birthday. I had these huge sunglasses called “Solar Shields” that wrapped around 1/3 of my face including my glasses in case anyone saw me in glasses if I ran out for an errand or to pick up a pizza, etc. When I stopped working on site in 2009 I stopped wearing contacts and went to glasses … but I still miss them to be honest.

        Like

  11. Rebecca says:

    Beautifully written, Linda, and I really enjoyed the photos and momentoes that went along with the words! I think the people who first take a chance on us and show us kindness always have a special place in our hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Rebecca. I sure did enjoy putting this post together and writing about all those nice memories. I have saved so many things from childhood up to adulthood through the years, that when I scanned in all the pictures last year, I spent many hours just looking at all these little treasures that I had accumulated. I knew then that I would write a post to commemorate my time at the diner. You are right – I always felt blessed that he did take a chance on me and made that time there so enjoyable. I miss them – they were both very kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my, wonderful pictures! I can tell that you adore what you do in this life, that’s the way you are, aren´t you, my friend? Thank you so much for letting us know about yourself, what you like, what you remember and hold dearly in your heart, in your mind. There is no common to find people like you anymore: caring, giving important value to people, nature, things you do. I consider myself honored to have you as my contact/friend in the blogosphere. My hat is off to you, Linda.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you so much for these kind words Martha and I, too, am honored to have you as my friend in the blogosphere. I learned alot at this little diner, and became wiser in some ways than all the years of school under my belt, and it was the most positive experience of my life. I believe in holding onto the memories that you hold precious and bringing them out and dusting them off every so often so that you can appreciate them all the more. I may have traveled around the world when I was younger, but I find that I have made many more discoveries right here in my own backyard. Thank you again for the nice comments – you made me mist up.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………………….I sure like your real long skinny legs back then at Carters diner!…………….thank you for sharing your special story

    Liked by 2 people

  14. OMG you kept your paycheck stub etc. I do the same thing with things that hold so many wonderful memories for me too. What a lovely story! It sounds like you have had some wonderful people in your life. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      My house looks so cluttered Diane because I am a keeper not a thrower! I have so many things pasted in those scrapbooks and many more mementos around the house as well. I am glad you enjoyed the story – I enjoyed writing it and had wanted to tell it for a while and this 40 year anniversary date was a perfect way to do it. Too bad I don’t have a grill here at the house as I could hone what few cooking skills I had back in the day. We all had to be able to cook a little when the cook was on a meal break. I don’t know any treats I could share with you for your blog, but we had a young high-school kid who was the Sunday cook for a while. He would take 6 pieces of bacon and criss-cross them on the grill and smash that down with the heavy bacon press. He would make it look like a hashtag/pound sign and then cook two eggs on top, smash the yolk, melt some cheese and then slide it between two pieces of buttered toast. It wasn’t on the menu and he called it a “Dennis Special”. He’d make it for me every Sunday … I never gained an ounce because I worked the entire diner on Sundays so ran the whole day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now you know I am going to have to try that one! He actually created the breakfast sandwich like the McMuffins etc and didn’t know it! He could have been a millionaire…lol

        Like

      • lindasschaub says:

        I knew you would like that Diane as it is all about bacon. 🙂 And we used Velveeta Cheese so it was real cheesy with the Velveeta melted on top. I may have enjoyed my bowl of oatmeal this morning, but I’d much rather have had this sandwich. It was delicious. You know he could pick up the “inside” of the sandwich and wouldn’t even had needed a spatula as it all fried in together, but used a spatula so he didn’t burn his fingers on the grill.

        Like

  15. Technological advances are making many parts of life easier these days, but there’s no substitute for real human interaction! I love this story! It reflects how much simpler everyday life used to be!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Sabine and I so agree with you. I work from home and have since 2011. Without technology I’d not have the ability to do that, so for that alone I feel very lucky. Human interaction is important – it was like being part of a family and to me that was important. I would like to have lived in a much simpler era … I’m not saying “pioneer women” but something a little simpler than our high-tech times we are immersed in now.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I so enjoyed reading this Linda. It was so lovely to hear all about your early working life and about your family ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Zena – I am glad you enjoyed it. That post was bubbling around in my head for awhile especially after I scanned in all those photo albums and scrapbooks last year … I knew I had a story to tell. I am glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  17. Bryan Fagan says:

    What a wonderful story. I loved reading this. I too worked in a restaurant and like you it changed my life. What is it about restaurants that can do that to a person?

    I am happy it had such a positive effect on you. I could read in your words the emotion of this experience.

    This made my day. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I’m glad you liked this story Bryan. When you wrote that post a few weeks ago about working in a restaurant, I said I had a post I wanted to write before month-end. That story has been bubbling around in my brain for a while now and when I scanned in all my scrapbooks and photo albums last Thanksgiving and saw what I had saved from my waitressing days, I just knew I had to write a post about the experience. The people were genuine and down-to-earth and it was a positive experience for me. The best part was I left my shy self behind.

      I am glad I made your day – it gave me a lot of joy writing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Bryan Fagan says:

    I could tell. Some of us are blessed with a job that changed who we are today. You and I are in the same boat. Love the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mackenzie says:

    This is an absolutely beautiful story. Thank you for sharing, Linda ❤ I love how you develop such meaningful relationships with whoever you encounter. You are intentional with people- and I feel like that is so rare in this day and age. The pictures are awesome too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you for saying that Mackenzie – those years were very happy, and I enjoyed working there – the camaraderie, the regular customers and the best part was leaving my shy self behind in the process. I am glad you liked the post and the pictures – as you probably guessed, I am sentimental and a saver, not a thrower. These were all items in the photo albums and scrapbooks that I digitized over last Thanksgiving weekend. I saw those pictures and knew I would make a post about my experience one day. Thank you again for your nice comments. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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