Monday, April 06, 2009


I retired in 1964 after about 34 years of service with Uncle Sam. I thought that was about the only job I really had. But, the other day while playing cards, we got to talking about jobs. Who started working the earliest, who worked longer, etc. You know, the kind of stuff old people talk about. So, as best I remember, here it is: My very first job was not really a job in the real sense. But one day, while living in rural Minnesota, north of Mpls, Dad came rushing home, told us (four kids and Mom) to jump in the car and off we went. To dig potatoes! I don't actually remember if we were paid for that in other than potatoes but it was quite an experience. I must have been about 8 years old. After that it was delivering papers for the Mpls Star/Tribune (two deliveries a day then). That was kind of a disaster. For one the hours were not good: Early AM and then mid PM afternoon. Plus I had to collect money for the papers delivered. As I lived in a pretty poor neighborhood, most people did not have the full amount so paid half, a quarter or none at all. Plus, being poor, I was not used to collecting money so usually spent what money I collected. That meant that the Star/Tribune received very little or none. I guess I was about 10 at that time. After that I picked strawberries in Hopkins for a farmer named Glenn. That was also hard work but did provide me with enough money to buy clothes for school. I guess I was about 12 or so. Skip ahead several years. First real job was as an orderly at the Highland Park Nursing Home where my Mom and ex-brother in law worked. I was probably 15 or 16. Next up: After graduation from high school in 1959 I enlisted in the US Army. I served 3 years as a clerk typist in Karlshrue, Germany. After my discharge - I was just 20 - I went to work at a nursing home in Edina. Stayed there about a year. Then, at the advice of an old family friend I applied for a job at the Mpls Water Dept in Fridley. It was a long drive from 38th and Hiawatha in Mpls to Fridley, The money was ok - $2.79 an hour but the work was boring. Again, at the advice from a friend, I applied for a clerks position at the U.S. Dept of Agriculture. I started there in January 1964 at $3.18 an hour. I retired from there in 1994. In between I did a short stint at the Holiday store in Bloomington, MN. Worked in the camera department. Also worked as a janitor for a cleaning business for a month or so. After retirement from USDA, I worked at City Hall in my current city. Worked there for 2.5 years in the Planning Dept. Next up: Work for the Census Bureau as a recruiter. That job lasted just 60 days. Next up: Wal-Mart! Why? I was one quarter short of the 40 needed for Social Security Benefits. I have also painted homes. 6 to be exact but two were repeats. Painting is kind of refreshing. Dirty but when you are done and look at the finished project it is a nice feeling. Only problem is that I have a frear of heights so can only paint a single story home. At this point I am unemployed but have applied to work at the Census Bureau again.