Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Beyond Follow-Up

The summer before my junior year I didn't find a job, but I'd made so much at union wages the summer before, so I was able to afford college & the dorm. The following summer KOMO chose to hire an affirmative action applicant instead of me, and there were no jobs. Dad got a friend at the synagogue's men's club to hire me as a bingo runner for the parlor which the temple ran on skid row.

All the bingo players were black and/or poor. Dad's synagogue was chock full of millionaires. It struck me as WRONG for them to be making money from people they should have been giving it to. So I told the floor manager, who was a friend from high school, that I couldn't do this, and he sent me to the general manager, who understood, and gave me an alternate job, cold calling congregation members who had donated to last year's synagogue yearbook, asking if they would like to renew their ad. I made $100 in 4 hours, but did not like cold calling, so at the end of the day I said no thanks. More than the cold calling, I didn't like working from a fire trap on skid row.

I have to say one memory stayed with me. There are few sounds more relaxing than an otherwise silent ballroom while 1500 light wooden bingo cards are being flipped.

The summer before my senior year was a different story. At the end of my junior year I told my major (Communications) councilor that I would probably have to drop out for a year to earn enough to finish college. Weeks later, a telegram arrived telling me I had not been awarded a Scrips journalism scholarship. Turns out I had been a finalist. Councilor had applied for me, and when I showed him the telegram he gave me a copy of the letter of recommendation he had sent. I still have it, it's something I'm very proud of. With that funding chance gone, the department gave me a scholarship which paid for tuition for my senior year.

That summer I landed a good job at the NOAA warehouse on Lake Union, at government wages, and one of the perks was a government driver's license. My boss was a certified instructor, and he taught me and tested me on every vehicle on the base, from electric forklift to 1.5 ton truck. In addition to warehouse work I drove the jeep to bring mail from the ships to the PO up the hill, and vice versa. NOAA research vessels would be out at sea for months at a time, there was a lot of mail.

I still have two souvenirs which boss let me have because they were being thrown away. One is a full sized Coast & Geodetic Survey flag, and the other is a brass place marker from the national geographic survey.

Thanks to that job, I was able to transfer to another NOAA-related part time job in the fall. Cleaning the tanks and feeding the fish at the National Marine Fisheries Lab on the other side of Montlake Bridge from UW stadium. Also helped log the salmon spawning. Very convenient to get to after band practice. I'd joined the marching band for football season (having been in concert band the three previous years). I still have a framed Purina Trout Chow bag label. They don't make that anymore, it's called something bland now, Game Fish Chow.

In addition, I also had my $8/day Daily editing job at night and the publisher also hired me as a proofreader, proofing all the classified ads. After a while, the word "the" looked like it was spelled wrong.

So I was able to move off-campus. First I got a small room in a house where a bunch of my friends from folkdancing lived. That was great for my love life, especially since there was a house full of nursing students nearby. The drama got to be too much, though, and privacy went out the window when they rented the attic, which could only be accessed via my bedroom.

So I moved again, this time to a cute 1-BR apartment above a head shop on The Ave. Prime location. The bed folded into the wall. The bathroom was two steps up. The apartment is still there, colorful as ever. My $63/month apartment now rents for $900. The head shop is now a pho place. What had been an odds and ends store is now a Subway. Click here for google street view

It was an easy bike ride to school until someone stole my bike. Someone I knew, I later found out. Lots of girlfriends that year, including one I kept in touch with through my Peace Corps tour, but lost track of after she moved to TN to get a doctorate. No amount of web searching has turned her up, though I know both her parents' names. Her dad was a big name in PNW & Canadian TV. There was a girl from Brazil living upstairs who introduced me to Portuguese and Brazilian music. One of a pair of twins I knew from Hebrew school lived down the hall. I never knew whether I was with her or her sister - they both came over from time to time, and would never tell me.

I graduated and moved back home.

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