Friday, November 1, 2013

11. Celebrating July 4th in Estes Park, CO, 1964...

The next letter I wrote home was dated July 7, 1964...What would that letter reveal?  Don't miss my next installment...
I left this story yesterday with the above words.

Time now for the next installment to begin.

There is a very exciting reason that I did not write home between July 1st and July 7th!

My sister and I were hired on July 2nd to work at Ranchouse Restaurant.   

The details of this answer to our many prayers probably had been shared with our parents in a phone call home and therefore not written in a letter.  But I will do my best here to reconstruct what led to this opportunity for us.

 I don't really know why Ranchouse was not on our radar earlier nor why we focused so devotedly on Mr. Lutz and his many convincing false promises which always led to delay and disillusionment.  I can only assume that our inexperience and desperation provided the fodder for us to continue to hope he would eventually become our link to gainful employment.  

But apparently our desperation must also have motivated us on July 2nd to walk in another direction from the cabin where we were staying in order to search for jobs in places we had not previously, if ever, frequented.  And on the road out of town, not far beyond our cottage, we found Ranchouse Restaurant.  

Our visit there "happened" to coincide with the need for more waitresses just in time to help with the July 4th weekend influx of tourist masses.  I don't really recall our interview process but we were hired that day.  

Ranchouse Restaurant was one of the top 2 or 3 restaurants in Estes Park we would later learn.  It was the top restaurant which did not serve alcoholic beverages.  The restaurant had a reputation for serving especially delicious food.  We would also learn that the wait for a table during dinner was often 2 hours - long lines of people were willing to wait that length of time to be served at Ranchouse.  The owner,  Mrs. Holmeier, a woman in her 70's, starting baking the dinner and cinnamon rolls which every table was served, at about 3:00 A.M. each day.  She also baked all the pies which were another specialty of the house - 28 different choices each day.  Her son was the Maitre D' / manager / trainer...  He and his wife and their 2 young children lived nearby.  

Mrs. Holmeier lived in a home next door to the restaurant.  The basement of her home was made into dorm type rooms which was the housing for college girls who worked for the restaurant each summer.  

Our new waitress jobs included housing and a meal during the shift we would work.  We would have one day off a week and would work various hours the other six days - sometimes both lunch and dinner; sometimes only one of those meal times.  We would be paid $.45 / hour.  The Colorado state minimum wage was $.90 / hour but if room was provided, $.25 could be deducted and if a meal was included, another $.15 could be deducted.  We would give the bus boys a portion of our tips and keep the rest for ourselves.

We were thrilled!  We now had waitress jobs at an excellent restaurant and could move out of our cabin into the waitress housing next door to our new work place.  

We knew God had heard and answered many prayers.  We would be fitted for the black uniform dresses with white aprons and be trained on July 3rd.  Our first day to really work a regular shift would be July 4th!  What a way to celebrate the 4th of July!  We were excited, grateful and scared.

There's more to the story of my Estes Park summer so I'll continue writing over the next week or however long it takes to tell about this summer of my 19th year.

Have you ever heard of consomme, Lobster Newburg or Frog Legs - the kind you eat?  Do you have any idea of the prep time required for any of those items?  

How do you think my sister and I fared in our new jobs?  More prayers required?

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