A boy’s first paying job

At the beginning of my sixth-grade year at Twelve Mile Elementary School, the school bus route changed. It came by my house two times. I would often catch it the first time around and either ride the complete route or occasionally depart at the school. When I arrived early, I would often be the first person there. As the school year progressed and the weather got colder, I would build a fire in each of the three heaters in the classrooms, thus having the rooms warmed when the bell donged at eight o’clock. Previous to my contract with the principal, each teacher had to build their own fire.
These old heaters burned coal, but required wood to heat up the coal to get it to burn. On extremely cold days, I recall some of the girls sitting up close to the heater studying while wearing their overcoats. They looked like some of the gold-digging immigrants to Alaska in the 1800s.
Well, the principal, Mrs. Annie Durham, came to me one day and made me a deal. She would pay me 10 cents per day to build fires in each classroom. I jumped at this deal and

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