I worked school summers 1963 through 1968 and full time from 1969 through 1973 (with Navy leave 1970-72). Most jobs were covering vacations for regular full time clerks but I did “own” several positions having bid them based on seniority. Johnny Koster, the assignment clerk in Jamaica, would call me and assign my job. If I didn’t like it, I could “bump” another clerk from a better job if I had seniority. As I started very early each summer (something I learned after a late start in 1965), I “outranked” most of the other summer clerks and could get pretty much anything I wanted (from what was available). The postings 1963 through 1973 in chronological order:
1963 - Amityville (old station), 1964 (temp. trailer), 1968 (temp. depot)
(lots of interline sales, mostly to Florida. In my “youth” I kept mixing up Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
so had to be careful with the interline stuff.)
Amityville Station and temporary trailer Fall 1963 Amityville - new EB Shelter - Summer 1964
1965 through 1969, 1973 - Jamaica ticket (I owned the ticket/toilet/scale/stockroom job for a time. Weekends in the summer were amazing; lines out the door all day.)
1965 - New Hyde Park (including freight work; check the freight sidings in the dark before opening for ticket sales.)
1965 - Massapequa Park
I was assigned effective on a
Monday. I picked up the ticket box and proceeded to sell tickets from
the corner closet. After closing down that day at about 10 am, per the
official schedule, I started setting up the new ticket office in the
trailer. A major plus was air
Being the enthusiastic guy that I am, I stayed late into the night getting everything set up to be able to start selling tickets the next day (Tuesday). I must have worked until 7 or 8 that night but was ready to go at 6 am Tuesday. No visits by any officials on that Monday (Tom Merkel was agent stationed in Massapequa and the division super was …. Harold Remple (?? I can’t be sure of his name or the spelling)).
I opened to the surprise of many commuters at ~6 am Tuesday. Later in the day, Mr. Remple, or whoever, stopped by to see how things were going and was surprised to see everything set up and tickets being sold. In discussing how this happened, I mentioned my heroic (!!) efforts of the previous day. I was young and naïve and didn’t even think of a) asking to work OT, or b) getting approval for said OT. Happily, Mr. Remple was very pleased that things had proceeded well and authorized the time I worked as OT, which was a bonus for me as I had no intention of asking for payment. I just enjoyed being able to set up the office.
About a week later, I was unceremoniously bumped
from this nice, close to home, job and assigned to Southampton, which is a
whole ‘nuther story. (This guy followed me around the railroad
bumping me from place to place, why I never did find out.)
(My only time ever opening late; got to the station one morning minus the office keys … oops!)
The Long Beach - Valley Stream ticket is unusual in that there were so many kids riding to “Green Acres” (the big shopping center in Valley Stream) that "strip tickets" (Form 1-BHS) were used to speed sales. There was never a dull moment at Long Beach in the summer with hordes of kids coming to the beach and hordes going to the shopping center!
Brooklyn (FBA), both upstairs and down, was pretty much the same except you gave out schedules and track info.
The crazy place was Jamaica! All kinds of characters, particularly related to the storage lockers which I handled for some time. LOTS of rude people from the neighborhood pushing into lines and blaming clerks to late trains, etc. Also the typical attempts to short change us during busy times. Race days at Belmont were interesting as the racing fan personality was unique. Clerks sold tickets and handled all the track and schedule info; funny during rush hour when you told some folks to use track 4 or 5 and they didn’t believe you thinking all their trains always left on tracks 6, 7 or 8!
1968 - Nostrand Avenue
Most of these jobs were for 1 or 2 weeks covering vacations. A couple were
for one day fill-ins. Many were repeats over time (e.g. Massapequa,
Jamaica). The one job I really wanted to work was Pinelawn on Memorial Day.
Couldn’t get it as it was routinely covered by the Farmingdale job. I’d say
the worst jobs were Rosedale and Laurelton, both for the difficulty in
getting there and the lack of business.
Except for the jobs which I owned (few), I had to submit a time slip each day. I’d stamp the back with the station dater and keep a copy for “proof” that I worked all these places. I still have those stacks of time slips (a stack for each year), and all my paystubs. (Don’t ask.)
As I recall, over a 5 year period I worked the Monday shift at Malvern (Lynbrook), East Rockaway (Lynbrook), Mass. Park (Massapequa), and Bellaire (Queens Village, I think).
Back in 1965, if I needed a car I borrowed my Dad’s. As I was to be in Southampton for who-knows-how-long I couldn’t use his auto. So, I reserved a room (by telephone) in a rooming house nearby (can you see that today?!) and, living in Amityville, took the convenient Road-n-Rail bus to Southampton. The agent met me the next morning; I don’t remember his name but it was NOT Jim Osborne.
I was there two hours that first morning and Johnny Koster calls me up and tells me I’ve been bumped!! By the same guy that just bumped me out of
My one big sale while in SH was a Pullman ticket from NY to Chicago. And …. I mistakenly kept the accommodations stub along with the agent’s stub so had to chase the guy down, on foot, over my lunch hour, at his home, to return his passage ticket. Fortunately, he was very understanding. What a day that was!
Making this list really brought back a LOT of memories. Man, I’m really getting old (or.. I’m getting REALLY old)! Info: Brad Phillips