Counter Culture Waitress Blog


COUNTER CULTURE IN BOOKSTORES!

Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress

Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress

Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress will be in bookstores on September 1st. I will be on book tour from September 3rd through November 18th. The tour starts in San Francisco at Modern Times – 888 Valencia St on September 3rd at 7pm.

See website for more details and tour info: http://www.taylormadeculture.com

Hope to see you there!



MEET CHARLOTTE SOLBERG • COPPER CART • SELIGMAN, AZ • 2001

charlotte@work-orgI was born and raised in Seligman. I’m Mexican. My mother was born here too and it was so neat because the house I was born in was a two-story house and they just, a few years ago – done away with it, and it was such a neat house.

I started washing dishes when I was 10 and they put a crate on the floor for me to stand on. I used to love to go there. My first waitressing job [was] at 13, my x-brother-in-law was the one that broke me in.  It was just a little old restaurant just across there, it used to be called the H&J. I was really shy then. I didn’t want to be around all the guys because they were all railroad guys.

Harvey House

I worked at the Caverns, when old [Route] 66 was popular for Fred Harvey in the late 60’s. I was 21 years old. They had a write up in the paper with me and Fern (her sister) about the Fred Harvey Girls. Me and  Fern and my older sister Josie all worked there at the Fred Harvey restaurant and we had to wear the uniforms. They were black dresses with the white pinafores. Oh I hated them things! We had to wear dresses, we couldn’t wear pants. You had to wear your hair down. If you had long hair you had to wear your hair in nets. I remember when I just started working for Buster Collins, he was from Arkansas and that guy was strict. We had to serve our coffee with saucers and if you spilled a little bit of coffee, he would call me back there and you had to re-serve again. He was real strict. But at the Caverns we had to wear the uniforms. You couldn’t chew gum, and there was no smoking either. You had to be real neat and you had wear a starched uniform everyday. Everyday.

A lot of people say it’s [waitressing] stressful and if people give them a hard time, they can’t take it. They can’t do it. You have to put up with a lot sometimes. And you think, well people are tired and they’re going to be like that. I’ve gone through a lot of bad experiences but I’ve also had people send my gifts from different countries, from Germany, Taiwan. I get to talking with them, like one day this guy came in from Los Angeles,  he was really, really  nice. And few days later in the mail, he sent me a little gold metal. He was wearing a religious metal and I said, “Oh your metal’s so pretty.” Things like that. You get postcards from people that you’ve met.

Some people from Taiwan, they came in here, there were three of them, they were having lunch. They asked for a plate and they poured this stuff onto the plate, it looked like strips of squash and tomatoes and it looked so good. I asked them what they were eating and they told me what it was. They said “Would you like a taste?” I said “Sure,” there were vegetables and I said “That is so good” and when they left they asked me for my address and I never thought anymore about it. Well like a few months later I get this box in the mail and it was from Taiwan. I still have some at home. They sent me packages of different types of vegetables with the hot sauce that they use and my husband and I were looking at it and it took about 3 months for that package to get here. It passed inspection and everything. I thought that was really neat.

Copper Cart - Seligman, Arizona

Copper Cart - Seligman, Arizona

And then I had some German people here, they had two kids and they had their comics. We were talking at the table and it had the Disney characters in German. I said “Oh that it so cute, can you read to me in German?” Then they too asked me for my address and I got this package from the mail with the comics from Germany.

You know the most I’ve ever made here was $350.00. It was the “Fun Run” and we were the only restaurant open.  Lilos was remodeling.  I would go home with over $200 everyday. Maybe it was more that I made. I really cleaned up.