Seven Summers Ago
In the summer of 1998, I worked my first job for the City of St. Louis: Intern II for the Recreation Division. I made $6.75/hour at first; later increased to $6.95/hour because, for some reason, we were eligible for the cost-of-living increase on July 1 of that year.
Although my first working day was at Franz Park at Prather and Mitchell in Dogtown, I was soon reassigned to Willmore Park, working primarily at the playground on Jamieson near Hampton. That's the one on the hillside that is largely abandoned and may soon be converted to a dog park.
The playground had pretty old equipment, thus we had the 7-12 year old camp. The 4-6 year olds were at the nicer, larger playground closer to Jamieson and Loughborough. But, we did at least have a spray pool, which for the uninitiated is not a swimming pool, but basically a water sprayer that shoots straight up in the air, on a small concrete pad. It got a little messy at times, since it was right next to the pea gravel in the playground. And next to the playground is the comfort station - i.e., bathrooms and a small storage room. In there, we had two heavy aluminum canoes, bought from Sears probably back when they still had stores in the City of St. Louis. We occasionally dragged them downhill to the lake and paddled around in circles.
I recalled this after seeing an article about the retirement of one of my bosses at Recreation, Sandy Raymond. She retired July 31 after 39 years with the city. My other supervisor was Kathy Hanrahan, who retired in March 2004 after 33 years, to become 23rd ward alderman.
Anyway, I was just reflecting on how far I have or haven't gone in those seven years. I didn't really conclude anything, however.