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Story Time: Fifty cents an hour

Posted on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at 4:13 pm

By Lorry Myers

My older sisters were movers and shakers before I even knew what that was. Living in a small town is what you make of it, so my teenage sisters and their friends created an organization called “Teenager’s Association of Centralia”.

TAC for short.

This group hosted “Teen Town”, convincing City Hall to open the community room after football games, and once a month for a dance with local bands. TAC had committees to plan and arrange different events and different services that would support the youth in our town.

Teenage movers and shakers.

My sisters were consistently being asked to babysit people’s children. Sherry and Sandy were used to watching over me and my younger brothers, but if they babysat for others, they were paid fifty cents an hour.

Fifty cents!

With that thought, a meeting of TAC was called and any teenager that wanted to make money was asked to raise their hand.

All hands went up.

The next day, two poster boards were purchased, and plans put into place. The boys were in charge of the chart that scheduled chores like mowing and weeding, while my sister, Sherry, was in charge of a babysitting calendar with the names and numbers of more than a dozen teenage girls, all who took a class on babysitting.

They were certified and ready.

Every time a call came in, the calendar board was pulled from underneath our couch, which happened to be the handiest location to the wall phone. Almost every night a babysitter was booked.

Business was booming.

These working teens would be gone eight to ten hours on a Saturday babysitting for a house of unruly children whose parents went to a Tiger football game. My sisters would leave in the morning, feed and placate the children, then come home after dark with five dollars in their pocket.

Five whole dollars.

For the complete column, see this  week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.