A friend of mine and I were getting nostalgic about the summer jobs we had in high school and college. You know, “back in the day,” before computer games, cellphones and selfies, when we were expected to get out of the house and do something — anything!
I had many summer jobs and multiple businesses selling everything from lemonade to the zucchini that grew in our garden (too much zucchini).
By the way, if you really want to teach your kids how to “sell,” try getting them to convince your neighbors to pay them a quarter for a zucchini when they already have way too much zucchini growing in their own gardens.
I reached out to others on Facebook, asking them to share their summer job memories in Maine. Here are some of my favorite responses (edited to fit):
“I was a soda “jerk” at Cross Pharmacy in the 1950s and a playground director for the Rockland Recreation Department. I made shell “creations” at Spruce Head and peddled them door to door. The summer of 1957 I was an extra in “Peyton Place” when they filmed in Camden and Rockland. I still have my pay vouchers.” — Mary Soule Ingalls
“I was a swim instructor and lifeguard and then became the local pool director in Millinocket. I was number two of nine children and I knew that if I was going to college I was going to have to start saving.” — Teresa England
“One summer I scooped ice cream at a place in Trenton. It was surprisingly hot work (no A/C) and my right arm got a lot more toned than my left from all that scooping!” — Kristi Bartlett
“Back in the early 1950s I worked in a tiny sandwich shop on Chebeague Island making ice cream sandwiches and grinders. We had a big rush when the Casco Bay Lines brought tourists along with the mail and supplies from the mainland. I was about 15 and my time on the island bonded me forever to Maine.” — Nancy Neuman
“I babysat and was a boat instructor at a day camp. I thought I made it big time when I got a job at Doug’s Shop and Save as a cashier for $4.10 an hour. Getting a summer job was pretty much my parents’ idea!” — Heather Scripture
“My dad got me a job painting dorm rooms at the University of Maine for $4.15 an hour. I think that was the minimum wage in 1996? We had the worst pastel colors to work with. I wore sweatpants to work every day and spent the summer with paint in my hair.” — Melanie Brooks
“I was the lifeguard at the YMCA in my hometown — and helped teach toddlers how to swim. I made $64 a week and had to pay $25 a week in room and board. The first thing I bought with my first paycheck was musk oil perfume.” — Christine Alexander
“I had a summer job at Pat’s Pizza in Augusta. I worked in the kitchen making pizzas and sandwiches. I tried waiting tables — but I stunk at it. I did love the pizzas. Good memories.” — Paula Rizzo Baines
“It was the summer going into my junior year in high school and Mom said, “Get a job.” I was sure she didn’t mean it and I would be hanging out by the pool all summer. Mom won. I got a job at McDonalds. It was fun and I made new friends.” — Angelia Levesque
“I haven’t done too well. I still have the same summer job.” — Mary Dysart Hartt (still working at Dysart’s Restaurant)