When I was a 16-year-old high school student, I worked part-time at Sears (Newark, NJ). Since I could type Louise Gleason hired me to work with her in the personnel office. After graduation and on to Rutgers, I kept my little job. On Saturdays I finished clerical work for the store manager’s secretary. The upstairs offices were empty, few people were around. The telephone operator and I might be the only employees on the 3rd floor. Merchandise managers and the store manager rarely showed up. Saturdays were quiet.
Harry P., the manager of store 1044, was a good-looking guy in his 40’s, married with kids. On two separate Saturdays he interrupted my work by inviting me into his office. Each time he began with small talk, then wanted to know what my boyfriend and I did on our dates. (I was dating a Sears management trainee.) I figured Harry out for a voyeur and decided not to feed his perversion. The next Saturday he evened the score. I had stacks of paper and five file cabinets in front of me – sort and file, that was my job for the next few hours. Harry, the snake, approached silently from behind and clamped his hands on to my breasts. I swung away and screamed. His response: “I just wanted to see if they were real.” I don’t need to explain what “they” were. That Saturday Harry P. showed himself to be a predator. I needed my job and I loved working at Sears. That’s my store. The secret had been mine alone until #MeToo became an option.
Mr. Griffith, the previous manager, had a carved wooden sign above his office door. The sign read: A Peacock Today, A Feather Duster Tomorrow.
As women continue to react to sexual injustice, more men will become feather dusters – a euphemism for all washed up.
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Our week-long cruise on Wilderness Discoverer ended in Sitka, a city I had missed on previous trips to Alaska. Yes, we had rain. Then the sun came out until the rain began again. Alaska had an exceptionally wet spring and summer. That’s what a friend who paints houses in Juneau said.
I’ll remember Sitka for gorgeous flowers blooming everywhere a flower might grow. I thank the drivers for not taking aim at tourists. They were easy-going, patient people who slowed down to let wayward pedestrians cross the street. Next best – the dogs. In Sitka people walk the nicest, friendliest dogs, and I missed my Abby. Most of all, I will be grateful for Ana Dittmar, the heritage museum curator at St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Ana agreed to accept my mother’s prayer book. (See WP post Sept. 2, 2017.)
Even though I had a map, the entrance to the Russian Orthodox cemetery was hard to find. Eventually, I met a tourist who had visited the cemetery, and she gave a simple direction – walk straight up Observatory Hill. Pass the houses and go to the end of the road. At the end, a dirt path snakes into a forest with topsy-turvy graves, triple-bar Orthodox crosses, headstones, and flowers. Visitors like me stepped into a eerie place of lush plants, moss, and slipper slopes that were magical and spooky.
First impressions — the city center plaza of Jackson Hole reminded me of Santa Fe. Western art galleries, shops ’til you drop, and restaurants line the square and trail along the side streets. Tourists love the place. In winter elk do, too. They live outside of town on the vast National Elk Refuge. To get started we drove straight to the visitor’s center for information and maps. Our list of places to see — National Museum of Wildlife Art, Grand Teton National Park, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, Teton Village tram ride, and the byways that took us away from the main road.
Snowmelt cut our Snake River float trip time in half. The water raced along carrying logs, branches, and debris. Eagles, herons, pelicans, and beavers didn’t seem to notice the high water and flooded riverbanks. On our fifth and final day we returned to an old favorite, Yellowstone and the Hayden Valley.
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How many of us remember our First Grade? Luckily, I have newspaper clippings, report cards, and letters. I decided to post a photo and text from the Winfield Park (NJ) annual school report. The school is gone. Destroyed in a fire years ago. Where am I in the photo? I’m in the second row from the top – bows and braids atop my head. I’m standing next to Carol Simon. The cute kid behind me is Robert Peters. Marie Lupo is in front of me. I loved school and, amazingly, I remember the names of so many kids.
How exciting First Grade has been. At first we studied about the dairy farm. We made a large frieze with cows, chickens, ducks, and other farm animals. One day we visited the Walker-Gordon farm. We saw real baby calves and big cows. Miss Pietrowski and Mrs. Lulic ( Mary, my mother) took pictures of us at the farm.
We enjoyed very nice parties at Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Miss Holton helped us make Jell-O for one of our parties.
Playing in our grocery store was fun, too! Our own churned butter made a big hit and was pictured in the Newark News. We had real cans, all kinds of groceries, a register for money, and a telephone in our store. Each day two children were storekeepers.
In March we studied about the wind and airplanes. Our kites and windmills were very gay. In April, we took a trip to the Newark Airport. It was thrilling to see the big airplanes land and take off.
Spring came and we studied about the circus and the zoo. Our frieze of lions, monkeys, tigers, and giraffes made our room look like a real zoo.
Our best trip was to the Bronx Zoo. We talked about this trip for days and days. Then along came the great day for our May Festival. Will you ever forget our Tom Thumb Wedding with Miss Pietrowski’s First Grade?
It’s been lots of fun this year! We hope that Second Grade will be just as exciting next September.
This was the very first year we attended school both in the morning and in the afternoon. This was the first year we became such good actors and actresses. Just read on and you shall see what many different roles we played.
First of all, we were farmers who took good care of their farm animals. And since we like farms so much we went all the way down to the Walker and Gordon Milk Farm to see the cows and calves as well as the Rotolactor machine.
Next we were Indians who lived in wigwams and beat upon tom-toms. We made feather headdresses and painted our faces for our program.
Right before Christmas we decided to stop acting for awhile and be as good as we could –for Santa Claus was coming.
Santa was very good to us and so we decided to resume our acting. This time we were Eskimos who made igloos and loved the Northern Lights.
Last of all we were animal keepers at the zoo. We got to know all these strange animals quite well, especially when we visited the Bronx Zoo.
For the May Festival we helped Miss Beck’s first grade with a Tom Thumb Wedding but no one really got married.
Actors and actresses must be kept busy. We learned to read, to write, to count, and to work together cooperatively.
We are really very good at our play-acting and since school must go on, we are ready now for Second Grade.