My first summer job was at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. I was a junior in high school and my boyfriend’s father was the head park ranger; he let me know they were looking for help with cooking, cashiering and cleaning in the pool kitchen. I applied because I wanted the responsibility of having a job and the freedom of a paycheck, but I had no clue what I was in for- the kitchen was run by a crotchety old woman and her loser 40-something son, Stan, who I always assumed lived in her basement. He used to come in singing did you get yours today/I got mine yesterday/that’s why I walk this way and would pull my hair and make lewd comments. I was 16, and yeah that was harassment, but the guys I worked with always told Stan off, which I think surprised him. He also came in with cigars that were dripping ashes and would hang out where the food was prepared- did I mention he was a disgusting ass? I enjoyed cooking, even though I went home every night covered from head to toe in grease, but my least favorite part was making the ice cream cones. I never could get my soft serve to come out in a nice little swirl; instead it came out in a ovoid blob, and then I had to tell kids that if they dropped it we couldn’t replace it. I felt like I stacked the deck against them being able to enjoy a cool summer treat and I thought it was unfair I had to run the ice cream machine. It was a tiring job, but it taught me the value of hard work and it gave me my first (little) taste of financial freedom, so it was worth all the grease, hot conditions, whining kids and long hours.