First Jobs or things you never thought you could do…

One of my first jobs was working in the Cosmetics Department at The May Company Department Store on Public Square in downtown Cleveland. It was Christmas time 1974/75 and the first register I ever worked looked just like this.

Five women working with a cash register, May Co.

Seriously…we could have stored extra employees in it. The thing was so huge that standing in front of it the first time I realized it was “all or nothing at all”. Little did I know that would become my Mantra I would be chanting throughout my life when faced with huge confusing tasks. And we had to balance it every night. That was my first lesson in size. It DOESN’T matter. It’s whats inside that counts. Always and forever.

But it did make me appreciate my other early employment…a counter clerk at the New York Bakery

 Hough Bakery Store

Now this is where size did matter! You wanted the biggest, gooeyist goodies you could lay your hands on. So I considered it a wonderful 1st job. Leaving St. Pete’s High School on Superior and E18th at 2;30 pm I’d hot-foot it down there following that Bakery scent to just outside and down the concourse from the Higbee’ Terminal Tower entrance. I’d spend a few hours working the bakery counter and tossing bakery at people flying down those concourses on their way home heading down into the dark tunnels that led to the Rapid Transit taking a little goodie or two with them. But by the time I got out of there between 7 and 8pm the downtown streets were deserted and just too scary to keep that job for too long. Amazing the pictures of things you run across in the middle of the night that jog memories of people and places and things from years ago. Mine I find at the Google Life Archive or www.clevelandmemory.org . Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by.

Photographs courtesy of Google source : Life Archive and www.clevelandmemory.org the Michael Schwartz Library Special Collection at Cleveland State University.

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4 responses to “First Jobs or things you never thought you could do…

  1. O course it was “all or nothing at all” Like Tamany Hall “All or Nothing!”

    • Dear Pat,
      Maybe it is part of the Irish backbone. This survival bit of taking a job unskilled and growing to be capable of doing it if only given the chance. But I think the feelings are as common as rain among everyone when they are young first time employees. It’s a scarey thing, this trying to fit into the adult world of work and first time paychecks and banking etc. It’s almost as if we go through two adolescences, our bodies at 12-15 and our working world adolecence from 15-22.

      Thanks Pat,
      Sheila

  2. I did not know you worked at a bakery! Some day we should drive around Cleveland with a camera. I want to know the places where you worked, hung out, and grew up.

  3. The best and shortest of my ‘Employments” was the Joseph Feiss Factory on W.65th I think it was. It was a huge sewing factory that put together Joseph Feiss suits. And I was unteachable when it came to that damn machine. Once again let go after a week, but I didn’t mind. I hated that place with its roaring noises and cavernous cafeteria so like high school but really sad, because these were all Moms and hard working women and this drudgery was their life. Forever. These women worked their butts off, it was the first time I ever heard of piecework and it was set up so the employee income was so restricted and dependent on the next person doing their bit. Sad, sad place, my girl. I didn’t really mind when I didn’t measure up after that week was over. I just felt I had to try as we needed the income, as always. But you should do something for a living that doesn’t suck your soul out of you each time you walk into the cafeteria. So maybe I learned something more important. You have to like what you do to do it really well. At least I do!

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