The Impact of Multiple Jobs at OU

NECESSARY jobs! I had to work part time to pay for school fees, the room, and meals. Except for that first semester of my Freshman year, I had multiple jobs at OU, Ouachita and Southwestern! the first semester Freshman year my only job was selling food or drinks at the OU Football Games! I wanted to be independent and I was! I literally “worked my way through college!” Mom sent “pocket money” occasionally which really helped, but I paid for my schooling or higher education, including room and board!

Selling Food & Drinks at Football Games

This is the one job I think I did during my first semester since it was limited to just a certain number of home ball games. I did it again the Fall Semester of my Sophomore year and made more money in a shorter amount of time that at any other job. I don’t think we got to choose what we sold, but were assigned a product which I carried in a big tray with a strap around my neck walking up and down the aisles of an assigned section of the stadium. OU was always big into football and often a champion team, thus the stadium was always packed. I do remember the time OU played Army or is it West Point? John F. Kennedy came to the game and I was within 3 or 4 feet of him as he entered the stadium. This was of course before he became president.

Houseboy in Jewish Fraternity House

I’m pretty sure that I did this the second semester of my Freshman year at OU, Spring Semester 1959. And it was really interesting! Humbling! Eye-opening! 🙂

First, what is a “Houseboy?” I was also called “Kitchen Boy” and there may have been other names I don’t remember now. Basically, I had to be in the kitchen and dining room of the Fraternity house a designated time before breakfast and dinner, setting the table and bringing the food to the table from the kitchen which I think was mostly served family style, though there were special orders for some of the boys and always someone wanting something special like a different drink, a special sauce, etc. So after we served the food we were their table waiters. There were at least 2 or 3 of us, all poor college students working to serve the rich college students. Maybe one of those subconscious reasons I don’t like rich people or Republicans! 🙂

After all the frat boys were served and left the table, then we cleaned off the table, taking dirty dishes to kitchen and washed the dishes. And maybe before washing dishes, we got to eat. Part of our “pay” was breakfast and dinner meals, 7 days a week after serving! An additional part of the job was to serve food and drinks at their fraternity parties. I refused to be a bartender, claiming ignorance. The most shocking party to this little naive Freshman was the Farm Party with grilled food and a full bar with lots of alcohol as I watched some of the boys get drunk and others take a blanket and a girl up into the hay loft of the barn. It was a world I had only read about or maybe seen in movies.

I did this only this one semester.

Janitor of the Journalism Building

I think I did this two semesters, the second semester of Freshman year and again the first semester of Sophomore year, I’m not positive. Basically I emptied the wastebaskets from every classroom and office in the building and then swept the entire building with a wide push broom or dust mop from about 3 AM to 5 or 6 AM every school day morning.

Because it was long and boring, I used the time walking up and down the long halls with a stack of memory cards in my hand.

The second semester of Freshman year I was memorizing scripture verses with the Navigator’s Scripture Memory Cards.

But by my Sophomore year I switched to little cards with Greek vocabulary because by then I was studying Classical Greek.

It was definitely not my favorite job, but it paid and was doable with other jobs because it was so early in the morning.

Morning Paper Route

This job was for a briefer time I think and definitely not at the same time as the above janitor job because both were early morning before school started. But it could have overlapped the Houseboy job. I don’t remember. I had a bicycle and delivered in a neighborhood near the campus on my bike.

Investigated a Supermarket Checker Job

But they were not willing to work their schedules around my school class schedules and I vaguely remember would also not give me enough hours to make it worthwhile. When you need money, you try every angle possible. 🙂

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

~Thomas Jefferson

¡Pura Vida!

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