What I’ve learned in the building and repair business, I learned from my father and mother.)
I grew up in a small town during the 1950s and 1960s.
My father wore many hats. He was a fruit farmer and ran other farming operations to provide for his family. But it didn’t stop there. Like all farmers, he had to be a jack of all trades.
He was the town employee doing plumbing, pruning, spraying, animal control and all the other things involved in running the town.
Of course we children helped out with all of it. We did farm work, picking fruit, drying and bottling fruit, pruning, milking the cows(that was my job), butchering, chopping firewood, mowing hay, hauling hay, irrigating, plowing, cultivating, rebuilding wood boxes and crates for use and sale, tending to the rabbit, the chickens, helping with the laundry. (My mother ran a commercial laundry service for the two large trucking companies what started in our town and did work rags for the garages. We helped with that too.) I started driving a tractor at a very young age. I didn’t go to kindergarten schooling but helped my Dad which made me feel awfully important.
We also helped with the town work. Helped make cement meter boxes, rebuild water meters, read water meters, cleaned the water springs, walked the pipelines looking for leaks, repairing broken lines, lighting the smug pots along the main road(Highway 91 was the major roadway between Utah and California) when a new main water line was installed, pruning and spraying roadside shrubs, sold dog tags, even helped with the distasteful task of putting some dogs down.
We helped Dad and Mom, do electrical work, plumbing, carpentry at home too.
Of course, we attended school from the first of September to the end of May each year.
Dad also worked other jobs. For the highway department and trucking companies. He had a janitorial service servicing two trucking companies and one garage. He had a landscaped business mowing lawns, re-seeding lawns, watering and the like. We did that for two family doctors, our dentist and the dry cleaners for trade labor for services and many separate places for pay. We boys got to do those jobs too.
One was for a man. Eric Snow, who owned a few buildings near his house. Two rental houses and the dry cleaners that one of his sons owned and operated, and a big corner building that housed Eric’s furniture store, a barbershop. and apartments up three stories from the basement to the top. Part of the store had a metal roof. I helped my Dad repair it and my older brother and I painted apartments for Eric. One day he told the both of us that we should go into maintenance for our future work as he was in that field and thought we should be too.
One place was the state Fish and Game checking station. We’d push the gas lawn mower down to the gas staion next to the checking station, buy a tank of gas, mow the lawn, get more gas, push the mower home and mow at the house.
Dad encouraged us to get our own jobs. One year he got a job for us with a farming company that raised and sold onions nationwide.
I acquired two mowing jobs in my town. Both of those people had their own mower, so I didn’t need to use my dad’s mower. One was across the street from our house and the other 2 blocks to the west, it was on a hillside. Weekly I’d mow those lawns in the summers. With the money from those jobs and the onion job, I’d buy my school clothes each fall. The work with dad was for the family.
Most of the family jobs were in the big town to the east of us. That’s where we went to school from 7th grade on.
Later while still doing this kind of work, my father was doing yard work for a couple who owned the local radio station in the big town east of us.
I was helping. At around 13-14 years of age, my voice had changed from an angelic boy soprano to a bass. The lady thought my voice good and hired me then and there for an announcer at the radio station. Of course I had to train with her for two years after school and take a test for a radio telephone operator’s license when 16. I did and worked there for three years after school and summers, when not busy at other work. My Dad had gotten me the job.
In school I was in wood and metal shop and Agricultural sciences (even butchering was studied). When in my twenties, the state of Utah sent a survey to former students to see if any of the industrial-vocational courses in school had helped me acquire employment as an adult.
I responded that all the jobs I had had (fork lift operator, Janitor, electrician, working for a power company (as meter reader, line worker, power plant operator, inspector), warehouse man, concrete worker, carpenter, roofer, construction maintenance, radio announcer, acting, singing, office work, sales and more, had been because of the teachings received from my father and my mother. Not from the schooling.
But both of my parents insisted that we go to school, even college. They’d not had much formal schooling and felt we needed all we could get in order to have a successful working life to provide well for our families.
So I, my two brothers and my sister all went to college.
One of my father’s orchard’s was specifically planted as our “college fund orchard.”
I did study German in school which I use today.
One brother studied art and is a professional artist.
Our father remembered his adopted mother speaking German in the home but he never learned to. He was an artist though not professional like his older brother.
Our mother loved to read, so we learned to love reading too.
My parents taught me to work and I still do.
What my parents taught me has gotten me employment throughout my life.