Back Then Part Two


blog post
Back then we called it, “Payday to payday.”
This and part one were inspired from a headline that said, “Thousands of military families struggle with food insecurity


Fortunately there were only a few ‘pop up’ ends to meet during our first few months in Petaluma. But if there were a new end to meet, my pay would not have stretched. Well, there were multiple high interest ‘small loan’ companies near the military bases.1I have some stories about them, but this is neither the place nor the time.

Then we had some surprises.

Like with many young couples there was a baby on the horizon. And the Ford pickup met its final demise. Transportation to and from base was with Army acquaintances on the same shift. But we knew an apartment with at least one resident rodent type rat would not be a good place for a baby.

Facing a move to a safe place to live and needing reliable transportation was suddenly offset by a promotion. Yea!

Well, not so fast. With increased rent, a short-term loan for a car, and a new blessing, our end of month balance didn’t change.

Fast-forward.

We scrimped, moved into temporary base housing,2Like with so many other moves, there is more to this story than told here. so even with the loss of off-base housing allowance, we had only a little more cash. But by mid-August, we had enough to take a tight-budget drive to Seattle and Minnesota to show off the first grandson.

Our 1939 Chevy coupe said, ‘I quit,’ on the way back to California.

A few months later we had our first family separation. I was sent to the Pentagon for training, but Shirley and Jon joined me a few months later in Arlington, VA. We were in skimp mode again with uncovered travel expenses and another blessing on the way.

My wife and two sons went to live with relatives, and I went to Frankfurt and the public surprise closing of the East/West German border before they could join me in September of 1961. Part of that story is posted at I, JMB Say The Army paid for the basics of dependent travel, but no matter how much we skimped, pay bills or eat came into focus for the next payday.

As I said before, things did get better, but many times we were in a similar economic cycle.

So I ask myself again, what has changed?


P
S: I have no regrets from being in the Army and lessons from those payday-to-payday times were good lessons for some of the times between then and now.