I was reading another blog, Extreme Housewifeing, viewing vintage thingies, and the author posted a copy of an SOS pad ad. The ad pictured the woman was on her knees (in a dress of course!), scrubbing the floor, bewildered at what to use to get her floor clean! Someone commented on it, wondering who would use an SOS pad to clean her floor! And I had a flashback to my very first job working for someone other than my parents.
I had just graduated from high school and was sick of driving the tractor round and round and round the field. It was boring and the fields were rough and really did a number on my 8-tracks. And I spent a fortune on batteries for the thing (by the way, it was really cute and red (my favorite color) and to change the track on the tape you pushed a handle down, kinda like a dynamite detonator thing)! And the only company in the field--the vast, vast field--were hawks and bunnies and what bloodthirsty sight that could be!
So my mom got me a job one day when she went to the grocery store after work. Because I suffered from debilitating shyness at the time, she had to do all the work to get me the job. Mom did refuse however to drive me there and walk me in!
It was a little store in the Oklahoma Panhandle and everyone who worked there pretty much did everything--unload the truck, price groceries (with a stamp if you can imagine!)check, carry out, sweep, etc. But we each had a special too--Craig(another recent HS graduate who I thought was hot) took care of produce, my former first grade teacher, Mrs. Hoover, was in charge of price changes for the ads and such. And I, lucky me, got to clean the meat market every afternoon when business was slow between the lunch and supper rush.
This was back in the olden times, when rules (read laws here) about cleanliness were not so fanatical as they are now. This was back in the days when you could eat fried chicken for supper that had set out since dinner. This was before Salmonella was discovered. This was before people developed germ-aphobia. This was before HAND SANITIZER!
Every day, I had to wipe down everything and clean the big scary meat saw and the little scary thing that makes minute (chicken fried) steaks all nice and tender. I got to wash up the bloody chicken parts tubs and scrape grease off stuff and other lovely things. Thank heaven I was raised on a farm/ranch operation where I had seen lots more disgusting stuff than that! But again I digress.
Cause the whole point of my story is that I, yes actually I did, scrubbed the floor in the meat market with an SOS pad. Cause it was the best thing for getting up all those glutenous and greasy substances left behind when chopping cow, chicken and pig parts up for human consumption. (Gosh my wording about makes you wanna go vegetarian, doesn't it. But just keep a picture of a big old golden chicken fried steak covered in cream gravy in the front of your mind and the other images will go away! )
And about that shyness part earlier--perhaps I was more than a bit shy. Perhaps a lot shy, timid, whatever floats your boat about what to call me. My girls love this story cause I look so ridiculous and mock me about it but I tell you, I was Painfully shy and it was Painful to talk to strangers. Painful, I tell you.
My boss Bob (storeowner, meatcutter, hire-er of painfully shy grocery clerks), called me into his 'office' one afternoon and we had a little discussion. What I mean is, he talked, I sniffled. He stressed the importance of looking at and speaking to customers and just making them feel important! Good grief, they were total strangers--what was I gonna talk to them about. 'Hi' was really difficult for me! And if I looked at them, it was gonna have to go beyond 'hi' to something horrid like, 'what's for supper,' or 'how are you today' or even, 'that's a cute baby you've got there.' shudder.
But Bob, my boss, was very nice and encouraging and felt really bad when I was all teary eyed and eventually, with his help and the help of other grocery store owners, I got over the embarrassment and became chatty with the customers. And as you can see now--I can't shut up! With the computer anyway.
I did learn one very important aspect of grocery store talk. Never, ever, ever ask someone how they are. Unless you really want to know!
Here's Shy Me. Circa 1982. Note the romantic note--curled hair, satin ribbon tie, velvet vest, white pin-tucked shirt...I loved Harlequin Romances and was waiting for a Greek Tycoon to come along and sweep me off to Europe, but not many of those showed up in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Many stories herein are subject to the faulty, and sometimes creative, memory of the blog owner and should not be taken as factual, although the names and events are real! Kind of.