Thursday, April 28, 2011

nora at nineteen

 In full Benihana garb. 

I started working in a nursing home when I was 16 years old - Ann Herr and I were nurse's aides. I worked as an aide in various hospitals and nursing homes for the rest of high school and during summers in college. 

After three semesters at Purdue it was painfully clear that I was a horrible student and just not ready for college. I moved back home and joined my friend Kassie in working at the Japanese steakhouse, Benihana. I was a hostess and Kassie was the bookkeeper. 

Benihana was my first-ever hospitality job and it didn't take me long to realize that I was smitten with the industry and it felt natural and at home. You can tell two things by my giant smile - I'd just gotten my braces off and I loved my job. 

I adored wearing the kimono, it was just beautiful. I learned a smattering of Japanese - mostly how to say, "I don't understand," and to count. Most of the chefs arrived straight from Japan so Kassie and I did everything from helping the guys find apartments to Kassie cutting hair by the dumpster. 

If you've ever been to a Japanese steakhouse you know that the chefs are also big on showmanship. Twirling salt shakers and knives and flipping shrimp tales into shirt pockets. I still giggle when I think about Kassie teaching one of the new chefs that the proper way to greet new tables was: I want to feed your fingertips to the wolverines. Can you imagine the terrified customers if he would have delivered that line?

I worked at Behihana in various capacities for two and a half years. Those were fun and carefree days, even though I was taking classes at a community college and working part time in a nursing home. That was defiantly my feeling my oats era. 


Cliff said...

You were good looking then and I guess you've gotten better looking with age. How did you pull that off.
I'll bet you were great at your job. That's a great pic btw.

LeeAnn said...

I was directed here by Cliff and I must remember to tell him thank you.
I have very few pictures of myself at any stage, due to a teenage meltdown which resulted in the destruction of all photos of myself I could lay my hands on. To this day, I hate having my picture taken.
Yours are great. :)