In honor of the summer, we have rolled out a new weekly feature. Each week we will take turns to recount a summer job we had back in the day. [Editor's Note: Back in the day refers to when we were in school...sigh...college].
For three summers, I was a shop girl. A book shop girl.
Shortly before my senior year of high school, my mom drove me (cause I was awesome and still didn't have my driver's license) to our local book shop and forced me to go in and ask if they were hiring. By forced, I mean threatened. She wouldn't let me drive my new hand-me-down car to school (when I eventually got my license that September) if I didn't also have job to drive to.
I went in, I asked and they took my name and number. I left dejected and worried that I'd be the only senior taking the bus. Talk about LOSER! As we drove back to home, I got a call from the book shop. We turned around, I spoke to the owner and I had a new job.
For the last few weeks of that summer, I organized shelves, help other students find their summer reading books and got to know my coworkers. I was the youngest...by more than 25 years.
I never thought, at that time, that I'd become close friends with women older than my mother. The women I worked with became my friends. I spent three afternoons a week, every Saturday and every other Sunday with them.
One women, Linda, and I became very close. She was like the Aunt I never had. Not my mother bossing me around and not my grandmother worrying about whether or not I'll meet a nice Catholic boy to marry.
She listened to me stress over my fights with my mother and listened to me worry that I'd never find a boy to even date. She'd buy me lunch every Saturday and I became the daughter she never had. She even considered, very briefly, setting me up with her son (he was a little too old for me)
I was probably closer with Linda than I was with any of my friends in High School. She had wonderful advice and great life experience to share with 18-year-old Working Girl One.
I cherish those summers (and falls and winters and springs) at the book shop. As stressful as working in retail can be at times, I miss it. I miss telling a customer about my favorite book or picking out a colorful picture book for a cute little munchkin but most of all I miss the women I worked with.