Tue
Jun 17 2008
08:36 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

(note: "Memories" posted with a week delay as a courtesey to Ray's publishers)

Hello Readers, Our big RHS reunion week starts today and lasts thru Sat. June 14. As I type this column, we have 285 reservations, our biggest crowd yet. "Yonder Hollow" downtown will be "picking and grinning" on Friday night as usual, so it would be a great time for the out-of-town classmates to enjoy Rockwood's newest attraction. I have a few "Rockwood Memories" books left, ( eight to be exact) at "Live and Let Live Drug Store", and "O'There Were The Days Antiques." As of this writing, Gennell and I are undecided about a trip to Virginia, so we might be able to make the Reunion also.
I sent out an email asking for memories of your job as a youngster in Rockwood and did I EVER get some responses. Let's open the mailbag and see where some of us worked. The first one is from Lloyd "Moose" Morris. How about this for a title...

THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE PEGGY ANN

Lloyd writes, "In 1952, at the age of eight, I became one of the many Rockwood Times newspaper boys for a period of about three years. As I recall, the first year I bought the newspapers two for a nickle and sold them for a nickle each. A couple of years later we had to pay a nickle each and sold them for a dime. At age twelve, i had a Chattanooga Times route, and at fourteen started working at the Peggy Ann Truck Stop & Restaurant. Why they kept me on at the Peggy Ann is one of those great wonders of life. I was hired as a bus boy which turned out also to include being a dishwasher, painter, window washer, floor cleaner, and stock boy.

Given my age at the time, I think it was one of the hardest physical jobs I ever had. On weekends, it was really non-stop work from start to finish. Often it was an eight hour day lugging heavy trays with dishes, washing, drying, and putting up the plates, and silverware. In the summer months when school was out, it was a full time job 40 hours a week. During school time it was 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday, and usually two or three hours each day after school.

The first time I cleaned and waxed the floor, I nearly tore the place down trying to run the floor buffer. It takes a little time to get used to operating a buffer, and that is especially true at age 14. I sure knocked over a lot of tables and chairs before I got the hang of it.

One time the maid failed to show up to make the beds. Yes, they had rooms upstairs for the truckers, and I was sent up to clean the rooms and make the beds. That only happened once, as i don't think they thought much of my bed making. Another time they had me paint the large equipment storage closet a mint green color. I really did a pretty good job on the walls, but there was so much paint on the floor that Mrs. Givens had me go ahead and paint the whole closet floor green.

That winter it had rained and people were tracking in a lot of dirt so she told me to wash off the front porch with hot water and soap. I poured a large bucket of soapy hot water and went back inside to get the mop. Now the weather was below freezing and on that cold concrete porch, the water froze before I could get back. Needless to say, the people started slipping and sliding so she had me pour salt all over it. We sure would have been better off with people tracking mud in because that salt really did a number on the inside floors.

About a week later and with the temperature still below freezing, she told me to clean the outside window. They didn't use Windex back then, or at least the Peggy Ann didn't. They used this thick pink liquid that came in a can. Well, I put that stuff on all the windows, then attempted to wipe it off. Yep, you're right, it wasn't the smartest thing I ever done and that stuff froze solid to all the windows. I bet you still couldn't see out of those windows when they tore it down.

Chester Taylor also worked at the Peggy Ann for a short time. Chester had a driver's license, and drove the pickup truck to haul trash off, and he also worked as a stock boy. However, I don't think he ever did get to do all of those great jobs that I had. I had been making 75 cents an hour, but when Chester came to work, they only paid him 50 cents, and then without telling me, they cut my pay to 50 cents, so I quit. I guess not many people would work for 50 cents doing my job, because they called me back a couple of days later and gave me 75 cents an hour again. I don't remember if they increased Chester's pay or not. I stayed there a couple of years until I was sixteen years old.

One of the best memories about working at the Peggy Ann is all the wonderful waitresses and cooks. Each one of them was just terrific to work with, and were exceptionally nice to me. You could eat a free meal as long as you ate the daily special which was always turkey and dressing. I ate so much turkey and dressing that to this day, I can only stand to eat it once a year on Thanksgiving Day. The cooks would slip me a hamburger from time to time when the boss was out, and the waitresses would make me a milk shake or a bowl of ice cream. I guess my employment with the Peggy Ann turned out to become the beginning of the end of the Peggy Ann and it must of been cheaper to tear it down than to replace all the windows and floors.

One final note, when I was in service I always received the Rockwood Times and almost all of the boys in service really enjoyed reading it. They would always holler,"What's the price of pigs today," when I got the paper. Now you don't think they were making fun of my hometown, paper do you?" Thanks Lloyd...Next week we will have more job experiences from our readers.....Send your in......Until next week, Ray

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