Monday, September 5, 2016

WORK: a collective list

Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2016

With this collective list we honor ourselves, and all the different kinds of work we have done over the years . . . . and we honor all workers, everywhere

singing telegram deliverer, massage therapist, hair stylist, singer in a band, landlord, flower shop worker, after school program director, caregiver in a family care home for people with AIDS

gas station attendant in 1967, social worker, graphic artist, fundraiser, insurance agent, director of Head Start program, filmmaker, bookstore owner, member of two street theatre troupes

study hall monitor, washed pots and pans in a sorority house, assisted people who were looking for jobs, real estate agent

lemonade stand manager in my family's front yard, attendance monitor, arts and crafts teacher, assistant Girl Scout leader, crossing guard

legal assistant for prisoners' rights organization, instructor in one of the first Women's Studies programs, host for a French-Canadian folk song program on my college radio station, farm manager for a food co-op

crew member and navigator on my father's sailboat, family documentarian

dance teacher, choreographer, costume shop assistant and costume designer, stage manager,
librettist, cheerleader for deer, cat sitter
actor in children's theater, musicals, and Shakespeare plays

baker in a hippie bakery on a hippie farm, cake decorator at a Carvel store, menu planner and co-author of cookbooks at Moosewood Restaurant for over four decades

sewing machine salesperson, bank teller, plant sitter, book maker, restaurant hostess

worked at the jewelry counter at Rothschild's Department Store in Ithaca, New York

ballet studio owner/Artistic Director

owner and operator of Clean Sweep, a business that helps people with gentle (re)organizing

taught home and career skills in middle school, built houses with Habitat for Humanity all around the U.S.A., worked in a bank before computers were used

dandelion picker earning a nickel per basketful, dishwasher and fry cook at my family's truck stop, picture framer, bartender, night shift donut maker, go-go dancer, typesetter at a small alternative press

folded boxes in my family's bakery, made recordings for the blind, leader of a Camp Fire group, repaired books and typed catalog cards for an elementary school library

registered dental hygienist, abstract artist

registered nurse in various specialties including: intensive care, pediatrics, medical-surgical care, cardiac care, school nurse, home care nurse

wife, mother, grandmother of four

teacher of creative writing, blogger, gardener, herbalist, sailor, photographer

fed rats for a university experiment, taught five-year-olds in a Brooklyn summer program, teaching assistant in graduate school, part-time college professor, therapist

shoe store clerk even though I knew nothing about sizing shoes

data input in the early days of computer programming, potter, seamstress, errand runner, house painter, apprentice carpenter, fixer of broken toys, green bean picker for a large farm where I was one of two non-immigrant workers, generous listener

camp counselor at a camp for kids with cerebral palsy — my favorite job of all

entertainment director for a nursing home — I got to wander from floor to floor with a portable organ singing old classics and watching the elderly faces come alive again

receptionist for a demented flasher — I lasted one day

house cleaner, dog walker

taught non-violent conflict resolution to 5th and 6th  graders, using games, role plays, and discussions

copy editor for my college newspaper, facilitator for consciousness raising groups on Long Island and Manhattan

mail deliverer, dorm counselor, catering assistant, usher for the Cleveland orchestra, artist's model, puppet demonstrator at a toy store

did the family laundry in the bath tub, hung it all on the line to dry, then did the ironing

taught archery and, in another place and time, taught knitting

taught school in Sungai Gernong, Indonesia and in Oran, Algeria

chambermaid, chicken salad maker at a restaurant called "Food," abortion counselor, HIV counselor, razor blade factory worker in Amsterdam

drama therapist, extra in a TV movie about Japanese samurai, extra in a commercial for Suntory Whiskey

wedding harpist, church organist

sold Christmas cards door to door to win a transistor radio when I was 10, Sunrise Movie Theatre counter girl after my mom taught me how to make change correctly, Winn Dixie grocery store cashier, elementary school teacher for 18 years

small press publisher

groomed show dogs, bailiff in civil court

cashier and girl-Friday for an auto parts store, Tupperware dealer, haiku poet

owner of a commercial and residential cleaning service

analytical aide for the Department of Defense

homeroom mother while all four of my children were going through elementary and junior high school (15 years)

cashier at Walmart, problem solver

director of a literacy council, reading tutor for adults, children’s and young adult books author

temporary office worker: my typing skills were abysmal but I was an excellent envelope stuffer

washing huge pots and pans behind the scenes at my college cafeteria

bookkeeping, buying books, reading books, selling books, collecting books

writing about things that have made me curious

switchboard operator (it was necessary to cut off obscene calls), secretary to a cheap corporate lawyer who expected me to pay for his coffee, museum guide for curious children visiting the "mummies" exhibit

vegetable picker for Marian's Roadside Stand, delivery person for the Ithaca Journal, bicycle repair person at Big Wheel Bike Shop, liquor store clerk, student janitor and mail room office person

volunteer with Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service, library staff at Mann Library at Cornell University

mind reader, heart healer, animal rescuer, true-love believer

being my own best friend, which has sometimes been hard work

au pair for the family of a famous London writer — I lasted two days and was fired for being inept with the vacuum cleaner

cleaned the rabbit hutches from the age of six onward, picked beetles off roses for a penny a beetle, picked up nails and screws from Grandpa's workshop and was paid a penny a jar

piano teacher, leaf raker

read to my blind grandmother every day for one year

paralegal, mediator, toy seller, organizer for a youth soccer league, firewood chopper

bobcat tracker in Florida, fossil curator, dictionary writer, judge at a pie contest, docent for an animatronic dinosaur exhibit, bird enumerator

assistant in an art gallery on Madison Avenue — my office was the bathroom

sales clerk at a button shop, seller of raffle tickets, casting director, family's travel agent, video effects editor

cultural affairs officer for the Canadian consulate in New York City

milked goats, worked in a Jewish deli, telemarketer for a bogus product (unbeknownst to me)

taught English as a second language in Russia, Vietnam, and Mongolia

worked at the 92nd Street Y, interviewed homeless people living on the street in New York City, read the slush pile (genre fiction) for a publishing company, did voice-over acting for a Russian company that needed an English voice

restaurant busboy earning $7.50 a night, cocktail pianist (or was that lounge lizard?), cub reporter, lawn and pool boy, coat-check attendant, hat-band paster, conductor, fundraiser, assistant to a university president

intern for the Chinese textile collection at the Smithsonian Institution, Balinese music and dance student/dance instructor, teaching assistant for tai chi and qi gong classes 

seal lion pool cleaner at the National Zoo, fed hummingbirds by hand and handled a tame kestrel on a falconer's glove for Tri-State Bird Rescue

birthday party planner, kitchen and living room sweeper, TV commercial critic, peacemaker, entertainer of younger cousins and siblings, worrier, protector, creative thinker

filler of cat food dish, changer of cat's water bowl, cat cuddler

grilled cheese with tomato and basil maker, confidante, origami artist, assistant dance teacher, volunteer at the annual Star Search camp at the Community School of Music and Arts

ski instructor, ice cream scooper, re-upholsterer, candlemaker, playwright, chauffeur, interior decorator, swan feeder, fish feeder, proofreader, library page


Thank you to all these hard-working contributors:

Alan Heath
Aniiyah Klock
Anne Killian-Russo
Audrey Jordan Gray
Barbara Cartwright
Barbara Hay
Barbara Kaufmann
Barbara Tate
Caroline Gates-Lupton
Debbi Antebi
Gabrielle Vehar
Grace Celeste
Helen Lang
Jim Mazza
Jo Balistreri
Joan McNerney
Joyce L Stillman
Kim Falstick
Linda Keeler
Liz Burns
Margaret Dennis
Marty Blue Waters
Mary Louise Church
Meryl Young
Nancy Osborn
Pamela A. Babusci
Paula Culver
Pris Campbell
Sara Robbins
Sharon K. Yntema
Sue Perlgut
Susan Norvell
Susanna Drbal
Theresa A. Cancro
Tom Clausen
Victoria Jordan
Yvonne Fisher
Zee Zahava