Ellie Lascore: Waitress, Putney Diner

Interview and transcription by Paul Levasseur, April 2007

This is the best job in the world for anybody like me.

I had a very tough childhood, but as I grew older it got better, through my work. That’s what made me happy, I found out.

This is the best job in the world for anybody like me. You know, you can meet nice people, you have a good time, and you get paid for having a good time! I mean I just met so many wonderful people, and it’s never been a job for me. It’s been a good time, all the time. My kids can’t get over that, or anyone that knows me can’t get over that.

Most people don’t like to work. I enjoy working. I enjoy meeting my people. Their not mine, but I call them that. I could never see me doing anything else. Every restaurant I’ve been in I’ve been very lucky… money wise, friend wise. I didn’t have any way else I would’ve raised my kids the way they were raised. I met a lot of nice people. Those people paid for my children, my house, my clothing, my groceries, everything. All my bills. And they liked you. And you had a good time when you went to work, no matter what time it was or how late you stayed. It was never a job. It was always something that made somebody happy, including myself.

I think God gave me that job for some reason.

A lot of times I say things and they laugh it off, and I hope they don’t think I’m being mean, because I’m not. It’s just me. But they seem to like it, and, like I say, I’m lucky. I get away with a lot more than a lot of other people do. They’re good customers, that’s why. It makes a big difference.

I’ve had it all my life. I just remember things. I could have twenty people at a table and not write down an order and [still be able to] give it to ‘em.

Even people from out of town used to come up to see me every year or when they were passing through. It’s just that I enjoyed them so much, and I hope they enjoyed me.

But other people tried it, running their mouth like me, but the customers didn’t like that. But I could get away with almost anything, because they knew I liked them, no matter what I said.

I had more customers than I thought was going to fit in that little place half the time. (laughs). It’s just that I tried to be funny. I just tell ‘em: You want coffee… if you want water, ask for it… but you’re drinkin’ it all before you go! And don’t send me on many errands because you can get it all done at one time.

There’s four people at the table and one wants water and then when he gets it he says I want water. The next person’ll say it, and I’ll say, well that’s too bad, isn’t it. You should’ve asked me then. I don’t need to lose any weight and I don’t want to do it right now (laughs).

Then, if I don’t remember their name I call ‘em “Toots”. They like that. But when they ask me to make fifteen trips its, no, I’m too old! That’s what I tell ‘em. I’m too old and fragile. They just laugh.

They’ll say, Can I have some water, if somebody’s at the table. I say, Drink some of his water. He’s got water. He’s not drinkin’ it right now.

Or… you want more coffee? Today!? Okay.

And if they wanted their eggs ‘over’ and I gave them scrambled, I say well that’s easier for you to chew. You just have to swallow them and that’s it. You’re full.

I just get away with it because they know I like ‘em and it was an accident. Nobody ever got mad at me. And they know they’re going to get what they want outta me anyway. I like everybody in there, and I hope everybody likes me, including my co-workers. (laughs).

When they said that I won “Person of the Year” I couldn’t believe it. I was so surprised because, I mean, I wasn’t even born here. They just met me in the diner.

They got me up there. I was sick that night but they made me go anyway. And then my family was there and I was kinda, I thought that was kinda funny. But they had gone snowmobiling so I figured they stopped there cause they knew we were going to go up to the Putney School.

And when they ever said that I won “Person of the Year” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know what to say. I was speechless. And they waited for me to run my mouth, and I never said a word, I just said: Thank you very much.

And I thought that was the nicest thing because there are so many people in Putney that they could have gave that to. Why did they choose me? I don’t get it.

Like Eva won it this year. I was so happy when she won it. She’s a good lady. And then Laurel Ellis won it a couple of years ago, and she’s another good lady. But they’re local and they do so much for the town. I mean I was just a waitress. I just made everybody laugh. I don’t know if it was at me or with me, but they were laughin’.

When a whole town takes you it sorta feels like you really made them happy; they had to like it to do that for you. But like I say, the people here have treated me wonderful. I couldn’t ask for anybody better.

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