I was 17 years of age when, with the goal of getting accepted on the SS Lakemba freighter ship, I set off to get certified as a waiter in order to be considered for employment. That was a good starting point.
I acquired employment in the personal home of one of Morris Hedstrom’s department+ store owners. The household chef was our family friend and so brought me into the fold. The Mr. & Mrs. had a wonderful estate there in Suva and it was definitely a great place to learn the service trade.
I perfected formal service with the frequent business meetings held there in the home. These often included luncheons, cocktail hour and many a dinner presented in precise style. Equally important were the slightly informal meals (yet still proper to be sure) when serving their warm and wonderful family of four.
🚲 I would ride a bicycle from home everyday, talk about fit and trim! There was no classroom environment here; it was immediate ‘hands-on’ training. I maintained employment as a waiter in this private home for about 6 months, learning everything there is to know regarding formal dining room service.
With my father gone and my brother fully running the household, I always shared my salary with him, with the family – pounds and shillings, it was my contribution. 💷
This kind Mr. & Mrs. who employed me knew that I would be a temporary part of their household staff; I was there to be trained so I could work on the ships and yet we equally grew fond of one another, working together very well.
The family was more than happy to give this 17-year young man a chance and make certain I learned well. With the very full business responsibilities of the Mr., the Mrs. ran the household beautifully and I could see all the employees loved working for her.
The time had come for me to move forward. The Mr. had a beautiful document of reference drafted up for me on Morris Hedstrom’s letterhead, providing this to me upon my departure from the position; albeit with a heavy heart unquestionably on both sides.
I left the job feeling ready as ever to board my first ship as a full-time staff member. Well laugh if you will, it’s okay because I didn’t discover right away that I also had to be eighteen years of age at the least, in order to work where travel into foreign countries was a must. That part was sort of missed.
Here’s the way I handled things at that time; you tell me I have do that or learn the how and why of a thing or I must get this, then that’s what I would do as just another step to my advancement. The age requirement simply hadn’t come up at that point. Oh brother!
So to keep me employed my maternal uncle helped me get a job as a tailoring apprentice within a Gujarat family owned store called C & A Kalyan, Ladies Tailor, phone #758, while waiting to turn of legal age in order to work aboard a ship. I actually tailored so well I found myself making dresses for the Fiji governor’s wife & daughter; point of interest!
My time with fabrics and all that fun ran about a year’s stretch; I did enjoy being able to create that way but not as content as I could be and not always patiently awaiting my break that would carry me out to sea; gotta go – I need to go!
+ a retail organization serving the Fiji Islands since 1868
Good morning really; it’s now 2:45a – ugh! it’s been a real long night but fortunately I get my new computer (at long last) this coming week!! So it would seem that I missed Sunday night post time (again), “Missed it by that much!” -as one of my childhood favorite secret agents, Maxwell Smart always used to say. LOL
I want to say thank you for returning to the story and keeping the faith in the Little Blue Masala! Have a great week ahead and the very best of the holiday season –which ever ones those may be for you– to you and yours!