Posted 4/15/2021 21:52 (#8954143 - in reply to #8953952) Subject: RE: How We Used to Eat (1953 - 1955 or so)
Cumberland County, TN
redoak - 4/15/2021 20:44 Dax , great read. . Do you have any idea what those you speak of do/live now?
Well, now... let's see. They always told us that cholesterol (butterfat, grease, etc.) will kill you. Mom cooked with lots of lard and butter and even popped our popcorn in bacon grease - and yep - they were right. It killed her at 93.
Eugene died a few years ago... was an over-the-road truck driver, became an alcoholic, divorced, sad ending. He told me that it costs more to be poor than it does to be fluent. He'd keep spending money on worn-out tires because he didn't have money for new ones and spent enough on patches and tows that he probably could'a bought 3 sets of tires if he'd had the money to do it.
Frank died a few years ago. Other classmates who kept in touch said that he had become a self-made millionaire by flipping houses that he bought cheap and remodeled. I saw a photo of him a couple of years ago and he was skinny as a rail. I don't know whatever happened to Jessie. Frank - well - the whole James family were very, very principled. I never ever heard any of them say a cuss word.
Dale must have died a long time ago. Nobody seems to know whatever happened to him. (???)
Harry went to work in a factory job after he graduated from high school. He bought a dump truck and hauled gravel and crushed stone from the quarry during his off-shift time and he worked a 3rd job in a body shop repairing fender-benders. The three jobs-at-once took their toll on him. They say that in the beginning, you trade your health-for-wealth and then later you trade your wealth-for-health and spend it all on doctors and medicine.
I learned electronics and went to work for Delco Radio, Division of General Motors. My friend, Anthony and I decided that we wanted to be farmers but we had no land or equipment. There was an 80-acre farm that I looked at and I figured it up... If I worked nights at the factory and worked the farm during the day, I could use most of my GM pay, along with the farm income (assuming a good year - every year) and I could pay off the mortgage in 30 years.
Only by that time, I'd be nearing retirement age and would be ready to sell it and retire. So I'd work 2 jobs for most of my working life just to accomplish an end within a few more years. 80 acres won't make an affordable income unless you grow black pepper or ginseng or something that's illegal. I decided that since I didn't inherit a farm, it wasn't sensible to pursue it further.
The last time that I went back 'home' to Indiana to visit, nobody there in the community had ever heard of me. Most of the farmhouses I'd known were gone, the people I'd known were either dead or moved away and the school where I graduated after 12 years there was gone too. My first girlfriend's initials were still scratched into the bridge abutment but I heard that she'd married someone else while I was away at Fort Dix, NJ and my sister lives in northern Minnesota. We talk on the phone occasionally but we're getting up there so I doubt that we'll ever be able to see each other again on this side of the grass.
As the years go by, I seem to be spending less and less on Christmas cards. Unless folks are at least 51 years old - they weren't alive when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. That seems absurd - but the numbers are there. I guess that means that I'm getting old. I miss talking to the 'old timers' because they're all gone. And I suppose now - I'm the old timer. Hard to imagine what happened!