Larsen Family History – 2011-06-27

A lot of my History revolves around Family. Mom and Dad, Jeanette and Henry, ran a Ben Franklin store from 1954 through 1989 when Dad passed away. There is nothing better than a place to work for a kid to learn how to work. Everything taught us lessons.

We would carry tons of theme paper up for the school sales. We learned to set counters for new merchandise and to make them look good by facing the items up to the front. We could run a cash register and calculate the tax in our heads. We learned that good weather at Christmas was critical to Dad’s income for the year. Sometime the best we could do was to shovel all the snow away from the front of the building and then to shovel it again after it drifted back.

We learned to mop – yes there is a skill to it! And we learned to wax the floor without leaving too many bubbles. We knew from experience that sore muscles could cause laughter and teasing from the family but the shine on those solid oak floors was all it took for us to learn pride in hard work.

And it was fun to be the first in town to hear the Beatle’s new album or play with the first electronic Pong game in town. Dad enjoyed watching his 4 sons and a daughter play with the toys. I know it affected how many items he would buy if we liked it.

Dad was always fair about pay – Generous perhaps. In grade school, we got 2 times our age per hour (whether we earned it or not!) In Junior high, we jumped to 39 cents per hour – 3 times our age. And at 16, when we learned to count cash, make the deposits, check merchandise, make payroll, and send in claims, we jumped to $1.00 per hour. Adult wages to us.

I like to think that all Seniors had a place to work and learn when they were kids growing up but that is just not true. I felt a little bit sorry for kids whose folks worked in a bank or taught school, or sold insurance. They missed out on the opportunity to really become a part of the family business. But I am sure they learned things that I never experienced.    What is normal is never normal.

More later

One response to this post.

  1. I really enjoyed reading this, what an interesting time you must have had growing up. I was also a “Main Street” kid, my parents had stores in our small home town.


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