Monday, May 9, 2016

Annamaria's Day Jobs

Annamaria on Monday

My apologies.  I cannot resist taking my whole blog this Monday to answer Zoe's question of yesterday.  She was able to list the day jobs of all of our blogmates,  but not mine.  Here is my report, lengthy because my day jobs have been many and varied: counter clerk in a  dry-cleaning establishment, stock girl in a haberdashery, soda-jerk, waitress, mail clerk in the Manhattan Shirt Company, machine operator in a plastics factory, calculator in a real estate tax evaluation firm, these all before I graduated from college.  Then I became a technical writer, training officer and later in charge of affirmative action at a Wall Street bank, then a consultant in management and leadership development to US and international corporations, and finally I retired in 2009 after ten years as the CEO of a small marketing firm.

But let me tell you about my most unusual job.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I was a Magician's Assistant.  The magic man went to the same church as my family.  The spring when I turned sixteen, he came to our house one Saturday afternoon and found me weeding my grandmother's garden.  He wanted to talk to my mother about a job for me for the coming summer. I figured it would be as a babysitter.  I had quite an impressive local reputation in that field.  But no.  He was impressed with my tiny body.  I am 5 2 and 102 pounds in the photos you see here.  (Please no cracks about my current weight!  I prefer to brag that despite other changes I have maintained my--ahem--stature while many friends my age have begun to shrink.)

Magicians assistants have to be able to fit into very small spaces.  My neighbor didnt want me to take care of his kids.  He wanted to saw me in half.

He did.  And he put me into a box, shoved swords into it from every angle, and when he opened it, he had made me disappear.  He also turned me into the mind reader in the show because I was the only one of three of us who could memorize the meanings of the various clues he called from the audience.


It was a fun job, except for the part where I was forced  to stand statuesquely in a strapless evening gown with my arms extended and smile brightly while he pulled a score of pigeons from his hat and sleeves. He called them doves and made it look magical!)  He put the birds on my bare arms, ten on each.  I can still feel their creepy little feet on my skin.

We rehearsed on Saturdays.  We did our dress rehearsal for the neighbors at the parish hall that following May, and when summer came, we repaired to a theater in Asbury Park every Thursday afternoon.  There we did three shows a day on weekends.  He paid me $1 an hour for rehearsals and the same for my time on stage, and provided my room and board.  When we could, my fellow assistant and I went to beach and read books.

Many years later, in 2001, I saw Woody Allen's film The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.  In it, the main character, a magician puts a woman in a sword box almost identical to the one my magician had used.  The movie's background music for this trick was In a Persian Market.  That was exactly the music my magician played when I went into the sword box.  Even today, whenever I hear it, I think of sitting there with my folded legs under the false floor and my torso and head behind the mirrors, waiting for the audience to stop oohing and ahhing, and for him to open the top so I could leap to freedom.

TeeHee!


14 comments:

  1. Aha, I knew there was magical bunny outfit in your background!

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    1. Yes, but no smarmy men in "mansions", Thank you very much!

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  2. What a talent! To be able to be disappeared. I'm sure we could all use that at times.

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    1. And mind-reading. That would be a great talent to have!

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  3. Great post, Annamaria. I knew there would be something exciting in your mysterious past!

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    1. I ow this post to you, Zoe. How frequently you inspire what I write the next day!!!

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    1. Just seeing your name here is awesome to me, Lisa. How long will you in NYC in July?

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  5. True talent is bound to shine through! I am curious, though, about the point of the rabbit ears...

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  6. Annamaria, You are full of surprises. And all enjoyable!

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    1. Thank you, Michael. You can see that I look back on that summer with glee.

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  7. EvKa, we had an apparently empty giant top hat. My fellow assistant and I were pulled out of it at the beginning of the show! My mother made the costumes! We were the chastest of bunnies!

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  8. What a fantastic story! That surely tops what most of us did in our youth.

    I had some pretty smarmy jobs -- which lasted for two days -- in those years. Couldn't stand them.

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