Chapter 8

Chapter 8

My First Job

It was late; the creaking of the kitchen floorboards told me that my parents had come in for the night. Alex and Holly were still out with their friends. Sometimes I envied them at only twelve and fourteen they had a bigger Friday night social life than I did. My work schedule made Friday nights simply another weeknight- which included going to bed early. The early Saturday mornings weren't enviable, but I loved my job. I had been a nanny for a family down the street my Sophomore and Junior year in high school; so when the kid's mom decided to be a stay-at-home-mom the summer before senior year I was stuck looking for a real job.

Somehow I managed to land one of the most sought after jobs at Ambrosia Euro-American Patisserie in Barrington.

The sky was still black as I pulled into The Foundry. All the shops were closed and not a single car was parked in the yellow lined parking lot- until I turned into Ambrosia's lot. Six cars sat quietly below the green awning, waiting for my car to join them. The light from the patisserie shed a square of golden light onto the pathway, ushering me into the building

The chimes jingled as I pushed open the glass pained door and the scent of fresh bakery items wafted through me. Vicky stood behind the glass pastry showcase, her red hair loosely clipped back and her smile wide as she greeted me.

"Good-morning Heather!" she called, as she carefully slid a tray of éclairs forward on the shelf. I returned her greeting and headed through toward the back of the shop. Kristen greeted me as well from where she was carefully boxing pastries for an order, her golden curls carelessly tossed into a bun on the top of her head and her two customary pens stuck through so they were handy to reach. Passing through the customer service area or "front of the house" I crossed into the "back of the house" kitchen area.

The fresh croissant smell doubled as I passed Paul, pulling a fresh batch of chocolate croissants out of the oven. "Behind!" I warned, before walking behind him.

"Morning Heather!" He called over his back, as he waited for me to pass before turning with the steaming tray. Across the room at her workbench, Sharon was putting the finishing touch on her pink petit fours- a single yellow rose made of a vanilla Italian buttercream frosting. She smiled at me as I walked past them and into the back hallway.

Throwing my purse down on the floor with everyone else's personal belongings I walked down the long narrow hall, passing shelves filled with sacks of flour, cake rounds, and pastry bags before reaching the aprons. I grabbed a clean one, pulled it over my head and tied it over my black pants and white shirt.

When I re-emerged in the front of the house the doors had opened and customers had already started flooding in. Sabine had arrived first, as usual, her heavily accented voice evident.

"I will have the flavored Am-bros-ia with whipped cream and a bran muffin, please, Vicky," she was saying. It was her usual order and we all knew that within the next fifteen minutes she would be back up there asking for a refill on her whipped cream. It was a house joke that Sabine ate only her one bran muffin and whipped cream –ever, and that her accent, an undistinguishable European accent, was phony.

Closely behind Sabine was the usual Saturday crew: the grandparent figures, Bev and Warren, elderly Robert, eight year old Avery with his dad- whose name no one knew, Susan, the English teacher, and of course Botox woman, her lips puffed to such a volume that she can barely get the words out. "I'd like…umm…a large flavored with…umm extra whipped cream."

As the day moved forward more girls arrived to help with the increasing number of customers, slender Kathleen with her dancers posture and peppy Tiffany, ready for anything. The day sped by and we worked until it felt like our feet had fallen off, our brightly colored Crocs a rainbow beneath the countertops: green, pink, purple, black, yellow all moved with speed and purpose as we did what needed to be done.

Boxes were folded, cakes placed in them to await the eager customers; cookies were scooped by the thousands, placed in the cooler, ready for Paul when his oven was free and coffee was ground by the pound. The list of activities was never ending and by the time we were ready to leave the shop was spotless, cleaned with a loving hand by each of us- each girl a loved member of the Ambrosia family and proud of their home.

So, it wasn't hard for me to give up late Friday nights when it meant that the next morning I was lucky enough go to a job that I loved.