Things My Mother Said: Grandmother Edition
Thanksgiving and Gratitude without either word

College Jobs: WBZ

When it used to be possible to have your gas pumped, despite the extra cost, I had the attendant pump it because “I didn’t pay $10,000 for an MIT education so I could pump my own gas.” I really did pay $10,000; my dad’s $1,600 covered a little of my room and board. MIT asked him to take out a mortgage on his mortgage-free house to pay my tuition. How he laughed.

Many scholarship students of my acquaintance at MIT made their money shelving books or bussing tables at the Institute, or working in retail. I was fortunate; I never had to do any of those things. Well, I did 15 minutes in retail once while someone was on a break, but I don’t think that counts.

Thanks to the First-Class Radiotelephone Operators’ Permit that I earned during and because of attendance at Benson Polytechnic, I was qualified for a wide range of broadcasting jobs. I was a summer relief cameraman and overnight-shift master-control operator at KGW-TV. I minded directional antenna arrays at WCRB and KKEY. I was a master control operator and did lighting (big flat lights for Community Auditions) during an ill-advised full-time term-time job at WBZ-TV. All these jobs involved commutes.

You haven’t lived until you’ve commuted by bike from the Back Bay to WBZ’s Soldiers Field Road studio during a rainy Boston summer, over the streetcar tracks and through Boston’s cow-path street system. Ah, how I missed the rectangular street grids of the West.


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