Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Back To The Rust Belt and My Working Class Roots

        We have remained "working class warriors". My wife and I worked our way through college. We labored at bakeries, breweries, dairies and in gardens and yards. We worked for Uncle Sam and we continue to pay Uncle Sam. I grew up in a "union family", in the "rust belt" where nearly everyone I knew worked in a factory or were destined for factory work. We paid into Social Security for decades and we want Social Security now that we are into our sixties.
        In a few days we are hopping on a train for a return to Michigan....legitimate hopping...Amtrak.  We'll be rolling through "fly-over" by coastal dwelling Americans. I signed up for this trip twice in the Spring but "fly-over " country was flooded throughout most of March.
        Now, two weeks later, the trip to Michigan was a wonderful success. It necessitated a three hour drive to the train station in Reno, a 48 hour train ride on the California Zephyr and a three hour bus trip from Chicago to Kalamazoo...and then a twenty minute car ride from one of my sisters at 3am to a bed where would could get horizontal for the first time in three days...we traveled as coach passengers on Amtrak saving us approximately $600. Like I said, we are working class people.
        We built our own house from scratch thirty years ago and we still labor to fix the problems that come with an aging abode. My mother, who bought the house we grew up in 60 years ago, has moved into an apartment in a "seniors complex" and I can report that she is doing very well in spite of being mostly blind, while now in her late 80's. She'll be leaving no inheritance to any of her six children. She just hopes to stretch her life savings long enough to cover the rest of her life.
       Our feet are planted firmly on the ground. We are exceedingly thankful for everything we have and the people we have left to hug. ..and hug we did.

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