Lorea, Barbara and another girl with a bunch of guys came down tonight. I wanted to go out with them, but I couldn’t because I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to brush up on my Comptometer practice.
I finally wrote back to Charles today, he is still serving in Korea.
Friday May 2, 1952
Kenny and Billy came down tonight. They said they hadn’t seen me up at The Stomp for quite a while and came down to see how I was.
Saturday May 3, 1952
Went on double date tonight in L.A. with Jim and saw “Steel Town” and “A Girl in Every Port”. As we were coming home he was feigning me and telling me how much he liked me, and how lucky a guy he would be to get me. Also, I am supposed to sleep on it, considering going steady with him. I’m supposed to give him my answer tomorrow. Also, I wouldn’t let him kiss me as usual.
Virginia, Floyd, Jim and I had supper over Floyd’s sister’s home and had chicken dinner. I told Jim NO and he was broken hearted. He said he prayed I’d go steady and say YES, for his day would’ve been complete if only I’d said the right thing. I wonder if he had a lump in his throat. Tsk, Tsk, I am a beast! Got in at 1:00 am in the morning.
Monday May 5, 1952
Went over and got interviewed this morning. Only got 3 ½ hours of sleep last night, although I’m not tired. I have to go get a physical check-up tomorrow and then start to work at Western Electric on Wednesday. Oh brother what gripes my rear end is I have to go and get a work permit for not being 18 until August! Well I’ve been lying about my age ever since I’ve been working and I decided to tell the truth this time since my birthday will be so near, so I have to go up to school tomorrow to see about the permit.
Tuesday May 6, 1952
My sister June is 14 years old today, big girl now. I got her three pure silk scarves.
Wednesday May 7, 1952
It is Virginia’s 24th birthday today. I got her a nylon blouse and a silk scarf.
Thursday May 8, 1952
I work on the payroll over at work, making out checks and so forth. I get to see how much everyone makes. Not bad, but I am sworn to secrecy. I make $1.33 an hour myself. I guess the job is alright, it’s a lot of variety and that is good… but I don’t like any form of work. I’ll clue you: If I ever get married it will be to a millionaire, and I’ll settle down and really live right. You know it is just as easy to marry a rich man as it is a poor man, so what the hell for goodness sakes!
After graduating El Monte High School when she was just 16 years old, we find Vilma still struggling to find her way as a young lady in the working world of the 1950’s. Like most girls her age she is marriage minded, however, Vilma is no ordinary girl who will be satisfied with settling down with the first man to ask her to marry her (poor Jim). Nor is she satisfied with the dreariness of being at a job that bores her to death. But, if she has to work towards the goal of buying her own car, which would give her more freedom and independence, she’ll have to hunker down and accept the tedium of it all.
Typical Vilma, the sassy go getter, was also not going to let the technicality of her age hold her back from earning some dough. In her mind, she was practically 18 anyhow!
It’s unique to have an account of a young girl’s work life in the 1950’s, as we've seen here there weren't many career choices: Comptometer Operator, File Clerk, Payroll Clerk.
And let’s just remind ourselves of that salary situation:
- Payroll Clerk: $1.33 an hour
- Comptometer Operator: $200 per month
What about that poor Jim? He's certainly no millionaire, just a good Marine trying his best to woo the girl. But the saying “He/She is just not that into you” holds true in any generation. Vilma gets it, but Jim sure doesn’t. The poor guy is still on the opposite end of that one. As she says: “If I were him, I would have given up a long time ago.”
Oh the poor lovelorn sucker, what keeps him coming back for more torture at Vilma’s hands?
When it comes to the nature of dating, I liken it to a cat and mouse game. Now as a man, Jim thinks he is the pursuer. But Vilma is the classic cat. Jim is only her play thing. He is the mouse caught in the complex trap of a young woman experimenting with her female charms and persuasions. And since he’s there, she toys with his heart and emotions: sending mixed messages like accepting dates, meeting his family, then avoiding the good night kiss. Like most kitties she quickly grows bored of her play thing, for a while at least. But Jim, the little mouse, just keeps showing up again and again...Vilma just can’t help herself!
How much longer will she string him along? And will someone more enticing show up soon? Hmmm, we shall soon see…