young at art

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Firecrackers and Squash Toilets

With the end of the summer just around the corner, I have been thinking about all of the unusual ways that I used to spend my summers.

One of my favorite summer employment stories is working at our fireworks stand. It was a pretty lazy job for the first two weeks. The worst part was being forced out of bed in the summer. Also that we had to pack and restock the inventory daily to protect the fireworks from being stolen. During the day we usually spent our time puddling sweat, selling Black Cats and M-80's to 10 year old boys who planned to use them on defenseless animals or in ponds, and insisting that we did not have a secret stash of bottle rockets in "the back." Even though all we had was a tiny wooden stand with nowhere to put a "back." We also ate pretty good, since our Grandma Bonnie, Grandpa Ben, and Mama would bring us grub.

I do remember this one lady who would come to the stand.Casey and I would find all kinds of creative ways to avoid waiting on her. I know, it was mean. I was only like 14. She was a round, no-nonsense kind of woman in a floral mu-mu. She also walked all the way to the edge of town to our stand to buy smoke balls. In June. She said the smoke balls were for the spiders in her cellar. She would buy a few packs at a time and pay us with sweaty bills. I won't say where she stored the cash before she handed it to us. Let's just say that we did not want to touch it. I never did know who she was. Just one of the anonymous elderly. Man, I wish I had been more curious about her identity.

Before the fireworks stand, I had a brief stint at squash farming.Yes, I said squash farming. I had completely forgotten about this until recently when I was telling my friend Amanda about it at lunch. I have since asked my mom about it to fill in the details. Here goes. A local family, the Browns, I think, had planted several fields of squash and needed farm hands to help with the harvest. Harvest meaning, pick up this squash and put it in this 5 gallon bucket. They spread the word through our 4-H club. I had always been a little joiner, plus I needed money to buy a scooter. EVERYONE had one. Side-note: We lived in the country and did not even have a suitable surface on which to ride a scooter.

I arrived at Quick Way where my mom bought me and my sister breakfast. Probably a ham and cheese pizza pocket and a Mountain Dew, if I had my way. I'm going to estimate that breakfast cost $2.00 each. Then we loaded up on the truck with the other "hands" and headed on out. Here is where it gets hazy.

I remember that we got paid like 50 cents per bucket. Now, I was an average sized 11 year old. The bucket was heavy! It was sooooo hot! I hated to eat squash! We would walk along the furrowed rows and pick up the squash off of the ground. I know that I definitely got one full bucket. Then I saw her. Another girl my age! What is she doing? She looked so happy there in the dirt. Then I realized that she was carving something from a sub-par squash reject. Stacey was making little squash toilets. She was enjoying herself so much that I had to join her. So I did. Optimistically, I made 75 cents. My breakfast was $2.00. Enough said.



  1. AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!! I wish you would have shown me this hahahahhaha! That is the bestest memory ever! And it just goes to show how weird I have always been. Now I make tiny toilets in miniature dollhouse necklaces for money :)

    p.s. I'm totally diggin' your blog!
    ~STacey the toilet maker

  2. I didn't want to bully you into reading. Plus-I didn't want to "out you" on facebook as the squash toilet girl. hahaha.

    p.s. I love your weirdness. and your tiny toilets in dollhouse necklaces.