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Chasing The American Dream

December 02, 2005


I was 24 when I got my first real post-college job. I shunned the then Big 8 accounting firms for an opportunity to work at the same bank as someone I call, ‘number one.’ She was my first girlfriend. But that’s another story for another day. I was a Staff Auditor in the Internal Audit department. My mind was a sponge ready to absorb everything I could about Finance, Accounting, and Auditing. I wanted a solid foundation with which to build a so-called career.

I lasted just over two years before moving on to American Express. I got the foundation. But you wanna know what the most important thing I learned during job #1? Her name was Minerva Chalwell. She was African-American and very motherly toward me. She was very eager to help me transition from college to the real world. One day, she noticed a flaw in my attire. My button-down shirt was sans one button. True. It came off while I was at work. I was stuck plain and simple. Or so I thought.

Miss Minerva told me she was a sewing expert and offered to sew the button back on right then and there. She told me sewing buttons was easy and proceeded to show me. Less than five minutes later, my button was fixed.

19 years later, I’m still sewing buttons. I just fixed up my shorts with a button and thought of Minerva and what a wonderful lesson she taught me all those years ago. When people ask me what was the best thing I learned on my first job, I always tell them the button story. Thanks, Minerva.


  • Reading your post you made me think about the period I past in the Us in 2001...

    It was not the first time I was staying far away from home to study, and it was not the first time I was staying in a homestay, but that time from the moment I arrived in her house Beth had been like a mom for me, and helped me in anyway she can... 4 years are now past, but we are still in touch, because in the 2 months I past in her house (and with her family) I felt...loved and ready to enter in the "real world" (1 years later I moved from my home and from my city to go living on my own)

    Ciao! :-)

    By Blogger Liz, at 1:14 PM, December 03, 2005  

  • As a Jappy Long Island girl, I learned that daddy will just buy me a new shirt.

    Kidding - I sew buttons AND make my own hems.

    By Blogger Queen Helene, at 7:56 AM, December 04, 2005  

  • Do you have that little sewing kit in a handy place? I have one at work-in the car-and one at home. Can you tell my personality from the number of sewing kits I possess? LOL Have a great Sunday PT and happy sewing. Thanks for sharing the story.

    By Blogger Sherri, at 8:58 AM, December 04, 2005  

  • re first paragraph of this blog entry:
    I don't know if I'm the only person who reads this blog who actually knew you (and those with whom you associated) 20 years ago, but all I can say is be kind and exercise some discretion when you write about the ghosts of your past.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:31 AM, December 19, 2005  

  • Anon, ye of little faith :-)

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:42 PM, December 20, 2005  

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