Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 114 - House Hunting

Jennifer and Sean live in Ft Lauderdale. That’s where Sean went to High School, and Adair and Meleah are going to the same school. Although they are far away, I truly believe that they are right in the hand of God for this season. I have seen so many good things happen to the family since they have moved there. I know that God is working in their lives, and even though I know that there are tough days, I see His plan unfolding in their lives. I say this because if it wasn’t God, I would want them to move. Not because of anything that is going on with them, but because of the bad memories I have when we lived near there.

I had just gotten hired by Delta. We had a very nice little house in Montgomery AL. My training was in Atlanta for the first two months. I was able to live with my parents who lived only about 20 minutes from the airport. It was good for me. I was able to stay with them, save money and drive home to Montgomery on the weekends. Back then, all the major airlines paid slave wages for our first year. You were on “probation” and could be fired for anything. You didn’t dare complain. In reality, all of Delta’s first year pilots would have qualified for welfare and food stamps. I took a pay cut of over 25 % from the phone company to go with the airlines. My phone company wages were probably half what I had made my last year in the Air Force. We were poor. We still were maxed out on credit card debt from thee years of school and unemployment. But it was the big time, Delta, and I could see the pay increases coming, eventually. Well, when assignments came down, I was sent to Miami. We had a base there and we flew out of the Miami airport and the Ft Lauderdale airport. I really didn’t want to sell the house and move. I wanted Julia and the girls to stay in Montgomery, and I would commute down there. I knew that moving down there would not be good for the family. But Julia knew that me commuting down there would not be good for the family either. So she was having nothing to do with me commuting. I was too busy to go down and find us a place to live, so Julia and my Dad went to looking for a place for us to live. Delta said that it would be at least a year before I would be able to come to Atlanta, where we both wanted to live again.

So, while I was in school, Dad and Julia found us a place to live in Hollywood FL. It was between Ft Lauderdale and Miami. Like I said, I was working on slave wages. They did the best that they could with what we had to spend on rent. We signed a contract still having to sell the house and find the money to rent a truck. We were in a duplex. The owner was in the other side, and there was a door adjoining the two units. She had a key to that door, and we found out later that she wasn’t afraid to use it. As they signed the lease for one year, dad had a clause inserted. It stated that if we were transferred by Delta, then we could get out of our lease with no penalty. This was key, and I know that God arranged it. Anyway, we were able to sell the house in three days! Back then, I didn’t give God the glory He deserved, but it was definitely Him. We had a yard sale to sell all the stuff that we wouldn’t be able to get in the U-Haul truck and we moved to FL. Mom drove one of our cars, Julia drove the other and I drove the truck. When we got there I hired a homeless guy off the street to help me unload. I hated where we lived. I hated Hollywood, I hated Miami it was too hot and too humid. We were too poor to do anything or go anywhere. Julia got a job, but most of her salary went to pay for daycare for the girls.

She was a “customer service agent” at a bank. Back then all the banks were competing for customers by giving away toasters, blenders, any gift to have you place your account with them. Well this was south Florida. It was the king of the retirement community. No one had anything better to do than continue to transfer their accounts from bank to bank, getting gift after gift. It was Julia’s job to try to enforce the rules. Right! Here is a little southern girl trying to tell these people that they can’t get their second toaster this week. You can guess how well that went over. Every night she would come home crying. Day after day, it was all the same. Hot, humid raining, we had no friends and no money. At that time we had no hope. But we did have each other. We learned to hold on to each other and the girls, hoping for a change. That first year, whenever I would fly, I would try to eat as much as I could on the plane and then not eat during the layover. I got paid an extra dollar an hour while I was on the trip. This was supposed to cover my expenses. What it did wa give me extra money in my paycheck. So the less I spent on my trip, the more we had when I got paid. The good news was most of the captains knew what condition I was in, and I had many meals and drinks paid for by them. I returned the favor in later years.
God was looking after us. I’m not sure Julia would have survived for a year in Hollywood. After three months we were transferred back to Atlanta. Our landlord was furious. But she had to let us out of the lease. It was in the contract. She kept our deposit, which she shouldn’t have. We were so happy to be coming home we didn’t care. We were coming home to Atlanta!

I guess I was thinking about this because I am going to Norfolk VA tomorrow to help my daughter Lisa find a place. They are moving at the end of June. My prayer is that I can be as much help as my dad was to Julia. I know that He is going to answer it. So, tomorrow night I’ll be in Virginia.

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