Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Was Your First Real Job?

We’ve made it to September and Labor Day weekend as the summer of 2021 draws to a close. This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge brings back wonderful memories of my teenage summers spent on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has asked us to share work memories:

1)  It’s Labor Day weekend in the USA.  Do you have memories of your first real job?  What and where was it?  What did you learn from it?  How did it affect the rest of your life?

I remember exactly when and where I first worked. In June 1968, a couple of summer friends started working at the Dairy Bar in Meredith, New Hampshire, where I also spent many summers.

The Dairy Bar closed a number of years ago and, in  fact, since Google visited in October 2018, this shopping center at the intersection of Routes 25 and3, has been demolished:

Dairy Bar on the Rte. 3 side

A supermarket was in the space to the far left. The middle store was a record shop and the far right, with green tarp over the windows, was the Dairy Bar.

It was fun working there – I think I worked there for 2 summers – because three of my friends also worked there before moving on to Hart’s Turkey Farm and the Margate Motel, up the road.

I mentioned that two began working at the very start of the summer. However, the owners needed more help, so the sister of one of my friends and I applied and were hired.

Back then, no one got a Social Security number at birth. Instead, we applied for cards when we began working. Therefore, I think I might be a bit unique in that I know the person who has the S.S. number immediately preceding mine – my friend’s sister! Because we applied at the same time and the numbers were issued consecutively, our account numbers are only one digit different.

Mr. and Mrs. Titus and Mrs. Neal were the Dairy Bar owners. Waitresses earned a whopping 62 cents per hour, plus tips. However, we could work six days per week if we wanted to, so when tips were added in, I was able to save about $100 per week – not bad for the late 1960s.

The Dairy Bar opened at 6:00 a.m. to serve breakfast, which was generally quite busy. There were many lunch time local regulars and the afternoon brought in families who wanted ice cream – lots of it.

We wore white uniforms, which were usually multi-colored by the time we finished a shift because the ice cream bins were deep and we had to scoop out every last bit in one before another was opened. That meant leaning way down into the freezer.

The restaurant was also open for dinner, although the meal choices weren’t exactly a strong point. I remember serving steak that was so-so, meat loaf and spaghetti, plus a couple of other options.

The breakfast area only had stools at the counter, no tables. The dining room was actually a separate room with perhaps 9 or ten tables, but I don’t ever remember the room being full. At most, there might be four groups at a time.

Dairy Bar on the Rte. 25 side

The right side of the building was the dining room area, as seen above. The parking lot you see is where we parked our cars. The white building to the right was the local bank – very handy for depositing our checks each week.

I much preferred to work early mornings from 6 to 3 because (1) there were more tips to be had and (2) the 3-12 shift had to restock everything AND clean the two bathrooms before going home.

I definitely learned how to serve patrons quickly. It took a week or so to learn the order abbreviations and where everything was, but I enjoyed my time at the Dairy Bar.

I also learned I wasn’t afraid of hard work and longer hours if it meant I’d make more money.

By the way, we had a nice view of the lake across the street on the Rte. 25 side.

I’m guessing that this building is some sort of condo rental, but it wasn’t there back in the 1960s. There was just a small Esso gas station in the bottom right corner.

You can imagine how pretty the view was pre-building. There is just a peekaboo view of the lake at the far right corner of the building.

Those were definitely the good old days. It’s sad that the Dairy Bar is no longer there.


4 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Was Your First Real Job?”

  1. What fun! Did you ever get tired of ice cream? Your story about social security cards is similar to mine and my girlfriend. Our numbers are consecutive, too. My number was used as my id number in college so I had it memorized. She was always asking me what her number was!

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