When I was 18 I answered an ad in the paper and was hired as an assistant aluminum sider. I was hired by two cousins, Frankie Amendola and Olindo Nocito. They were the owners of the business and my bosses, though I dealt mostly with Frankie because Olindo spoke mostly only Italian.
I would show up at their house around 6:30 in the morning, pile their tools in the back of their beat up blue Ford pick up and we would drive to a job site. Usually a job site was a shingled house whose owner decided he wanted aluminum siding.
The first thing we did when we arrived at a site was set up a scaffold so we could jack two 2x8" up and down and thus scale the house. At first I found this scaffold upsetting and rickety but after a week or so became as steady on the platform as a mountain goat.
Once we had the scaffold set up, it would be time for Olindo and Frankie to leave one job site for another. But I was to stay behind and remove all the shingles from the house where we set up the scaffold.
I was given a crow-bar and a hammer and told to strip the house down to the insulation. This task was a big one and one of utter destructiveness. A good run with the crow bar could get you five or six square feet of old shingle flying off. The shingles would fly everywhere and then I'd have to collect them and bag them in torn burlap sacks that we'd empty out at the dump.
Around 5 or 6 Olindo and Frankie would come driving back, usually with some beer for themselves and orange soda or a beer for me, depending on how much they felt like ragging me. The house would be done and I be in the shrubbery cleaning the stray shingles out of the bushes and generally straightening up. Olindo and Frankie were adamant about job site orderliness.
There was something delightful about this. Muscle, sweat, shingles and beer in the heat and the sunshine. Nobody watching over me and a simple task to fulfill.