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Summer of '82: My Unfortunate, Short Career at Great America

Share your memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA in Santa Clara

Summer of '82: My Unfortunate, Short Career at Great America

Postby PEN64 » Mon May 22, 2006 10:30 am

I worked at the park in Santa Clara during the summer of 1982, just after graduating from High School. In those days, I didn’t have a car so I took a multi-transfer bus ride to the park which took well over an hour. I didn’t care, though, because I was happy to be working in my favorite amusement park! My first assignment was in Show Ops where I was an usher first as the Great American Music Hall. That period was the greatest time I had at the park and I have fond memories of walking though the park before opening… something so cool about being in a near-deserted amusement park! I also loved the employee cafeteria backstage where the food was cheap and plentiful. However, my idyllic time began to crumble when one of the lead ushers decided that she did not like me for some reason, so she told the boss that I was coming on to her (definitely NOT true) and so I got transferred to the Pictorium – the IMAX theatre. From then on, I was a bit of a rebel. The Pictorium was a lot of fun, actually – at that time; it was showing a film called, An American Adventure which even then was pretty hokey. We used to stand at the back of the steep auditorium under the projection room and throw jelly beans into the crowd, stifling laughter if we hit some one as we watched them look around for the culprits. I also worked the Live Music tent and that Summer, the headlining acts were Huey Lewis and The News and the Gatlin Brothers Band. I was never sure what got me my final transfer to the parking tollbooth out front- sneaking too many cigarettes, maybe? - but it was like being banished to the lower realms – I will never forget standing there in red white and blue polyester (with a blazer and tie) in the July sun, feeling like I was cooking in my shoes. My final downfall came when a co-worker, who had been antagonistic towards me since day one, suddenly became my best buddy and let me in on his great scheme to filch money from the park by neglecting to give people their parking passes and pocketing the money. After convincing me that everyone did it, he waited till I had been doing it a week and turned me in to security; it had all been a set-up and I was too young and gullible to see myself being manipulated. I was taken to speak with someone in Security, an imposing man with hair growing out of the tip of his nose – I remember that distinctly. He gave me a big scare story about how he could have me arrested but instead he was letting me go with my final check and a stern warning. Weird post script: Several years later, when I was working in the Men’s department of a local J.C. Penney, the man with the hair growing out of his nose became a regular customer of mine and never gave me any indication that he remembered me as the light-fingered tollbooth worker …
Despite all the misery, self inflicted and otherwise, I still look back on the good times I had working there with great affection. It truly has never been the same park since Marriot let it go.
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PEN64
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Postby PGA ROCKS » Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:37 am

This must have been horrible to go through. My, how unfortunate. :(

Either way, even it it wasn't the best time ever for you, I hope you had a great time working at MARRIOTT'S Great America. Cherish the good times. :D
I miss Tidal Wave
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