By Doris Schroeder
I think it was my freshman year at Buhler High School when our Girls’ Glee Club or A Cappella choir sang “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” by George Gershwin. There was something about that song that sent shivers up my back and I think I sang it around the house like no other. The words seemed so fitting to my life and dreams at that young age. It described life in the late forties to perfection.
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Back in the late forties, few residences had central air and many not even air conditioners or fans. It was therefore an effort to stay cool in hundred degree weather. Consequently, we had to plan our days around the weather. Since it was cooler in the early morning, that was when we did our harder work in the house, worked out in the garden. In the afternoon we would do less strenuous things. If it was ultra hot, we would hang wet towels in front of the windows that had a breeze. Even though, livin’ was easy in the summertime it was due to the heat and nothing else. It was harder to have a good outlook on life when the weather was eating away at your disposition.
And when I think of the summer jobs I had in the summer of yesteryear. I doubt if I had to do them today in the same circumstances, that you would see a smile on my face.
I didn’t mind being a waitress a couple of my high school summers, because I wasn’t in the heat exactly and I was doing what I enjoy, it made me feel grown up. I had my learning years at Leo’s Lunch, situated next to my Dad’s filling station on 4th and Adams. A lot of different people came in during the day and it was interesting. On the 4th of July, I had to work, however, and we had a huge rain. In fact, it flooded the floor of the little eating place and I had to walk barefooted as I waited on tables. Then the electricity went out, and we kept on going until the lights came back on. One customer left me a dollar tip, something that was unheard of in 1946, and I walked on air (instead of the water).
One year I worked in the Buhler Nyal Store during the summer and that was simply a joy. It didn’t bother me to go down those narrow steps to the dug out under the store to get the coke and root beer syrup, or that I had to chop a block of ice for the machine in an old sink in the hallway. I was growing up and I enjoyed every part of it, especially the Saturday night band concerts. The drug store was where you learned what was going on!
The summer the only job I could find in Hutch was at the Egg Plant on the South end of Main. I wouldn’t have stayed with it, had I not wanted to attend Buhler High so bad. I had to stand along a conveyer belt with a bucket in front of me and crack the eggs that came by on a belt and put them in my bucket. We had a certain system…pick up the egg, crack it, smell it and put it in your bucket. Occasionally an egg would be rotten and you had to be sure it went in a different vessel.
It was loud while all the machinery was on so I sang songs while I did my cracking. Evidently the supervisor thought I needed more to do so one day she made me the “bucket girl.” My job was to go up and down the line, pick up the buckets of eggs and take them to a big vat about five or six feet high. I did fine until the very last bucket…my arms were so sore, the bucket slipped and slathered my uniform with raw egg. Washing off as best I could, I had to walk the ten blocks back to my house after work in a egg-stiff white/yellow uniform. I had no sadness when they closed after six weeks, I had made my share of powdered eggs for the summer, in fact, for my whole life!
If you think about it, we do have it nice and cool in our world of today. We are fortunate, most of the time, to be able to stay indoors and keep up with our normal everyday chores. It probably also helps our disposition.
Today the temperature is supposed to reach into the late nineties, but I am thankful I get to stay inside in the cool, cool of the morning. After I have done the week’s laundry, I will make me a nice glass of iced tea and get back to work on the book I am writing. Hubby has gone out picking sand hill plums for the Farmer’s Market but I gave him strict instructions to get back by noon. Will he listen to me?
Maybe, anyways I hope so. I know God watches over us but he also wants us to show some common sense. Are you listening, Hon?
At any rate, enjoy the beauty of summertime while you can. There will come a time once again when the snow will blow across our land and we will remember the easy days of summer with longing! God is so good!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at email@example.com