Quitting The Rat Race

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Frank Sanoica, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Supreme Member
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    @Don Alaska mentioned not having butchered a hog: that brought back memories of my own butchery, and the circumstances which led up to it.

    On 16 Dec 1982, my wife's birthday, I was laid off from my job as Project Engineer, R & D, with Penn Athletic Products Co. in Phoenix. The plant manufactures tennis balls. I had hired on in July, 1979. During my 3 years there my co-worker, Bruce, also having moved to PHX from Churubusco, Indiana, designed and built two major types of automated production machines which saved several million dollars in labor per year. Getting off track.

    It was Reagan Recession, pretty bad, could not find even a menial job, much less an Engineering position. We put our house up for sale; surprisingly, it sold within a month. We then packed everything up and moved to Northern Arizona, to try self-sufficiency on the 40 acres we had bought several years earlier, bought primarily (then) as an escape-place from the heat of PHX. We lived at first in an old school bus I had gotten in a trade for my Ford Mustang. Built a 16 X 40 foot frame cabin in which to live. It was there we bought our Elmira Cookstove, plenty of pinon pine and cedar trees there to provide our only source of energy for heat and cooking. We picked up an ages-old but top of the line Servel gas refrigerator, run on propane.

    Bought 6 chickens, laying hens, a Nubian milk goat, and several rabbits. The rabbits multiplied, and soon I tried firsthand the trick of killing, skinning, cutting up for table use, rabbits as I recalled watching my Dad do many years earlier, when my two rabbits were getting too old. My wife had been reading Rodale for several years, and was gung ho ready to try "getting out". Our income was meager, $450 per month from a "second" we carried for the buyer of our house in PHX. $178 of that went for a car payment, $200-something payment for the 40-acres, so little was left.

    We had no electric power (save for my gasoline-powered generator, used only to power my circular saw), no water source other than the Town of Show Low city park, 26 miles away. We drove in to town twice weekly for water, hauling it in 5-gallon plastic jugs, 8 of them at a time, 80 gallons a week kept us clean, watered the animals, and cooked food. Surprising what one can "get by" on.........when one MUST.

    Evenings, we had one light source, a Coleman gasoline lamp I ran on Propane. I feared the Radon gas so produced.....those tiny silk mantles were treated with Thorium Oxide, which decays radioactively producing Radon.

    Day before Thanksgiving, 1983, my younger nephew Mike showed up, having fled his apartment in Tempe, where he attended ASU, his visiting girlfriend (a bodybuilder), had gone run amuck. Thanksgiving Day, morning, it was snowing heavily (yes, in Arizona!), Mike & I went for a hike in the blizzard, my dog following along. We let the dog lead, assuming he could by instinct not get lost. Soon we realized he was leading us in a giant circle! When we returned to the cabin, my wife took a beautiful, perfectly roast turkey out of the Elmira's oven:

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    We basically had "retired", me at 41, she at 36. The following May, 1984, Penn offered my job back......foolishly, I accepted, and all those belongings were hauled back down the hill! Our year up at 6700 feet elevation in the cool (and cold!) woods, yielded some of those types of memories which embed for a lifetime! Thanks fer readin'! Frank
     
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