The First “Real” Job by
(11 Stories)

Prompted By Those We Miss

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As a college student, studying dramatic arts from the technical perspective, my dream was to work as a lighting designer. I loved working backstage or running follow spot for the school productions. The summer of 1976 a new theme park, Marriott’s Great America, opened in Santa Clara. Some of my friends from school got jobs there, and when more jobs opened up during the summer, I interviewed and got a job running follow spot in Bugs Bunny’s Bourbon Street Follies. It was the most amazing thing to be getting paid for something that I loved doing so much!

I miss the intense experiences I had working at my first job.

I worked at Great America for 4 seasons. The experiences I had there, and the friends who came with them, are some of my fondest memories, and the part of my young life that I miss the most. When I think rationally, there were certainly bad times during those 4 years, but those are overwritten by the positive. I’ve been lucky enough to reconnect with many of the people from those days through Facebook. To a person, they all have the same intense feelings for those days. We were a close family, with loads of talent. Many have gone on to successful performing and technical careers. I ended up becoming a stage hand professionally for part of my diverse career. I am fortunate to have found so many of the people I lost back in the late 70’s. As a group, we’re all fortunate for the early experiences we had working together. We all miss those days, and do our best to get together periodically to rekindle the flame.

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Tags: first job, Great America
Characterizations: been there, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    I feel the same way about my summers spent at the National Music Camp. I understand completely.

  2. John Zussman says:

    How fortunate you were to be part of that group. Your story really conveys how theater and music can forge lasting bonds, collaborating on something worthwhile that none can do alone. We had so much fun doing musicals in high school that we formed our own summer stock group for two years afterward.

  3. Wendy Ng says:

    Summer jobs! There’s so much that can be learned and the camaraderie between everyone is amazing. It’s short, it’s intense, but when you’re young, it’s the best time of your life. I enjoyed this so much because it reminded me of my summer experiences.

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