When my husband and I purchased our second home in 1999, we were looking for a home close to work. It had to be a walking distance from the schools our kids were attending,have a place to grow food, first floor laundry and have an office to work from home. It took us two years to search for a home that would meet all those needs. My oldest daughter and I were out searching for a home one day, and she said,”Stop Mom and look at that house.” I was not impressed with this house when I first saw it; I must admit. It was not what I wanted for it was very different from all the other houses in the area. It was a California Mission type home which was covered in vines! It was for sale by owner, and I was certain it would be another reject but to appease my daughter, I decided to check it out. She was so certain it was THE ONE. Well, my oldest daughter was right. It was THE ONE.
The day we toured the house, I fell in love with it for it had everything on one floor which meant it was a home we could live in for a long time. It had a yard larger than my postage stamp yard, I was living in at the time. It was built-in the late 60’s and all the original harvest gold/avocado green appliances were still working. I lived with those 60’s appliances for the first decade! People rejected this house for it was covered in every room with 60’s wallpaper, shag carpet, old flooring, and even had a pink bathroom! I did not mind all the odd colored walls and appliances. I could see beyond its imperfections. We got “THE ONE” house + that was all I cared about for my kids needed space to grow and we needed space to dream.
It has grown with us through the years and the last kid moved out in 2013 to attend graduate school. We have just joined the club known as “Empty Nesters” and it feels weird to no longer have kids in and out all day long or dodge cars in the driveway or street. I can hear the leaves rustle outside, birds sing, and I no longer have extras bodies for dinner. It is quiet. It is a simple life now….
This past year we celebrated our 15th year in our home. It is the longest I have ever lived in one place. My parents had the “white-line-fever” for it was in their blood. Today “white-line-fever”is a movie or deals with sports, but in my home it was hitting the road to follow the white line, where ever it took you. A fever might last weeks/days/ months before it would eventually pass. I spent a lot of time in the backseat of my parents car as a kid traveling to ALMOST all 50 states in the USA. The ritual on these trips was to take a picture next to a state sign while balancing one foot in each state and waving at the camera! It was a tradition and my kids enjoyed their ‘white-line-fever” car rides with my parents. They may of ONLY covered 5 states in a week with all their activities when they were younger, but they got their trip squeezed in every summer. I would bid them farewell and know it would be a great memory.
My parents have moved around, too many times for me to count since I left home at 18 to attend college. I do remember going to college one year and returning home to a new home down the street. I appreciate the fact they stayed put for 15 years so I could attend the same school system. Once my brother + I graduated from high school they moved down the street and then across the country many times.
In 1999 when we moved to our present home, my parents decided to settle a bit closer to us, about 2 hours away. I was overjoyed for they were no longer a day’s drive or plane ride away. As I watched my parents settle, I wanted a different story for my kids. I had no childhood home to return to. My childhood home was gone, and all that was there were pieces that travelled to new places. It does not bother me for I have the ‘white-line-fever” in my blood,too. The challenge I faced with my career life was my “white-line fever” would have to be put on hold for the jobs we had were not the kind that benefited from a white-line-fever.
My parents were from the times when people had pensions that were honored by companies. People were loyal to the company and companies were loyal to their employees. A person would work for a company and retire with an engraved watch + a pension to live on till they died
When we finished college in 1982, we moved here for my husbands internship. It was the early 80’s and the Quad City Area was starting to become depressed. Local industry was closing their doors.People were out of work and the jobs that their families knew for decades were no longer going to be here..manufacturing was going overseas and this area was in a terrible way. People had to find a NEW way to make a living. It was the start of the Social Costs of Deindustrialization ( by John Russo + Sherry Lee Linkon, Youngstown State University).
The hard times in farm and construction equipment have caused manufacturing employment in the Quad Cities to plummet to 36,000, from 50,000 five years ago. Most of that stems from Harvester and Deere slashing their area employment from 22,000 in 1979 to about 11,000 today.
Dean E. McKee, chief economist for Deere, which is based in Moline, said, ”In magnitude and steepness, the decline of the farm equipment industry is the sharpest it’s been since the 1930’s.” Sales of harvesting combines, for example, have nose-dived to about 9,000 this year, from 32,250 units in 1979.
The residents of Rock Island say their town’s crisis began when President Carter curtailed grain sales to the Soviet Union in 1980. That sent commodity prices plummeting and conceded much of the important Soviet market to grain exporters in Argentina and Australia.
After enjoying spectacular years in the 1970’s, many farmers have been losing money since 1980, a result of low commodity prices. They are thus buying farm equipment less often than before. And high interest rates are making it harder yet for them to purchase equipment.” by Steven Greenhouse 1984-The New York Times
Factories were closing their doors such as International Harvester, Case IH, John Deere (cut their labor force in half), and Caterpillar Inc.We arrived just in time to see the local landscape of their workforce changing. Before moving to the Quad cities in 1982, I had never heard of any of these companies but they would become familiar names.
“Mr. Dunbar said that, to keep costs down, his company was encouraging many experienced employees to take early retirement and was hiring very few young people. Indeed, he said, today’s trying times are causing many of the area’s best and brightest young people to move away.
As a result, dozens of houses stand empty and local housing prices have fallen 20 percent.” by Steven Greenhouse-1984-New York Times
We decided to settle in this area for our jobs were here and when we purchased our first home in 1988, we were in a buyers market. When I would walk through their homes, they were places people had dreams. The sellers had to take a loss. They knew their homes were worth more than what they were getting….their lives were changed. We did get a good deal, but I never felt right about how it had to happen.
I also remember attending local functions the first few years we lived here + hearing about a family member losing a job, insurance, pensions, etc. They were always in their 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. It was a way of life for many of these people for generations. I was younger and had no clue what they were going through, but it changed me forever. It made me start reading about living simply and making plans to never be caught off guard by losing a job later in life. I did not want to count on something being forever…. living here during that time taught us about what matters in life. We started looking at our savings and money differently realizing that it is no guarantee that your job will be forever. You only have today. We started looking at our home and ways to make life more sustainable and affordable. I also learned you need to always have a year’s salary in savings!
After watching others lose their homes + jobs, it made us more careful of how we spent our money. We did not need to have the newest car, gadgets, widgets or whatever! It was hardest on our kids, but they got through it. We live with something until it breaks or it is no longer environmentally sound or usable. Today they call it being frugal, I call it common sense.
Growing food on city lots is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money weekly. Rosalind Creasy documented how to save 700 dollars on a mere 100 square feet. She actually took the time to study how much she saved on her city lot growing food in California in 2007. Mother Earth news published her findings. I would say if you took your entire city lot and try to grow more food you would make a dent in your food bill! You could take the money you saved and build up a nice chunk of change!
update*** Wendy from Quarteracrelifestyle made a good comment on this 700.00 dollars. “We grow our food for the same reason but it has saved us a lot more than $700.00” I have to agree, I save a lot more than that ,too. It is only a small section of her yard, but if you use more space, for example your landscape you would save a substantial amount of money! If you get a chance check out her blog— she has great advice for saving food on less than a quarter acre!!!
“In 2007, I began to get lots of questions about growing food to help save money. Then, while working on my new book, Edible Landscaping, I had an aha! moment. As I was assembling statistics to show the wastefulness of the American obsession with turf, I wondered what the productivity of just a small part of American lawns would be if they were planted with edibles instead of grass.
I wanted to pull together some figures to share with everyone, but calls to seed companies and online searches didn’t turn up any data for home harvest amounts — only figures for commercial agriculture. From experience, I knew those commercial numbers were much too low compared with what home gardeners can get. For example, home gardeners don’t toss out misshapen cucumbers and sunburned tomatoes. They pick greens by the leaf rather than the head, and harvests aren’t limited to two or three times a season.
For years, I’ve known that my California garden produces a lot. By late summer, my kitchen table overflows with tomatoes, peppers and squash; in spring and fall, it’s broccoli, lettuces and beets. But I’d never thought to quantify it. So I decided to grow a trial garden and tally up the harvests to get a rough idea of what some popular vegetables can produce” Rosalind Creasy 2010 MOther Earth News
I learned from seeing people around me lose jobs how you can’t count on things to never change. You have to take care of what you have and find ways to stretch a dollar for you don’t want to be caught off guard and only a paycheck away from being broke. Growing food and creating a home that can withstand hard times is the only way to survive a hardship like these people did…I never count on anything being the same…I embrace change, for I know it is inevitable. I have learned to save and live below my means. If you do it long enough, it feels normal…..white-line-fever is like 60’s appliances, you learn to live with it until you can make a change!
Hello 2014 look at what is planned to be built on one of our local vacant factory sites ….see change can be a good thing + happen if you wait long enough!