A few days ago, I was having a discussion with my roommate about jobs we have had in the past – the jobs from high school and college before we were adults with careers – and it made me a bit nostalgic. My very first job was – contrary to what I usually tell people – at The Big Scoop in Wilton, NH. I was fourteen and my sister knew the owners, so naturally, she introduced me and I got a job as a girl who serves ice cream. I’m really not sure what that job title would be – surely not waitress and clerk doesn’t sound quite right, so I’m going to stick with ‘girl who serves ice cream’ or the more politically correct version ‘person who serves frozen dessert food.’
The Big Scoop is a small ice cream stand that is attached to a small restaurant called Gary’s Harvest Restaurant. When entering Gary’s Harvest Restaurant, one is taken back to the simpler time of the 1980s when Sanka was a perfectly acceptable coffee choice and hair was bigger. The generic landscape prints on the wall made you feel as though ordering a slice of pie after you had just polished off a giant basket of chicken fingers was the right decision. And it was.
But this story is not about Gary’s Harvest Restaurant. This story is about fourteen-year old Maggie, ice cream, a bike, and a dream. This story is about The Big Scoop. In my memory, I spent my entire summer at The Big Scoop, but with child labor laws and all, I’m sure I was only there for about a quarter of the summer. On the days that I worked, I would ride my bike such a far distance. Again, my memory is deceiving me here – it felt like five or ten miles and it was probably something like two. I felt like such an adult – I had a job, I had a way of getting to my job, and I had steady paychecks with which I could buy so much Lip Smacker and Mountain Dew. My house was situated on the top of a very steep hill, so going to work was super fun and not dangerous at all. The way back from work was not super fun because teenage Maggie did not enjoy riding her bike up a hill especially when she was too lazy to wash her hands before leaving work and she was covered in sticky ice cream.
My best friend Ali got a job at The Big Scoop during the same summer and the days that we were scheduled to work together were the best days. We spent those days being silly and eating ice cream – and probably working. Ali and I picked up our first paychecks together and when she opened hers, I distinctly remember (serious – my memory is not playing tricks this time) Ali ran over to me and shouted, ‘We could go to Disney World!’ Those paychecks were the best ever.
Now, as I write this while I am traveling for work, I think about that little fourteen-year old and how excited she was to work fifteen or so hours a week at minimum wage and what she would think of me now. I know that I haven’t followed the path that I had originally planned for myself, but I consider my life to be pretty blessed as it is. I get to live in Keene surrounded by some pretty great friends and work for a pretty great company. I think that without my Big Scoop days, I would never have ended up where I am now or have been able to appreciate how great things are for me either.