Firsts (part one) -- 02/12/11

I hadn't given much thought to what I was going to write today -- had two or three ideas and figured I'd just sit down and let my fingers do the talking -- but as I was going through my morning ration of blogs and journals, I came to Bev's posting "Firsts" and naturally I had to do it.

First Job -- Andy's Furniture Store -- lower Broadway (i.e., the Rondout neighborhood) in Kingston, NY. (This is the job I mentioned in my 2007 "Office parties" entry.) It was a small family business owned and operated by Andy's widow and her son Benny (who was in the army). I inherited the job from a good friend who had held the job, but had graduated high school, enlisted in the air force, and recommended me to be his replacement. I was a general purpose helper -- the key task was as a delivery assistant, going out with the truck driver to delivery furniture -- but I also helped assemble furniture (putting the legs on an endless number of coffee tables and end tables), dusted the furniture displays, swept, mopped, and went out to fetch coffee. It paid minimum New York State wage -- $1 per hour.

I began in the summer, toward the end of June in 1960, working 30 hours a week. The other employees consisted of a woman who served as receptionist and book keeper and also as a backup sales person, and her brother who was the truck driver and general purpose jack-of-all-trades. That fall, Benny finished his army tour and returned to the family business. I still got in lots of hours during the Christmas season, many hours of delivery work meant that I even sometimes put in more than 30 hours a week (but that was unofficial off-the-books work because it was illegal for a high school student to work more than 30 hours a week), but after Christmas my hours dropped off significantly, and often I would work only on Saturday plus maybe one or two afternoons. (The school had a work/study program for students in business or vocational courses where you could get out of school early to get work experience, so I used that to get my schedule arranged so that I had a full load of classes with no study halls and no lunch period so I finished school two hours earlier than the standard time. Gee, but when my work hours were cut back, I somehow never remembered to inform the high school about that.)

First Favorite Politician -- When I had just turned 9 -- in 1952 -- I got very caught up in the presidential campaign. I was totally invested in the candidacy of Dwight Eisenhower. I followed the primaries and the pre-convention campaign, was in agony at the thought that Taft might defeat my candidate in the Republican convention, watched both the Republican and Democrat national conventions gavel-to-gavel on television, keeping tabs of the delegate vote count state-by-state with pad and pencil during the rolecall votes, wore an I LIKE IKE campaign button just about all the time, stayed up watching TV on election night.

First Car -- This one:

First Record/CD --
I'm not positive, but I think this was the first album (i.e., 33 rpm) record that I bought. Luke Sykes Rock'N'Roll at the Sugar Bowl

(Hey Bev, is he a cousin of Walt's?)

I may have bought some 45 rpms before this, but memory fails.

First Sport Played -- Probably softball or, rather, variations on it designed to allow for just a handful of kids to play a game involving batting a ball and running bases on a low traffic side street. We did play touch football in the empty lot next to Bigando's Market and basketball behind our elementary school when we got to be 11 or 12 (can'recall doing any earlier than that).

First Concert -- The Four Freshman in concert at SUNY/New Paltz (either the fall of 1963 or winter of 1964).

First Foreign Country Visited -- Canada (Montreal) about 38 years ago. Naturally have been there a number of times since, mostly to Toronto. And I have also been to nine or ten other countries over the years (well over a dozen if you count little Caribbean islands where you spend an afternoon while on a cruise).

First Favorite TV Show -- Captain Video

First Favorite Actor -- Jimmy Stewart

First Favorite Actress -- Susan Oliver -- I had a big crush on her after seeing her in The Green-Eyed Blonde (a 1957 vintage girls-in-prison movie). She was the star of that film -- which was her first movie (although she had had success on television and on Broadway). It was also the only top billing of her career and she fared far better on television than in movies. She was featured in the original Star Trek pilot as the love interest for Captain Christopher Pike -- but NBC insisted on a completely new pilot episode with Captain James T. Kirk. Later in her career she moved into directing, including episodes of Mash and Trapper John, MD and three made-for-TV movies. She was also an enthusiastic airplane pilot, winning the 1970 Powder Puff Derby, a transcontinental race for women pilots (which got her named Pilot of the Year), and in 1967 she had been the fourth woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in a single-engine airplane. Of course when I saw her in The Green-Eyed Blonde back in 1957, I had no idea about what her future career and accomplishments would be nor that she was 25 to my 14 -- if she were still alive (she died in 1990) tomorrow would be her 79th birthday.

Okay, that's not all of Bev's meme questions, but it is all I have time for today -- I'll give the remainder a try in a day or two.

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