Thursday, May 5, 2011

My High School Job

I had an awesome high school job. I worked for this dinner cruise ship that went around the L.A. Harbor. They had cheesy entertainment, which was I applied. Alas, at age 17, I was too young to be a server, but they hired me as a cruise director; yes, like Julie on The Love Boat. (Okay, that reference was relevant back in the '80s!)

I would make the seating arrangements and seat our guests, help the servers, answer questions, and then I'd get to sing and dance. It was my dream job; I could actually make money doing what I loved?!? I couldn't ask for anything more.

The catch was that the LA Harbor was about 45 minutes away. So with my shiny new license, I was navigating LA freeways and traffic. My mother was freaked. Looking back, I'm surprised she actually let me do it. At the time, though, I was thoroughly annoyed that I had to call her when I was leaving for work, call her when I got to work, and then, yes, call again, when I was heading home. So she'd know what time to start worrying. And now, it seems completely reasonable.

I was waiting and waiting and waiting to turn 18 so I could be a server. I just wanted to be like all the other grown-ups! Little did I know then that I'd hate waiting tables, and would rather be a hostess anytime. But back then, it was everything to turn that magical number!

Of course, just a few months before I was old enough to vote, I got the bad news: the ship was closing shop. I was going to have my first experience getting laid off due to a company shutdown. (Unfortunately, it would not be my last.)

Our last voyage was on New Year's Eve. Shortly before, we had a holiday party, and I didn't know beforehand, but they also handed out awards.I was thrilled when I won the award for Cruise Director of the Year. That plaque was such an honor for me!

That first job had to be one of my favorites of all time. Even if I may have been the youngest, the truth is, we were all so young. We created drama of course, we laughed a lot, and we lived for the cheesy musical numbers.

Fast forward 20 years: last fall, when Sylvia was doing Willy Wonka, one of the actresses came up to me and re-introduced herself. We'd worked on that dinner cruise ship together all those years ago! Now she had two children, was also a single mom, and her daughter went to the same school as Sylvia! We couldn't get over how crazy it was that after all these years, our similar winding paths had brought us back together again.

What's even better is, as much as I loved my life then, I love it even more now. And I love that I have those memories.

This post inspired by Mama Kat's Writers Workshop.

18 comments:

Cat said...

That's very cool, and a great memory. If I were your mom, I would've had a heart attack!

Stephanie said...

That sounds like such a fun job, and a fabulous memory.

Suzie said...

I've thought about working on a cruise ship. It sounds like a blast!

Andie said...

Amazing how grownup we feel when we're teenagers. And then as adults it just looks a little more scary.
Having kids of my own to worry about has taught me so much about why my mom worried so much!

Adrienne said...

Great story ~ love how it comes full circle!

Visiting from Mama Kats

Erica said...

Very cool high school job. Much better than my gigs at the time.

Jessica said...

I'm way past being a teenager but I don't think now I would want to drive in LA traffic. That does sound like a fun job to have on a dinner cruise ship.

Barbara said...

How crazy that you ended up running into someone after so long! It sounds like it was a pretty good job! My mom would have been freaking about the drive too!

Banker Chick said...

The hostess job is always the better job. Sounds like you had fun. Thanks for visiting!

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

That sounds like a real fun job, especially for a 17-year old!

e said...

Seriously? What kid gets this job? It's a dream!

Jessica said...

Crazy how life goes in a full circle!! Great story!!!

Mrs. Weber said...

What a fun story. I imagine the singing was like at Johnny Rockets when everyone just randomly breaks into song. My kinda gig!

Laura said...

That sounds like the perfect high school job!

BigLittleWolf said...

Delightful. And how wonderful to be able to say that you love your life even more now.

(And happy Mother's Day!)

Krystyn said...

Wow! That does sound like your dream job...and the fact that you got an award means you rocked it.

And, how cool that you ran into somebody so many years later that worked with you.

Kristy said...

It's so fun to run into people like that! Great story!

Raine said...

Sounds like it was a great job!