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Entry date: 10-9-2022 - Jobs continued to come - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


It’s funny to think back and realize that I used to put shoe sales on my resumé. There was a time in my life where I professionally identified myself as something of a bulk shoe expert. I even applied for a few jobs here and there in shoe stores.


Now, anyone who knows me well knows I love shoes. I just didn’t love the shoes at Marshall’s. Very rarely did something come across the shoe rack that caught my eye. It was horribly frustrating.


I also realized that this was where I first learned the lesson of how stupid it is to date someone where you work. Cheryl and I had a cool thing for a couple of months, but I was leaving for the Army, and I also ended up meeting Suzi Q and that was that for Cheryl and I. Suzi Q. was the wild girl I thought I wanted at 17 years old, and Cheryl was kind of the opposite of that.


For the last month or so I worked at Marshall’s, things were more awkward than they needed to be and that was my fault. I made them awkward, and it was a lesson learned. I remember several people telling me to be very careful about dating a girl from work. I should have listened. Cheryl and I would probably still be friends to this day if we had just stayed friends. She seemed like that sort of person. Instead, I’m guessing she would never want to talk to me again.


At one point, I did sort of borrow a $100 from her and never paid her back. When I tried to pay her back a year or so later, she wouldn’t take my calls or respond to a message, so I left it alone. I still feel kind of bad about that. I wonder what the interest on $100 from 1987 would be.


I’ve chronicled my next job, US Army, in previous blogs, so I will skip that one. I also mentioned the next job, too. My three days or so of being a room service waiter at the Pointe on 7th Street near Thunderbird (Tapatio Cliffs) was almost too short to consider an actual job.


After that, of course, was the Pizza Hut Delivery call center where I worked for a few months while living at the Polka Dot pad. I was fired from that one for not showing up for four days straight. I am not proud of that, but I had met a girl and we sort of didn’t leave her apartment for a few days. Bad decision on my part, I suppose, but once we moved from the Polka Dot pad, it would have been a long way to go to keep working at Pizza Hut.


In the fall of 1988, I started going to Phoenix College, so I didn’t have a job other than working the occasional Saturday at Easy Street. My grandparents were giving me a monthly stipend that paid my rent and bills so I could concentrate on school. This is the subject of another future blog, so I won’t clutter up my work story with my early college story. Some of it was also covered in the places I have lived series from earlier this year.


My next and steadiest job from 1989 to 1991 was Easy Street. By this point, I was making sandwiches and kind of running the show on Saturdays. I also started working lunchtime doing the register, making plates, and helping out however from 11-2pm each day.


I started doing that after Cup, my grandparent’s former neighbor, retired from being the register/order taker. She was a lot of fun, and I was kind of honored to have taken her place. It was lucky for us all that I needed a job because it was busy enough at Easy Street most of the time to really need that third person.


I would ride the bus down Thomas each day after my morning classes and skate over to the sandwich shop and then do the reverse on the way home. I usually had a book going for the bus or had my Walkman so no one would bother me, but I do remember having some great bus conversations occasionally, too.


Sometimes, if there was an empty pool on the way, Mark would give me a ride from school, and we’d skate before he dropped me off at Easy Street. I learned quickly that smoking a joint with him before work was a bad idea. My mom and aunt would mess with me a bit if I showed up stoned.


When I moved to Berkeley in 1991 for six months, I got a couple of jobs. The first was at a print shop. My job was to laminate membership cards for a country club. It was a temporary job, but I enjoyed it and I even applied to hire on their permanently, but I didn’t get the job. I was white and only spoke English and everyone else there was Vietnamese. The manager was a good guy, and he took me to lunch on my last day and basically said he wanted to hire me, but the owners wanted another Vietnamese person. I could sue for that now.


Instead, I found another job. This one was at the Roxie Food Market on the corner of Shattuck and Ashby. I was hired to be the delivery driver. I really liked that job and worked there for several months. The owner, Bill, started off being a really good guy but turned a bit evil at the end. We had a big misunderstanding and that was that. He owed me about $400 at the end that he never paid me. I could have gotten it back, but I had already moved back to Phoenix, and it wasn’t worth it to go up there for the court date.


Because of that job, though, I learned to drive a stick shift. I had been using Bill’s car to do deliveries and one day I showed up to work and he said, “I got you a delivery car. It’s out front.” He handed me the keys and out I went, stoked on the new car. When I hopped in, I realized it was a stick shift and I had not even attempted to drive a stick in about five years.


I went back in and said, “I don’t know how to drive a stick.” He replied that I was going to learn and said to go do it, so I did. That first day was a rough one, but I figured it out. I also probably killed the clutch on the little Dodge he had bought, too. That’s the main reason I didn’t get my last check. Bill was driving the Dodge Colt to his house so he could get it fixed and the clutch went out while he was driving on the Bay Bridge in afternoon traffic.


It was nice of him, though, for awhile to let me have use of the Colt when I was not working. I had some fun in that car, for sure, and even slept in it a few nights while I was homeless up there. Not super comfortable, but at least it was a place to lay my head.


See you tomorrow.



The front of the Roxie Food Center. The perogies were the bomb.

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