My wife and I just moved to a new house, and we figure we have moved over 20 times in our married years.
When we first got married, we were like most young couples, living in a few different apartments. Then we managed to purchase one of those small, starter homes that national companies like U.S. Homes built in different regions of the country.
We were so young that we didn’t know anything about buying a home, but suddenly my brother and sister-in-law told us they had purchased a home for no money down and were actually buying a house. We went straight over to the place and did the same thing.
I remember we paid $42,000 for the house and thought it was the greatest thing in the world.
I have spent most of my earlier years as an adult working second jobs to make extra money. As a guy who didn’t have a college degree, and with a wife who was staying home to raise our kids, you can imagine how much money we had.
I was never afraid to work hard and figured out I could make pretty good extra money painting. Trust me, there are so many people out there who hate to paint and they will hire you in a second. Since I worked at the paper, I got to put free classified ads in, so I only had to put “Experienced Painter—Free Estimates,” and then a phone number.
I always got calls and always had work, usually making a minimum of $10 an hour and frequently as much as $30 an hour. That’s probably one reason I have trouble believing all the people who say “I can’t find a job.” Throughout my life, if I wanted to work and make money, I only had to let people know I was willing.
But back to the house story.
Painting was making us a few extra dollars on the side, but not nearly enough for me. I have always been ambitious and wanted to get my family somewhere better, so I came up with a bigger idea. I’ll build houses!
I didn’t have any experience, was never the kind of guy who grew up with a father in the construction business, and did not have a clue how to start. But that never stopped me and I was ready to go. I got a set of blueprints drawn up and put my little house up for sale. We waited and waited and waited.
Five years later, we sold the house and had a profit of $2,500—the most money we ever had in our lives to that point.
And believe it or not, thanks to longtime Slidell builder Pat Miramon who sold me a lot in a popular subdivision, I started building houses. Kind of figured my way through the first one thanks to the help of some good subs I contracted with, but I did build the house and sold it for a profit of $12,000. I thought I would be a millionaire in no time. Unfortunately, as other builders will tell you, most of the houses don’t work that way. Sometimes you make money and sometimes you don’t and from then on, I had my ups-and-downs.
The building business is where the moving really started. We would move into a rental, build a house, move in the house, sell it, and then move into another rental and start the procedure all over again. My wife was incredible the way she would box us up in no time, move us, and in a day, have the new house set up. I still don’t know how she did it, but time-and-again, she did. I’ll never forget the way she always supported me working so she could be home with the kids. Guess that’s why we are together and quite happy together after 38 years.
But through that situation and other job changes, we figure we have moved 20 times or more in our lives and quite honestly, are pretty tired of it.
This last move was one of the hardest, and it’s due to the fact we aren’t young 30-year-old kids anymore. And after this move, I vow to make the next one in a couple of years into our final house. Hopefully that works, and I truly think it will, since I sure don’t want my sweet wife go through this anymore.
Nor do I.
I want to relate a story about a local 23-year-old woman who recently made my day on a Saturday morning.
There is a gas station/convenience store in Slidell where I met a young woman on a morning I had the grandkids with me, and we stopped to get Icee drinks.
We have a newspaper box out front and I happened to say something about the papers being all gone. She immediately told me that she always gets our paper and reads it, and so do some of her friends.
Boom! I keep saying young people are reading the paper—especially as they are beginning to get into their 20s and 30s—and once again I have proof.
Jessica Bower plans to study psychology in college and she said she enjoys the local paper, reading what is going on, and seeing what news has happened in the town. This endless talk about newspapers going out of business because young people won’t read them is a bunch of you know what.
And Jessica is my latest proof of that.
Thanks Jessica for your comments, and good luck for your future.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org