My worst Thanksgiving was in 1972. All things considered, my “worst” wasn’t so bad*. Still, I remember that Thanksgiving like no other.
A college student, I voted for the first time in 1972. It was also when I worked at Sears—then still a retail giant—in Fresno, California. Once Sears hired me, I figured I was fixed for a paycheck until graduation. Clueless about a store’s need to boost its staffing around the holidays, I was out of a job when Santa’s view of chimneys was in his sleigh’s side mirrors.
All I knew was that I wanted a job. Give me any hours!
How about working on the day before and the day after Thanksgiving? Give ‘em to me! In 1972, the minimum hourly wage was $1.60. More on holidays. Whoa!
And so, with the cost of college textbooks and paying my apartment’s heating bill, I hunkered down in Fresno to work. My family gathered up yonder in Sacramento—a three-hour drive from Fresno—for their Thanksgiving feast. I greedily punched the time clock. On the long, lonely Thursday, I prepared a Swanson’s frozen TV dinner for my, er, feast. Poor me. Continue reading →