Wit & Wisdom From Mrs. A
My first job was bussing tables at Polly's Pancake Parlor. What it taught me was attention to detail, how to hustle, "If you have time to lean you have time to clean," teamwork, and above all, customer service.
I loved learning about our customers. Where they were from, how long they had been visiting the White Mountains, and even helping them plan their itineraries.
At Polly's, customers were our top priority. The ambience and experience is tailored to their satisfaction, and Polly's has it down- they've been in business since 1938!
Employees are imperative to maintaining a high level of customer service, and at Polly's, employees are valued and appreciated. The expectations are high, but so are the rewards for working at this family owned and operated restaurant.
In the late 1940s, Nancy Dexter Aldrich took over the business from her parents at just 21 years of age. She helped launch it to the success it has now, but when I started working there, Mrs. A was retired. Well, she was retired to everyone but herself.
Everyday she would maneuver down the steep concrete steps in one of her adorable skirts, perfectly accented with a fun pin or pair of earrings. She'd wander towards the entrance and would greet friends and visitors, often taking over from the hostess when her back was turned.
When Mrs. A was on maple trays, she'd frequently ask me run up for more syrup or wash the wooden maple plates differently from how I was told.
"Do it Mrs. A's way," my boss and Mrs. A's daughter, Kathie would instruct. "Then, when she's not around, do it the right way."
Mrs. A had her own set of expectations and executions that were rooted in her decades of entrepreneurism. They may
not have been updated as times changed, but many of them were spot on and lasted to modern times.
After awhile of working Mrs. A's way and the right way, she started telling me stories. Seated in front of the goat milk soaps displayed in the entry way, she'd pull me over and point to an antique on the wall, telling me its origin. She was always laughing and smiling!
I left Polly's for my internship at the Littleton Courier during me senior year of high school. My parents and I continued to enjoy breakfast at Polly's, and many times, Mrs. A would stop by our table to say hello. She remembered so many people.
Mrs. A passed away in December. Her eldest daughter, Debbie delivered a beautiful eulogy, and my favorite part that sums up Mrs. A was this- years ago, Mrs. A asked Debbie, "Do you want to live a normal life, or do you want to live an interesting one?"
Mrs. A was a painter, musician, teacher, traveler, cat person, and entrepreneur. She was the epitome of an interesting life, one that lasted 88 years.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Mrs. A and the staff at Polly's. My first job laid an excellent foundation for careers to come, which lead me to self employment. From the money I earned at Polly's, I was also able to buy the MegaBug.
It's not easy living an interesting life, but it sure is fun! Thank you for setting a graceful example of it, Mrs. A.