Studio City Then and Now-Weird Jobs We Had in the '60s and '70s

Did you work in a sewer? Maybe you counted macaroni in a factory? Here's a chance to tell your story...

OK, let’s face it. Most of us had part-time jobs in high school and college.  Were they great jobs? Naw, but they put a few coins in our pockets, and gave us a chance to get started in the wild world of trying to become a responsible adult.

At these jobs, we also had to learn the art of getting along with co-workers and bosses. We had to learn to show up on time. Sometimes, we even learned how to wear a uniform creatively; often stuffing our long locks into hairnets so we wouldn’t shed onto the food we were serving.

Sometimes, we had to do mundane tasks for hours and hours, working along side of people that had done these jobs for decades. These jobs were sometimes very hard, and character building, to say the least.

Here are a few of my gem jobs. 

1970-Cashier-Du-par’s Restaurant-Ventura Blvd.

I was too stupid to figure out that the big money working at a restaurant was in being a waitress, but I had fun working as a cashier at Du-par’s anyway. I wasn’t very good at ironing my white uniform, and I really hated trying to wear those skimpy hats and those starched handkerchiefs.  The only reason I got the job is because my older sister Lynn put in a good word for me with Ted, the manager. If they had known I was a hippie poet who disliked wearing a bra, shaving my legs and armpits, and liked wearing leopard underwear, I doubt I would have been hired.

1972-Selling Clothes-Ventura Blvd.

I think my brother Jack must have gotten me this Christmas job. I wasn’t very good at this, largely because I really preferred to wear tomboy clothes all the time. How could I sell clothing when I looked like I was ready to play basketball all the time? Eventually, they figured out I’d be better off upstairs away from the buying public, putting rivets on jeans.

1973-Leather Factory-Goleta, CA.

The employment climate was pretty dismal in Santa Barbara, so for about six months, I worked at a leather factory making purses and wallets.  I wasn’t very good at detailed work, and the following day, I always had to re-do the mess of leather goods I’d botched the day before.  I had to chew seven pieces of bubble gum just to get through my shift, and then ride my 10-speed back to my apartment at 11 p.m.

1974-Physical Guinea Pig-UCSB

I had very little money when I was going to college, so I signed up to be a guinea pig for a battery of health tests they were conducting.  For $5, I would succumb to a bunch of probes, wires and breathing machines, as they measured my oxygen intake, heart rate and other physical symptoms.  Maybe the science department was trying to come up with a new invention to keep students from smoking pot? I’ll never know.

1975-Artistic Model-UCSB

I responded to an ad in a local paper to make some quick money being a model for a local artist.  Mind you, this wasn’t a classroom set-up, where you pose in front of a bunch of art students.  I had to show up at some guy’s house by myself.  Not a good scene.  When I got there, I could tell he was really creepy, so I decided it would be best to pedal my way back to my apartment and forfeit this great opportunity to become a famous model.

What were some of your part-time jobs, and what did you learn from them? 

teresa mcgrath November 13, 2012 at 03:27 PM
great mary-i don't recall your guinea pig job, nor artistic model, ha 1. both mary and i wrapped presents at aunt kaye's shop yielded unhappy customers, and we had to redo many presents 2. renaissance in agoura in my long velvet dress after hitchhiking on the ventura fwy from studio city: we served excellent ice cream in half-cantalopes with berry juice and nuts..a challenge not to eat the ice cream, and we'd trade for food.as a gay woman at the renaissance faire, in some regards, it wasn't a good fit, so my friend michael and i would pass the time together. 3.college-worked at taco ole on ventura blvd in sherman oaks. would have to separate the raw beans from rocks before cooking. some rocks ended up in the refried mix 4. college, worked the faire in s.f. too, picked eggs on a factory chicken farm, and rescued the chilckens that fell into the poop.laid off for picking too slow, as i wasn't a pro like the full time workers..being a vegetarian, it was rough, as the beaks were clipped to prevent them from pecking themselves to death...5. drove an ice cream truck after biking 8 miles each way.the kids would distract me and steal the candy, so i'd have to replace it with my own cash. 6.round table pizza- biked 16 miles/ skunk blasted me and had to use tomato juice to neutralize it 7. college,cleaning homes of a suburban couple 8. portland, nursing homes/home health cna.bowels/pee/lovely patients.9.hospital-cna,surgery transport, admin asst, then referral-coding specialist..
teresa mcgrath November 13, 2012 at 03:29 PM
p.s. forgot about the gas station job while in college...self-serve and had to do inventory before and after...some cars would just drive off without paying...smelled liked gasoline no matter how many showers you took
Mary McGrath November 13, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Oh wow Teresa, I think you've had more weird jobs than I have. I met a guy in my ad career who had to work in the sewers while he was in college. Talk about a stinky job! Erika got sick working in a cookie factory. Could only last 1/2 a shift before she was barfing in the bathroom.
teresa mcgrath November 13, 2012 at 04:14 PM
yours are pretty special mary....the sewers, whoa....cookies, ugh, i don't blame her.....we've all had some creative jobs! can't wait to see other's anecdotes...
Dupars November 13, 2012 at 08:10 PM
This is a fun article.... Du-par's likes hippie poets! :) Thanks for the nostalgia!
teresa mcgrath November 13, 2012 at 10:12 PM
dupars still rocks! we had a family reunion at dupars a few years ago, and we loved the b/w photos, plus the staff was still so friendly and the food was very good...
Mary McGrath November 14, 2012 at 07:29 PM
A fun ride when I worked there...loved the date nut bread and the bear-claws...Still one of my go-to places when I'm in Studio City...
Art Schaak December 04, 2012 at 08:27 PM
One of my jobs was as a dishwasher at Arthur Wong's Far East Terrace in Universal City (on Lankershim, not up the hill). To this day I have an aversion to Chinese Food, and an appreciation of catsup and white rice. Both from working at the Far East Terrace...
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