Do You Remember What Jobs You Did As A Child To Earn Money?

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Maggie Rose, Oct 1, 2020.

  1. Maggie Rose

    Maggie Rose Active Member
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    When I think back to my childhood I can remember a few things we did to earn cash.

    • My daddy would pay us 1 penny for each aluminum can we smashed by feet and bagged for him to recycle.
    • We would dig worms after a good heavy rain and walk about 1/2 mile or more to the local WORM RANCH store (It was a store that sold fishing supplies and baits). The store would buy our buckets of worms but I cannot remember how much we were paid for them.
    • In the winter months, we went door to door to shovel snow and that paid pretty well.
    What did you do to earn a buck or two?
     
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  2. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Veteran Member
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    I don't remember ever doing jobs to earn money as a kid, but my "job" was to set the table for dinner. I got a small allowance every Saturday just for being adorable. HAHA
     
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  3. Maggie Rose

    Maggie Rose Active Member
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    Oh, we had lots of household chores (6 kids) that we had to do. We didn't get paid for those though. We were too poor. We had to actively earn monies. I remember at that time lost of older girls in the family and the neighborhood would take on baby sitting jobs. As a young girl myself, I did not have the desire. We always had a neighborhood full of kids running around.

    Good for you being adorable and all, haha!
     
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  4. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I've talked about most of them in one place or another here over the past five years, but here goes.
    • The only one that I thought of as a job was selling Grit each Saturday. It was like a weekly paper route but the real money was in tips, particularly on Christmas.
    • No, there was one other. When I was thirteen and fourteen, I worked on the staff at a Boy Scout camp. That was fun, although the pay pretty much just kept me in candy and pop.
    • We would collect deposit bottles along the road and at the dump, since a lot of people would just dump their bottles. That was mostly for stuff that we'd buy at the same store we returned them to.
    • My dad farmed, and he'd pay me for things from time to time, like weeding and picking the crops at harvest time. But I wasn't paid like a farm laborer would be paid. Usually, it would be $5 or $10. Maybe I'd have gotten more if I didn't skip out early.
    • When dad grew potatoes, I could get paid for picking potato bugs off the crops. I think it was a nickel for every ten of them.
    • One year, when he had an unusually large crop of potatoes, and everyone else around was growing potatoes, they brought Mexican laborers in to pick the crops. Usually, local people picked the crops for local farms. That year, I could pick potatoes and get paid for the number of potatoes that I picked. I don't remember how well I did, but it was better than most years.
    • One year, dad hired my cousins and I to demolish the old barn, since he had built a new one several years before. We'd have done that for nothing. What kid doesn't like to tear stuff apart?
    • Some years, we'd work for other local farmers, picking crops, weeding, or whatever. They were always way more demanding than my dad was, so my cousins did that more often than I did.
    • One year when I was twelve or so, I worked for about two weeks during haying season, loading hay for someone a couple of miles away who was probably related to me because he was an Anderson, but not someone I knew well. My cousin and I did the haying for him, and that was one of the hardest jobs I had ever done. At the end, he thanked us and didn't pay us a cent. My dad called it a learning experience, pointing out that I should have worked out the pay ahead of time. My cousin ended up getting paid because his dad insisted on it.
    • One year in elementary school, I made comic books that I was able to sell for a quarter apiece, which was cool because the real ones went for only a nickel then, I think. The ones in the store weren't pornographic though, and they didn't make fun of our teachers and people in our class. Of course, since I had to create them with pen and paper, stapling them together, each one was the only one of its kind. I never got in trouble for that, either. One of my former classmates told me he still has four of them.
    • Not really a job, but my cousins and I would build a shack in the woods every summer. To pay for the wood and materials, we started a club one year in elementary school, collecting dues from kids who would never even be told where the shack was that we spent the money on. Interestingly, whatever we had collected was always just enough to buy what we needed at the lumber yard. I didn't realize until decades later that the lumber yard owner was giving it to us for whatever we had.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
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  5. Maggie Rose

    Maggie Rose Active Member
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    Oh, I forgot about the paper route. My brother had that but I would go along and help him with it in the red metal wagon. That's when I got my first dog bit and made me fearful of big dogs for a very long time. Not getting anything for the hay job seems kind of rough, especially when it was such hard work. That must of had a lesson to teach in there somewhere. I also remember when all the boys (brothers) would go and do the corn detasseling but the girls weren't allowed. My old-fashioned daddy's rules. It sounds like you had lots of experiences and adventures in your childhood. I bet working at the camp was kind of fun. We earned monies anyway we could and then in that way we could take our trips to the local penny/candy store and come home with a bag full of goodies. We could sometimes participate in buying birthday or Christmas gifts for our parents which always makes a child feel good. But usually, we had to make their gifts or get help from the parents. We'd go to mom to help us buy for dad and vice versa. Most of them weren't legitimate jobs but still gave us a way to earn some pocket money. Those are all good memories. Thanks for putting so much effort into your response! @Ken Anderson
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Maggie Rose

    In my mid-teens, I repaired my friends' old jalopies and kept them running. Strange fact was, none of them excelled in school, nor had grades surpassing my own, nor had they developed that astuteness I employed, listening, looking, feeling, the little thumps and groans descriptive of mechanical failures......

    Never charged them enough, though, for they had no dough!
    Frank
     
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  7. Maggie Rose

    Maggie Rose Active Member
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    There probably wasn't a lot of dough to go around back then. I had an older brother that did the same. That boy could fix anything. No training or education for it. He was just a natural-born mechanic for some reason. I can still remember the fits he would throw when someone would ask him to work on a Ford. It was kind of taboo to those around him. My entire family at some point became a mostly Chevy family and wanted nothing to do with Ford. For the most part, he didn't want to work on Ford autos for some reason. He would, but he wouldn't like it. Were you a natural-born mechanic too? @Frank Sanoica
     
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  8. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Very Well-Known Member
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    Working during vacations mostly, replacing bulbs in traffic signs, loading trucks in a factory for non-alcoholic beverages, sorting letters at the post office and loading post sacks onto postal cars, working as a park guide and gondolier.
     
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  9. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Maggie Rose

    Probably yes, though I had a head-start via encouragement by my parents. My Dad was a Tool & Die Maker, thus well-versed in use of all kinds of tools and machinery. They bought me an Erector Set first, perhaps age 7, then a larger one.......I believe that whetted and sustained my mechanical interests. Such purchases were always rewards for birthdays or Christmas.

    [​IMG]

    Next came Lionel model trains, small set, then the coveted Santa Fe diesel set!
    [​IMG]

    Eventually, my "layout" down in the basement grew to 12 X 24 feet. I ran two trains simultaneously, wired everything electrically myself. This was the beginning of intense interest in electricity. Freshman year, high school, I took Electric Theory, which provided the needed theory I lacked. As any youngster, things which made noise or made spectacular appearances were greatly sought after.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I got a Chemistry Set.
    [​IMG]

    Things which inflamed quickly, went "BOOM", or displayed colored flame of great variety became important. My life was wrapped up in Science, when at 14 an accident left 2nd. degree burns on my face, this changing my psychological status of all these things. Then, cars became important. Self-taught, of necessity, I became a welder, electrician, plumber, and designer, all the while studying the theory, which finally coalesced producing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at age 34!

    Frank
     
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  10. Maggie Rose

    Maggie Rose Active Member
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    Oh my on the burns! Geez, and in the young teenage years. That had to be very hard. You have a lot of wonderful skillsets which I'm sure have proven valuable for your entire life. That's something to be proud of. I've always thought welding would be a nice skill to have. Basic household plumbing I try and do myself. I can't tell you how many times electricians were hired over the years. You have taught yourself lots of good things! @Frank Sanoica
     
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  11. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    My first paid job was at age 10 with a news paper route in Paterson, New Jersey and at 12 a news paper route in Littleton, Colorado. I was never paid cash for any chores.
     
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  12. Tex Dennis

    Tex Dennis Very Well-Known Member
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    My uncle had a cotton gin, my cousin Sandi and I were as 1 neither had and brothers of sisters we were very close for very many years we both had to be hired as a team so uncle hired us for the gin we worked many summers there and our 2nd job was hauling/stacking hay, so we worked very hard to make more we worked many times 7 days a week during season, sometimes sleeping at the gin on benches waiting for another trailer of picked cotton coming in at night, finally our parents gave in and let us stay at one of our homes together, uncle Hans did this for us. We were usually so tired out there was not much parent's worry. By high school we both bought new trucks paid CASH. We let uncle Hans keep our salary to save it up better. Took 3 years to do it. We were very proud then. 2 Ford F150 4x4 pickups and insurance all of it for a year prepaid. Then we used uncle's trailers to haul hay also and made more more. .25 to load .25 to stack so at .50 a bale plus hauling fees we did great we even hired friends to unload some of the larger amounts at .30 total so we made .20 from that also per bale, I wish I could relive those times very bad. I went to the military she to drugs and I lost her to them overdose, but from about 8 years old to early 20's we were very close. One of my big reasons I despise drugs so much now. I now live very close to where all this happened and stop by the cemetery every week still to visit her. There is still an old barn with tin sides we had a target on with our holes in it, very rusted but still there barely standing.
     
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  13. John Brunner

    John Brunner Very Well-Known Member
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    -I picked up bottles from the side of the road and returned them to the stores for 5ยข each
    -I mowed lawns
    -I shoveled snow
    -I had a paper route back when the DC area had an afternoon paper as well as The Washington Post
    -Like others, I had chores at home
     
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  14. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Tex Dennis

    One of the most poignant, sensitive, and moving posts made in a long, long time! What a wonderful story, despite the unhappy ending.......

    We need more sensitivity shown around here like this to ease the daily burden of politics, sickness, doctors, and healthcare......

    Frank
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Very Well-Known Member
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    I'm so sorry to hear about Sandi. I quit drinking in 1990 and have been to literally thousands of 12 Step Meetings of every type, so have seen the horrors of drugs & alcohol abuse from people of all ages and walks of life. I share your disgust of drugs. Fortunately, I've seen lots of stories of recovery and success.

    I also share your longing for those early days when everything was new and the feel of accomplishment was fresh, new and easily had. It seems that there were always opportunities to go out and work to get what we wanted. (My first car was a '63 Lincoln.)
     
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