Now that I am more settled in my life, I look back at things that I did in my younger years and can hardly believe that I survived and lived to tell the tale. One experience comes to mind and it certainly proves the old adage that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
I was always a late bloomer and didn’t graduate from college until I was 28. One day I noticed a small notice on the college bulletin board for a job at a high school academy in the central part of the United States. Ok, I would need a job, but when I noticed the pay was $60 a month plus free room and board, I thought it must have been a typo. Nope, that was correct and I decided to apply.
I was soon winging my way into my new life, and arrived at my destination. I would stay in the girl’s dorm and be responsible for cooking breakfast, helping with lunch, and making homemade bread and cinnamon rolls by the truckload. I found out that rats are also fond of cinnamon rolls, and were usually on hand when I rolled my cart into the closet.
It didn’t take long to find out working with teens was not my specialty, and the freezing cold temperatures made me long for some good California sunshine. When the principal called to see how things were going, I asked if we could talk ASAP. I started to cry and told him this was a big mistake. I didn’t like working with teens, the weather sucked, and I must have been temporarily insane to even consider taking this position.
Once I ground to a sobbing halt, he just sat there looking at me, and finally decided that a good old pull yourself up by your bootstraps speech was just what I needed.
So I began my routine and had to start breakfast at 4:30 am. We served cafeteria style and it was an all you can eat affair. When you’re flipping flapjacks and serving teenage boys, there was not a moment to spare.
After lunch, I was free for the day. My one saving grace was that there was a Dairy Queen about a half mile up the road and many a day I was there drowning my sorrows in a veggie burger and Peanut Buster Parfait.
Things were going along swimmingly until the sewer pipe in the dorm burst and I think you have a good idea of what that looked like. I did the 50-yard dash to the principal’s house to pour out my tale of woe, but he was busy watching a football game. He told me it couldn’t be that bad, stop being a drama queen, and shut the door in my face.
I then moved to the boy’s dorm and even got my own TV, so I guess something good did come out of this unfortunate incident. I finished up my term and even ended up staying a few months longer.
The moral of this story is that you are stronger than you think, and there are important life lessons to be learned even in the bad times.