MONEY TO BURN

by Shirley A. Ramaley
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It was 1962 and my husband and I and our two children at the time were headed to Florida from Washington State . He had his new master's degree and I had my national certification in the clinical laboratory profession.

The amazing part was the big salary Tom would receive when he arrived at Cape Canaveral a whopping $10,300 a year! What would we do with so much money?

We'd been students for years and hadn't saved a dime. Our first child came while we both attended the university. Our second child arrived not long after. During our marriage we'd always been broke, just getting by, even borrowing $500 from my father at one point. (He forgave the loan.)

But now we were set. After all, Tom would be making almost $1,000 a month! I was pregnant with our third child, but knew that someday I'd return to work and salaries in my field, for registered technologists with a college degree, were approaching $300 a month.

In our old station wagon we set out across the United States , visiting relatives along the way. We told a few about the salary Tom would be earning as a safety person for the shuttle program. They all thought that was wonderful.

"More money than I ever made," an uncle told me.

After arriving in Florida and renting an apartment, we looked around for a homebuilder. We could afford to buy our first house.

A builder was constructing homes on canals on Merritt Island . We put our money down for a four bedroom, large living room and rec room, two-car garage, on a huge lot, and on a canal. The price - $21,500. To us it seemed very expensive but we knew that was the going rate at the time.

We didn't have health insurance for our new baby, so we saved money for his birth. The cost of the obstetrician and bill for the hospital totaled about $500.

Of course, through the years our salaries increased, as did expenses. By the time we retired we made many times the amount we did in the 60's.

It seems like we had more money then though. I still haven't figured that one out.

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