Making money when I was a teenager. ( the 1950's)

The easiest job to find when I was in my teens was picking apricots and prunes. Of course these were the days of $.25 a gallon of gasoline! I was raised in the Santa Clara Valley in California, and acres and acres of fruit trees. Of course, apricot trees were the most popular. I had a friend whose grandfather owned an orchard of apricots. So I went to work picking apricots. My dad insisted that I do something with my summertime to help support my car [I was a lazy kid, and liked fooling around all summer ].

I would get up early in the morning and drive out to the orchard. It always smelled great, fresh and clean. The guys in charge of picking fruit would issue me my buckets and ladder and point me toward the tree I was supposed to start with. I became very well acquainted with apricots and believe me they didn't come in those plastic packages that you see today in the store. In this orchard they also dried cots so there was a distinct smell in the air. This was a hot and dusty job so I really appreciated water breaks and lunch.

As I look back on this time of working its helped me to realize that I gained a great deal of character. I'd worked hard for my money and I didn't want to waste it. This has carried over to today so I'm not real happy with the giant money bailout my government is doing.


  1. Ernie Gentile says:

    Ah yes…the jobs of our youth!

    I remember vividly one of my first jobs as a young “tike” entrepeneur. We lived down the street from Pruneridge golf course in Santa Clara. During the winter, they could not use the tractor to pick up all of the golf balls out on the driving range because of the soggy grass. This was all done by hand, one ball at a time! I (and my neighborhood buddys) would get a whopping 10 cents to fill a small bucket, and 20 cents to fill a large bucket. There was probably a job out there that was identical to this but just substituted walnuts instead of golf balls! (alot of orchards around in those days) After a long night under the lights picking up golf balls, a certain appreciation of work-for-money grew inside of me that hopefully has kept me with the right perspective at my ripe age of 47. I too share your frustration with the bailout of “Multi-millionaire CEO” run companies that bit the dust. My faith in God’s plan for my life has increased over the last few months, in spite of what Wallstreet has shown me!

  2. Dad, I love hearing stories about you and your childhood… one thing (among many) that you have taught me is to work for my money. I thank you for always making me work for what I had, and thank you for helping me along the way. I really think that because of this, I was not the spoiled brat I could’ve been! Love you

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