Here’s another delightful shot. This picture was taken at Food World in Clinton, MA, which is now a Shaw’s. This was my second job, circa 1986 (see earlier post here with details). I have a lot of stories from Food World, all of which are funny. It was a pretty good time in my life. I must have been a sophomore in high school and the collection of guys that worked there with me were all about my age and we were all about having fun. For some completely insane reason, they gave us the keys to the store and we actually opened it on Sunday mornings. However, we’d have to get there a few hours early to get everything ready for opening. Do you understand this? A collection of high school kids, 15-17 years old get to the store a few hours early and we’re the only ones there. Bedlam ensued each week. The Sunday morning shift was the shift to have. Among other things:
- We had pallet jack races where you stand on a pallet jack and use it like a scooter, up and down the aisles. Yes, we’d crash into each other. On purpose.
- Razor blade fights. How did someone not die or lose an eye? We would take new razor blades for cutting knives and literally flick them around and they would stick in stuff. We’d flick them at each other. Only one person ever had one stick in their flesh. That’s an amazingly low number.
- Free food. Duh. The amount of “damages” that occured on Sunday mornings was significantly higher than other days, let’s just leave it at that.
- Food World is where I also learned how to play pitch. I won’t go into details, but pitch is a card game that has never really left my side. I played it all through college and very heavily in the 1990’s with friends from the city. A lifelong friend.
- Free music. For some dumb reason, Food World also sold cassette tapes. Are you serious? I was an emerging music fanatic and there was music there. And nobody around? It is where I discovered Husker Du and their awesome album covers (hey, the music was good too!). The Georgia Satellites……so many more.
- Whip hits. Before they started putting plastic wrap over the whip cream cans, we’d go into the dairy cooler, pop the caps off and inhale the air before the cream came out. It was a stupid, quick high. All you really felt was goofy for about 10 seconds. A guy named Chris Smith, however, took it to another level when he popped about 10 cans right in a row and inhaled it all……and promptly fell over. No lie. Quite funny, although I did panic for about 5 seconds, thinking he was going to die.
Even when the full-timers were there, Food World was a fun place. The manager was Jim Struh’s, I don’t know how old he was but he wasn’t the right guy to be managing us idiots. A pushover to say the least. There was a funny/crazy lady there named Joan Zordan who always made me laugh. My aunt worked there (you can see her comments sprinkled through this blog). I met my longtime high school girlfriend there. It was just a great time.
This particular picture was taken by someone I met there who became a good friend of mine. His name was Fernando Gonzalez and his family left Cuba in the late 1950s to come to the USA. I think he was up in Massachusetts attending Atlantic Union College, but I am not sure. He was a terrific person who was an absolute Beatles fanatic, among other sixties music. He also taught me a lot about how other people (non-citizens) look at the U.S. He was a good friend and a good person. I don’t know where he is now. I had heard he moved back down to Miami to be with his family, but when you look up Fernando Gonzalez in the phone book in Miami, you’ll have a lot of calling to do before you get the right one. It would be amazing to see what he is up to.
Anyway, the picture. I am attempting to block the “No” in the sign, so that it says “Beer and wine purchases are allowed at this register due to Mass state law requirements.” Stupid, I know. The hair is vintage mid-’80s. I think I was probably trying to grow it like Michael Stipe. This was the early stages and it wasn’t good. The leather tie – again – 1980s, baby. Other than that, supermarkets haven’t really changed much since then, have they?
By the way, while I worked there it changed over to Shaw’s a guy named Ray Abramo came in to manage it – and that is where the fun totally ended. It was never the same after that guy came in and it’s probably for the better, after all the fun we inflicted on it.