Waiting on the Angels

It Was Even Better Than Dishwashing

By Karlene Bayok Edwards

In 1966, not long after my thirteenth birthday,  I began washing dishes eight hours a day, forty hours a week, for $1.65 an hour at the now-defunct Kitchen Café in McCall. The waitresses bussed their own tables and stacked the dirty dishes on the stainless steel shelf in the back room. I took it from there, soaking the silverware, using a spatula to scrape food from the plates, and pouring leftover soft drinks and shakes into a drainage bowl aswirl with water.

After pulling on heavy yellow rubber gloves to my elbows, I washed everything with hot soapy water and then placed each item in a large square rubberized dish-basket with handles. When it was full, I lowered the basket into the disinfectant-treated water in the next sink. After ten minutes, I lifted the basket over to the steaming hot rinse water in a third sink, waited, and then raised the basket onto the drainboard so the dishes could air dry before I put them away. Meanwhile, I washed more dishes.

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