I was one of the fortunate ones. While growing up I witnessed my father, a surgery nurse, struggle while trying to make ends meet.
You might challenge why that makes me fortunate, but if you think about it. I was exposed to a dying era where the man of the house was required to be a “Mr. Fix-it”.
When a washing machine broke, daddy took it apart and replaced bushings, wiring or tinkered with the motor until it would work for a few more months. When the car needed a tune-up, he was the one who put in the new spark plugs, rotor and set the timing.
He didn’t have the luxury of dropping it off on his way to work and having a mechanic take care of it, because there was never any extra money.
One of the ways he would earn extra money was to drive around to bike shops that took old bikes in on trade. He would bring them home, sand them and then re-paint them. He sold them for $25 each. In 1955, that was our entire month’s grocery bill.
Our home was built in 1956 on two and-a-half acres in Mendocino, California. Daddy purchased the land for $250 and the house was a pre-fabrication from the Alameda Airbase World War II surplus.