|A old-fashioned black typewriter|
Sure, she had worked before, doing the typical early-teen jobs of the time in Oregon--like babysitting and strawberry picking--but this would be her first, get-an-actual-check-at-the-end-of-each-week kind of job. She was dressed in the required uniform: the (soon to be not-) white apron; the oh-so-attractive hair net (topped off by the are-you-kidding-me hard hat); with the day-glow orange, squishy, yet strangely uncomfortable, earplugs in her hand, ready to be inserted once she entered the cannery.
She carpooled with some friends, and they arrived at the parking lot in the dark, in time for the 11 p.m. start of the graveyard shift. Entering the cold, cavernous building, they were corralled into the lunch room, where they went through the brief orientation ("Safety first, people!"), then were led out to their stations.
She and her friends were belt workers, which meant that for the next 8 hours, with the exception of one short break and a slightly longer lunch break (Can it even be called lunch at 3 a.m.?), they would be standing alone, one to a belt, watching the fresh-from-the-field beans go by, scooping out any non-bean as the endless sea of green rolled on to its next station. The mind-numbing monotony of the task (and believe me, you do not want excitement on the belt, because excitement comes in the form of [hopefully] dead rodents and snakes which need to be removed from the beans), combined with the dull drone of the machinery, was enough to convince her that an education was definitely a good thing; no way was she going to make this an eternal career.