Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pages From The "Missing" Journal

Last March, I took a collage weekend workshop with Natasha Kempers-Cullen. I purchased a new journal for the class with a wire spine--so it would open flat and be good for paper collage. And then I lost it. Here it is again. And I just purchased a new one to replace it. Funny how that happens. Lost, then found. For the above collage, we took two postcards and were to do whatever we wanted to make one of them "disappear".

This collage used five colors--yes, there are five---in a collage. This is fun to do. Go through a magazine and rip out things in your pre-selected color palette. You could even have baggies with pieces of the same color grouped together. A bag of orange "good stuff", one of red, etc.

This last one--I don't remember making. All eyes. I chose to post this one because a comment I made about contestants on television shows not knowing how to do what they signed on to do. Chef wannabe's not knowing more than technique--and the food doesn't taste good or look good as an example. Made me remember my very first job--at 16. Sales clerk at a big department store.

I worked one or two evenings and on Saturday. They had strict child-labor laws then. Each evening when I reported for work I would be assigned a different department. The first time I was embarrassed to be myself was when I was assigned to the glove counter. ( How many of you even remember a time when they had a "glove counter") I had a customer ask for black kid gloves. I tried to send her to the children's department. She stared at me like I'd just fallen off the turnip wagon. It goes without saying, that we had no back-up or training.

The next time was when they assigned me to the window shade and paint department. I patiently told everyone who came by asking to have shades trimmed to size or paint mixed and shaken---"the machines are broken". I hadn't even been shown how to do the jobs.

The next most memorable "day at work" was when they placed me in the "Foundation" department. Girdles. A woman came in wanting me to sell her a Playtex girdle. I had actually had some girdle experience so this was a good start. We found exactly what she wanted but there was no price on the box. Or any other Playtex box. Or on any sign. My calls for assistance were ignored. All sales were made in each department. No computers--just a "punch the numbers in" cash register. This woman was desperate to purchase that girdle. So I looked around and found a girdle with similar features and announced the price.

My customer looked at me. Her mouth made a sort of "O" shape. She was taking shallow breaths. Finally, just as I thought she was going to pass out, she gasped, "I'll take two!" And I knew. The price was WAY TOO LOW. But a deal is a deal. I sold her two. She sped away. From that moment on, I sold almost every Playtex girdle I had in stock. I was VERY busy until closing time. My customer must have run to the first handy pay phone and called everyone she knew. I have no memory of any department store manager EVER asking me about this evening's sales.

The last but very best experience was in the Men's Department. I was real nice looking. I didn't think so at the time, but I have pictures and now, I know the truth. I was sort of Ava Gardner looking. I did very well in the Men's Department. Not with guys my age. With Men.
In fact, once I got to the Men's Department--they sent me there all the time. There was one tiny problem. The Men's Department was very close to the place where "athletic support" equipment was sold. The hapless teen age boy who had to ask ME! for help finding "his size" has probably NEVER recovered. It was memorable.


Diane Perin said...

Thanks for sharing these notebooks! I'm in a quilt workshop right now where the assignment is to take a quilt block (a rather traditional one we made for last time) and make it disappear, without doing the traditional stuff of just making a bunch of setting them in rows. I've not gotten very far, but it was fun to see your notebook ideas!

PaMdora said...

I love that orangey collage!