Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Ohio Chronicles - Chapter Two

First Job While running errands with my sister, I was surprised when one of her stops was across the street from a place of many memories - good & bad. My first job. I haven't seen this place in over 30 years.
The Esquire Club, aka Ernie's Esquire. In it's day, it was tres chic, THE place to take a special date or celebrate a very special occasion. I was all of 15-1/2. My aunt worked there and said they were needing "setup girls" for several big banquets coming up. I was ready to enter the work force, have my own money. Sign me up!
One of the young cooks was Ernie's good-looking Greek nephew. He used to try to trap me in an empty coat room. (Scary, but good for the ego :) E's mom worked in the other coat room. She was very nice; I liked to visit her and snatch a handful of creamy pastel mint candies. There was a crew of high school kids - bus boys & setup girls - and we used to pillage the dessert fridge. That was the first time I tasted cheesecake. It was the best I've ever eaten, probably because it was pilfered from mean ol' Ernie. My favorite task was to hide out in an empty banquet room and fold napkins.
It was quite an experience for a naive young'un like me. Ernie is Greek with a REALLY bad temper. He would walk through the kitchen wearing his Elvis shades, fidgeting with his worry beads, barking orders at us. His "companion", who helped run the place, was worse. Between the cooks flirting and the customers rude remarks, there was Ernie and Charlotte screaming at us in language my virgin ears had never heard before. I was terrified of both of them. I would ride to work with my aunt and as we drove up this long hill, my stomach would start to churn as the building came into view.

My mom's reason for allowing me to work there? She was sure it would cause me to further my education so I would never wait tables. Lemme tell ya...she was right. Thank goodness for the confidence that comes with the years of life experience. I wouldn't be terrified of Ernie & Charlotte now. Picturing him in his Elvis shades & her throwing a temper tantrum just makes me smile at how ridiculous they really were.

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