Saturday, November 19, 2011

Earning My Keep

Here's the map again. I call your attention to the area immediately surrounding the red brick school building. On the east side, the area labelled "5" is all lawn, enclosed on the south and east sides by road, on the north side by a lilac hedge, and on the west by the building itself.

Also, there is lawn to the west of the building, enclosed by a fairly high wall on the west side and by lesser walls on the south and north sides, because of the slope of the terrain. These two pieces of land, then, is what I mean when I refer to "the lawn."

My summer job on the premises was to mow the lawn. This was during the years I was 12 and 13. I don't recall for sure whether or not I started when I was 11. Anyway, for this task, remember heavy, steel-framed reel-type push mower, I received the munificent stipend of twenty-five cents, U.S. Yes, one shiny quarter!

What could be obtained for a quarter? The price of Mechanix Illustrated was fifteen cents. That was a monthly expense. A bottle of pop was a nickel, as was a full-size candy bar, bigger than you get for a buck these days. Clausen's used book store consumed much of my time and financial resources. Good titles and interesting reading could often be obtained for ten to twenty-five cents, though occasionally one had to ask Mr. C to put a title back while he saved up enough to cover the 75 cents or a dollar. Used comic books at Sol's were usually a nickel apiece, six for a quarter. New titles were a dime, and avoided because of the profligacy of spending enough to get two books in order to get one. Moreover, if one didn't damage them too severely, they could be exchanged, three for one.

Now focus on the "gravel parking lot" in front of Building #9. Should I gain sufficient courage to do so, I may in a few days relate a story, the culmination of which is set in this lot.


Vee said...

You learned about working and managing money at a very young age. No doubt these early experiences prepared you for the wonderful successes of your adult life.

vanilla said...

Vee, those experiences enabled me to learn to get along with what I can afford, make good choices (?), and to waste no effort lusting for what I can't have.

John Cowart said...

Hi Vanilla,

Love those book prices! Must have made mowing that Lawn a bit easier to anticipate a visit to the book store.

Today I lowered the prices of my books by 20%. The tell me that will bring a flood of readers on Black Friday. I doubt that. But I instigated the discount in a test run.

Wish I could sell 'em for a quarter but those days are gone forever. I used to buy Mighty Mouse comics for a nickle. And I had all the early Superman and Batman and... Like every American male says, "My mother threw them out".


Andrea said...

We should prepare our own kids and grandkids better....but that's another subject or is it:)

Great lessons here!

Blessings and prayers,

vanilla said...

John, yes, the toil was difficult. But the bookstore was a reward worth working for!
Indeed, you are another "thousandaire" foiled by a mother's overzealous cleaning and pitching.

Andrea, thank you. I try not to be overly judgmental, but I will say that I appreciate the "upbringing" my parents gave me.
Blessings to you, and get well soon!