Work and Family

When I had the gas station in Edison, and Danny was a young boy, I used to take him on a tow job. And I don’t think my daughters or my wife was too happy about me taking Danny with me. And one particular night, we were coming up 27th with a car on top of the flatbed and the truck stopped. And I was right on 27th, in the middle of the road. And there’s Danny in the truck with me. And a man that worked for me, Bob Valiant, lived one block up. I picked Danny up and carried him up to Bob’s house. And I said, “Bob, take Danny to my house, please. Then go to the station, get the other tow truck and come and tow me in.” So he took my grandson, Danny, to the house and then came back and towed me in. 

Thereafter I never took another one of my grandchildren in any one of my tow trucks or had them at the service station because it was too dangerous. And also, I didn’t want my grandchildren to get interested in automotive because it was a hard life. Had I been smarter when I was a young man and not a boulder-head… My aunt, Estee, wanted to send me to college. And all I wanted to do was work on cars and run around with all the boys.

Sad state of affairs, because you have to work very hard if you want to give your family a good life. The only regret that I have is that I worked too many hours, too long hours, and didn’t spend enough time with my children and my grandchildren. Going back, when I first got married, I worked a lot of hours to make a good living so my family would have a good life.

I worked in Bigelow Motors. I would come home and I would go to work in the movies, five days a week. On the weekend, I used to go to a gas station in South Mountain Reservation and work there for two days. And then start back and work at my regular job in Bigelow Motors. And I did that for quite a while. Also when I had the gas station, I worked many, many hours to do for my family and I sort of regret it. I love my children. I love my grandchildren. They are the world to me. And the only regret is that I worked too long and too many hours. I did the best I could to give them a good life.

And here’s also a story, that my wife worked very hard to send my daughters to school. We decided that neither one of us went to college and we regretted that. We decided if our daughters had the ability, they were going to college, period. There was no excuse, that they were going. We took out loans for our daughters to go to school and we were paying off the loans.

And a funny story is, that Bonnie came to me one day. And at that time, the bank gave you a book. And the book would have tear-outs and you’d mail that in with your payment. And Bonnie came to me and said, “We don’t have any more coupons in the book. And I don’t want any late charges.” So I said, “Listen, call the bank. Go to the horse’s head, not the horse’s tail. I’m the horse’s tail. Don’t tell me, call the bank.” So she called the bank and said to the lady, “Listen, I don’t want any late charges. I don’t have any more coupons to send in for payments.” She said, “Mrs Kaplan, your loan is paid off. That’s why you don’t have any more coupons.” Bonnie came to me and said, “Guess what? We don’t have any more coupons because the loan is paid off. Do you think that I could spend my first paycheck on me?” I said, “Absolutely, dear. You spend that first paycheck on you because you deserve it.”

But we did all that we possibly can for our children. And we want our children to do the same for their children, and their children do the same for their children. Word to wisdom, is when you earn good money, always put a little money away on the side so that you have a backup. If anything goes wrong and times get hard that you have a backup. We were lucky that, when Shell made us close down, that we had a little backup and we were able to survive. And Bonnie had an annuity that I made her take out. When she was working, I suggested to her that, “You take out this annuity. I’m working and I’m making good money. You take the annuity out. And then when you retire, you can start to see it.”

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