This is my 50th year in the electronics business and the 25th year writing this column. How time does fly when you're having fun. First the good news: A few weeks ago Barbara and I became great-grandparents, when Delilah Nilsson was born in Duluth, Minn. Life is beautiful.
Barbara and I were born at the height of the Depression, when the unemployment rate hit 24 percent; we were in elementary school during World War II and got married between the Korean War and Vietnam. Since we've been married (50 years next February), there have been nine recessions, the worst in 1981-82, when the unemployment rate soared to almost 11 percent. Life and the economy both have their ups and downs. Hang in there.
Last weekend we were out for a drive and stopped to get gas. It was $2.71 a gallon. After filling the tank I recalled that when we were dating, gas was around 16 cents a gallon. We'd pull up to the pump and hand the attendant a buck and ask for a dollar's worth. He'd check the oil, wash the windows and give you coupons. When you had collected enough coupons you could redeem them for a glass. That was a big deal.
But gas isn't the only thing that has gotten expensive. Our first, tiny apartment, at 9 Janet St. in Kingston, N.Y., was $55 a month; my engineering job at IBM paid $325 a month. Four years later, when we moved to California, our two-bedroom apartment at 124 Union Ave. in Fullerton was $125 a month-and it had a great pool. By then, my sales job at Beckman paid around $900 a month, plus a company car. How times have changed. Our friends in the town we now live in just rented an apartment for $2,700 a month. Ugh!
On June 2, we fly to South Bend for my 50th college reunion and then drive to Chicago for the annual reunion with my buddies from the old Southside neighborhood. There were 14 of us; 12 are still alive. I went to grammar school with nine of them. Most of the wives know each other, since we double-dated and a few went to school together. It will be a grand time. Life is beautiful indeed.
When Frank isn't counting his blessings, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org