Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Story

When I was fourteen, my father was laid off from his job as a machinist for Westinghouse. I had two younger sisters. My mother had just started back to school to try to finish her degree to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.

My parents used the money they had been saving for my college fund to open a small store in my hometown. They sold coins and collectibles. Collecting had been a family hobby. My coin collection was part of the stock when the store opened. I worked there on weekends and over the summer. The store never thrived. My dad delivered pizzas at night.

During the summer, when I wasn't working at my dad's store, I would take my sisters to the local public grade school for the free government meals -- breakfast and lunch. Sometimes we'd accompany our mother to the Senior Center to pick up a bag with some government-cheese and mayonaise. I don't remember what else was included in the bag.

I remember having to stir the mayonaise before using it.

After more than a year of trying like hell to make a go of the store, my father was able to find a job riding around with the armored cars helping to fill ATM machines. My sisters and I were thrilled to not have to eat government cheese anymore. To not have to stir the mayo, or stand in line for free lunches.

With no savings left for my college fund, I relied on government-subsidized loans and state government scholarships -- and my own part-time jobs -- to pay for my schooling. I became the first person in my family to earn a Bachelors Degree.

Government-funded programs helped me and my family get through a very rough time. And helped me get a good education.

That's why you will not find me protesting this tax day.

4 comments:

Sandra said...

Bernie, this is a wonderful blog entry--and I see in it the bones of an "XX File," if you're interested in the format. You might consider taking it down (or substituting a shorter version) and drafting a related story in the 750 word range. Talk to me if you want more of a lead--

Cheers,
SB

P.S. - Thanks for the congrats!

Greg said...

Amen! I wish those clowns would stop and consider things like this before these idiotic protests.

Baishakhi said...

Great blog. You can see mine, http://biology-today.com/

32poems.com said...

Bernie,

This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it. I'm happy to pay taxes, too.

Deborah