Monday, November 26, 2007
Everyone gets to have a "first job". For some, it happened in college. For others, well, they're still waiting for it to come (ATTENTION ACTORS: YOU DO NOT HAVE A REAL JOB).
My first line of employ was at White Hen Pantry® on Roosevelt Road in Westchester, Illinois. I don't recall exactly HOW I landed the gig, but somehow, I found myself behind the counter at this convenience store several days/nights per week, stocking shelves, printing lotto tickets, selling beer and cigarettes, all at the age of 15.
The owner's name was Tom Vertovec, and he was a pleasant mustached man with a smooth, calm tone to his baritone voice no matter how desperate the situation to get more Hostess products to the shelves. Working with me: Chris, the oversexed 21 year old; Liz, the other oversexed 21 year old; Missy, the oversexed 22 year old, and Adam; the slightly slow gentleman whose talk of "PRETTY, YOUNG GIRLS" entranced me, as he was always speaking about women over 40 when using that terminology.
Sundays, I'd arrive pre-dawn and stuff Chicago Tribunes and Sun Times for early morning customers. I'd spend countless hours in the walk-in freezer refilling milk, soda, and beer for thirsty suburbanite Chicagoans, breaking down boxes, stealing lunch meat for meals, and goofing with my fellow employees.
I remember not being very happy that I had a job at times, since I *could* be out and about...welll....doing....something else. I suppose this is why it's important to have a job as a teenager. You can't do much at 15 without a driver's license.
I carried the job from sophomore to junior to senior year, rarely missing a shift, until, inexplicably, one day, Tom had the store taken away from him by corporate.
I moved on to other odd jobs my final year of high school, but none had the sense of camaraderie that the White Hen® on Roosevelt once possessed.
Ann and I, during our trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving last week, stopped by the ol' Hen (we never called it that) and found out that all White Hens® are to be converted to 7-11s within a few months.
How easily time alters our lives. But how wonderful the memories.