This all started when I was twelve years old. Every summer about 1 week after school was out I was shipped to Oklahoma city to work at my Grandparents motel. I was sent back about 1 week before school started. This whole ordeal continued until I turned 18.
I was always told it was to build character and a good work ethic. Now what 12 year old understands all of that BS. The first couple of summers I was sent by myself because my Brothers were to young. The first two years all I did for 8 hours a day was to pull weeds. They had all of this landscaping all around the grounds that was covered by rock. The weeds or grass was always sprouting between the rocks so I picked them. I would start my day by going to the restaurant they had there and eating breakfast. My meals were always free and all of the waitress new I wasn’t expected to tip because I had no money. But they always took very good care of me just because I was related to the boss. I do remember I would always eat 3 pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream soaked with strawberry syrup. Then I would go over to the office to make sure I was clocked in by 8 am. Around 1130 I would clock out then go back to the restaurant eat for my 30 minute lunch then back to the office to clock back in. I would work 8 hours a day 6 days a week, no such thing as overtime back then besides the first few years I was paid slave labor wages anyway. I would get paid cash every week in this little brown envelope. I was allowed to keep a couple of bucks the rest I had to take home at the end of summer for my parents to put in a savings account for me.
My Grandmother would always take us shopping for clothes the first day we arrived. I still remember these silly looking tan cargo shorts we were made to wear. We had a little say in our t shirts but not much. Then at the end of summer she would buy us clothes to wear to school.
After two years of this my middle brother came down with me. I don’t recall at all what he did. My next job was busing tables at the restaurant and washing all of the dishes. They had this huge commercial dishwasher that you would rinse all the dishes with this big high power sprayer then put them in racks run them through. Then they were put in carts to be used again. During the rush hours I wasn’t expected to bus it was all I could do to keep up with the dishes.
The next summer I was 15 I think and got a little more freedom. That summer I took over the mowing and edging of all the grass as well as taking care of the pool. I enjoyed this summer, there was a lot of grass and it usually took me a whole day to do it all on a riding mower. Riding around all day in just cutoffs, when I would get hot I would just jump in the pool and cool off. Nobody cared I had to clean it twice a day anyway. I also had to take readings of the pool twice a day and dump all of these chemicals in this huge pump house they had. This place was great to hide out in and do nothing.
Sometime during that school year I had something I wanted to buy and asked my parents for some money out of my savings account I was told they had to borrow it to help pay the bills but I would get it back someday. That’s when I got pissed and went off on my Dad. He did what he always did, pick me up under my arms and slammed me into the wall and said if I didn’t like it I could leave. That was the first of many times I left home.
The next summer I was sixteen and things changed quite a bit. I had to work the front desk. The worst part was I had to wear slacks and a button down shirt all of the time. My Grandmother worked in the mangers office just behind the front desk so this was the first time I had to work for her and I hated it she was so prim and proper it drove me crazy. The only good part about that job was I also worked the switch board. Just like the ones you see on old TV shows. Every time someone would call in or out it had to go through the switch board. I got to listen in on a lot of good stuff that year. This is also the summer I started to steal from my Grandmother to make up for all the money my parents had stole from me. She always had a couple of hundred in cash in her wallet at a time. I would take a twenty from time to time and by the end of that summer I went home with my pay and about 400 extra I had taken. The day I got home I walked up to the bank and started my own savings account. When my Dad found out He threw me out of the house so I stayed away a couple of weeks and nothing more was ever said.
This is getting long, I will rush through the last two years. My grandparents bough another motel in Tulsa. My Uncle ran it and I went to work for him. The last two years I had it made. I was working with a maintenance man and living in my own motel room. I was getting paid pretty good and working Monday through Friday with every other weekend on call for maintenance. The maintenance man was a drunk so he would by beer for me if I gave him the money. I got to use the company pickup to drive around at night. You can use you own imagination what went on in my motel room those two years. I had a lot of friends who were housekeepers and only a few years older than me.
I hated my parents for stealing all of that summer fun time away from me and I didn’t get over it until years later.