Gay, Mom, Donna
A special day for kids—they’re allowed to see what mom or dad does from nine to five.
Every day was go to work with mom and dad day for me. Over the course of my childhood, they owned several businesses. The first one I remember is a dry cleaning establishment located on a corner in a strip center. On each side of the strip center was a vacant field. In this picture, you can see the building to the right. That’s the location of the cleaners. We looked dressed for Easter in this picture. My sister went daily to my grandmother’s house, but Mom made me entertain myself at the cleaners.
At the age of four years, I rode a tricycle on the sidewalk. I’d peddle down to visit the husband and wife—owners of the beauty shop at the other end of the various shops. Those kind owners and clients put up with me. I joined the husband in a nearby chair and we’d read the newspaper. He tells me I said, “The paper says it’s gonna rain today.” He laughed. I had the paper upside down and couldn't read at the time. I learned to read quite well a few years later.
One day I saw the middle steam press left unattended. "Now's my chance," I thought. I placed both arms under the thing and burned them. Whew! That was painful. Kind of dumb for a smart kid, but kids try stuff. I secretly went to the back where my dad kept the crock jar of Naphtha. I dipped my burnt arms repeatedly into the cool liquid, and Daddy caught me. I think he was more than a little alarmed!
Another time I ran through the shop and punctured my barefoot with a nail. Dad placed me on the front counter where people picked up clothes. He pulled the nail out. Mother left work and took me to the doctor. A tetanus shot was in order. I think they had to take me to the doctor quite often due to my inquisitive nature. A baby sitter might have been less expensive.
I remember being petrified as my dad sat me on the same counter and pulled my first tooth. The Tooth Fairy left a dollar, so all was well.
Once I sat in the car and took the cigarette lighter and burned holes in the car’s upholstery while I played the radio. I was greatly surprised when neither one, mom or dad, gave me trouble over it. Now that I am a mom and a grandmother, I understand that they were just grateful I didn’t catch myself on fire.
An alteration lady came three days a week, and I'd "help" her sew. She must have had the patience of Job. It was a dangerous place for a child to play, but I had fun. I think I learned a lot too.
Mom and Dad eventually sold the dry cleaners and bought a café. Once more, I went to work with them and entertained myself. It was in a different strip center and I was allowed to roam up and down to visit other places of business. My favorite memory is having the cooks make a picnic lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches. I’d sit in the car, listen to tunes and eat. I imagined all sorts of adventures while I enjoyed my lunch. I suppose I’ve always created stories, now I write them for you to read.
Take your child to work with you, if you haven’t done so already. They’ll have an education, but keep an eye on them. If they’re anything like me, they’ll burn the place down.