LUCKY AUNT CLAUDETTE REMINISCES ABOUT HER JOBS IN THE 50s
When I was in high school, I had a part-time job during the school year, and it was full time during my summer vacation. I was a stock boy and also worked in the shipping & receiving department of a department store in New England. At the time, petticoats were the fashion rage. Part of my job consisted of bringing newly arrived petticoats and other lingerie out to the women's and girls' departments. Needless to say, it made a lasting impression on me.
Half of the day, I'd be hanging petticoats and bouffant slips and regular full and half slips on display racks, and panties, garter belts, corsets, nylons, etc. on tabletops divided into bins according to size and small counter top racks. I'd also be hanging up new dresses for women and girls on taller racks.
For someone who found petticoats so fascinating, the job was like a dream come true. Most of the salesgirls were dressed in the bouffant style while they worked.
One in particular was a well constructed sexy sort of gal that ran the makeup counter. Like most of the women working in the store, she dressed in the bouffant style. The rumor around the store was that she had seduced one of the department heads into having an affair with her, and travelled with him on the store's buying trips to NYC.
Later I got switched to the housewares department in the basement where the much older saleswomen didn't wear petticoats. But women customers coming down the stairs to get to housewares offered a good view of their petticoats. If ever there was a style of lingerie meant to be seen, it was petticoats.
Every now and then, I'd be told to work in the window display department which was run by a guy who was clearly gay; there were two younger straight men who worked with him. They didn't just make the window displays, but also dressed the mannequins for the windows and other mannequins in the dress and lingerie departments. Setting up displays in these departments was also a fun experience.
The owner of the store was a nice little old Jewish man, and his two sons were both vice presidents and buyers of the company. A couple of years later, I switched to working in another department store in the same town. Its departments, displays and merchandise were the pretty much the same as the other.
Actually, the very first job I had while in high school was an after school job working in a huge mill outlet store in 1955. I can still remember the many long racks of petticoats in the store arranged side by side with a narrow aisle between them. Part of my job was to take a count of the petticoats on each rack, noting which rack, sizes and colors were needed. I was fifteen at the time, and being a part-time worker, the store only had to pay me 65¢/hour. But stocking the racks with petticoats more than made up for my low pay.
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