The Exact quote is : ” Coffee? Black …Please! ” The quote is from the movie series Lovejoy. Series 6.
There’s a book everyone should look at . It’s called Counter Culture The American Coffee Shop Waitress. by Candacy A. Taylor. Copyright 2009 Cornell University Press
I found it because I was going through the stacks in the online service at our public library. I think I checked out 437 books related to coffee before I started this blog. Both out of curiosity as well as I wanted to protect myself from sticking my foot in my mouth in utter stupidity for a coffee fact that doesn’t exist. When you’re a creative being-like me these things can happen surprisingly, with regularity. This book is filled with stories of women that have waitressed most of their working lives. Many of them started in their late teens for example Dolores Jeanpierre. She started waitressing in 1974. She described herself as the first black waitress in the city of Alameda, California. The town itself is south of Oakland and east of San Francisco. She worked as a bail bondsman for a large part of her life but went back to waitressing because it was the kind of busy work she liked to do and she loved her regular customers. Another person I liked was Rachel Leichuk who started to work in Louis’s Restaurant in San Francisco in 1947. Worked there for 55 years. She was born in China and her parents were from Russia. She talked about how waitressing was such an integral part of her life…that many of her regulars became life long friends .She stated that she had to quit waitressing when she became 82….82 ! That’s amazing! There’s also Jean Joseph whose father won the restaurant in a high stakes card game. From then on she waitressed and loved it. Jean felt this was a good job almost like a calling. She felt grateful she found her niche for work. Linda Exeler who described the restaurant and regulars as her family . She waited on tables for 38 years and knows how to make people feel they are the center of her world when seated in her section. She’s waited on generations of families in her restaurant. One waitress Sammi DeAngelis had an experience where she had to make a snap judgement when a three-year old and she crossed paths and she was carrying platters of Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and extra hot gravy. It was either him or me . Who would you have picked? I’m sure she was near other diners as well… because of quick thinking they were able to divert her from third degree burns. Thank goodness! Sammi still to this day loves what she does for work and wants to waitress till she’s ninety years old. This one sentence says it all…” They walk, schlep, reach, lift, write, pour, clear, walk, wipe, socialize, prioritize, bend over, pick up , memorize tedious details, argue with the cook, and then walk some more. ” (Page 5 from the book Counter Culture by Candacy A. Taylor.) I could also add a few descriptions…tease regulars, answer the phone, taking orders to go, filling coffee cups when low… viewing snapshots of grandchildren, asking after older clientele, helping cook meals when others need breaks, sweeping floors, filling ketchup, mustard and salt and pepper containers, washing off tables and counter tops, hugs ,good byes, hellos and sweet words to babies…I could probably say it’s the kind of job that if it didn’t exist the world would stop turning…and the sun would stop shining.