I was reading a post recently on social media and one of my friends was bemoaning the fact that young people these days don’t have a good work ethic. He stated that his parents had sacrificed to keep a roof over his family’s head. I started thinking about my own parents and wondering if this was true. I don’t know that they sacrificed as much as they exercised financial prudence and had high family priorities. The younger generations seem to want a house nicer than the one they were raised in. It may have taken our parents or grandparents decades to have that kind of dwelling.
My father started Texhoma Office Supply at 106 East Main Street in 1947. He and my mother lived in the back part of the building for a few months, as there weren’t many decent rentals available at the time and they needed to save money. He started the business with $2,000 worth of office supplies and nine typewriters and adding machines. This was one of the few times in his life that he borrowed money. His payment, as per the lease purchase agreement, was to be $160 per month. The total purchase price was $16,000. Mabel Ruth Stong, the owner of the building, told him years later that she would have never sold him the building if she thought he would have been able to make the payments. He paid the building off early. I can't remember exactly in what order, but my father eventually acquired 102, 104, 110 and 114 East Main Street, as well. He saved his money and did not take out loans to buy the buildings.
My mother stayed at home and raised three ornery boys. Well, my brothers were little hellions, and I was angelic. Don’t ask my brothers, or anyone that grew up on Ash Street, to confirm that fact. After Mother got the youngest angel out of high school, a feat that she literally thanked God for, she worked at the store alongside my father.
My parents bought their first house in 1951 in the Northwest part of Ardmore. In 1976, they built a house in the Dornick Hills area. They could have afforded a nicer home several years earlier, but they showed restraint and saved their money. They moved into that new four-bedroom home, not owing a dime, and still kept their old home.
My parents did not “sacrifice” in the dictionary sense of the word, but they did something that most young people and a majority of the rest, cannot seem to do. They delayed instant gratification. They worked hard, saved money and didn’t buy things they couldn’t afford. We took up to two-week vacations in the summer even though this was among the office supply’s busiest time. The store did a large amount of business with schools. There was a huge list of supplies from all of the schools that they, along with other office supply stores, would bid on every summer. Typewriters had to be cleaned and maintained by the service department of the office supply while school was out. For you young folks, the typewriter was an ancient device used to put words in print prior to computers. I tell this to make a point. My father and mother put family before profits. I would like to think that they were more the norm rather than the exception for “The Greatest Generation”, as Tom Brokaw called them. These kinds of people are good role models for all of us.