Friday, April 8, 2011

Jobs I've Done-One of the Original "Pickers"

     I thought it would be fun to write about jobs that I've done in my life prior to now teaching nearly 22 years.  At an early age I had a paper route delivering the Hartford Courant for a couple of years to three years.  At the age of 14 I had a conversation with a local egg farmer who said to me "you can have a job I'll pay you $100 a week." I was in heaven so to speak at that age. I can remember the truck that I drove in to work as making that "downshifting" sound when the driver shifted to lower gears as we drove up and down the hills of Lebanon.  It was a tedious job, but in retrospect a fun experience.  It taught me the importance of working hard, being timely, and doing the best I could.  I can remember walking into the immense chicken coop seeing thousands of chickens.  The smell, the memory of the noise still can be brought up as I write this entry. It was certainly really cool to receive $100 at the age of 14.  I also must mention lunch was included each and every day.  The funny thing I can remember is that we drove to Main Street Willimantic to the new "Kentucky Fried Chicken" now KFC to get our daily dose of the lunch specials.  It was certainly a great experience. I appreciate the man, Sy Richman who hired me to do this job.
     Another unique job that I had and I don't recall whether or not I was paid on a weekly basis or by the day but it was picking rocks, sticks, and basic grunt work at the now Chanticlair Golf Course.  Owner Hy Stollman would feed us daily and we'd go about our business picking up countless rocks, piling them up and then bringing them to another section of the land that was not to be used for the nine hold golf course. The old orange dump truck we'd fill and then it would be driven to be emptied.  Each and every time I ride by or run by the course I can envision it prior to be a golf course and I always say to myself "I had a part in building that course" although how small of a role I played. Thanks for the opportunity Mr. Stollman.
     Continuing on with the "picking" type jobs.  An older cousin Dennis Huron had been contracted to clean up and remove logs, sticks, and the like from what now is the reservoir that serves the town of Norwich I believe. This is located off of "Reservoir" road which can be accessed down Chestnut Hill Road.  The western side of the reservoir can be seen off of Rte. 354 near Marvin Road. We would be dropped off my brother Kevin and I and we would spend hours piling small logs, sticks and brush to be burned.  It's amazing that we didn't gripe and groan about these jobs.
     These jobs unique in nature allowed me to gain an appreciation for hard work and manual labor in a sense. They were jobs that many could do but that many didn't want to do. These jobs although physical in nature were ones that were important.  To get eggs to the stores you needed to pick them.  To develop a golf course the land had to be leveled, cleaned and grass grown.  To develop a reservoir land had to be cleared, and I'm sure proper piping had to be laid to get water to the towns that were in need.  All in all it was my developmental years both as a young teenager young man.
   I've worked at General Dynamics as a Shipfitter's Helper for four summers in my college year's, at local gas stations, and at the Colchester Bakery. I've helped out to this day at Jon's Fish Market, and thought nothing of taking garbage out when needed at the latter. It's something that's ingrained in me to work hard and to maintain that work ethic that I had gained as a youth.
   It's my parents that I thank for getting me to where I am today. I can recall my dad saying "let them work these jobs so they appreciate the importance of an education".  I'm not sure that he knows I heard him say that but I can remember it like it was yesterday. Yes, dad you were right education is important. That's why I teach to keep spreading that message. Education is the key and of course hard work and dedication to what you do whatever it may be will get you to where you want to go.

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