I was born in Fargo, North Dakota in 1940, not long after the Great Depression. Times were tough, the family farm was lost. My Dad and his father worked a small truck farm on rented land.
Here we are on the farm, four generations of Joneses.
It was clear, North Dakota held little promise for the future. But my Uncle in California wrote, “There are good paying jobs here in the shipyards.” So, in 1941 we were on our way to Long Beach, CA. Dad worked as a welder and pipefitter building Liberty ships.
In 1946, we moved to Citrus Heights (near Sacramento, CA) and bought 7 acres to start a chicken farm.
Here is our home, built by Mom and Dad.
First, we grew fryers, which Dad sold house to house. After several years, we switched to layers. But neither was very successful. My dad took several outside jobs to supplement our income.
In addition to farm chores, I took on a newspaper route -- to help out, and make some spending money. I was proud to say, “From the 8th grade on, I bought all my clothes.” I enjoyed work and always held jobs after school and during summers.
During my “formative years”, economic insecurity was a frequent worry. My dad was laid off several times. Later, my mom went to work for the State of California in order to secure health insurance and a retirement pension for the two of them.
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