Saturday, July 23, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy: Employment (working for wheels)

My first wheels were a Yamaha 50. Needless to say, my mother wasn't at all happy about me riding this tiny motorcycle through the streets of New York City, so she suggested I either say goodbye to the bike or say goodbye to home.

You can see my choice here, in September, 1969. As an adult, I understand and completely sympathize with my mother's worry. Then, however, I thought she was overreacting (!).

After all, the bike had a top speed of 50 mph, going downhill with a tailwind. I wasn't going to give up my first wheels, not me!

Once I had my own apartment (rent: $112.15 per month for 3 rooms, including gas and electric) I had to work to keep up my wheels. Well, actually, it wasn't much work: Filling the gas tank to the very brim, in those days, cost 25 cents. Really.

But I was still in college (thanks to free tuition at CUNY) and now I had textbooks to buy, rent to pay, and other expenses, not to mention finding extra cash to buy LPs too. So one of my first real part-time jobs was as a secretary to Mr. Meyer, who owned a leather importing firm at 215 Park Avenue South in Manhattan. On days when I had no school, I'd drive down from the Bronx on my motorcycle, park in Union Square, and walk two blocks to Mr. Meyer's office.

Mr. Meyer was tickled by my independence and was fairly happy with my typing (filing was another story). Later, I brought in my twin and my boyfriend to work part-time and together, we three filled all 5 days of the week as his secretary. This arrangement lasted about two years until we all graduated from college and went our various ways in the world. I traded in my Yamaha 50 for a Yamaha Twin Jet 100, which never worked right from the first day. But soon I became the proud owner of a Mercury Cougar and it was four wheels only from then on, despite some bad car karma!

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