The Shred Shed

Home of the World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle

By Peter D. McQuade

I hung up the phone and clutched my seventeen-year-old forehead, dropping my elbows onto the wobbly card table. “I stink at this,” I whispered. Across the mostly empty room, my high school classmate Ron was in the middle of nailing another sale. He made telemarketing look so easy. Geez, I’d buy from him if he called my number.

I stared at the strips of telephone-book columns remaining for my morning calls. I was far behind schedule and hated every minute of the work. It was mid-July, 1971, and six of us summer workers shared the room in an ancient office building in downtown Boise. Our cause was a noble one, selling tickets to the circus to raise funds for the life-saving Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit. How could so many people hang up before I’d even gotten to the second sentence of my mimeographed script? Or swear at a high school kid struggling to make minimum wage? I was committed to failure and humiliation for the rest of the summer, or until I got fired for lack of performance.

Lunchtime finally came, and with it unexpected salvation. As our group walked to a downtown sandwich shop, Will Todd said the grapevine was buzzing about something going on at First Security Bank, just a few blocks away. They were hiring. Lots of kids. No details. But working in a bank? No more calling strangers? What a godsend!

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Peter D. McQuade

About Peter D. McQuade

Peter D. McQuade lives with his wife, Marilyn, in Colorado Springs, but his heart never left Boise, where he grew up. An aeronautical engineer, professor of astronautics and space systems engineering, and retired Air Force officer, he’s an avid student of aviation history and loves to build and fly competition model gliders.

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