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Diary Queen, Formerly the Dairy Queen

Yes, this week I am the Diary Queen, formerly the Dairy Queen!

Last weekend, for four days I was on a retreat with some awesome women. This might have been my fourth retreat with this group. Turns out the organizer and I graduated high school together. We were in one of the first super classes in the Twin Cities (over 700). And our two schools had merger our senior year. At the retreat all of us scrapbook at some point. No one sewed this year. Some knit. Or just hang out and talk, a lot!

I scrapped a lot. The first night I just worked on swaps for Convention. 

I got 25 pages (yes pages) done of our California trip from last summer. We made so many stops in the first 48 hours, it is hard to believe. I did whittle down photos significantly, and still ended up with that many pages. And that does not include our Disneyland stop. Whew! It will be a large book. And so worth all the memories. 

Anyway, by Saturday I needed to change gears away from the trip. I went on the retreat with a list of To Dos. I got some done. One of the projects was to scrapbook places I have worked. I tended to have longevity in jobs, and there was usually a story as to why I switched when I did.

So here I share my memories from my very first official, non-babysitting job. I was a Dairy Queen girl. 

Here is my story

First Official Job

Dairy Queen in Glen Lake Minnetonka

Manager/Owner Bernie and Bonnie Grover

Starting rate $2.90 per hour

Started early March 1981, age 16.

By Easter 1981 (April 19th) I was left in charge of the store for a few hours while the owners went to church.

Responsible. Timely. Hardworking. That was me. 

After a short while I received a raise to $3.05 (might have been $3.10 an hour. Might have just been an adjustment to minimum wage. It might have been because probation time was over. 

My friend Mary Beth Loth started working, around the same time, at Dairy Queen in downtown Hopkins.  She switched jobs mid-summer and started working in the kitchen, as a Kitchen Helper, at Chapel View Nursing Home in Hopkins. She loved her new job. Less grueling hours and better working conditions - air conditioned, no long lines with crabby customers, no going home smelling of Dairy Queen and feeling sticky.

DQ got crazy week nights, with lines going out the door and around the block because there were several ball fields nearby and it was tradition to go to DQ after a game. In fact, it was just the year before, I was one of those kids. We would sit on the back of the station wagon, feet hanging off the back, for the short ride from field to store. 

During the summer, every day during the week, there was this guy who would come by faithfully at 1:10 pm and ask for a very large root beer freeze, around a 44 oz size. He always waited for me. His name was Wes Harms. I had a huge crush on him when I was in 7th grade and he was in 9th grade. He went to Lindbergh and played football. Back in 9th grade was a scrawny guy. Apparently football and high school had been very good to him. And wrestling. His arms were bigger around than my thighs. Wow!

Side story: as the summer wore on I saw his face faithfully, until I left the job, shortly after school started. His sister approached me the first week of school, she was a tenth grader. She said, my brother has such a crush on you and wants to date you and is too chicken to ask you out. Can he call you? Yes please!!! We did date for a few months, but thats for another story.

Sometime in June there was an incident at work. I was asked by the owner, Bernie, to go in the back room to help with stock. It was dark, he didn’t turn the light on. He grabbed my hand and placed it on his thigh, running up and down his thigh tightly holding my hand and coming dangerously close to his groin. I am not sure if there was contact with his groin. I was so young and didn’t know what was going on, other than it was wrong and I was terribly uncomfortable. 

I do not remember what he said, but he said something and made a bold move for me. Somehow I said something like “I need to get back up front” and peeled myself away.

I went home and talked to my mom that night. We discussed options on what to do about it. Someone needed to be told. I said I would take care of it myself and talked to Bonnie Grover the next shift. 

Needless to say, she was shocked, crestfallen, and scared and mad. She did thank me for telling her, several times. She knew it was very difficult for me to approach her. She was not the most friendly sort. 

She came to me a few days later, and said I was getting a raise to $3.50 an hour, and I would no longer be on shift with Bernie alone, not on his shift if it was possible, schedule-wise. And I should keep quiet about it. No problem. I am guessing that they were concerned about a lawsuit. 

One other gal, Shawn, freely told me that he had done something similar to her. She had no problem with it and was flattered. This is the same gal that was throwing herself at our bus driver. Her and her brothers parent was not around much at all. She was very promiscuous, dangerously so. She didn’t seem to know right from wrong. 

I believe that at some point in the summer I confessed to Mary Beth what had happened. She really started leaning on me to come to Chapel View to work.  I was concerned because it was farther from home and how would I get there and back and such. 

At the end of summer my mother got a new job with First Bank in Hopkins. She got tired of some of the drama with her boss at Gardeneer, Tom Wartman, though she liked her job and him. Her job was a few blocks walk from Chapel View. 

We talked and made arrangements for how we could ride share. Plus my dad wasn’t that far away at Honeywell either. 

Sometimes I would walk from school to her work, take the car home for an hour or more, drive to Chapel View, then she would walk to pick up the car. Or I would ride my bike to work, but really shouldn’t be riding on Highway 7, even back then. It wasn’t illegal then, just not a good idea due to too much traffic and no shoulder to ride on.

I loved my new job. I was relived to leave Dairy Queen. I am not sure how I made it another 2-3 months working there, but I did. Other than my 1:10 pm visits from Wes, it wasn’t very fun to work there anymore. 

I made good curls on my cone. I loved making the Buster Bars. It started out to be a fun first job. I was very glad that I did start working a real job. I had been babysitting for years, since age 8 actually, it was time. 

Ended early September 1981. 

Thank you for reading my story. I will be sharing the next job in the future.



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