My Work Life


I hadn’t really thought of getting a job. I was talking to a good friend of mine (Yvonne). She said that she was working at the Craigflower motel. I thought I could do that, I know how to make beds and clean toilets. I do that at home, I could get paid for it.

I rode my bike that afternoon and filled out an application. The next day they called and asked me to come the next morning.

One of the girl’s from Grade 11, was my trainer. I didn’t know her because I was just going into High school in September.

So I was now a chambermaid, I had a master key and my own cart. All this and they paid me $1.25 an hour.
Living the dream- Baby – living the dream.

That summer, the owner’s started renovating. The excavator’s moved in and started tearing down old cabins.
Every morning we had to clean the dust off our carts. We started covering our carts with plastic. Little, did I know that this workplace could possibly be the source of my asbestos exposure. I worked at the motel for two years. I met Austin, who was the night manager.

After the summer, I started high school, dating Austin all through Grade 12. In October 1974, I married Austin. We moved to Prince Rupert,BC where Austin had been transferred with the BC Government. After Christmas I went looking for a job. Unemployment sent me for an interview at the Bank of Montreal. I wanted to apply for a teller. They said they were promoting a girl to be a teller, so they needed to cover her job. I said sure I wanted the job. Well, it was a huge calculator, with huge rolls of paper that had to be balanced. I was a Poster. I was 19 and didn’t even know how to write a check or have a bank account. Great

Once again just after I started the bank started tearing out walls, because they were building a new bank. Right in front of where I worked they tore out the wall. That’s OK, they put up a sheet of plastic to hold back the dust. I had to cover my machine with plastic every night and clean a layer of crap off the top of my machine in the morning. Sounds like the motel. I stopped working at the bank about the middle of March.

Little did I know that this is possibly my second exposure.

We lied in Prince Rupert for another year and Austin got transferred to Kamloops. Was my favorite place to live. I would move there again if I got the chance. I got a job at K-Mart as a camera salesperson. I got paid 2.25 an hour, I worked 40 hours a week. No benefits but my husband had full benefits and we lived in Government duplex and only paid $125.00 a month, which was three bedrooms and garage. We saved a lot but we only stayed
a year. I would have stayed there forever.

Austin got transferred to the lower mainland. We had to pay $300.00 a month there and we had to pay a half a month security deposit.
Our savings didn’t last long at that rate, and by this time we were expecting our first child so I couldn’t work. Money got tight and it didn’t
help that my husband put in for a transfer to down town Vancouver. He started taking the car to work and going to the bar with friends on his way home.

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