Summer jobs: Flowers, photos and more

By Tom Barr -

Editor’s Note: We recently asked some Clinton Countians to tell us about their first summer job. This is the Part 2 of a 4-part News Journal series that began on Saturday.

By Jonathan McKay

Wilmington Savings Bank,

City Councilman

My first summer job was with Allen Studios helping Hal Allen with his photography business taking wedding and senior photos.

What I loved liked about the job: I liked meeting the clients that had contracted with Hal and I enjoyed Hal himself. He is a great person and we would often talk about how the Reds, Bengals and Xavier Basketball would be doing. If the time of the year was right we would also, talk horse racing and the Triple Crown Series.

There were no downsides to working with Hal.

My favorite memory was a wedding and Hal climbed up into a church balcony and could not get the shot of the group we wanted so he climbed over the railing of the balcony and knelt down on a ledge. He got the shot but I thought for sure he was going to fall. This is the dedication Hal has to his clients. The group laughed when I said Hal don’t fall because I can’t operate the camera. It was our first wedding with the new digital camera he had bought.

By Kelsey Swindler

Clinton Memorial Hospital,

City Councilwoman

As many would guess, my first summer job was working at my family’s florist and greenhouse, Swindler and Sons Florists.

I loved working with people and the constant activity — my favorite weekend of the year was prom weekend/Mother’s Day weekend, which opened up the summer garden center season. I remember being 13 and the intoxicating last-minute rush of it all — we would stay late to box hundreds of prom corsages, and I loved imagining the dresses the corsages would be paired with, and the feeling of being a real “adult” as I pitched in with my family and all of our employees.

My favorite and least favorite part of the job was working with family! When you’re 14, 15, 16, going to work with your dad while your friends are on vacation can feel like absolute torture – especially when he wouldn’t stop “bossing” you around!

As I got older, I really grew to love it, and all the days spent with my family meant the world. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I realized how special that experience was, and how few people had the opportunity to grow up in a true, small family business. I was so grateful I had an example of hard work, and that I had been expected to contribute – that experience was invaluable as I grew up and began to work for other people/companies.

I remember working in the garden center with my dad when it started to get really uncomfortable – toward the end of May/beginning of June, when we were still busy in the greenhouses, but the temperature was beginning to climb – and how anxious I was to sneak breaks. If my dad caught me sitting, I could expect an hour or two of cleaning petunias (a sticky, hot, thankless job) or cutting back geraniums (we grew thousands of geraniums – the task was endless). He never (ever) let me try to close up a few minutes before five, when I would start to get anxious about customers coming in at the last minute – and multiple times would whip us right back into the parking lot if he saw a car pull in after we had closed the gates.

I never understood that as a kid (We were closed! Couldn’t we just go home?!), and now as an adult, it’s my compass – I learned my work ethic from my parents, and I’m so grateful for it.

By Mindy McCarty-Stewart


Wilmington City Schools

I was the Arts & Crafts Instructor for Camp Graham.

I enjoyed working with the campers and their excitement for the projects we did during the Arts & Crafts Activity time.

I disliked having to help with cleaning cabins and bathrooms in between camps. I also pitched in to clean dishes in the kitchen when needed and this was in the summer heat with no air conditioning.

I met many great people during this time at working at Camp Graham and it gave me a deep appreciation for all the work that goes into running a camp.

By Kyle Wilson

Blanchester School Board VP,

District Sales Manager

I worked in our family’s slaughterhouse. My brother and I received our start on the chicken kill floor — $15 a day, 8 hours.

I liked working with family and friends. My brother and I both had buddies that would help throughout the summer months and then all year as we grew older.

Sometimes having your father as a boss has rewards and sometimes … it can have the opposite effect! It was a wonderful time, though; most kids do not get a chance to work alongside family.

Many lessons learned, one of my favorite being a time my brother (Adam) and I were embarrassed to eat at “Gene El’s” (former restaurant in Blan) as we had been working all day and were a bit filthy/bloody. Dad looked at us both and said, “Don’t ever be ashamed of hard work.” I’ll never forget it.

Dad held the record for most cattle processed in a day and as I grew older, a goal was to beat his record. Through high school and early college years I would get close but never managed to “turn the corner” on his record. One fateful day everything seemed to click in the slaughterhouse and I finally tied him. Dad wasn’t one for compliments, but he was that day! Never did beat him though, only tied … he loved to remind me of that.

Jodie Havert

Director of Food Service

Wilmington City Schools

Jodie’s first summer job was as a cashier at Dorothy Lane Market in Centerville.

“I got to meet people from all different walks of life, including both customers and fellow staff members. Some of these acquaintances evolved into lifelong friendships,” said Havert.

Her least favorite part of the job, she said, was “handling money — so dirty and disgusting!”

The most memorable thing that occurred while working there was she met her future fiancé.

By Tom Barr