Friday night I was having dinner with some friends at the Bedford Springs Resort and Spa…I was there for a Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts Board meeting. Anyway, during dinner one of my friends turned to me and said, “What was the most unusual/unique non-teaching job you have ever had.
I had to stop and think for a moment; then it came to me. I hadn’t thought about this for years. The year between high school graduation and my first year at Penn State I worked as a “Bundle Boy” in a local dress factory.
This factory was unique in that it occupied the basement, second and third floors of the building in which it was housed. The first floor was a food store…yeah, it was strange.
My job was to help get bundles of cut dress pieces up to the sewing floor – third floor. I had to check to make sure that each bundle contained pieces of the same size. After all, it wouldn’t do to have a size 16 sleeve thrown in with a size 20 yoke. The job required constant movement. Pieces had to be brought up from the basement. Partially sewn dresses were to be taken from one section where sleeves were attached to another section where the skirt was added to the garment. The completed dresses were then taken down to the second floor where they would be pressed and prepared for shipping.
Since it was piece work in the factory, ladies were paid by the amount of pieces they got out in a day, you can imagine the constant hustle that was taking place.
I also sometimes helped spread the fabric. There were long tables in the basement. Rolls of fabric were attached to machines. We had to walk this back and forth making a fabric pile several inch deep. At night the “cutters” would come in and lay patterns on the fabric, and then cut the pieces. The next morning we would take those cut pieces and sort them by size to get them ready for the ladies upstairs.
As I said earlier, I hadn’t thought of this for years. It is amazing how a simple question can trigger a memory. So I ask you, “What was the most unusual/unique non-teaching job you ever had?