Left my rooming house, little knowing I had spent my last night in that noisy, dirty place. I was headed to a Scandinavian, Domestic Employment Agency. It was located near Grand Central Statiion on Madison Ave. Yesterday, I had learned enough about New York City to know that going above ground when possible was far better than speeding through life on the subway.
The waiting room was filled with many sorts of Scandinavians looking for employment. I had fun trying to figure out what kind of jobs they were looking for. One, an elderly man wth huge gnarly hands was not looking for indoor jobs. A middle aged woman with too much make up was not looking for an outdoor job. No one spoke to his or her neighbor and I was too shy to break the silencee.
Soon it was my turn. I was nervous. Felt as if my future was going to be decided in the next few minutes. What would I become. I had large hands but I would never make it as a gardener or a plumber. I had no make up on, but what had that woman in the waiting room become in the last few minutes. When I was seated at the desk and my interviewer asked me what kind of job I was looking for, I said 'I don't know.' She looked mystified. I told her tht I had just arrived. (had to go through some chit chat about Greta Garbo) I had been told by a friend of my mother's that this was the way to get a job in America. 'What have you done so far'.I finished school in the spring. I worked last summer in a hospital in Landskrona Sweden. I was not in nursing and not in housekeeping but some vague combination of the two. I have my school records with me. Would you like to see them?
She was obviously relieved for this breather. I could tell by her accent that she was a southern Swede and consequently knew of my school. I can get you a job, beginning today. You will be a kitchen maid in a lovely house in Princeton NJ. The butler is here in town and he will pick you up. The pay is $75.00 and room and board. If that was all she thought of my School papers who was I to argue. You will owe us $50.00 out of your first paycheck. I will call the butler, and have him pick you up here. How long will it take you to get your suitcase? 'Could he pick me up at my rooming house for my suitcase is heavy'. 'Take a cab here. Andbe prompt.'
I managed o be there on time and was met by Urban, the butler. The car he was driving was a La Salle which he informed me was used only for the servants. His wifee was named Ulla and she was the cook. Within minutes we were in the Hudson Tunnel and I think before we were out of the tunnel, I was asleep. The elevateds and the fire engines screaming to fires had taken their toll.