November 20, 2010

Saturdays in the Office

When I was growing up and dad had to go in on a Saturday he would take me along. We'd buy the New York Times at the newsstand kiosk operated by Al, a retired boxer, and read it on the subway. We took the D train to 42nd Street and walked past Bryant Park and the library to his office building at 50 E. 42nd.

He put me to work running off press releases on the mimeograph and doing the mailings. He taught me his method for doing mailings that I have taught to assistants over the years. Run the envelopes through the Addressograph. Tri-fold about five press releases at a time and stack them up. Line up the envelopes with the flaps extended. Stuff them all. Then line up five envelopes at a time so you just see the glue (no self-stick yet). Take a damp paintbrush or sponge and paint the glue wet, then seal each envelope. When all the envelopes have been sealed, take a sheet of fifty stamps (always commemoratives - they attract attention), crease them at the perforations in both directions and divide into strips of 5. run each strip over a wet ceramic roller (no self-stick yet) and apply.

For lunch, he would take me to a coffee shop on Madison Avenue for a hamburger special: hamburger with fries, a little serving of coleslaw in a pleated paper cup, pickle slice, and a Coke. Even better, sometimes he'd have it delivered and we'd eat in the office. That and 25 cents was my compensation.

I long for those days.

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

I used to work for my aunt and dad over various summers in downtown Chicago. My jobs--receptionist, stamping documents with a Bates numbering machine, acting as messenger (before fax and e-mail) are now obsolete. I loved being part of the grown-up world where everyone dressed up and walked the city with such purpose. Even if my particular jobs were trivial, I have some great memories of those days.