Growing up in Perry used to offer many great opportunities for kids looking for their first job.
Mowing lawns and snow shoveling is always an option. However, snow blowers and power or riding lawn mowers are the new thing. The local Daily Chief printed six days a week and hired lots of paperboys and girls who would collect payments as well as deliver.
Perry Pool was a great summer job for lifeguarding and concession help. I spent one summer running the projector at the Corral Drive-In Theater. How many have never been to a movie at the drive-in theater?
Perry used to be a large retail community; most of these retail stores had an errand “boy.” I was an errand boy at Stern & Field Clothing and later Lord’s. I rolled up the awning, swept floors and the sidewalk every evening, washed the windows and ran errands.
Restaurants jobs are still available, but the old car hops such as the Maid Rite, A&W or Dog and Suds are a thing of the past. Local farmers needed help every summer walking beans, detasseling corn and bailing hay. These jobs offered good money for hard work, but machines now do most of those jobs. I worked part time at Trotters DX Service Station when gas stations were full service. We pumped the gas, checked the oil, washed the windows and took the money.
One of my first jobs — that I do not look back on with fond memories — was setting pins at the old Perry Bowl when they had bowling upstairs and pins were set by hand.
Times have changed for many reasons with the top one being technology. I would not have given up any of my first jobs experiences. I learned to show up for work on time in neat attire, show pride in myself and my job and that customers are the actual reason I had a job. I still know how to count change to a customer without a computer. I was taught to do my job and not complain, while treating the public and my fellow workers with courtesy and respect. I learned to take pride in my job and to do my best and work when scheduled because it’s the responsibility of my job.
May the new job seekers gain some knowledge that I have received from my first jobs and learn that a job is much more than just a paycheck.