In 1945 Marjorie and her college friend Marty land jobs as pages at the iconic Tiffany & Co., becoming the first women ever to work on the sales floor. This is the start of a magical Summer as they witness celebrities like Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland shop at the store, dance the night away in Manhattan’s legendary nightclubs, fall in love with two handsome midshipmen and celebrate V-J Day in Times Square. Sixty years later Marjorie Hart wrote Summer at Tiffany, a memoir evoking the World War II era and 1940s life in New York City — a time that will always remain special to her – through the eyes of two innocent small-town girls.
My best Summer job was the unusually sunny August I spent working at the Antwerp Zoo, the oldest animal park in the country. I was hired to stand in for the biologists’ secretary during her holidays, and I remember it as a very carefree time before starting my first “real” job. Strolling through the beautifully kept gardens before opening hours was my favourite part of the day. Other highlights were the daily picnic lunches with my co-workers, and visiting the baby orang utans behind the scenes. The biologists’ pavilion was situated behind the okapis’ quarters, in the middle of the zoo, and you could just sense the visitors’ relaxed holiday mood through the open office windows. The zookeepers wore their khaki uniforms, but we had no dress code whatsoever, so sandals, breezy dresses and flowy light-weight trousers were our warm weather staples. All this definitely made for a very laid-back atmosphere and fun work environment. In fact, the entire month felt like one long vacation to me.
Do you have fond memories of Summer jobs past? Perhaps you even worked in the fashion industry like Marjorie and Marty?