From the editor: Take me back
Years later, City Editor Morgan Phillips still remembers the shake recipe from her very first job.
Morgan Phillips at age 16 at Shakey's Frozen Custard
1 scoop vanilla, 1 pump caramel.
Half scoop vanilla, half pump hot fudge, half pump caramel.
1 small scoop salted pecan halves.
Cherry on top.
That’s the simple recipe for a Big Bopper “Take Me Back” sundae, now-useless information that has taken up my brain space for the past 18 years. If only I could remove it and make room for more helpful info, like where I left my sunglasses.
Alas, the Bopper is part of me now — as it was then, since I consumed quite a few — a remnant of two years slinging frozen custard at Shakey’s (later called Shake’s) in Broken Arrow and Tulsa. It was my first job at age 16, and I can still smell the vanilla extract and bleach in the back of the house; still hear the 1950s tunes on the speaker and the clang of the drive-thru bell; still feel the cold, unwieldy bag of cream sloshing in my arms as I climbed the step ladder and poured it into the custard machine.
“Take Me Back,” indeed.
I recently came across a 2017 article for The Atlantic by author and researcher Jean M. Twenge titled “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” In the article, and in her book on the subject, Twenge points to several declines in teen behavior since the late 1970s. Fewer teens are driving, fewer are dating, and fewer are working and managing their own money. Shifts in the economy and parenting play a part, Twenge theorizes, as does a little invention called the iPhone.
After re-reading my teenage diaries, let’s just say I’m thankful I made it through those years pre-smartphones and social media. I’m also thankful to have had parents who provided me a late-model Toyota Celica and told me to “get a driver’s license and get a job.” Two years scooping custard taught me a lot about integrity, hard work and customer service. And about the shelf life of various ice cream toppings.
Read about other Tulsans’ first jobs in our feature here. Doing so might just take you back, as well.