I’ve done some odd jobs over the years — some odder than others.

The first time I recall earning money, I wanted to buy a baseball mitt. I saw a small advertisement in a comic book and asked my parents if I could sign up to sell greeting cards.

We lived in rural Kern County, California, and I straddled my Stingray bike and headed out to hit up the area farmers. Honestly, I don’t know if they really wanted the cards, but it seems they couldn’t resist a little tow-headed kid on a bike. These same farmers also bought Kool-Aid and iced tea from the stand I set up at the end of our driveway.

Later, while living near Medford, my entrepreneurship continued. A neighbor up the street had a fruit stand, so I went out and picked wild blackberries and sold them to her by the flat.

The neighbor lady seemed to have the best end of the deal. She made a profit, while I toiled in the sun and got purple fingers. Instead of being the middle man, I later sold them myself.

My sales experience came in handy when some college roommates and I hooked up with a fishmonger in Newport. We convinced him to let us sell fresh crab on the street corner outside of Portland.

We picked up a load of live crab on the coast and the roughly two-hour drive home featured the sound of clacking claws. The little suckers seemed to know their demise was soon to come. But that was nothing compared to the first time I thought they were screaming when we threw them into boiling water.

I freaked out!

“They screamed, they screamed,” I exclaimed. “We’re hurting them.”

My friends, who seemed to know a little more about crustaceans that I did, said the high-pitched sound was merely steam escaping from their shells.

Having only eaten crab on one prior occasion, I wasn’t totally convinced we would be able to sell them. However, once we got set-up on the street corner, they sold like hotcakes.

Evidently, I was much more suited for sales than babysitting. I’ll never forget the time I watched a toddler and baby for the youth pastor and his wife.

This is back in the day when cloth diapers were the standard. Rather than merely disposing of a soiled diaper, you had to rinse it out so it could go in the washer.

Angie, an inquisitive 3-year-old, was right there watching my every move as I changed her baby brother’s diaper. She later gave a play-by-play to her parents.

“Tammy got sick,” Angie said. “She barfed, she barfed lots.”

Yup, I was 23 years old and married and wretched my guts out changing Chad’s diaper.

However, that experience came in handy when I worked in a group home for emotionally disturbed adolescents and later one for adults with developmental disabilities.

I became so skilled at dealing with a variety of body fluids, I could list it on my resume — now, that would be odd.

———

Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.