Charles McManuis

I worked on the amimal farm the summer of 1962 just after completion of my freshman year at Wakefield High. I was fourteen years of age and state law required employees be sixteen to work on anything mechanized so I did not qualify to work on the rides.

Pleasure Island classified the people it hired to work on the animal farm as "agricultural laborers" and paid us less than the minimum wage which was $1.15 at the time. I rode my bicycle 6 miles each way 5 days a week for $1.00 per hour. My first check for a 40 hour week was a net $33. I cashed my check and decided to use the money to buy some new pants. I tried on a pair of pants at a department store and left my wallet in the pants I wore to the store, and when I returned to the dressing room after checking the fit, someone had stolen my wallet with the money I had worked hard to earn.

The animal farm was not a glamorous place to work. The sheep got hoof and mouth disease and several died and had to be picked up, wheelbarrowed to vacant land and buried. While in a rowboat cleaning debris from the lake / moot area around the island where the monkeys were kept, I reached in the water to pick up  a dark floating object and with my bare hand picked up a dead monkey. The llamas were nasty and horny and put on daily perrformances for children to ask their parents what they were doing. The animal droppings had to be broomed up several times and day which meant pushing a broom over the entire animal farm area and getting extremely dusty and dirty.  I was glad when school started again!

I received a surprise in the mail about a year after I had worked at Pleasure Island. The state audited the park and found they had wrongly classified the animal farm employees as agricultural and made then pay us the difference between what we had been paid and the minimum wage. The check wasn't much, but it was nice.

Charles McManuis mcmanuis@gte.net

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