Monday, March 10, 2008

How to grow up Minnesota style

Once upon a time there was a young boy who was bored and wanted to do something with his time. He lived an isolated life and despite not having many opportunities to spend money in fancy, big city stores, he still had the drive to do something to generate some funds.

One spring day he carved out a plot in a far-flung corner of the family garden and planted some sweet corn. He actually did it as it was the normal country thing to do but went a bit overboard and when early summer rolled around there was just too much damn sweet corn. What better way to dispose of it and earn some of that lucrative cash than to sell it.

And that's exactly what the boy did. He sold all of the excess sweet corn that first summer and the people who bought it came back wanting more. Not wanting to disappoint, the boy took their names and phone numbers and promised to call the following year when the crop was ready.

This continued and word of mouth grew. More people streamed down that dusty gravel road each year. The boy's mom saw all of these people and decided to sell some grocery bags of apples from her miniature orchard as the sweet corn season drew to a close.

By this time the plot of sweet corn had moved into a hard-to-farm nook adjacent to the family's yard. The addition of fall goods such as squash and pumpkins was added and the money made from the town-folk who drove to this farm was stuffed in to a savings account.

In short, if you hadn't figured it out yet, that boy was me. I made money that way (and a fair amount honestly) until I was 15 years old. If I could squeeze it in to that two acre plot, I would try to sell it. All told, I think I pulled out that routine for seven years. It financed the farm toy addiction I wrote about yesterday, it bought my first car, it bought clothes which my parents deemed too expensive and it started me on the long road to being a music consumer. And if I had two acres near my house I would do it again because even though it's back-breaking work it's fun and the money ain't half bad.

So, if you stuck around through that tale from the past, what sort of weird entrepreneurial endeavors did you undertake as a kid? Will I be forever viewed as a Osh Kosh B'Gosh-sporting country bumpkin after the past two posts?


H said...

One summer I drew a bunch of posters and sat at the end of our driveway selling them. The thing was, we lived in the country. I mean, in the country. A high traffic day was one where two cars would drive by - and you always ran the risk of it being the same person driving by twice.

Needless to say, it wasn't the biggest moneymaker.

Beth said...

You're not a country bumpkin - you're someone with great childhood memories. I lacked the entrepreneurial spirit but my eldest son (at the age of 8) sold guppies, handmade bookmarks, stories he'd written and tomatoes from our garden. And did very well. It's hard to say no to a kid with such gumption.

Michelle Ann said...

Love the story! We have "magical" corn close to Sacramento...every year we go to Sloughouse just for the corn. And corn season is comming soon!

Whiskeymarie said...

The usual: babysitting and mowing lawns.
Then when I was 16, I got a job at the local convenience store. Yeah, I was cool in my "Little Store" red polo shirt earning a whopping $3.75/hour.

cathouse teri said...

You're just darling, B'Gosh! I never did a single enterprising thing in my youth. In fact, I don't believe I do anything enterprising in my adulthood, either!

I love home-grown sweet corn, though. You do it again, I want on the list!

Sornie said...

Aw shucks y'all. Some great stories here. I am more amazed at the $3.75/hr. My first job during high school (at age 16) paid a whopping $4.25. That was a whole dime above minimum wage. Quite generous they were.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

You make it sound as if you were some sort of oddity. The only thing odd about your story, is the norm is "do it for me."

My first job was as a 11 yr old, pitching cow/chicken/pig/anything that pooped, poop into a manure spreader for .50 cents an hour. I felt like a millionaire! Then I found my true calling - driving tractor in the fields for hire! I got a whopping raise to a buck an hour, and quickly became known as "that kid who can drive anything."

Sornie said...

Future, I have to know if you had a preference in brand of tractor. Personally, I am partial to International (Pre Case-IH era) as that was (and still is) the brand of choice for my dad.