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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Jonni Waffle

What kind of world is Jonni Waffle?

 

What do you make of the staff being largely African American (aside from the white new wave cousins), and the patrons being mostly white vacationers?

 

Is Benji "himself" while he's there?

 

What does a first job teach you about yourself? (If anything.)

 

Do you get a different perspective on any of the characters while they work?

 

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deannafrances
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎07-19-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

One of the things that amused me about Jonni Waffle (page71) was stuffing themselves with ice cream.  One of my first jobs was as a carhop and when you got hired, the manager said 

the first week eat as much icecream and toppings as you want for lunch.  He must have lots of experience because after stuffing all the soft serve with hot fudge sauce into your mouth

and then carrying trays full of sticky ice cream, sodas, and malts to the cars--after just a few days--you weren't interested any more.  This was in 1964, and I made 80 cents an hour plus tips which were usually a dime or a quarter. 

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I really liked the way Mr. Colson described Jonni Waffle. From the job description to the people, this place seems very real to me. I could especially "smell" the waffle cones being made.  This line was really descriptive to me. 

pg. 72 "The dust of the waffle mixture swirled in the air like asbestos in the guts of a condemned factory, roosted in the soft warrens of the lungs, clung to hair like sweet dandruff, comingled with sweat and congealed into salty concoctions unreckoned by the makers of the sweet recipe."  What a description!

 

Why such a sharp contrast between the workers and vacationers? This was a minimum wage job, which seemed to be what they could get. These boys didn't have the money to either get the training for something better, or to simply sit out the summer on the beach. Ben isn't relly himself here most of the time, but I found the pride he had in making the waffle cones a good sign. He found something he was really good at.

 

My first job taught me that having money was awesome, until the bills came in. LOL

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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BDonnelly
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Re: Jonni Waffle

Jonni Waffle is the doorway to the adult world- where kids learn that earning a living and being an adult is harder than it looks on many different levels (emotional and physical.)  The staff would have been mostly African-American since the white kids who were out for the summer would not have had the need to work. 
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booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

Jonni Waffle was Benji's introduction into what the real world was like. This was his first experience dealing with the public. Here he would learn to become adult early. Here kids learn how to take on responsible duties as well as earn a living. Benji would learn that earning living isn't as easy as he thought it was.  Benji' isnt really himself here. He has to work while other kids his age are laying on the beach and enjoying the arcades. But while he is working he does take pride in making the waffle cones. I think the first job helps you become more responsible and a better person. Having your own money makes you feel good about yourself after you worked all week. I think the characters seem grow once they begin to work. There outlook on how things are done changes over time.

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,843
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Jonni Waffle

Well as far as your question about the employees goes, I think most vacation spots employs more residents than vacationers and I would definitely call these kids residents since they are there for the entire summer and since some of these kids who are "out" find themselves without parents for most of the time I think a job is either necessary for money or for a cure for boredom. 

I think Benji is himself where ever he is is just depends on what version of himself he's presenting and in the case of Jonni Waffle I think it's a little of both respectful Benji in front of customers or bosses and the other more laid back Benji with "the guys".

I think a first job teaches you the many things, time management, money management getting along with people other than your usual group of friends among others.

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Sassy398
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Registered: ‎11-03-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

  I think we all can pretty much agree, when getting that real first job,

  can set us apart from the carefree world as a child and into the first step

  towards the adult world, of responsibility.  As for the characters, they are all still

  in the learning stages of maturity.

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libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

[ Edited ]

What do you make of the staff being largely African American (aside from the white new wave cousins), and the patrons being mostly white vacationers?

 

 

 

 

I dont think this is an unusual situation.  Ben and his friends are "out" for the entire summer.  They dont want a job that will demand too much of their time or one where they have to work too hard.  They want to have some spending money, but they also want some free time as well, time to hang out with their friends.  More than likely Martine knows that he can hire these kids every summer with little or not effort. The mostly White vacationers are not in Sag Harbor to work, they are there on vacation.   

Message Edited by libralady on 02-23-2009 07:54 PM
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BookWoman718
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I get to spend a couple of weeks each summer in a shore town in New Jersey (because a relative has a house there).  The last couple of summers I noticed a lot of Eastern European "kids" (young people, anyway)  using the computers in the library to make Vonage-like phone calls to friends or relatives - what you noticed was the language, since visually they look like any other white kid.  I thought maybe they were part of some local or summer student group, but no, it turns out that's who gets hired now for all those summerplace jobs.  They rent some cheap place and sleep four to a room, eat cheap at the job, live in shorts and tee shirts, and have a great time all summer hanging with clones of themselves.   The funny thing to me was that I remember a guy who I used to work with, now around 50, very upper middle class background, very successful, talking one day about the "best job he ever had!"  which turned out to be during the year he was 17 and lived all summer in a beach town, making taffy or something, sleeping in some dorm-like attic with a bunch of other kids, and just loving every minute of being on his own!
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lisadiane
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I really enjoyed the descriptions of Jonni Waffle.  I am curious if Benji's parents are aware that the boys are working?  It definitely makes me think about my first job at Hickory Farms of Ohio-making cheese balls.  I can remember the smells and the abhorence that comes with time on the job.  I had enough cheese for a long while....however, we were not really supposed to be eatign the profits!  I guess with ice cream it is different.
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Jennd1
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Re: Jonni Waffle

I think Jonni Waffle is the typical summer resort job.  I wondered if the choice of mostly black workers was one Martine made on purpose or if it just happened that way.  I think Benji does have a persona of sorts when he works,not in a bad way just that he is differnet at work in his approach to co-workers and the customers.  He often seems to be in a zone where he tunes out everything else during the rush.
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canterbear
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Re: Jonni Waffle

the stuffing themselves with ice cream and sweets and later disliking these things..reminds me when I was in high school and we had to pick up doughnuts for the teachers every day at 7:45am.

At first the smell of the hot doughnuts was nice, but it soon became something I could not stand.

And to this day I hardly ever eat a doughnut.

 

 I still am wondering why Benji left the freezer open.

 

It is interesting to read what is important to a boy of his age.

Rubbing against the girls bodies has they worked their.

 

I am not sure if Benji was totally himself while he was around the other kids.

I think there is that element of wanting to fit in and be part of the group. 

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hookedonbooks09
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Re: Jonni Waffle

canterbear wrote: I still am wondering why Benji left the freezer open.

 

I think this was a passive-aggressive way of dealing with the pats on the head from Martine.   While the others tended to want to antagonize him outright, Ben's upbringing/conscience or whatever kept him from doing something that would have been in Martine's face.  I don't really feel it had to do with protecting his job. 

 

By leaving open the freezer, he got a measure of satisfaction and remained anonymous at the same time.  He works more from cool revenge than hot-tempered reaction.

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Jennmarie68
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Re: Jonni Waffle

For me I think that the reason that the staff is mostly african american is because they are the kids that while they are better off than most, they do not have the luxury that is afforded to the white kids that vacation in the hamptons. These kids need the money, even if it is just minimum wage, in order to "survive".

 

In my experience with my first job it taught me what I didn't want to do for the rest of my life. But it also taught me to grow up. As a kid I always had what I needed, but I didn't always get what I wanted. My first job taught me that money isn't in abundance for most people. It gave me a lot of respect for my parents. I saw the struggles I had in saving to get myself something I wanted. Then to look at my parents and see that not only did they have to provide the necessities for me and my two sisters they also wanted to make sure that we had some luxuries, as well as feeding their wants and needs. 

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

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sailorreader
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎02-08-2008
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Re: Jonni Waffle

My first job was in a candy/card shop.  As with these young men I was told to "eat all you like"  I went into the job a size 10 left as a 12 pushing 14. 

 

That's another hidden message in "eating all you want".  It took another year to get rid of the weight and taught me that other things needed to be done in the shop besides eat.

 

I get the feeling that Benji found this out as well.  He turned a keen eye to the waffle preparation and watched to make sure others did it well.  He volunteered to do the work.

 

My only question is understanding why Benji left the cases ajar.  Did he want to do something to make the owner mad, did he do the right thing, why did he do it?

 

Before that point I felt Benji was a great employee.  Afterward I felt unsettled about his agenda in Jonni Waffle was.

 

I also found it interesting that race came into this business place.  Was it hard for the boys to realize a black man could own profitable business(es)?  Would they have tried to find the race of a white person that look Italian or Jewish?

 

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brezi
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Re: Jonni Waffle


BookWoman718 wrote:
I get to spend a couple of weeks each summer in a shore town in New Jersey (because a relative has a house there).  The last couple of summers I noticed a lot of Eastern European "kids" (young people, anyway)  using the computers in the library to make Vonage-like phone calls to friends or relatives - what you noticed was the language, since visually they look like any other white kid.  I thought maybe they were part of some local or summer student group, but no, it turns out that's who gets hired now for all those summerplace jobs.  They rent some cheap place and sleep four to a room, eat cheap at the job, live in shorts and tee shirts, and have a great time all summer hanging with clones of themselves.   The funny thing to me was that I remember a guy who I used to work with, now around 50, very upper middle class background, very successful, talking one day about the "best job he ever had!"  which turned out to be during the year he was 17 and lived all summer in a beach town, making taffy or something, sleeping in some dorm-like attic with a bunch of other kids, and just loving every minute of being on his own!

 

This reminds me of Mackinac Island in Michigan. They hire summer workers from Europe, Jamaica, and Asia. They have name tags that tell where they're from. I wonder if they also do this now in the Hamptons?
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JSS
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Re: Jonni Waffle



What kind of world is Jonni Waffle?

 

What do you make of the staff being largely African American (aside from the white new wave cousins), and the patrons being mostly white vacationers?

 

Is Benji "himself" while he's there?

 

What does a first job teach you about yourself? (If anything.)

 

Do you get a different perspective on any of the characters while they work?

 


 My take on why it's a largely African American staff is pretty elementary. When I went to find my first job, I asked my friends where they worked (or I knew where they worked). I had no experience in how to find a job so I did what came naturally and took the easy way out by getting a friend of mine to introduce me to the manager of the business. I was hired on the spot and I feel that to some extent, that's what's happened here. Plus, it's "always "safe" (on many levels; socially, emotionally, etc.) to work where other people "like" you are working when you are young.

 

At least in the chapter devoted to Jonni Waffle, the staff seems to take on a more mature posture. they learn how to recognize and deal with different types of people. The take their jobs fairly seriously considering they are just teenagers. My first job was delivering for a local florist and it was the only three hours of the day that I acted like a responsible person instead of a teenager. I knew the owner had high expectations of me but, more importantly, I had high expectations of myself. It's a time when you "prove" to yourself that you are not an irresponsible person like so many people in your lives perceive you to be.

 

Benji fits right into the persona described above. He uses his time at Jonni Waffle to test himself in a variety of ways. He's growing up and while he might not actually realize that he feels that way, I believe he senses it and knows it's something important.

"I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth." Ayn Rand
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IBIS
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Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Jonni Waffle: Customers

[ Edited ]

A teenager’s universal terror of aggressive customers

 

Benji's job at Jonni Waffle brought back memories that terrorized me at my first summer job as a teenager. The author captured the universal terror of having to face aggressive and rude customers.  When I was a teenage counter girl, I suffered the shakes whenever rush-hour crowds stormed into the candy shop. Their impatient demands and loud complaints about my slowness paralyzed me.

 

I identified with Benji's feelings of being under attack during the evening rush. I died of boredom all the other hours, but watch out for those lunch and evening rush hours. I too felt under attack. Benji and his co-workers used military war terms to prepare for rush hours... “Incoming!”

 

 “The front of the shop, the customer side, wasn’t that large, which made it all the more terrifying when you looked up from the vats during the evening rush to see such a ferocious throng. So much menace per square inch.”

 

I laughed out loud at this: p. 110 “We didn’t discriminate. We scooped for the burnouts, the flotsam, the human tumbleweed.” 

 

And finally, “The smeared, the daubed, the ugly eaters out for their favorite treat.”

 

How delightfully outrageous1

 

Message Edited by IBIS on 02-27-2009 12:36 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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emmagrace
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Re: Jonni Waffle

My first job gave me a taste of what the adult world was really like and it also taught me the value of a dollar. I found that I was pretty stingy when I had earned the money myself.

 

As for why the staff was mostly african american, Jennmarie68 summed it up for me. I do not think that I could have said it any better.

Jennmarie68 wrote:

 

For me I think that the reason that the staff is mostly african american is because they are the kids that while they are better off than most, they do not have the luxury that is afforded to the white kids that vacation in the hamptons. These kids need the money, even if it is just minimum wage, in order to "survive".

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dreyslibrary
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Registered: ‎01-28-2009
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Re: Jonni Waffle

Jonni Waffle would've been my version of heaven as a teenager - free ice cream??  :smileytongue:  Mr. Whitehead described it so realistically, I could see it in my head. And the blackout, when they gave everyone free ice cream because the registers weren't working - I could see having to do that, and not having a care about it, because hey, it wasn't MY ice cream.

 

A first job is a big responsibility. Much bigger than you ever thought it would be, even if it's something as "easy" as serving ice cream. There's punctuality, responsibility, and service.