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Motel Work

Have you ever worked in a hotel? Well, I have. Of course this is going back a few years. It was in the late 1960’s in the small tourist town of Lake Placid, NY. I worked in three different areas which included a chambermaid, elevator operator and roll girl. I even worked in the laundry in my spare time, or when I really needed some clean towels.

What a life! Try walking into a room with wall to wall clothes and empty bags of ‘your guess is as good as mine.’ That’s what the rooms looked like when the tours came to town. Luckily, for the tours we only needed to replace their dirty towels with clean ones and empty their trash. Of course the regular guests weren’t quite as messy. Thank goodness! My job was to change the bed linen every other day, replace the dirty towels with clean ones, dust and vacuum and scrub the bathroom. Regular vacationing guests were usually neat as far as no clothes or empty bags thrown all over the room. The most you’d get from them was stained sheets or disgusting sinks and toilets. Checkout days were the most difficult, and yet the easiest. Everything had to be wiped down because no one knew where their hands had been, or what they were doing. Even the little tikes would leave behind their chewed bubble gum and other unmentionables. The easy part of checkout day was no interruptions while cleaning the rooms.

Does anyone remember when there was an actual person operating the elevators? That was my favorite job once I got the hang of it. I’m not sure why I couldn’t allow the guests on while I was in-training. It could have been the jerky stops…or…the gigantic step to get out of the elevator. After a few jerky rides and needing a step stool to get out of the contraption, the rides and landing became nice and smooth with no step ladders needed.

Roll girl? Since working as one, I have not yet met anyone who has heard of them. Roll girls would walk around the dining room with a basket of rolls. Not a bad job and was actually fun. When the basket was empty, it was off to the kitchen for a refill. The guests rarely decided they wanted something different from what was offered, and I got to mingle with the friendly people. Of course, as with any job position, it wasn’t all peaches and cream. Every now and then I would get a customer who insisted on getting a specific roll or Danish. When we were lucky, I could find one from the other roll girl or from in the kitchen.

Motel work for me was mostly enjoyable. It filled my summer vacations and weekends while in high school, and I met many interesting people from all over the United States and Canada. I realize that two of those positions are no longer an option. All we have to do is push a button on the elevators to get from one floor to another, and like I said, no one ever heard of a roll girl. I honestly don’t think it existed anywhere but in the motel I worked at. As far as the chambermaid job, when it wasn’t crazy busy, I took my time cleaning the rooms. When it was busy, there was always another chambermaid to help. No one was left behind when all the others went home.

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