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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Family Transitions

1950's City Living

Family Transitions

My original upbringing was city type.  My father had a university education, and my mother was a stay at home mother.  I wasn’t able to judge if we were well-off or poor, but I know that I had everything I needed, and just about everything I wanted.  Then one day at the age of seven, my parents separated and eventually divorced.  My parents were so private with their lives where I was concerned that I never saw the separation coming.
Off to Texas

One day my mother packed our belongings (three of us: mother, sister - 7 years older than me, and me) and we moved to Texas leaving my father in California.  For four years my mother held as many as three jobs to make sure that we had a nice comfortable, and safe house in the best neighborhood she could afford.  So it was, that even after the separation all our needs and many of our wants were being met by the most wonderful and hard working mother that ever lived.

Four years after the divorce, and in order to be able to adopt a newborn baby girl, my mother remarried so that she could stay home and be a full time mother (a marriage that lasted just over 24 years).  The man that my mother married worked for the city water works, but moved us to the Pacific Northwest to pursue a job offer as a general foreman of a ten-thousand-acre farm that paid in one week what he earned in a month and a half working for the city.  My life changed once again overnight and I became a country boy that learned to work on the farm and in the open air.  Work was very hard and the hours were long, but it was the foundation of the hardworking man that I eventually became.
Plenty of fresh air

Who would imagine that something as basic as the mere act of performing the ritual of providing for your family’s existence (survival), could have such far reaching effects beyond the obvious.  In the fifties while living in Texas I knew many families that would leave their homes to travel around the country in search of work (migrant-agricultural work).  I knew this because many of my friends and their families would disappear from the neighborhood for months at a time.  Then one day I would be in school and out of the blue my friends would walk into the classroom, having just returned from their yearly travels following the migrant stream from state to state. While they owned their homes they were gone approximately 6 or more months out of the year.  They always returned back to base with plenty of money to carry them for the remainder of the year plus. 
Stoop Labor

Many of the children of those families would eventually grow up and settle down to raise a family in States where their parents (whole family) once visited as migrant workers.  Many of the young children of migrant workers that I had met in school, would grow up to be lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and first responders with the Fire Department, and various law enforcement jurisdictions.  Hard long hours on the agricultural fields was the foundation but education was the way out and up to an easier life.

Given the opportunity to progress out of migrant work, I can’t imagine anyone choosing one of the hardest ways that I know to make a living.  I know because somewhere along the way I experienced what it takes.  Believe me when I tell you that the very thought of doing that for a living into old age made me work harder on my school subjects.  Because I know first-hand what it takes to survive field work (agriculture), those people that have done it and those that are still doing it have my highest appreciation and respect.  The best is yet to come……


  1. If most of the people whining today would follow your mom's steps the country would be a better place to live in!!!!

    1. I love your comment! They just don't make them like they used to.....