Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spending Money

This topic was suggested by Michael Brock (BHS 1960) and it's a good one! How did you earn your spending money when you were a kid and later as a teen? Did you start some kind of little business? What jobs did you have? Did you like your job or hate it?

I started a pot holder business when I was about eight years old. I hoofed it up to Rose's Dime Store and invested my allowance in a kit with a metal loom, something like a giant crochet hook, and big bags of colored fabric loops. After I built up an impressive inventory of patterns and colors, I hit the street peddling my craft. That's when my business fell apart. Probart Street had an unusually high population of widows and old maids who weren't about to part with a dollar, including shelling out a quarter for a potholder from an enterprising kid! No surprise - it didn't take long for me to go out of business but we never ran out of potholders!

I'm eager to hear about your money-making ventures and jobs. I know there's some good stories out there.

On a personal note, my youngest daughter (19) and I are leaving Saturday for Helsinki, Finland and Tallin, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia. Our primary destinations are the Hermitage Museum and the palaces of Catherine and Peter. Exciting trip!

Keep spreading the word about the blog. I'd like to get some of those early 50's BHS classes involved so if you know any of them who are online, please invite them to participate in the blog. I enjoy reading your comments and expect to find a bunch of new ones when I get back from my trip.

Go Blue Devils!


  1. My first job was delivering The Transylvania Times. Raymond Bullock, '58, and I had the route covering Franklin St, Lakeview Dr, Park Avenue, Parkview Dr, and Sapphire Manor. We started after school on paper day (Thursday?) and finished about 9 PM, as I remember. The TTimes was 7 cents and most folks gave us a dime. I think we had to pay 5 cents for the papers we sold.

    We made enough money to cover a weekend movie with all the extras like popcorn & drink. We also had enough to spend at Franklin Park Pool that week. I loved the job. We were "movin' on up..."

    After moving to the farm, I made my money doing farm work for the neighbors. When dry hay was on the ground and rain was heading our way, Tom Rogers would bale the hay and three or four of the kids in the neighborhood would load it on the truck and put it in the loft. We made enough for a movie and extras from stuff like that. I HATED farm work.

    After that, I was a counselor in a co-ed summer camp for two summers. I truly loved that.

    After that, college and summers at Ecusta "workin' for the man..." I also liked that. I met a ton of adults that I really grew to like and respect.

  2. I did not have a summer job, but I spent the summers having magic shows in our neighborhood. My neighbor, Peggy Glazener '59, would help me with this, and we would sell tickets for 5 cents. A few children would come, but some didn't pay. (They could stay anyway.) Our magic tricks were not very good, but we thought they were. I remember we always liked to "play tricks" on the boys in the neighborhood, and once we served refreshments of shaving cream in the middle of two vanilla wafers. They looked so appealing, but the boys were not pleased! When Halloween came, we always tried to contact Houdini (the movie had just come out,) but he never said "Hello." Anyway, my magic shows did not bring enough money to go to the movies.

  3. I worked at Cato's Clothing Store. Leon worked in the Gladious Fields on Everette Farm Rd. Even though he was working at Ecusta by this time (1961)his employer provided big bunches of gladious for our wedding.

  4. As preteens and teens my older brother and I did about anything we could to make our spending money. In those days if you wanted something you worked for it or did without. About the most you could make was 50 cents per hour and that was work time, not traveling time. We worked in the hay fields, bean fields, Sid Barnett's Machine Shop and everywhere.The best money for the time was catching night crawlers. They sold for 1 cent each at Joe's Little Store and on a rainy night we could catch 3 or 4 hundred in about four hours. We also caught spring lizards and they sold for 5-15 cents apiece. We turned over every rock in every creek within walking distance. As a teen I worked at Pisgah Forest Amocco and at Boyd's 66 Station and then at Winn Dixie. At Winn Dixie I cut up chickens, fatback and cheese. In 1960 I went to work at Olin and felt like I had hit the jackpot!! In 1972 I joined the N.C.S.H.P and and fulfilled a childhood dream. I've always liked every job I had and always met some really good people. Our generation learned to work at an early age and thats a good thing.

  5. Pat, when I was a teen growing up in Brevard, I worked at McAfee's Drug Store which was on the corner at the stop light on Main Street. I also worked there after school two afternoons a week. In the summer the drug store was filled with campers coming to town on an outing. We had a tough time making enough sundaes and sodas for the crowd. The owner, Mose McAfee would help us out at the counter on those days.

  6. It would be hard for todays generation to understand how little money it took to go to the movies, buy records or magazines. It would also be hard for them to understand how little money was available to people. If we had a dollar when we went to the movies we had it made. When you consider that for fifty cents you could go to both theaters in one afternoon and have candy and soft drinks. All the kids I knew had had several part time jobs. Mowing grass, pumping gas, washing cars, selling the Grit Paper or Bagging groceries. In those days we used reel type mowers without motors and thought nothing about it. Working and having your own money was important to all of us. I remember several of us helped this farmer put up hay for two long days and when we settled up he gave us a dollar apiece. That kind of thing was common and many farmers were tight wads and cheats. Needless to say we never worked for him again.

    1. One of my most vivid childhood memories was the day I was finally going to see King Kong at the movies. It had been playing for a week and I waited until the last day. I was going to the movies right after school and on my way to school that morning, I realized I had forgetten my dime and wouldn't be able to see the movie I had so looked forward to seeing. That's right. Admission to the movies was only nine cents. It was thirty years before I got to finally catch that movie.

  7. Our entire family worked at home. If we ate in the winter, we had to make a garden and can everything we could, whether we grew it or had to buy it from someone else: peaches, apples, and other products we did not grow. Even the smallest kids helped with the garden and processing the foods; it was a part of life and never questioned. When we turned 12 or 13, we all worked somewhere. Our brother picked beans and worked in the gladiola fields and took care of his pigs and corn that he grew for 4-H. One at a time, we became old enough to work and the older girls (3 of us) worked at Lakesega during the summer and part of the winter months. We averaged $10 a week plus room and board, but we loved it and learned so much from the Lawrence family. Later, I also worked for Alma Cox at Brevard Jewelers. That’s where I saw Donald for the first time, walking a skunk on a lease up Main Street. He worked for Gene Wilson and did this on a dare…Gene had to pay him ( lol) I thought he was nuts! Donald also drove a produce truck and really enjoyed that work. My siblings and I all earned enough to buy our own clothes, our annuals, our class rings, and other essentials. If we had these extras, we earned the money.

  8. Ruby, I am curious to know......was the "sprayer" on the skunk active? If not, I imagine the street was cleared rather fast!

  9. My brother & I would go around the streets to rake leaves in the fall. We were quite young, & I found it to be more pleasure than work! We also gathered buckeyes & found a market for those (not including the ones we kept for necklaces and good luck!)

  10. The earliest summer job that I can remember was mowing laws and raking leaves. As I got older I worked at the Red Diamond service station on North Broad that my father managed. In high school I did a summer at Gaither's Restaurant as a bus boy and later in high school I worked at Berry's Restaurant. Sunday was a big day with tourists in town for the Music Camp concerts. Later, while I was going to Western Carolina, summers were occupied by working on the Replacement Crew at Ecusta. I am tired just thinking about it.