Today's selections from my yellowing photo albums takes us back to Rapid City, South Dakota circa 1977 to revisit Annette Williamson's first birthday party. You get a special treat today, flattering pictures taken of me in my full McDonald's uniform TAKEN while wearing my red MANAGER hat. They are the only photos proving my time spent learning the fast food trade - something I believe all teenagers should experience before leaving high school and moving on to life's other challenges.
Happy 1st Birthday Annette!
This photo is of Annette taken just before her 1st birthday. She's walking, which was a good sign.
I think that's a salt shaker in her hand. The photo was taken in our living room at 2214 Street, Rapid City. Two things give that away: 1. Annette is standing on one of the five or six plastic carpet protectors we used to try to preserve our heavily worn carpet. Imagine nine people living in a very small house (Kim had moved out by then) with a postage stamp sized living room. Of course the carpet is going to have noticeable dark pathways running from the front door to the kitchen and from the living room to the bathroom and two bedrooms. Of course Charles and Luella are going to do everything possible to preserve the carpet because buying a new carpet every five years or so was out of the question, that is if we still wanted to eat and put gas in the car.
Vacuuming was a real treat in that house on 38th Street. First, you'd have to roll up all five of the runners, then do the actual vacuuming with our 1960's Kirby vacuum cleaner. You hoped the bag would do a better than average job keeping the dirt and dust in and not evenly distribute it back onto the carpet with every pass. You see, nobody wanted to empty the dust bag. It was a messy job done outside over the metal garbage can. In any breeze, no matter how small, half the gray dirt, bobby pins, string and hair would end up back on you before getting into the can. Now you understand why the bag let as much dirt out as it took in because it was always full to overflowing.
The table behind Annette was a piece of old furniture from the Mattson Montana ranch Luella had doctored up using her paints and various antiquing techniques. The fancy Channel Master 8 Track stereo was mine - a high school graduation present to myself from the previous June. I kept the family in good music, and I mean GOOD music: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, not to mention the soundtracks to such hits as The Sound of Music and 1776. Occasionally I'd let the siblings play some of their stuff if I was in a good mood or at work.
The red books under the desktop are still a mystery to this day. They sat in our house the whole time I was growing up. Nobody ever touched them. They just sat there making us look like we were a family of readers to anyone who paid a visit.
This is where Annette spent most of her time when her older siblings were left to babysit. What better place than the driveway in her ironclad playpen? They played while she took care of herself. She's got the handle to one of those push popper toys. What good that does in a playpen defies logic, but anything to keep her occupied and quiet. That's our old Rambler Ambassador station wagon behind her.
March 15, 1977 was mild for a winter day if we are to believe our eyes and the photo above. This is our backyard. Mom and the nextdoor neighbor are throwing the party of a lifetime! There's swinging and plenty of exploration time. Notice Annette on the ground wondering what all the fuss was while the Holtz boys, Lisa, and Janice enjoy the cake. Luella was 38 years old in this picture.
Annette showing off her two presents, a Smile Maker and an inflatable bunny. Compare that to what today's parents dole out for their kid's birthdays. Annette is perfectly happy with her presents and her St. Patrick's Day outfit. David and Glenn Holtz are there with Lisa. Lisa was left holding the cake.
Annette again with her bunny. She was picture friendly - easy to draw out a smile at just the right moment.
Lisa's eyeing that cake with evil intentions. Most likely jealous of the attention her younger rival was getting. One quick movement of a knee and the cake would be on the dirty front steps. A birthday ruined by accident. I could be misreading this photo, but ............
I started at McDonalds in June 1974. These pictures were taken during my senior year in highschool - 1976. Rapid City had three McDonalds at the time. I worked at the one next to Bacon Park. I started making shakes, then moved to the french fry station and eventually landed and settled on the grill where my true talents could shine. I could roll 60 hamburgers at once on the grill - a marketable skill when a bus full of hungry high school students would roll in. I was made "Crew Supervisor" at 17 and therefore permitted to wear the Manager hat.
The first step to edible McDonald's hamburgers is to get the meat on the grill. While the patties fry, you prep the buns. I laid them out twelve at a time on the tray and then into the toaster. While they toast, you turn your burgers, onion your burgers and dress the buns with mustard, ketchup and two pickles.
The dressed buns are positioned such on the grill. You see me making double cheeseburgers. Notice the concentration evident by the partial exposure of the tongue.
The final touch before presenting them over the counter to the waiting cashiers to wrap and put in the warming bin. The quarter pounder grill is on the left side of the photo.
I really enjoyed the years I spent at McDonalds. I made good friends and learned to work hard.
I was the best, there was no doubt about that and well liked by my co-workers - except for those occasional pranks played on the new cashier rookies. Take a quarter from the till. Put it on the grill for several minutes until it is red hot, then toss it on the floor in front of a cash register. The cashier sees the quarter and...... you know ;)