Beth Hanson, News Editor
“Wisconsin?” Tina Rementer mouthed to me, pointing her spatula towards the fridge behind the counter that houses Java Joint’s sandwiches. I nodded. I was at least five people from the counter. When I reached the front of the line, my sandwich was nearly ready. Tina said, “Hey, sweetie. How’s it going today?”
When Tina first came to Beloit College six years ago, she had to work for one semester in Commons. “Oh, I hated it, I hated it,” she admitted. “But, I persevered and they found a place for me here.”
When she first started working in Java Joint, she was one of four workers. In those days, Java Joint was also open into the evenings. When budget cuts were made over the 2008-2009 school year, the other three workers’ positions were eliminated and Java Joint’s hours were reduced to what they are today—7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.—with Tina supervising the entire time.
“I’m lucky I was retained, but I feel guilty their jobs were cut,” she said, sadly.
With Beloit College in the midst of negotiating its food service options, there is fear that jobs may be cut again.
“If they outsource, are we going to keep our jobs?” Tina wondered. “I just want to get another semester’s tuition benefits.”
Tina grew up in Rockford, Ill. She didn’t go to college. Instead, after high school, Tina worked at Rockford Hospital—also food service—as a dietician. She quit that job when her second daughter was born.
She’s been married for 27 years to Bob Rementer. Tina met him at a bar in Beloit while out on the town with her sister and some girlfriends.
“We were playing darts,” Tina laughed. “I threw a dart that ricocheted off the dartboard and hit my husband. I stuck him in the neck with a dart! I was mortified.”
Apparently, the experience wasn’t too awful for Bob. He bought Tina a beer. Though Tina thought that would be the end of it, her sister gave Bob Tina’s name and number. Six months later, they were engaged. About 16 months after the dart incident, they were married.
“I wasn’t looking,” Tina insisted. “That’s what life’s been like for me. I just see where I go next.”
Tina moved on from darts to archery after she got married. Her husband introduced her to it, apparently not too scarred by the dart incident. She shot archery regularly from about 1990 into the early 2000s. Tina’s aim seems to be much better with a bow and arrow than with a dart, too. She once won the Wisconsin State Archery tournament. Part of the appeal of archery was the social aspect of it.
“Not a whole lot of women do it,” Tina commented. “It was fun seeing the same people and going out. You shoot your three games and have some beers afterwards. Or during! But, I didn’t drink while I was shooting.”
Bob’s job causes him to travel a lot, which is how Tina became a stay-at-home mom. Tina has two daughters, Ann and Rose. She rarely calls them by these names, always referring to them as Annie and Rosie. Ann is 22 and Rose is 21. Both will graduate from Carroll University in December.
Once they reached high school, it seemed like they didn’t need Tina as much, so Tina started looking for a job and ended up at Beloit College.
“I never lie to anyone,” admitted Tina. “When I came here, it was because I heard about the tuition benefit employees get for their children.
Tina’s openness has spurred questions about what she will do when her daughters graduate.
“People ask me all the time if I’m going to leave next year,” Tina said. “I just don’t know.”
Tina is very close to her daughters. Once both Ann and Rose were in college, they wanted to get tattoos. Since Tina got her first tattoo—a rosebud on her arm—the morning of her twenty first birthday, she wasn’t opposed to the idea. For her daughters, Tina’s only preference was that they get their tattoos in an easily concealable place. Tina went with Ann and Rose that day, just to make sure that the tattoo parlor was clean.
“Next thing I knew, I was getting a matching tattoo,” Tina laughed.
Tina and her daughters now have matching tattoos of four leaf clovers on the top of their feet. Since then, both of Tina’s daughters have two more tattoos. Rose got her last one on her head behind her ear. Though Tina wasn’t thrilled about it, she still proudly showed me the picture on her cell phone.
Tina doesn’t know where life will take her next—if she’ll stay at Java Joint and Beloit College or if she’ll leave—but she’s spent most of her life seeing where it takes her. Maybe she’ll get another tattoo. Or, maybe, she’ll throw a dart and happen upon her next adventure.