March 25, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 13): Sweet Sixteen

Welcome to Week 13 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012. This is our third year writing our memoirs and childhood memories for our descendants.

If you are just joining us, you can take a peek at the last two years' of prompts by clicking on the Sharing Memories tab at the top of the blog. You can jump in at any time and you can skip topics that you don't like. There are no rules, it's all about getting your memories down on paper. The prompts are here as a guide to help if you are stuck for ideas.

Share your memories here in the comment section, on your own blog, or privately in a journal you keep at home.

The 4 Waitresses. I am right front
When I was 16 I decided I was tired of spending my summers working in our small town Library. So I applied for a job working at a Lodge in Cottage Country (Muskoka Ontario) It was a pretty exciting adventure for me as I'd never been away from home before!

Divine Lake Lodge hired me as a waitress. I was nervous as I had only every worked at our local Library but I felt pretty brave going off that summer. One of my friends from our small High School was hired as a waitress too so that made it a bit easier with a familiar face.

We got settled into a one room cabin - all 9 of us girls. Some were maids, we were the top of the heap as waitresses, but we all had double duties. My duties consisted of dusting and vacuuming the main lodge before breakfast.

Then I had to quickly eat and change into my uniform to serve breakfast to the guests. When breakfast was over I had to get the sheets that the maids had removed from guest beds, and wash them. Another quick change for lunch waitressing duty then back to the basement to finish the laundry.

Sometimes, rarely, there was a half hour break before supper duty. After supper we were on call for any guest who wanted a baby sitter. Since I had offered to wait the tables with families, guess who got asked most often to babysit? And we were not allowed to refuse.

Oh you are probably wondering why the tables with families were not considered desirable - because young families were notoriously bad tippers! They didn't have much money so the experienced waitresses wanted the couples only tables. But I figured that the parents with young kids would be much more forgiving of my inexperience! And I was right.

The very first time I waited on a large table of all adults for a supper, I spilled an entire dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy down a rather buxom lady's chest. I was so flustered and mortified and stood there not knowing what to do as the gravy dripped down her chest to her lap. The entire table stared at me and at her. Thank goodness one of the more experienced girls came to my rescue with a tea-towel to mop things up. Me? I ran into the kitchen and burst into tears. That's when I said I wanted to trade my tables for the young family tables.

It was quite a summer. And yes I had my summer romance that all 16 year olds should have. I fell for the pool boy. Seriously. He was also a summer employee, hired to mow lawns and do odd jobs and keep the pool clean. He was gorgeous. But isn't any 17 year old boy from another country gorgeous to a 16 year old girl? We had a very lovely (and proper!) relationship but he had to keep it from his parents as they would not have allowed him to date a white girl. And I experienced my first taste of racism as local restaurants refused to serve us. If we dared hold hands in the town, the locals would whisper or stare. It was quite unnerving.

When summer ended so did our jobs at the Lodge and although we wrote to each other for a brief time afterwards, our relationship ended too. Would you believe I still have the postcards and photos and personal items he gave me? Ah sweet 16 and in love ... it all seems so long ago. But it's a treasured memory that I hope to share with my children and grandchildren one day.

What are your memories of being sweet 16?

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