You Pay for It in the End

“At 13, I started waitressing…I was making more money than anybody I knew.”

Produced by Amanda Yonushatis

Transcript for You Pay for It in the End

I was born in Maryville, Tennessee. It was a very small town at the time. We didn’t have friends, we only had relatives. Houses were miles apart. And the only time that we ever really saw other people would be when we went to church. I was five years old when I moved to Chicago. My mother’s been a waitress all of her life. ‘65 or ‘66, she married, and he came with two boys. We fought a lot. There was a time that Ricky, I used to have this doll it was a Chrissy doll. And if you pressed her belly button, her hair would grow. You could pull her hair out, and he chopped it all off. He still wears a scar today because of that, ‘cause I scratched his face really bad. It was deep. And yeah, he has a scar from his eye all the way down to his chin, for cutting my doll’s hair.

There were a lot of kids in my neighborhood. The ones I played with mostly were Chris and Debbie and Janet from down the street and 103rd and Ewing, and the Beechers from across the street, they had nine kids. We would get together and play “Catch One, Catch All.” Gallistel School, which was also right across the street, was an elementary school. We would go there and they had a maypole. And the greenhouse there always had sports for the kids. Lynn and I used to compete in table tennis, running, basketball; we would travel around to different schools and play. And then in the wintertime, they would freeze the school yard and we would ice skate there – there was always something to do. I was never at home. I mean, when it got dark, I was at home, but I would get up in the morning, eat breakfast and go out, come home for lunch and go back out and then come back home when it got dark.
The buildings that were across the alley from where we lived, used to put a lot of boxes out toward the garbage. And we would get the boxes and put them together for forts. And one day we did it right in the alley, and we almost all three got ran over by a truck. The driver saw the box moving and got out and got us and was yelling at us. And then my mom came out and then we all got in trouble.

I mean, I’ve always worked. When I was little, like 9 and 10, I had a paper route. And I would get up in the morning before school and I would go and do my paper route. And that’s how I made my own money. And then, at 13, I started waitressing, and you have all those mill guys that will come in and they tip really well, and I would make – 13 years old, I was making $50-$60 a day, when I worked. Of course I didn’t work on school nights. I worked Friday night and Saturday night.

I never went to college because I didn’t like high school. And when you’re making the money that I was making, I was making more money than anybody I knew! You know, so, it’s hard to leave that type of money to go to school and then you’re not making any money. You wouldn’t be here if I went to college because I probably wouldn’t have married your father. Yeah. I made a lot of money in my lifetime. It’s just too bad I didn’t save it. Waitresses make good money, but you pay for it in the end. Most of us do, anyway. Your body doesn’t work like it should when you get older.

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