A roller-coaster year ends in a lovely home in a beautiful coastal North Carolina neighborhood. I'm grateful for our lifestyle. True, hard work got us here. But not without help. I'm grateful for parents who paid for my university education, bought my first car and otherwise helped a newly-married couple get established.
I'm grateful for Mr. H's university education, the cornerstone of his success. True, he worked hard. But not without help from his family.
Actually, no one in either family accomplished anything without help. My father had his university degree when World War II ended. But with thousands of returning sailers, soldiers, and Marines entering the job market, his degree meant little. The G. I. Bill saved the day. Once my father obtained his law degree, the sky became the limit. Reasonably so! We didn't live in a mansion. We kids had our chores (for which I'm grateful, as I learned how to manage my time and do useful stuff.)
The G. I. Bill also provided Mr. H's brother the opportunity to obtain his Masters Degree in physics.
Increased education led to increased incomes -- taxed incomes that had to help offset initial financial investments. One has to pay one's way in life. (Except corporations like Gulf Oil. They had so many loophole exemptions the company didn't pay any corporate income tax last year.)
When I began working, only 10% of women had a university degree. I was set. That wouldn't be the case today. When I was a kid in Louisiana, a woman couldn't be a real estate agent because "that would take a job away from a man." That wouldn't be the case today. I'm grateful there are increased opportunities and more people can succeed on their own merits, without prejudice or bias. However, more progress is needed. You know what I mean.
As the fire in the fireplace flickers, I feel warm and secure . . . and wishful. Twenty miles from where I live are poverty grids beyond words. I wish I had a magic wand to put heat in homes, food on tables, and toys under Charlie Brown Christmas trees.
I wish I could bring in a properly run factory so more people would have work, not that a factory would be popularly received in this semi-rural area. Very commonly in the South, what was is how it should be.
With a limited education, there's scant opportunity for work, unless one gets lucky and lands a non-military job on the Air Force base in Goldsboro or the Marine Corps base in Jacksonville or with the county government or if the Federal government builds more roads or if one works for a mom-and-pop business, like shrimp or fishing boat.
I wish I could replete the oceans, rivers and streams. When shrimp here are in season, they're delicious. But they're small. What's called a "large-sized" shrimp in the market is actually an "average-sized" shrimp. Actually, I type this with a tinge of sadness. Not that long ago wild-caught shrimp labeled "large" were huge.
But what about those here who graduate high school and go on to get a college diploma?
Most don't return. They work in Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte and beyond. The sky's the limit. In today's different era, they dream of living in mansions. And many will. Some will buy a condo on the beach to return here on weekends.
Having said all of that, there are numerous pockets of enormous wealth here, where our home would be a guest cottage near a monster home. It's tucked away wealth. Massive homes sprawl along shorelines. On islands. The county built an air strip for homeowners, even abolished the tax on the sale of airplanes delivered here.
When the county imposed a water view tax, the rich didn't care. Nor did they care about the 2% food tax. Rich here means really rich. (Vermont has a food tax; Louisiana has a food tax. New Hampshire has a water view tax.)
I wish I had a magic wand so a woman I know can sell her house in Morehead City. About 1200 square feet, the white-sided house sits on a tree-lined street in a pleasant area, but from another era. If you stood on the roof of her house on a cloudless day and squinted hard, you might be able to see the ocean. The water view tax is killing her.
It's like there's an ocean between the haves and the have-nots.
For all of the incredibly nice people I've met here and elsewhere, I wish you the happiest of holidays.
For all of you in Blogville who've been so forgiving about my erratic posts and have stuck with me, I thank you from the heart and wish you the happiest of holidays.
For those on my naughty list, the ones who don't understand that no one climbs life's ladder without help, I wish you a holiday moment when you see, really see, that the holiday season is not about you.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Hub and I are hitting the road soon, Asheville for Christmas and Virginia for New Years, both with family and friends. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope all of life's blessings are yours in 2015 and beyond!