Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Working Life, Part 2


When summer was over, I returned to full time work at the pharmacy and part time school at the local community college. I did not know what I wanted to do so when Richard Yura told me a Pediatrician was looking for a full time receptionist, I applied.  

Dr. Vaman T. Chabal, M.D., FAACP, was a good doctor and a honest man. We had cultural differences. I found him stiff and uncompromising and not at all fun to work for. However, the silver lining of the job was working with his assistant, Joanne Tuluki,  who was the nicest most kind woman I had ever met.  She always had a smile and there was never a problem that could not be managed. As a young, unmarried woman without children of my own working for a busy pediatrics practice was challenging.   I spent eight hours or more a day in the company of screaming, dripping, drooling infants and their frantic moms.  I managed to hang on for a year or more, then, moved to Boston with Peter to attend the University of Massachusetts, Boston as a full time college student majoring in Art History.

U Mass Boston Student
While a student I managed to land a job at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the temporary gift shop set up for The Visions of Vesuvius Exhibition.  That is another story about how from the gift shop, I ended up as an Intern in the American and European Paintings Department.  Upon graduation from UMB,  with Museum experience, I landed a full time position at Vesti Corporation which was owned by Wayne Andersen, Professor of Art History at M.I.T.  Wayne was one of the first art consultants in the 1980’s and Vesti was a corporation dedicated to art consultation.  Vesti was probably the most interesting organization I ever worked for.  Our clients included AT&T, IBM, Chemical Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to name a few.  Again, another story all to itself!

Technical Services Coordinator, Vesti Corp.

Inspecting Pancho Villa’s Silver Saddle, Vesti Corp.

After Peter and I married and he graduated M.I.T. with a Ph.D. in Chemistry we moved to Schnectady/Niskayuna, NY for his first professional position.  With connections in the Boston Art scene, I commuted weekly via puddle jumper, to and from Boston to help with an inventory project for another art consultant, Lucy Aptekar of Aptekar Fine Arts. That lasted a couple of years and then I found myself searching for employment in Schnectady. If you can believe it, I landed a job as a Bank Teller.  I really am not cut out for the banking world, so after some time banking, I applied for and became an adjunct admissions officer interviewing prospective students at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Another year went by and I found myself pregnant with Dan who arrived August 12, 1985.

A Saratoga Springs woman, who I met through friends at Skidmore, convinced me to help her with an Art Consulting Project for Key Bank and Key Corp.  Sue Edwards and I called ourselves, COLLABORATIONS FINE ART SERVICES. The Key Corp project took us to Maine, Oregon, Washington state and all around New York as well as New York City.  We did several smaller projects, too.  As the Key Bank project came to an end, Lisa came along on April 25, 1988.

The Happy Family, Coral Coral Springs, FL, c 1991
One year later, Peter took a position in Florida and we moved.  I became a stay at home Mom for several years before a series of events that led to a job in Medical Sales, Pompano, FL.   From the Medical Sales job, I became receptionist at the kid’s school, Pine Crest.  Just as I was promoted to the Admissions Department we moved to Ft. Worth, TX.  Again, I was a Mom. 
As Mom I morphed into Brownie Troop leader. My Troop had lots of fun on camping trips and a variety of adventures, including driving away from a Tornado.  
As a result of being the Brownie Leader, I joined forces with four other Mom’s to organize and run the large school fund raiser, the School Carnival.  We did this together for three years in a row and I think I still have the T shirts to prove it!

Fort Worth Country Day School Carnival Team

Brownie Troop Leader, with Texas Tilly

Peter now was offered a position in The Woodlands, TX where I again, became a Mom. The kids swam for the local swim team and by hanging out at the pool I soon joined The Woodlands Masters Swim Team. On the team together with three great swim friends we became the WMST Social Committee.  Sandy, Becky, Val and I planned and managed all social events for the team from the 100 Mile Swim to the annual Master Swim Meet and Pizza Party.  As you can see from the photo below, together, we were a great team and, most importantly,  we had fun!

The Woodlands Masters Swim Team, Social Committee

From The Woodlands we moved to Hobe Sound for Peter’s opportunity in Jupiter, FL . On the plane to Hobe Sound I told him I would like to take my Yoga practice further and maybe teach Yoga.  Shortly after settling in our home, I took a Yoga certification course and started teaching in 2006 at the Stuart, FL, YMCA.  Then onto the position in Hobe Sound.  

In spite of the fact I am no longer teaching Yoga, I continue to practice with The Hobe Sound Yogis. If your in Hobe Sound and practicing Yoga you are a Hobe Sound Yogi! Yoga and swimming are my favorite activities, along with walking Chewie, Cooper and Nutter Butter, twice a day. In case you are wondering, I do miss teaching, but, yes,  retirement is GREAT!


The Working Life . . .


Last month I resigned from my position of Yoga Instructor. After 6.5 years of teaching plus a countless number of Down Dogs, Up Dogs, Triangles and standing on my head, I find myself reflecting on my employment history over the years.

The Hobe Sound Yogi


My first job was babysitter for my young cousin.  To be successful as a babysitter I had to show up on time and sit in the living room reading a book or watching TV.  Every so often I would tip toe into the nursery and check the sleeping baby. Within a few hours my Aunt and Uncle would return. They paid me and my Uncle Donny would drive me home, just around the corner and a block away from my home.

The Babysitter, age 10 or 11?

continued babysitting through middle school and high school to earn money. The most challenging babysitting job I ever held was for four small brothers and their Newfoundland dog. No sleeping children at this job. I arrived twice weekly after school. Their mom gave basic instructions as the little towhead darlings looked on. The minute she was in her car and down the driveway, each of the four brothers took off in four different directions! One to the back yard and into the muddy creek, another to the basement playroom, the third to the TV and the fourth to the kitchen where he opened a jar of large green olives and promptly stuffed one olive directly up his nose.

I looked after this wild bunch for many years. Then I was offered a job as a mothers helper i.e.,  house cleaner. After my first Saturday helping the mother I returned home and my mom asked me about the job. I told her after stripping and making the beds the mother had me on hands and knees scrubbing her kitchen floor.  Mom pointed out that although I was a big help at our own home, that I never was asked to scrub floors. She suggested I let that job go and and find a position more in line with the title, helper

My mom was smart to give me that advise so I moved onto  a different Mothers Helper position. I worked for a very interesting, if somewhat eccentric woman, who was an artist. I would arrive at her home on the same day and time each week and spend fully two hours washing a weeks worth of dishes for her. I kept this job until the day she bought an automatic dishwasher.

At age 13 I decided I wanted a real job.  One Saturday morning, I walked from home in Little Silver to the town of Red Bank (approx 1 mile) and entered the local Professional Pharmacy.  I searched out the Pharmacist and expressed my interest is working there. He asked me my age and then promptly told me I was too young. “No, beat it, kid!” was what I remember him saying.

The Pharmacy Worker, 1970 with our dog, Buttsy
At that time, I was a freshman at Red Bank, high school. Once a week or more, after school (a five minute walk from school to the Pharmacy) I returned to Professional Pharmacy and asked the Pharmacist  about a job. I generally received the same answer each time until one day, Richard said to me, “O.k., kid, just to get you to stop bugging me, I will give you a job. Be here 8 am Saturday morning and you can dust the shelves . . . ” That Saturday was the start of many years working for Richard Yura and Vincenzo Biancomono the two pharmacists who operated the Red Bank Professional Pharmacy.  I worked for them all through high school and when I returned home from college, I would pop in to see if they needed me and so spent many summers driving the pharmacy Chevy Nova as Delivery Boy.

Working in Red Bank was fun. I became friends with the guys who managed one of the two record stores in town. They both loved music but they also loved the race track and horses. Bob told me that when Monmouth Park opened for the summer season he would help me and one of my best friends, Jan, get summer jobs as Hot Walkers on the backstretch.  Jan and I were both horse crazy, so we eagerly agreed to apply. 

The hot walker job was super interesting. To get it, we were at the backstretch gates at 5 am on they day the horses and trainers arrived at Monmouth Park. As the trainers came through the gates they would choose potential employees. Being young girls was an advantage for us as the trainers knew were were not alcoholics or anything other than sincere about working with horses. I got super lucky as I was hired by Mr. Larry Jennings, a blue chip trainer of a Preakness winner.  He had a large barn and that is where I learned the ropes of handling Thoroughbred race horses. All I had to do was arrive on time, 5 am, 7 days a week for the entire racing season.  After all the horses were walked and cared for Bob would collect me and Jan and escort us to our cars.  The backstretch was not a place for young girls to hang out. Bob promised our moms he would look out for us to avoid any problems. All kinds of stuff does happen on a racetrack back stretch.  Jan and I had a great summer and no problems. We even managed to avoid injury by horse!

The Hot Walker, 1974

Mr. Jennings had a son a little older than me. We did not date, but we were friends and so one day he invited me to an important race with his dad to be part of the group preparing the horse and jockey for competition. This was a memorable day, although I cannot say if the horse, won or even placed. It did round out my racetrack experience. 

I was not into betting, but in the morning while walking a horse around the shed row, there was a lesser trainer (Claiming Trainer) with just a few horses in stalls on the side opposite of Mr. Jennings barn. Occasionally, he would offer a tip on a race. I would get Bob, to place a bet exactly as this trainer suggested and more often than not, it would be a winner!

The best part of hot walking was that after walking horses each morning, by 9 am Jan and I were on the beach catching a few zzz’s. Then we would head home, clean up and by 1 pm I was back at the pharmacy.

My Friend, Jan, 1974
You may wonder what I did with all this money coming in? I saved it and when a little car became available for sale on Rumson Road near our house, I was able to pay $500 cash. It was an English Ford, a Cortina GT. No matter that it as a stick shift or that I did not have a drivers license. I bought that little car and it sat in our back yard until the day I turned 17 and secured my drivers license.

My First Car.  The Cortina GT, an English Ford

To be continued . . .

Seen around Hobe Sound

Hobe Sound is just a small little town.  In spite of its size there are lots of interesting shops to visit in and around Hobe sound.  My favorite shop is Chuckles.  Maria and Jerry own Chuckles. Without fail, every time I visit there is something new to see.  For example, I hopped on my bike and rode over today. This is what I found:
This has to be the coolest piece of furniture I have ever seen at Chuckles. Notice that both skeleton keys remain with the chest. Another neat item currently at Chuckles is this beautiful Armoire.

Once Jerry had just a Armoire door with lock and key. I passed on that purchase. I have regretted that decision, ever since. It would have been the perfect floor length mirror, with it’s beautiful beveled mirror and key to unlock a mystery behind any wall I placed it on.

A California still life painting of fresh flowers.

Caine seat chair.
Hand painted leather screen.
A beautiful dressing table. 

Another great mirror and a vintage Dickens ice skating figure. 
This lovely old shaving mug and saucer was discovered at Pennies For Heaven, down the road in Tequesta, FL.  

I have to include this  pastel portrait of my friend Caroline. A series of portraits were done in pastel of Caroline’s family in the 1960s. When she showed me a portrait of her brother in his Boy Scout uniform I immediately recognized that the portraits needed to be placed in acid free mats and backing. There is already some damage on each portrait due to the cardboard used to frame them back when they were made. As of yesterday they are in safe hands and will soon be protected for years to come.
And, I must mention that I had great luck at the Stuart Flea market, last Saturday when I stumbled on this great marble lamp for $5.  All it needed was a bit of elbow grease and fresh wiring.  

Since I temp you with a little Christmas, here is a little bit more . . .

My friend, Doreen made the Bethlehem scene for my carved Nativity that I found at the Hobe Sound Bible College Thrift.

My found in Hobe Sound, Shiny Brites!
No post would be complete with out including my Puppas.  Here is a typical morning meeting with our neighbor Molly and her little dog, Jimi Hendrix. 

Chewie showing off his greatest asset:  his ears!

And I end with a few great items seen just a little north of Hobe Sound in port Salerno, FL.  This is a quirky new shop with lots of unusual items available at reasonable prices: