By John Vollaro February 2007
I had two significant work experiences during the formative years
growing up in Brooklyn. The first of these was a job delivering
packages at the corner drug store. The store was owned by Gordon
Jacobson and I worked there from the time I was 11 years old until I
was 17. When Gordon retired and sold the store to the Zabells, I stayed
on and continued to work.
When I was 13, I began spending the summer
months at Schroon Lake helping my grandfather run the motel business at
Luisanda. At the same time I began working at Lakeview Equipment Co.
which was located next door to Luisanda. My job at Lakeview
manage the boat rental part of the business.
When I was 11 and my brother was 15, we were both too young to work.
You had to be 16 to get working papers that allowed you to work as a
teenager. One exception to this (and I don't know why) was delivering
newspapers which Joe did for a while. He complained bitterly about it
and often said he would quit. One day when I was buying some candy at
the drug store, I put my nickel on the counter and asked Mr
Jacobson "Do you need any help?". He smiled down at me and said,
"Aren't you a little young to be looking for a job"? I said I was
asking for my brother and that he was 15. Gordon said "Tell him to come
in if he wants to work".
So it was that the law was bent and Joe began working at the drug store
for the amazing sum of fifty cents an hour. Before long, I began
filling in when Joe couldn't work and soon became a "regular". The
jingle in my pocket was incredible. Suddenly I could get things that
were never within reach before. The first thing I bought was a turtle
at the pet store. It was a tortoise about the size of a half cantaloupe
and I called him Gulliver. Soon I had enough to put a three speed
transmission on my bicycle and other unheard of amenities.
My boss Gordon was a ham radio operator.
When I told
him I was interested in radio and had my own crystal receiver, he took
me under his wing. With his encouragement I began studying radio
theory. When I was 13 I passed the FCC license exam and became a ham
operator too. This welded our friendship and helped to launch me into a
world of unlimited challenge and satisfaction. It also offered a sink
hole for every penny I earned.
My grandfather Andrew ran a motel
Luisanda during the summer months. When he was in his 80's, it was
decided that Joe and I would help him clean the cabins and make the
beds. This was a great opportunity for us to spend the entire summer at
Schroon Lake. It also became a segway for me to begin work at Lakeview.
After graduating from high school, I was
about college and decided to get some professional guidance. I went to
the New York State Employment Agency and took a battery of aptitude
tests. The counselor I spoke to suggested that a two year college was
appropriate for me. I took that advice and applied at New York
City Community College. This was an important next step in my education
The gas truck with no breaks
A stolen date (the boat did it)
The boat at the dam (quick action required)
Cars (50 Chevy story)