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Updated: May 24, 2020

Accessories have changed over the years. At sixteen I worked part-time and on Saturdays at Kobacker's Department Store in Hosiery. After learning how to make change and count out my cash drawer my job consisted of helping ladies decide on a shade of nylon stockings. I'd pull out a small, flat box of the desired size, lift out the first stocking and gently stretch it over my hand, rotating it slightly to catch the light while my customer mulled her decision. Early on at closing one night, my manager shrieked, "Who has been making $200.00 sales?" I froze and 'fessed up. She readjusted the numbers on the register to read $2.00 and we laughed about it, but I knew I'd better watch my step going forward. All was well until one evening I saw the store detectives, also known as floor walkers, apprehend a shoplifter. The only crimes I knew about were on TV and Joe Friday had them well in control with little drama. To this day, my friend Sandy tells about my experience: "Ginny threw up in purses and fainted in hats."

Another time my 7th grade math teacher from a few years earlier came by and I got a little flustered adding up her stack of purchases. As I handed over her change I reminded her that I'd been a student a few years back. She replied, as if to her companion, "I didn't do a very good job, did I?"

First jobs are intended to nudge a neophyte along the path to adulthood. Many of the lessons help thicken the skin and teach us how to become good, productive people. Some are funny and some hurtful, but they are all your unique history. Writing them down in journal is a great way to preserve them, even lay them to rest. I never got more comfortable with numbers or math but found creative ways to calculate going forward and got along fine. Then, along came the pocket calculator, what a great invention. I still feel a little superior when I see young kids struggling to make change when the computer is down at the check-out.


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