by Ski Ingram
I, like most of you, have had many jobs in my life. It’s rare, but I knew a guy maned Ric who only had two jobs his whole life. As a teenager he worked as a dog walker and in his adult life worked at a car dealership for more than 30 years. I myself have had many jobs. One reason I am writing this is to list as many of the jobs I’ve had over the past 69 years.
I understand it’s not a real job, but my first one was mowing lawns. My brother, Doug, and I would go around the neighborhood with our push mower, knocking on doors and asking people if we could mow their lawn for 50 cents. From this effort we got a few people to hire us to mow their lawn on a regular basis. It didn’t last very long as I was only ten years old and not very responsible.
When I was 11 or 12, I started to work for Rosie Gammel. Her family and mine were in Manhattan Beach Ward together. She delivered the Advertiser, a free newspaper, every Wednesday night. We’d go to Rosie’s house at about 6:00 pm on Wednesday evening and fold papers and toss them into the back of her pick-up truck. We were paid 10 cents for every bundle of 50 papers we folded. We kept track of our bundles by saving the wire tied around each bundle. If there were Inserts that needed to go in the papers, we got 10 extra cents for every 100. The faster you would fold the papers the more money you could earn. After a while I became an expert paper folder. After a while Rosie asked my brother and me to ride in the back of the pick-up and toss the papers to every house we passed. She paid us an extra two dollars. Rosie would drive up and down the streets very slowly. Doug and I would throw the papers in each driveway. After a while we got really good at it. I could make as much as six or seven dollars a night, big money for an 11-year-old.
My first real job was at Boys Market. I got that job because I knew the store manager, Don Dodge. My sister Sherry worked at the Winchell’s Donut shop across the street from where we lived when I was 10 to 16 years old. I’d go over to the shop after school and fold boxes, make crumbs from the old donuts, and sweep the floors. I was paid for all my work in donuts and soda.
The donut shop was at the end building in a strip mall. The anchor store was a grocery store, The Boys Market.” The store employees would spend their breaks at the shop. they would drink coffee and eat donuts and spend time with my very pretty sister. That’s how I got my job, when I turned 16.
I got another job from my associations at the donut shop. There was a guy who owned horses that came into the shop a lot. He needed someone to help break a pony to a bridle. I was tall but skinny, so he asked me to do it. My pay was being able to ride any of his horses whenever I wanted. After I finished that job, I’d go to his place and muck out the stalls and ride his horses.
I took Printshop as one of my electives in school. I was a pretty good printer, if I might brag about myself. The Printshop’s 1250 offset printer needed to be cleaned. I said that I would do it and was given the job at $1.25 an hour. Before I could start the job, I was absent from school for a few days, I don’t remember why. When I returned to school, I found the machine in hundreds of dirty pieces piled in a corner. Someone had taken the thing apart but didn’t know how to put it back together. I went to work cleaning it and putting it back together. It was a difficult job as I hadn’t been the one to take it apart. After a few weeks working on my lunch hour, I got it back together and it is working just fine. All the school had to do was hire someone to calibrate it. They got off very cheap.
I was reading the newspaper one day and found an ad asking for a part-time Gardner at an apartment building not far from The Boys Market. I applied and was hired. The building belonged to some people who lived in Arizona. I’d go to the building 2 or 3 times a week and water the plants and pull the weeds in a small planter in front of the building. Most of the time I’d go over there before or after work at the market. It only took me 20 or 30 minutes to do the job for which I was paid $50.00 a month.
I was asked by Kenny Gallacher’s bother-in-law to be the night manager at the Atlanta Richfield gas station in which he was the manager. I’d go over there after school or if I was working at the market go over after I got off work. I’d work until 10 PM five or six nights a week. At one point I was working 4 jobs as well as going to high school.
I eventually worked at three different gas stations. The Atlantic Richfield station on the southwest corner of Artesia Blvd. and Western Ave. From There I went to the Philip’s gas station at the northwest corner of Artesia Blvd. and Western Ave. I then started working at the Atlantic Richfield station on Pacific Coast Highway and Avenue I.
After I graduated from high school, I stopped working at The Boys Market and got a job working at the May Company. I was being trained to be a department manager. I liked that job. When I was fully trained there were two departments that needed managers. I wanted to work in sporting goods, but a friend of mine named Bucky got that job. They put me in women’s shoes in the basement. I didn’t like it. I quit after two months.
I then went to work at the Sears store at the Del Amo shopping center. I was hired to install tires which was a hard job. I was there about 3 months when a manager asked if anyone knew how to Install Air Shocks on cars. I lied and said the I did. I wanted to get out of the tire department. I was made the new Air Shock installer. I liked that job. I worked by myself and at my own speed. I was pretty much my own boss. A few weeks later I got my next job, I was drafted into the Army. I quit working at Sears that afternoon.
While in the Army I worked as a projectionist at the Post theater and as a bouncer at the NCO club.
When I got out of the Army I worked at While Cross drugs in Las Vegas as a loss prevention officer. I worked as an apprentice building houses for a while. I was very good at it, but I didn’t like it. Later I worked for Nevada Armored Transport, an Armor Car company, in Vegas and then as a laborer building swimming pools.
After marrying Diane and moving back to Redondo Beach I then got a job serving subpoenas for Craig Chase. I was also serving in the Army National Guard and later the Army Reserve as an Infantry officer and then as an Operations and Intelligence officer on a Green Beret A Team with C Company 3rd Brigade 12th Special Forces at Fort McArthur in San Pedro, California.
My next job was with Ray Wilson repossessing cars. It was a fun job most of the time. I will write individual stories about those experiences at a later time. One day I got a call from Ray telling me the TV show “Eye On LA” wanted to do a segment about people in dangerous professions. They wanted to go out with me one day and film what I do. They did, which is another story. That episode was a big hit. It was re-run 5 times.
My next job was with McDonald Douglas aircraft company in Long Beach building the MD80 airplane. When I went in to apply for the job, I was told that all the positions had been filled and there were no more jobs open. While I was being told this the guys talking to me stopped and asked if knew me. I told him I didn’t think so. He thought for a while and asked “were you on Eye On LA? I told him I was, and he told me that he loved that episode. He then gave me a job. I worked there for more than 16 months until we went strictly over some stupid issue.
I was then hired by the Long Beach Police Department in Long Beach, California. I worked there for 22 years. I received a medical retirement after hurting my right shoulder in a fight. I was able to buy 4 years of my military time which made it possible to retire with 26 years’ service and 80% of my pay for the rest of my life and Diane’s life. I also have a 70% disability, so I only pay taxes on 30% of my pay. Sweet!
After I retired from the Police Department, we moved to St. George, Utah. I then got a job with the City of St. George as a Code Enforcement Officer. I was there for 2 ½ years and quit because I hated it. More on that later.
I then opened my own Private Investigation agency, Code 5 Enterprises LLC. While working as a PI, I was the elected as the President of the Private Investigators Association of Utah, then as the Vice President of UPALS (I don’t remember what it stands for) another PI Organization in Utah. I was also appointed to serve on the Governor’s Private Investigator’s advisory committee. After serving for 4 years on that committee, I retired from PI work and moved to Gilbert, Arizona a short time later.