Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My cousin got me into a whole lot of trouble. 

I was 17 years old and it was summer vacation! I was feeling a little restless so what to do.........what to do????? My cousin called and said we could get a job at Sweater Queen. Oh boy! I thought to myself, "this could be kind of cool." Wow, a job! I could make some money and with the money I got from my dad shopping would be a lot of fun.

Now, Sweater Queen was a little boutique shop on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas that, of course, sold sweaters. It was owned by a couple named Sonny and Kitty Rapue. They ran a tight little business and they gave us a job as a favor to our parents. They probably talk about that experience to this day.

Ok, so we're supposed to be at work at 9:00 in the morning. That sounded fine until I actually had to do it. As I recall, my girlfriend and I went out the night before cruised Fremont and stayed out late. That was probably my second mistake. The first mistake? Saying I 'd work there in the first place. My dad tried....he really did. He asked me why I wanted to do this and I remember saying I wanted to work so I wouldn't have to ask him for money all the time. He just patted my hand and said, "I love you, honey." I kissed him on the cheek and skipped off to my room, turned on the stereo and got on the phone with my girlfriend. 

The alarm went off at 6:00. Time to wake up...............oh, no! My first thought was if I should call my cousin and tell her to see if we could start the following day. All of a sudden the magnitude of this decision was hitting me. I was not looking forward to this but I had to be strong so I picked up my cousin and we went to breakfast. I mean, we had to eat SOMETHING before we went to work and I knew I'd feel better with something in my stomach. 

You know, the first day on the job it isn't wise to show up late. We cruised in about 9:15. No prob. We had to find a place to park and we ran a little late. No big deal. 



I have to say that Sonny was a very nice man. He very gently reminded us that this was a favor to our parents and we needed to be responsible. Kitty was not so kind. It was obvious she didn't like this arrangement and set out to make this the day from hell. It was only fair that we returned the favor. 

We were shown how to fold the sweaters and sort them by size and color. We had fun with that except we messed them up and tipped over a huge display. We fell over in hysterics and we threw a few sweaters at each other. We were the keystone cops let loose in their sweater store. We got the look, the lecture and finally the scream.  She must have seen the disinterested look on my face so she put my cousin on the cash register and sent me marching right to the back of the store to unpack stock and steam the sweaters. 


This was NOT what I thought this job would be like. I thought we'd get to see some cool sweaters, talk to people, hang out and get paid for it. This was manual labor and the steamer messed up my makeup and frizzed my hair. It was also really hot in that back room. I didn't like it at all and I really didn't like her. I asked if I could turn the air conditioner down because I was too hot.  That was a huge mistake. She gave me a nasty look and told me to get back to work.  After I'd done a few sweaters I casually asked her when we could take lunch. Geez, you'd have thought I'd cut her legs off. I was just trying to find something to make the day go a little bit faster. I don't think she got my sense of humor.

Needless to say the job didn't last for the summer. It didn't even last for the week. That was fine with me. I forgot that I didn't want to ask my dad for money and decided that I would much rather sleep in and enjoy the summer rather than spend it steaming sweaters. 

I don't think they missed me at all. 


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