Saturday, May 21, 2005

MAKIN’ $$$$$$$$$$$$

(Originally run 11/16/03 on the old site)

Teenagers never have enough money. That’s a given, whether they’re an Ernie Simpson taking tickets at the Rialto and checking to see that no one’s sneaking in the side door of the theatre, to (well, I was going to say the Menendez brothers, but that’s a little extreme – you get the idea).

But how to make that money? Clerking in stores was pretty popular:

Paula Anne Windsor Peacock Thompson

One never really understands the human population until they are exposed to the masses. At the very early age of 16, I went to work at the Sterling Five and Dime, on Spring Street. This was truly a 5 and 10 cent store. Oh they did have things that cost more, but not on the notion counter that I was given to serve the customers.

This was in the days when you actually had a person seeing you, and asking if they could help, and then taking your money right then and giving you your change and a package.
Well, when you have not been exposed to the things that people purchase or wear it is truly an experience, as I was to discover.

I started to work in the summer, and it was very hot. A lady came to the counter and I noticed her thin cotton dress with large, lacy, arm holes. Then I noticed she wasn't wearing a bra, but I think she felt she was properly dressed because her nipples were covered with band-aids. I was both amazed and amused at that sight.

Gee, who says women first took off their bras in the 70's. In Searcy, we were really into the modern era much earlier. I thought it was a wonderful idea, but decided not to try it, as I did not like the adhesive on the bandages!!!

Another learning experience was to see what folks bought for Christmas gifts. During the Christmas rush, I had people buy 10 comb sets at a time for gifts. I just could not imagine giving a 3 piece comb set as a gift!

So, you can see that working in a public place is always to be considered one of life's great experiences. Take advantage and learn all you can....

From Harold Sullivan:

Paula, your story about working at Sterling Five and Dime reminded me of my days working during high school. Don followed me in the job after I quit the summer I graduated from high school and went to work for Wayne Dale, but that is another story.

During high school, I had one of the better kid’s jobs in town: I even made 40 cents an hour. I was the stock boy and general flunky at Federated Store, also known as the Burr Store part of the time, and probably another name or two that I have forgotten.

I worked there for several years. It was just southeast of the courthouse on Arch Street, next door to Pope’s Piano Store and across the street from Smith-Vaughn and cattycorner from the Searcy Bank (First Security, now). Most, if not all, the time I worked there, the manager was a Mr. Bauer. He was from Chicago and “talked funny”. I really didn’t like him at first because he was very demanding, but I grew to really like and appreciate him. The assistant manager was Doyle Bradley from Georgetown.

My job was to do whatever Mr. Bauer or Mr. Bradley told me to do. I worked for a couple of hours after school, until they closed at 5 or 6 PM. Also, I worked all day Saturday. They waxed the floors once a month, and then we would work until midnight or after. During the week, I would restock things, organize the lay-a-ways, and such. On Saturday, I would fill in as a clerk, waiting on people. Anytime I showed up for work, the first thing I did was to wash the front plate glass windows, no matter what the weather. Mr. Bauer was a real fanatic about their being clean.

One Saturday while I was clerking, this old gentleman (at least he seemed old to me at the time) came up and wanted to buy a sock. I told him they came in pairs. Well, he sat right down in the floor and pulled off one shoe and showed me the hole in his sock, and then pulled off the other one and showed me that it didn’t have a hole in it. All this to prove that he only needed one sock. I asked Mr. Bradley what to do and he said to tell the potential customer we are having a 2-for-1 sale. So I did, and the old gentleman thought that was great, and left with the other new sock in his pocket, happy that he had gotten a bargain.

Another time while I was clerking, this lady was standing near my register, which was just across the isle from the “ladies things”. She was a lady in her mid-20s that I barely knew. She had something in her hand, so I thought I could ring it up for her. When I ask her if I could help, she said sure … and started asking me about shadow-proof panel slips. I had never heard of such a thing and, besides, I was terribly embarrassed to even talk about such. Then she got to asking me about different bras and their relative merits. By this time I was red all over and could hardly talk. Now this was in the days that boys like me barely knew girls wore such and certainly didn’t talk about them. Then the laughter broke out behind me. Several of the other clerks had put her up to it just to embarrass me, and it really worked.

Finally, from Don Thompson:

I have attached a 1946-47 pic of Punky Caldwell and Frank Vestel. Paula lived next door to them when she was in the 6th grade and in the starter band playing a tonette (Paula still has it).

You never know what we will come up with next ;-) .

Punky Caldwell and Frank Vestal Posted by Hello

Yeah, that’s one of things that makes this editing gig kind of fun. As for myself, my senior year … I drove a school bus, did work for the radio station, wrote for the newspaper .. and served as the Artificial Insemination Technician for the White County Dairy Cattle Breeding Association. Want to try to top that?

Finally, Don Thompson passed on to us a link to the photos he took at April’s Class of ’54 “mini-reunion.” You’ll find them at

Unfortunately, in high school, a two-year gap is like 20 years after you become an adult and, other than Paula Windsor, I don’t recognize a single soul. Do you?


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