Elizabeth Jones walked into the welfare office in Gainesville for her second day at the location since being transferred from Chiefland.
As with her first day, the atmosphere didn’t seem like a good fit for the 19-year-old stenographer — and neither did the “cell with a light bulb” that was her workspace.
“And when it came time for lunch … they said, ‘Go to Louis’ diner,’” the now 85-year-old remembered of that day in 1952, referencing longtime Gainesville staple Louis’ Lunch, which closed in 2010 after 82 years.
“Nobody said, ‘Betty, would you like to go to lunch?’ ‘Betty, you wanna have a cup of coffee?’ or anything. So I went to lunch, and I found a phone, and I called the lady, and I said, ‘I am sorry. I’ve never done anything like this in my life. But I cannot come back to your job.’”
And she didn’t. Jones stuck to her abrupt resignation, and she certainly didn’t regret it. But the teen still needed a next move: not school (“I was young, and I didn’t want to go to college”), so it had to be work.