Sunday Scribblings: First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

In sixth grade it was a treat for a group of us to go downstairs at the Corner Drug on a Saturday afternoon and order chocolate sodas. MJ was the waitress and I thought she was divine. I also believed as she wore that apron and carried that order pad proudly that she had a dream job. I admired other older girls that worked at the S&R, The Boat, or The Miner’s Hat Drive-Ins.

Working at a drive-in seemed like a perfect job. Everybody hung out there. If I worked at the Humdinger I could listen to the music of KJRB playing from a GTO radio parked close to the order window. I could also whip up root beer milkshakes, soft ice cream cones, or a 50 cent banana split.

I applied to work at the Humdinger the summer of 1972. It would be my first job. JK handled soft ice cream cones and other waitress tasks with ease. SD was talking about applying for employment there also. I imagined myself taking orders on the green notepad with a pencil behind my ear. I could visualize the milkshake machine purring as I ran it with an air of importance. I would wrap hot, delicious hamburgers hot off the grill in a square of wax paper to hold in the pickles, onions, and sliced tomatoes.The owner called me and said he wanted to “try me out”. He sent me home with the menu asking me to memorize the items and prices and come in the next day. CM called me the morning of my first day of work. He wanted to go out to the lake. Would I like to join him? I knew I was a quick study. I took my employment homework on the short trip to the lake.

I had to be at the Humdinger by 3:00. The sail boating adventure was fun, but led to a bad sunburn and lack of quality time to do my homework. I arrived to work on time, but it was a disaster. Taking orders and remembering prices was hard. I never realized how challenging it was to make milkshakes, wrap burgers, form strawberry dip cones, figure out change, and smile while suffering from a sunburn and lack of menu knowledge. JK was the queen of waitressing. I flunked my trial run. SD would definitely do better. The owner told me he didn’t need me any more. I went home discouraged.
Mom gave me the “ I told you not to go out to the lake, but stay home and learn those prices” lecture. Dad said I was a “bull in a china closet” and reminded me “I couldn’t walk, take orders, and chew gum at the same time”. SD got a job and was able to enjoy the finer things in life as a waitress; listening to “ Lean on Me” from a car radio in the parking lot while taking orders, making soft ice cream cones, giving change, and smiling at the order window with JK. My first job was going to be my dream job, but turned out being my worst job.

The Humdinger still serves burgers, cones, and shakes in Kellogg in the same location.

I was amazed today when I noticed this is blog post #300. Fortunately there are more pictures to take and stories to tell. Thanks to all my blog readers for the comments and continued support.

You can enjoy other Sunday Scribblings about jobs here.


  1. Most of us worked at Paragon Park, our town's amusement park, or the Surf, where people like Sonny and Cher played. I tried the Surf but only kept the job a few weeks because I missed being able to dance. This post reminds me of the time I TRIED to work at the local bakery but knew I wouldn't be able to memorize the menu and prices that they required, so I quit before I started. I don't know why they wouldn't let us look at the menu for the first week or so. Well, I probably would have gotten fat working there.

  2. Laurie14.10.07

    I actually worked at the Humdinger for three days right after college. I didn't get fired, but I think they were happy to see me go. It was not the job for me. But it's still one of my favorite burger places on earth!

  3. Wow, I love the graphics and the story. I did not get to the scribblings this week, If you will email me, I can tell you more about the conference. macrush53 at yahoo dot com.

  4. Congrats on 300th post!
    We have a drivein in our area also. Same one for as long as I can remember. What you did remind me of was our A&W stands when the waitresses would come out on rollerskates and clip the trays to our car windows. Oh how I loved it there! I think you eventually did end up with your dream job. Just not your first job!

  5. 'm a late comer - I'll have to go back and read some of your first 300 posts.

    great post. I never wanted to work as a waitress. I always wanted to be a flight attendant. Pretty close type of job. Serving cranky people. Never happened.

  6. Don't you think everyone should be a server at some point in life?!?! I think that everyone needs the experience!

    Fun post to read - and I've actually been to the Humdinger! It was on a business trip and someone had suggested it. Good food!

    Congrats on #300!

  7. I'm so excited to tell you that you are the winner of my cross-stitch drawing! :)

    Do you still have my email address? Please let me know where to mail it to you. I'll get it on it's way. . .

    Happy dancing for you!

  8. I think everyone needs this experience too :)

  9. Thanks for all your comments. Laurie, I didn't know you also took on the challenge of the
    Welcome Shelly... I bet you enjoyed the Humdinger... just be thankful I wasn't working there.


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