Connie Ballard Duffy
Summer of ’68 turned into job helping mother
I was in love with a boy I met during my freshman year at Northwestern, and I was not excited to return to Enid. Going home meant trading an active social life for gainful summer employment.
The employment angle didn’t pan out. Boys harvested wheat, mowed grass or had paper routes and still had time for swimming at Champlin pool. My choices were babysitting, car hopping at A&W; or waitressing. The babysitting job paid fifty cents an hour and involved caring for three children under the ages of seven — for ten hours a day, Monday through Friday with ironing and laundry thrown in as a bonus.
I had actually done that job the previous summer and decided surrogate motherhood was not my gig. I was willing to try carhopping or waitressing, but managers questioned whether an inexperienced girl weighing 98 pounds was a good fit for transporting heavy platters of food and drink. My mother ended the dilemma by saying, “She’s worth more than $1.50 an hour helping me at home.”
Plan B was to enroll in summer school at Phillips and help Mom. I took U.S. Government, a requirement, general psychology with Dr. Jordan, and Biblical religion with Dr. Simpson. I had no interest in politics. Dr. King was murdered in Memphis, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in California, and the news was all about Vietnam. Those events saddened me, but it was as if they happened in a parallel universe leaving me uninvolved.
Class started at 7 a.m. Sipping coffee, I watched the sky lighten as I drove east on Broadway with the windows rolled down. I listened to Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” on WKY and looked forward to watching Dark Shadows.
Lana Chester Hendershott