During a Fourth of July barbeque, my friends and I stuffed ourselves on raspberries and I got to thinking about the days when I picked them for pocket money, rather than doling out $10 for a few pints at the grocery store.
Growing up in Michigan's fruit belt (our local radio station was even called WHFB, for Heart of the Fruit Belt), my brothers and I were able to supplement our allowances by picking berries at a local farm. Crouching down amongst migrant workers, I filled pints and crates until my fingers were pricked and stained and my hamstrings were shaky. But when I clutched my few dollars at the end of the day, it was all worth it.
Today, I told my friends what I did with that berry money. I sent it straight into Columbia Record & Tape Club. See, I had joined without my parents' knowledge and I was stuck paying full price for albums and cassettes after getting the initial ten records for one cent. I didn't mind forking over the cash for Shawn Cassidy but I wasn't keen on shelling out hard-earned coin for K-Tel records with artists like Peaches & Herb on it.
Today, both Camille and Kerry told me they did the exact same thing (although they probably got their money from another source). Kerry and her friend Jo Marie swapped last names and addresses so they could join more than once. All of us avoided telling our parents until we got threatening letters and had ask our mom to send a response, something along the lines of "My daughter was not of age and therefore cannot be held to this agreement."
I was relieved at this point, because, frankly, picking berries was hard work, and I was thinking I should rein in my expenses and try to live a more modest lifestyle on just my allowance.