The full First Chapter of Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ A Hotel Memoir
I’ve Served You
I’ve served you. I’ve listened to your stories of how your vacation is going, good or bad. I know how you like your steak; medium rare, but make sure it’s more medium than rare. I know how you like your martini; gin, three olives, dirty and shaken. I’ve made special trips to the other dining rooms within the hotel to get you the cocktail you liked from the bartender that you think is the only bartender in the hotel for a 900 room and six dining outlets. I’ve served you and you served me a lifetime of experiences.
How did I stumble upon the world of hospitality? (I like to refer to it as the hotel life). No accident, it was a series of serendipitous events that were taking place before I even knew they were happening. The journey to the hotel life started at the age of fifteen, maybe even earlier, the universe works in mysterious ways.
On the first day of summer vacation of grade ten, I was lying in bed wondering what I would do that day. Maybe hang out with my friends but I wanted to work on the short story I’d been writing. Writing was and is my real passion. I heard my father walking up the stairs, he knocked and opened my bedroom door and implied,
“Get up, get a job, you’re cut off your allowance.” Ouch! No warning. Well, maybe a few hints throughout the school year that I would need to a job at some point. I didn’t think it would have to be so soon. I was fifteen and I had grandiose notions of writing books and making a living as a writer. I might need a part-time job to pay the rent and food when I was older, but not now. I know, I was ahead of my time, or out of my native mind.
Sis: You can say that again.
This is Sis, my sassy pseudo guardian angel/alter ego, who is really me expressing my true thoughts. You see, my mother labeled me as a shy little girl and I carried that like a badge of honor because I didn’t know any better. But I wasn’t shy. I was more like Sis than I knew at the time.
Sis: You got that right.
So, me, an only child had to get a job. I didn’t have to look too far. My mother’s good friend was a manager at the McDonald’s we loyally went to every week. My mother called her friend, let’s call her Janet, said I could come in for an interview.
Sis: That was easy.
My interview with Janet was basically her talking about her life at McDonald’s and she loved it. She said I would gain a lot of great life skills by serving customers and become disciplined by the rules of the company. Rules? I didn’t like the sound of that, but I learned quickly rules meant guidelines, which meant I could skirt around certain things like leave the fillet-o-fish in the warmer for an extra minute but not much longer or they would get soggy and not the crisp fresh fish burger promised on the commercials.
I was hired on the spot, given my uniform, a locker in the staff room, my training schedule and there you have it, I was now part of a major fast-food chain. I took that job seriously because of two reasons. I didn’t want to hear my mother say that I shamed her for not being a good employee or daughter because she got me the job. Second, I wanted to make enough money to buy a car and drive as far away from my mother as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother, but there was a time, especially when I was twelve through my early twenties when I didn’t care for her. I didn’t even like her. I was the happiest when I was writing or at work acting like I cared when I served overweight people a super-sized meal from the drive-through window.
Now let’s talk about names. Let’s discuss changing and protecting names of the innocent or not so innocent. Maybe I need a bit of protecting, I’m not that shy little girl everyone ‘thinks’ I am or may look like. Names have been changed and certain situations out of order to protect feelings.
But my name is essential, it has shaped who I am. My name is Marion Ann Berry, it’s actually, Marion Ann Laura Berry, my first name is Marion Ann. Now, try to say it ten times fast. I’m not Mary Ann, Marion or Marion and Ann (that’s my fav). You can call me Min, it’s my nickname and it’s a helleva lot easier to say than trying to stumble along the Marion Ann that has been on my name tag for over twenty years.
Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .