Odd Jobs of Short Duration
Back in the 50s, my brother, Fred, and his then father-in-law, Les, would make a few extra dollars by picking worms and selling them to bait stores. Our equipment consisted of a flashlight covered with red cellophane, an old coffee can and waterproof shoes. We would go to Locust Hill Country Club in the evening, after the sprinklers had been shut off and look for the worms. They were usually completely out of their holes, so we merely picked them up and dropped them into the coffee can. The groundskeepers didn’t mind as long as we stayed off the greens. We sold the worms for about 50 cents each, sometimes a dollar. The bad part was that our backs would be sore for a while after an evening of picking.
Another job in the 50s was working behind the counter at the Bingo hall on Scottsville Road. The first few games cost 10 cents, then there was a group of games for 10 dollars, then back to individual games for 10 cents. The group consisted of games like make an X, go all around the outside, fill the board, etc. The challenge was to collect all the dimes for the first game before someone won. Usually, the players would have 10 and 20 dollar bills out to pay for the 10 cent game, so we would have to change all the bills in a hurry. Sometimes the game would end before we finished collecting, and one or two of the players would try to move to another table to avoid paying. Another trick they tried was to ask for a bunch of boards, looking for certain numbers, then not decide which board(s) to use until after the first number had been called; they wanted to try to find a board with that number on it. We just wouldn’t let them play that game. After a few nights, we caught on to which players to watch. The room was usually smoke-filled, but that was in my smoking days so it didn’t bother me. Today, I wouldn’t go near the place.