Monday, July 18, 2005

Doing Roslyn on $2800 a yr. and was Living Good

Doing Roslyn on $2800 and was living good.

Not too long ago, I came across my
Income tax papers for 1973. We had
made $2,800 that year. We smashed
cars for a living for scrap iron.

We would haul them to the coal piles
called slag piles. We had permission to
use the area. As long as we kept it clean.
We would bring cars in from town that
people wanted out of their yards. We also
got cars from wrecking yards where they
were never claimed after they were in
accidents. So when the tow truck owners
had over 3 months on storage, they would
have us come and get them to be smashed.
I think we paid something like $5.00 for
each of them.

We would take them to the slag pile area
and burn them first. (couldn't do that now)
then take out the copper wire from under
the dash. We would remove the generators,
starters and turn them in for reconditioning.

Then we had a truck with a boom and a free
wheeling cable on it. On the end of that was
a flat iron that was about 4 foot by 4 foot and
8 inches thick. My husband would have it go
up to the top of the boom and let it free
wheeling down on top of the car. Moving
around it so he could smash it to the size
of about 2 feet tall. Then it would be placed
on our semi flat bed. After 17 cars were
placed, they were buckled down to the truck
and taken to Renton Washington. This was
done 12 months a year as weather allowed.
Some times losing 2 months in the winter
if we had a bad winter. Which he took in
cars for repair to help out. We had a business
card that said Marv's Repair and Smashing. lol

We did this for 6 years. Got paid $15 a ton.
Then in 1975 the market went out. The last
load we did, we got paid $10 a ton. After
trying to do return trips to make up for the
lesser amounts, with me placing the cars in
line, while he ran the boom, using the
headlights of the pickup, that my husband
decided it wasn't worth the headaches anymore.
So we sold the equipment and he went to
work for a hay outfit, doing mechanic
and welding. 3 years later it went up to $25
and $30 a ton. But we had moved on.

I was wondering how the heck did we live
on $2,800 a year. With 5 of the kids still
with us? Of course we had equipment
deductions... but we were left with the
$2,800 as our income.

Then I thought about household expense.
We were buying our house... which was
$5,000 for a 2 bedroom. It was $50 a
month payments. Our electric cost us
$10 to $15 a month. And stove oil in the
winter which ran about $100 for the winter.
Gas was 19 cents a gallon. Chicken was
22 cents and so was hamburger. We also
hunted so we had venison and elk. We
also fished for fun, but it also helped the
meals.

Funny thing is we never thought of
ourselves as poor. Maybe low income,
but not poor. The kids had clothes, some
I made, (that isn't saying much). We
never were wanting for food. We traveled
to Ellensburg fairly often as that is where
the bigger stores were. (there weren't K-marts,
Wal-Mart's and etc. then). We were happy.
The kids were happy.

And some of the adventures of Roslyn
will wait for another blog time.

2 comments:

Phil said...

I'd love to hear more about Roslyn. Like so many other people around the world, we fell in love with the town in the 90's through Northern Exposure. Now we always stop there on our way to Seattle.

Sam said...

$2,800 a year? I almost read it as per month for some odd reason and was like - WOW RICH!

I survive on about $3,000 per semester - so about $6k total for the school year and another $3k in the summer.

So all told, I rake in a whopping $9,000 a year - and I live off of it.

No wonder I'm skinny. :/