Working at Bullock's Wilshire | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy June Lockhart

Working at Bullock's Wilshire

Sat 9/20/14

I was 17 years old and entering my senior year at Westlake School for Girls. One day while shopping at Bullock’s Wilshire it occurred to me that it might be wonderful to work there. So, on an impulse I went to the hiring office and interviewed. I said that I did not expect to be doing a film, and wanted to be a salesgirl during my senior year. I said I could work every Saturday and all school vacation days during the school year.

I was given a start date and assigned the “Collegienne” Department. 

At dinner that night I announced my plan to my parents, my father Gene Lockhart and my mother Kathleen were prominent actors in films. The news was met with mild congratulations (sort of…let’s see how you like it!) They didn’t try to deter me.

I LOVED IT! I found I could sell that beautiful merchandise with unbounded enthusiasm. In fact, one day as I left a customer in the fitting room to go to the stock room, I was running across the floor when the floor manager called out to me “June, come here! You must stop running!”

Another time, I was wearing a pretty red dress with small polka dots and ruffles.  It was adorable…but management asked that I please wear something more conservative.  “But it’s so pretty” I said. “And I bought it here!”  

“Well, don’t wear it again on the floor.”

During the time that I worked at Bullocks Wilshire my family lived on North Catalina Street, north of Los Feliz, very near Vermont Avenue. So each day I took the bus from Los Feliz down to Wilshire Boulevard, and then it was a short walk to Westmoreland, and the store.

I was paid a flat $35.00 a week, and I spent it on lunches in the tea room.

The month of June arrived and I graduated from Westlake, and then Bullock’s Wilshire asked me to go to New York and be a “follow up” girl for their buyer. I was so proud of the offer, and I said I would let them know in September because I was going to Lake Arrowhead to our family home for the summer.

Within a few weeks, I was put under contract at M.G.M. I called Bullock’s Wilshire and thanked them. They were charming, wished me well, and said, “We know M.G.M will pay you more than we could!”

I adored my time there. It was the most civilized environment. I enjoyed every minute at that prestigious store in that gorgeous building.

By the way, years later I met a lady who had worked there as a secretary at the same time I was there. She said she also enjoyed the experience. Her name? Helen Gurley Brown.