Rushville Republican

Columns

September 17, 2013

California and my first jobs

When I turned 16 and could attempt to get a driver’s license I was living in San Diego. We had moved there from Rushville a couple of years before and after the initial cultural shock wore off I pretty well accepted things and found my niche in the school and neighborhood. We did not have driver’s education in school so it was up to the mom and dad driver’s school to get me ready. At the time, to get the coveted license I had to take a 250 question test and could only miss 5 answers. Then I had to take a ride with an examiner and pass his, and it was all a his examination. I do remember San Diego examiners had a fetish for hand signals. If you turned left your hand was straight out, right it was pointed up, stop down. In a moment of teenage stupidity I happened to question the examiner, What if it was raining cats and dogs, should I still be concerned with the hand signals? After he quit laughing he told me in San Diego that was not a problem, it seldom rained. Guess he was more or less used to teenagers. I also remember parking, parallel parking on a down hill street; oh what fun!

One of the better aspects of getting my driver’s license was I was then able to take up a job offer by the Pacific Beach Paint and Wallpaper Store. I was to deliver paint and wallpaper as well as telegrams as they were a Western Union agency. I did more telegram delivery than paint and wallpaper, which was fine with me. The pay was $5 a day. If I worked an hour or 8 hours I got paid $5. That was enough for me to have gas and date money so was fine with me. While working for Mr. Rounthwaite, the owner of the shop, I drove a Crosley station wagon. I loved that car. One funny thing about it though, it seemed every two weeks the mechanical brakes would go out. I learned rapidly how to stop by rubbing the tires against curbs.

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