During the Twenties My parents owned a clothing store. At the end of that decade their place of business began to falter like all the stores near them. When the first of their neighbors decided to close their doors, Dixie and Marie Broom who were also thinking of closing, offered instead to assume their neighbor’s remaining lease, and secure the debts of their shoe store. They then hired the former owners to manage the store and within a year had acquired most of the small retail shops in their block.
At the birth of the blues of the newly bereft, Dixie and Marie owned residential rental property and lived in a 2000 sq. ft. home. They immediately sold the large home and two smaller houses and moved into a 700 sq. ft. building without plumbing. An outdoor shower on the back porch was their evening escape in the summer; an indoor bath in a wooden tub in the winter with water slowly warmed over a wood-burning stove.
During this time Papa Dixie acquired the habit of collecting discarded lumber and developed a knack for straightening old nails. He collected nails, screws and various other bits of hardware and stored them in glass jars. In later years he resumed a habit that had been abandoned during the depression; he returned to smoking cigars. He downgraded from White Owl of earlier years to the less expensive Roi Tan and the empty boxes replaced the glass jars in the hardware compartment of his work-shed. He trained me in those endeavors as the arrival of Lee and Billy Broom hailed the departure of the dark years.
My parents eventually sold their collection of stores to a Kansas City department store, which was recombined in the lower levels of the same office building as the original units and Oklahoma City’s first department store opened their doors in the third year of the great depression, helping to begin the restoration of the economy by creating dozens of new jobs.
My purpose in mentioning this bit of family history is this: In troubled times the winners change their tactics; they survive and prosper. The complainers, oblivious to the opportunities which inevitably arise with change, unable to deal with the debt they incurred in obtaining their education, allow their knowledge to wither as they sleep and defecate in public and become the new poor of future decades.
My life experiences have taught me that all change, regardless of quality creates opportunity and yes I know, a seventy-two year old man starting over is not exactly a beacon of light, but I refuse to believe otherwise. How about you, dear reader? Have you noticed any new trends for earning income? Have you noticed that some of your former corporate allies are now mowing yards and cleaning houses? And hiring others to help them?