Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Favorite summer job

Posted July 28, 2009

What was your favorite summer job as a child, teenager or young adult? I’ll give a prize for the most interesting answer.

My first job was working for my father.  I was probably 10 years old.   I made .45 an hour sweeping the floor and doing errands at The Book Store in Morganton. It was sweaty work. We didn’t have air conditioning. Eventually my salary mushroomed to $2.00 an hour when I learned the intricate skills of picture framing.

Perhaps my most unusual summer job was working as a country music disc jockey in Lenoir during college. I wasn’t Bill Leslie. My name was “The Tall Man” on WKGX in Lenoir. I remember the program director giving me a hard time for playing “Aquarius” by The Fifth Dimension one Saturday morning. Not exactly Hank Williams material! The funniest song I played that summer was a tune from Freddie Hart. The lyrics went like this: “If fingerprints showed up on skin I wonder who I’d find on you.” Eventually I grew tired of doing commercials for septic tank aroma bars on sale at the local Giant Foods store and decided to get into radio news.

What about you? What was your favorite summer job?


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  • mamaw Jul 29, 2009

    my favorite was working at watts hospital in durham, nc (i'm dating myself in age). i was a candy stripper and enjoyed every minute of it. i especially enjoyed the geriatric ward. listening to them talk about so many things in life gave me great insite and knowledge. i've always respected and appreciate senior citizens. they are the most interesting folks.

  • lynneslaughter Jul 29, 2009

    eyesblue: I agree that salary was great for 1965. in 1977 the minimum wage was still less than $3.00.

  • thefensk Jul 29, 2009

    eyesblue ... $3.85/hour in 1965 was a pretty good payday.

  • lseltmann Jul 28, 2009

    One of my favorite summer jobs was volunteering with my soon to be husband in the herpatology department at the Museum of Natural Sciences. We'd work on Saturdays changing the solutions that specimens were stored in and cataloging specimens. Very interesting work.

  • eyesblue Jul 28, 2009

    I worked in my high school office during the summer between my junior and senior years. Students class schedule had been put on cards with punch spots around the to indicate class (9,10,11,12) and others to indicate subject choices. I got a whole new understanding of what it takes to run a school, have classes the right size, and avoid first day of school schedule conflicts. This was 1965 and paid $3.85 an hour. Maybe not that unusual, but memorable and rewarding for me.

  • carleerules123 Jul 28, 2009

    My most memorable summer job was in the summer of 1978 when I was a page for the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. My dad worked there & I saw him in a new light - one of respect & admiration from his peers. I learned a lot about how the government worked & met many interesting peoples from pages to Congressmen/women & their staff. I loved every minute of it!

  • simracer68 Jul 28, 2009

    My least favroite summer job was tobacco farming. We didn't, but my grandmother's neighbor did. I started on the threading/machine machine (I cut the twine when the machine didn't) that "sewed" the leaves onto the wooden "tobacco sitcks" and ended up hanging the sticks in the barn as I got older and stronger (and taller) and nasty work.

    My favorite summer job by far was the few years I spent working as a lifeguard between Waldos Beach and Permastone Lake (now Fantasy Lake) - both in Hope Mills. I've been a water rat ever since, still love swimming, though now I use a lot more sunscreen than we did in the 70s and 80s...who knew? lol

  • nannyonwatch Jul 28, 2009

    My main favorite summer job was babysitting. Each summer during high school I would do at least one or two babysitting jobs that lasted several weeks in a row. A few summers I would help my dad at his office by typing. He is not the best typist so I didn't mind going in to the office with him to type up papers he had written. I also remember him taking me to lunch those days at McDonalds which I thought was the best!

  • LMRA Jul 28, 2009

    That little girl captured my heart. She was born very premature (and in the late 70's early 80's the survival rate was low) but she was beautiful. She was blind, deaf and had cerebral palsy. My goal that summer was to somehow make her smile.

    She had a little furry ball she brought with her every day. One day, I sat her on the mats we had in the classroom and let her know I was there. I held her ball along with her and I wiggled it close to her tummy. I must have done it 10-15 times and nothing . . .but all of a sudden, there was a smile on her face a mile wide! She actually giggled.

    I had to leave the room because I started to cry. Not sad tears this time - tears of joy.

    I still have pictures of the whole group in a photo album at home. I remember all their names but most especially I wonder what ever became of Nicole. If she is still on this earth, she must be 35 yrs old? Maybe older? I think about those kids all the time.

    It was quite a summer.

  • LMRA Jul 28, 2009

    My favorite summer job started out as my worst. I was working for my town teaching little girls the basics of gymnastics. We had 2 sessions - one morning and one afternoon. It was fun - the little girls were excited to be there and in the summer of the Olympics, there was a lot of excitement.

    One day, the recreation director came to the gym and asked if anyone wanted to switch to another - very challenging - position. When he mentioned it was at my old elementary school and I could ride my bicycle there, I jumped at the chance.

    Little did I know this job would change my life. I spent the rest of the summer with a school full of children with varying degrees of physical challenges. Deaf, blind, spina bifida, you name the challenge, we had it.

    I ended up in the room with 3-5 yr olds and the first three days I cried every night. I couldn't imagine starting out life like these babies. Ed was 5 and never spoke a word. Vidal had braces on his legs. But little Nicole . . .




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Bill Leslie