With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

LizzieLou | employment history,nablopomo | Saturday, November 29th, 2008

After my first year away at school, I went back to Cape Cod to work again for the summer. My 5&10 friends (BF and the Looneygirl) were now working at a schmancy hotel as maids. I decided to work there too, and live with them there in the dorms for the workers – bellmen, waitstaff, foodservice, deskfolk and us… housekeeping staff. Also known by the less politically correct term of “chamber maids.” A usual day started early: the yanking on of ill-fitting and ass-ugly dress uniforms, communal breakfast, then to the laundry for our assignments. Our first task was to dust the sun room off the lobby. En masse we strode humbly into the main hotel building and dusted an acre of wicker furniture. Pure tedium. Then we returned to the laundry and gathered up our buckets of toxic cleaning sprays, rags, clean towels and fresh linens. When the rooms were done, we were free until after dinner, when we had to return to do turn-downs: refreshing the towels, drawing the curtains, turning on the lights, turning down the beds and leaving chocolates on the pillows.

The real tale here however is not the daily grind. It’s the occasional freaks who came to stay at the hotel, the weirdness of the hotel itself, and the debauched behavior of those that worked there.

Freaks… One of the oddest was a single middle aged woman in one of the cottages. She would never let the maid in while she was there and she was occasionally heard to be shouting and wailing. When we were finally able to get in the room, we discovered that she had stabbed and shredded all of her pillows. What to do? Well, seeing as this was a schwanky place and the lady was paying a shitload of money to stay there, we replaced her pillows. A couple days passed and we were able to return and she had stabbed her pillows to death once again. She caused quite a buzz for a week, but we never did find out what her problem was. Displaced homicidal tendencies or feather allergy? No idea. There was also a salacious rumor about Ben Vereen’s nocturnal activity when he was a guest one time, but I don’t want to be sued by his estate so I’ll have to stay mum.

Weirdness… One of the original cabins was referred to as the Amityville cabin. It is shaped a little like the evil house from the movie with the same pair of quarter-round windows on the upper floor. The general belief amongst the staff was that it was haunted. Maids told spooky stories about feeling cold spots, and feeling like they were not alone. One time Looneygirl was assigned to clean the cabin and made me go with her. At that time in my life I was pretty woo-woo and agreed that there was a presence there. I hope the next check-in didn’t mind the shitty vacuuming job, but we had to finish quickly before becoming possessed and murderous.

Debauchery… I can’t say too much about this here because my sister reads this blog. But there was the one time the turn-downs took about 3 hours, because the maids were under the influence and “one of them” spent 20 minutes chasing a bunny around the putting green to see if it would eat a fancy, shell-shaped chocolate. And of course there was the embezzlement of several pounds of fancy, shell-shaped chocolates which, when dipped in a jar of peanut butter, made an excellent midnight snack after a party. They also made a nice gift for Gram when she would come pick me up for church on Sundays.

1 Comment

  1. Ooh, I do love me a Ben Vereen story. Perhaps you’ll tell me one day in secret…

    Comment by jenni — November 30, 2008 @ 10:06 pm

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