Friday, December 11, 2015

Living Alone

I’ve remained in the house at 819 E. 5th St. The following Spring I had an unexpected flood in the basement. Our lot was a low, filled-in one, with a concrete culvert going partly underneath the house. A large discarded oil-drum had lodged in it so the water backed up into my basement. Then, the same summer – Aug. 20 was a very heavy rainstorm in Duluth and surroundings, so again my basement was heavily flooded causing damage to the furnace and water heaters, which had to be repaired. No sooner was that done, another storm exactly one month later Sept. 20, ’72 – flooded my basement again and also all the low spots of Duluth – doing complete destruction to avenues, etc. The “Small Business Bureau” paid me $1000 for a new furnace, etc. But, I was afraid there may have been serious damage to the foundation of the house and also the basement floor. It was just too much for me and I began seriously to think of moving. Fortunately, Mrs. Bess Lester, who had rented our downstairs apartment for many years, was very willing to buy the house, fully knowing all about its drawbacks, etc. At a very reasonable cost, of course. I wanted out, so badly, I did not care – just so I got out from under the burden of caring for an old, very old house.

Labor had become very costly. So in the Fall of 1973, I sold the house and applied for an apartment in the Gateway Towers, which was under construction at the site of the old Soo Line Depot – 600 W. Superior St. I paid rent for my own apartment until on Feb. 11, 1974 I moved. Here, where I have lived ever since.

This is a 14-story “High-Rise” built especially for Seniors. The apartments consist of a living room, bedroom, kitchen and both. All utilities are included in the rent. The tenants are pre-dominantly a few couples and widowers. The heat is supplied by the Duluth Steam Corporation. It is comfortable living and quite care-free. As long as one is reasonably well and can care for one’s self. This building is not completely government subsidized, somehow, there are 3 churches connected with it which I do not quite understand. As a result, the rents have been raised almost every year, regardless of one’s income. At first, my rent was $106 per month, then $116, $126, $136, and now $152. Inflation is climbing at a terrific rate.

About 1938 – the Social Security Programs was begun, with which the seniors are now living on, and enjoying. In years gone by, the old parents were cared for by their children, if possible, or had to go to “Poor Farms” as they were called at that time, when their own savings were gone. I do not begin to understand the workings of the government, which has become too large and unwieldy to manage properly. Human greed enters into the picture always and tends to ruin good things. At this time I feel that a “balloon has been blown up too big and has to burst.” Time will tell.

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