Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interesting Work, Interesting People, An Experience to Remember!

     In a recent conversation with a friend I said it would be fun to write about an experience we both shared.  A time that was needed, a time for me that was necessary, and a time for others that helped them shape where they are today.  The Colchester Bakery was the place, the true to life characters were myself and countless others that I experienced, worked with and for, and enjoyed their company. From the owners of the bakery to my co-workers, and of course the customers life was way cool at the Colchester Bakery.
    Life had taken a complete about face for me during the late 1980's.  I had been in the field of real estate and had opened my own company, Donald Jay Levine Realty, Inc.  Thinking I was going to be the next "Donald"(Donald Trump) I ventured into that particular business as a salesperson in 1985, earning my broker's license two years later, and then optioning out from Carsan Clegg Realty, a company in Marlborough to open my own company.  The company stayed in business for nearly two years, but market conditions, and impending debt forced me to close the office.  I ventured into the Colchester Bakery of where I had frequented buying their fantastic brick oven breads as well as an occasional jelly donut or glazed donut.  Little did I know I would work their for a period of a few years as their first "male" person behind the counter I was told at the time.  I learned a great deal about myself, about the business world, and how hard some people actually work to keep a business going.  It was a time that was needed as I've stated. In retrospect I was an equal to all that worked their and I learned a great deal about life in general.  What was really cool was that I was able to learn how donuts were made, how jelly was put into the donuts, how the breads were prepared and baked, and a great deal more. What was really an eye opener was how hard the original owner, his daughter, and their friends worked to keep that business thriving.  I learned from "Walter" the owner(the Patriarch), how to carry things efficiently, how to work hard, and how to succeed in life.  Walter once saw me carrying garbage out to the dumpster and said "Levine, balance off, put another garbage can on the other side you'll see it will be easier".  Sure enough he was right.  I also learned that through time a product that was rich in flavor and traditionally excellent brought customer from far and near.  The bakery's "black bread" Russian Pumpernickel was a huge seller.  But this blog is not about the products which were and are still popular based on the crowds I still see lined up.  It's about the memory of time passed with people I worked with, I taught, and that I now still stay in touch with and we smile when we talk about the bakery.
     The early morning calls that I would receive from Ursula the owner's daughter saying "Donald can you come in earlier".  Earlier meant 4 a.m. instead of 5 a.m.  Times were special their, times were great memories of the high school kids as I recall that I worked with and those that I was able to get a job also to help at the bakery.  Jodie and Jason are two that I still see and we still talk about those days now over 20 years ago.  The customers we were able to serve, the customers that we knew like clockwork what they would buy, and the fun things they would share with us. It was amazing how time flew because usually the bakery was extremely busy.
     Moving bread from the back of the bakery to the front on huge racks was always fun to do.  Traveling that big cart back to the oven areas was always a quick ride back.  Sometimes it was ill advised the way we traveled back.  Luckily no one injured themselves riding that card back like a scooter.  What I recall the most was how well I was treated as an employee and I was given as many hours I needed to help me survive my jobless period of time.  Even when I obtained my teaching position in the summer of 1989 I continued to work at the bakery for a few years later. With the help of Jodie and Jason I probably could add to this blog and I probably with but I thought I'd share it with you.  I'll add more experiences and more fun times. It was a time that I felt equal to all and I think we felt equal to one another. It was an experience that I can say is to this day truly appreciated.  It was interesting to hear the comments of customers asking me "why are you working here"?  Many people had no idea of my financial need, it was just figured that I left the real estate business after making a great deal of money not knowing that the "business" had put me the furthest I've ever been in debt.
    But that's not the story here.  The story is that I'm pleased to have experienced one of Colchester's iconic places and businesses. I was able to learn about life and offer my experiences to the Jodie's and the Jason's that helped shaped my life as I worked with them at the Colchester Bakery.    

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