Mr. Roy Miles is the manager of Shakey’s restaurant on Route 1. He is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School, and a resident of the trailer park.
Nightingale is an old trailer court. I've been living there for about three years and hated every minute of it. There are too many trailers in there. There are supposed to be nine trailers to an acre of land. They have fourteen to an acre of land. The streets are horrible, what streets there are. In the winter time they are icy. Firetrucks can't get in there because of the icy roads. A church burned down back in the middle of the thing because the firetrucks couldn't get to it. There is an extremely steep hill which I've always named ''Hernia Hill," because I had to walk up it at night.
Fairfax County has bought the place. They had some news media on it last year, and have since come up with some revising of the area. They are going to put paved streets in, curbs, thin out the trailers. Out with the bad trailers, keep the nice looking ones and put special restrictions on, where the trailer park will be a nice place again. Also in their reconstruction of this trailer park, Brook's Motor Lodge is supposed to be torn down and that intersection comp1ete1y revised, which I think is very, very helpful. That is a dangerous intersection the way it is now.
There was a man and his wife who owned the area I really don't know the owner's name, but I know it goes back as far as 1957 though. They started it and he died and his wife took over and she sold it to some relative. It still stayed in the family.
You have a wide range of people in there. Most people back in there are either very young couples who can't afford the high rent rates, people on welfare, people living off Social Security, and people who can't keep jobs.
You've got a lot of people like myself who couldn't afford a nice apartment, so they went another route and bought a trailer, and didn’t have any other opportunity to move into a nice trailer park and had to be forced into a dump like that. They only last a year or so, until they can afford better means, and then they get out of there.
A lot of military people live back in there with their wives, who also on their salaries can't afford rent.
There are good people -- don't get me wrong -- there are some good people back up in there. Some very good friends of mine live back up in there, but I would say a realistic figure of about 25% of the kids back in there, are nothing but pure hell raisers. They do a variety of things like breaking people’s windshields out, when they get mad at me for kicking them out or throwing stones in the parking lot.
I like being a manager. It can be here or anyplace else. I enjoy working with people. I enjoy my customers. I have some very good friends through my customers and it's just a pleasure serving people, knowing they enjoy the service I can give them.
I have Mr. and Mrs. Henderson. They come in here every Wednesday night, 8: 00 or 8: 15, right around that area, and they order two pizzas. Mr. Henderson brings his wife. They used to bring his three children but now he’s only got one left. That'll give you some idea of how many years that man has been coming in here. I think it's been about seven years, he's been coming in here to this Parlor.
We've got guys like Norm who comes in here everyday and has himself three or four beers and takes a couple steak sandwiches home.
I have a friend who works down at the radio station named Bob. He comes in here every Saturday night between 10:30 and 11:00 just like clockwork. That man has not missed a Saturday night in nine years. Obvious1y he takes vacations. That's the only time the man don’t come in here.
Harold, he comes in here three times a day, every day for the last year, year and a half. Not only do we act as a service to the people, some people like Harold -a lonely old man who needs somebody to talk to comes in here and talks to us.
People are under the impression you make a lot of money in the restaurant business. You do, but it isn't exactly the way you would think. The average employee sees a lot of money come into that register but that isn't exactly the cash you make as a profit. A large percent goes for labor. The turnover in the restaurant business is unreal.
For each person that you hire that don't work out - lets say for two weeks and he decides he don't like the pizza business and quits - on the average that will cost you about $495.00. That is an actual figure, which has been given to me.
There are other pieces of the puzzle of running the restaurant business. You've got your food costs, you've got your beverage allowance, you've got your labor cost allowance. You've got to watch employees to make sure they don't waste food on you, 'cause that will jack your food cost up. You've got to watch they don't drink beverages and not pay for them, or waste the beer by improperly pouring it.
That’s all going down the drain. It's like a penny out of your pocket every two or three seconds and throwing it in the trash can. Before you know it, you'd be out a hundred dollars, and you ain't got a cent left in your pocket.
I went to Mount Vernon before it switched over to Walt Whitman. I was in the graduating class of 1972. Mr. Snell was my teacher for two years in Distributive Education. He gave me guidelines. Before I ever enrolled in his class I got my job here on June 16, 1970, it was a Wednesday. I was to report to work at 5: 00.
The thing I really enjoy most about working here is I am a self motivator. I motivate my ownself into doing things. I enjoy my work because I set goals for myself and I can reach them. Like I said in the beginning, I enjoy people. I like working with them. I just set myself some personal goals. In fact that is something each and every person should do. Say three months down the road, six years, yearly, even lifetime goals. I feel that's an important factor. If you ever want to be somebody important, you've got to have a motivation factor. I'm going to own one of these restaurants; I don't want this one. I've got places and concepts that I want to try to do on my own. Doc (the owner) would probably give me the opportunity, somewhere down the road to enable me to establish myself as a business man and own either a portion of the Parlor -or some other arrangement.