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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

His First Day at Work

Alright, so Petya went to work.  All of just 15 years old, he’s filling up his resume faster than Lucille Ball wrapping candy on the assembly line.  Never mind that he has three other volunteer jobs, a couple with very heady responsibilities, this was the one where he had to report to an actual office each week.

An office with a window, and a desk, and a leather chair.  Remember?

He was flying high, smiling from ear-to-ear.

I was a nervous wreck.

This was the office of a very learned journal, a slick magazine of the cerebral sort, something right up his alley.  I thought they might want him to move boxes, or arrange books on ancient alphabets, or any other duties that might be fitting to a strong, young man getting his start in life.

“The office manager said there were various projects,” he reported after his interview.  “She said maybe I would go to the Library of Congress, or I might do some editing for them….”

“Editing?” I echoed, incredulously.

English was not his strong point, having arrived from Russia after the age in which other kids had long since plunged into their academic careers.  In all honesty, his command of academic English could use some work, not to mention his spelling.

“Let them know that English is not your first language,” I encouraged, as he put on his khaki pants, jeans shirt, blue and black tie, and black corduroy sports jacket.

“And try not to take any phone messages,” I added, thinking of the times he had taken messages for me… that I had dictated to him… and still… I couldn’t make hide nor hair of them.

“I’ll just tell them that I can’t do this, and this, and this,” he ticked off, serious soul that he was.

That’s when I realized the error of my ways, and backtracked, as any good mother should do occasionally.

“Well, that might not sound good, either.  I mean, you want to sound like you’re up for any challenge…” I hedged.  “Oh, forget my advice,” I gave him my best advice, “just try your hardest in anything they might ask.”

He kissed me goodbye and reassured me, “Mama, I’ll be fine.”

I felt like Abraham putting Isaac up on the altar.  My little guy was now a big guy, and heading out to his first day on the job-!  His father drove him to the office and dropped him off an unembarrassing block away from the magazine.  He would be walking home by himself, really not far at all, but in an urban setting where who knew what potential kidnappers, streetpeople, and perverts might be lurking nearby….

The hours passed slowly and tortuously.  Every five minutes, I glanced at the clock.  How was he?  What was he doing?  Were they being nice to him?  Was he sitting up straight and exhibiting his can-do attitude?  I prayed, I paced, I picked on the other kids who thought that if he were out having fun, then they could goof off, too.

At last, it was five o’clock.  I started dinner and herded the other kids away from the front door, nosy Nellies that they were.  I wished Petya to be able to enter in peace, like the big guy that he was.  In my heart, I wanted to press my nose up to the window, or go stand on the front step and gaze off into the distance to glimpse his figure coming down the street.

It was 5:23 p.m., when he came through the door, huffing and puffing, out of breath.  I tried to restrain any thoughts of a mugger chasing him.

“Sorry, Papa,” he saw his father first.  “I tried to make it home by 5:15.”

“That was your estimated time of arrival,” Benedetto laughed.  “Take as long as you need.”

“The big hill, Mama….” he panted.

“I know, I know!” I hugged him, chuckling over the big hill that we had to hike early each morning to hit the tennis courts.  “You’re home!  How did it go?”

“Well, great… they had me editing!” he exclaimed.


“Yes, I met the publisher, the man who founded the magazine, you know, Mr. ______, and I assisted him, typing the article and inserting whatever he would write in the margins.  They said I did pretty well….”

Fairly amazing for articles all written by Ph.D.s.  Maybe he would learn decent English, after all!  So there he was, using proofreading symbols, editing, and yes, alphabetizing books on the bookshelf about ancient alphabets.  Never say never.  Never underestimate your child.  And never keep him waiting for dinner after a long half-day at the office.

“Mama, I’m starving-!”



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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    He did it – he did it – he did it !!! Yea for Petya! Way to go buddy!

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