University of Nevada, Reno




Life Stories by theme: Work life


















































  1. From Coney Island to Circus Circus


    "I gave the application to the manager and told him, this only covers a very small part of my life and jobs I have done. I told him I lived in Coney Island, N.Y., and after graduation from high school, I worked on many games both on the Boardwalk and streets. ... He hired me and when his assistants found out, they said, 'Are you crazy hiring that old man?' They found out soon enough. Two months later, I won Employee of the Month award."  Read more.

  2. Chicken flicker


    "This time we went to the butcher shop, and I noticed this woman sitting in the corner flicking chickens. For some reason, this seemed like a fun thing to do. I asked my mother if I could do the flicking and save her the 10 cents to have it done by this woman. Of course she said NO. For days, I continued to beg her to allow me to flick a chicken the next time she would buy one. This went on for a long time until finally she said, 'All right. I will let you do it.'"  Read more.

  3. Working on the railroad


    "I was out with my Dad when he was working and the men started the spikes along a 39-foot rail, and Dad took a mall in each hand and windmilled the whole rail by himself. There was another foreman there with some young men. He told them, 'Now you have seen one man do the job of two.'"  Read more.

  4. New girl in the office


    "I drove my un-air-conditioned 1962 Mercury Comet, and I was sweaty by the time I got to work. I had to be there at 7:30 a.m., and as a non-early riser, it was tough. My saving grace was my car radio. I loudly played and sang along with 'Hot town / Summer in the city / Back of my neck / Getting dirt and gritty.' Otis Redding got me through the hard drive, facing a hot sun in the east and north."  Read more.

  5. Typing the nation's secrets


    "The second interview was at the Test Site a week later, and I didn’t have a car to drive Mercury and couldn’t borrow Marie’s because she needed it to go to work. Over the weekend some friends of ours from Espanola visited us and I told them my plight. Anyway my friend said I could use his car to go to Mercury for the interview. I went for the interview and they hired me that day."  Read more.

  6. Leaving Mississippi for Los Angeles


    "Carol and I went to a bank soon after our arrival and deposited our certified Mississippi bank checks. After the account was opened, we were told our account was frozen for several days until the checks cleared. So we either worked very soon or lived off our credit cards.  I want you to know we got a temp job within two days and, till our checking funds were available, we used one other 'new' business—the check-cashing store on our corner in Hollywood."  Read more.

  7. Making concessions


    "So I went and bought a Winnebago. After I bought the Winnebago, I said, 'If I’m going to travel, I’m going to need something to pay my expenses.' I got five deep freezers and a trailer and went to Louisiana and planned to sell ice cream at the state fairs. And then I had a stroke. ... Once I got better, I wanted to go back into business, and I found a flea market. But they already had someone selling ice cream. And so I took my rig down there and sold chocolate-covered bananas. I didn’t know anything about it. I had to try different ways to make them."  Read more.