I do remember he was (as was my mother) a high-school dropout, although later they got their GEDs. At that time the GEDs were worthless (as a high school diploma is worthless today, along with many college degrees).
He spent his life as a general contractor, building four houses a year (it takes three months to build a house). My mother worked as the night admitting clerk in the local ER.
My father once told me, "I could have been rich but it wasn't worth it." I knew what he meant. Enough is as good as a feast, if you can be grateful.
Still, my family had a nice middle-class existence and I never missed the Porsche and the Lear jet because we never had them, so how can you miss what you never had? I had a bike and that was good enough. (At 14 I had a $50 minibike and as far I was concerned it was a jet airplane.)
I also remember my father telling me, "If I tried to do today what I did then, I couldn't do it."
That was not the only time I've been told that recently. That's how bad the economy is - and it's going to stay that way for a long time.
My parents had two children, me and my sister. My father's parents had nine - and my paternal grandfather dropped out of school in the 8th-grade and had a "career" of installing and finishing wooden-strip floors. I barely remember him doing it just one time, when I was about five. He had one of those big orbital sanders.
My father didn't work all that hard, because I worked for him starting at 12. Get up, go to breakfast, go to work, take a 15-minute break, work, take a half-four lunch, work, take a 15-minute break, work, go home, take a bath, then be just fine.
Being a carpenter is mostly a semi-skilled job, although being a contractor is of a much high skill set. But it's not college-degree stuff.
My parents (especially my father) ended up yoked to me and my sister for at least 18 years, until I went away to college and became semi-self-supporting. I paid for my share of an apartment, my used car, the insurance, my food, my phone, gasoline, etc. My parents paid my tuition, which at that time was about $300 a semester and was pretty much still that when I graduated in '83.
Then, in January, 1974, wages stopped going up, which means the best times, economically, in the U.S. were after the end of WWII and that January of '74. There are several reasons wages stopped going up. One, Nixon went off the old standard in '71, allowing the Federal Reserve to have its merry way with inflating the money supply at will Then the federal government got so big it permanently stalled the economy. And then there is the trillions dollars we've sent to our enemies in the Midwest for oil.
Things have gotten better technologically - so we've stomping on the brake and accelerator at the same time. The free market and technology are advancing our standard of living and our bloated government is retarding it.
As an example, first my family went from no AC to a window unit (and I slept on the living-room floor, which I didn't mind at all) to central air. I never had AC in my car until I was 30, because before then I always had subcompacts that only didn't have AC, they didn't have power steering or power brakes). And the TVs we had as kids...I'm only going to say we had rabbit ears on top of the TV and I was not only the rabbit ear adjuster, I was also the remote.
But economically it's a different story, contrary to the lies of the government.
Because of the collapse of wages, due to the importation of Third World morons, inflated money, exportation of jobs, crushing debt and crushing regulations, many people cannot afford children anymore. Unless they want to live in a rural trailer (which I don't think it a bad idea, but that's just me).
The economy has at least doubled since 1980 and if wages had continued to raise at the same level as the 1950s, the mean salary would be about $100,000 a year. I have not only figured this myself but professional economists have figured it, too. And it's always the same figure: about $100,000 a year.
Those are some of the reasons we're not a replacement rate. Children are just too damn expensive, due to our permanently-stalled economy.
There are other problems, too, such as the problems between men and women - created by the government and its "laws" interfering in those relationships. Some women, for an example, think that men are supposed to be attracted to fat women or career women. They're not and never will be.
Women got those ideas from propaganda, propaganda encouraged by the government and oftentimes enforced by law. Such as Affirmative Action, which "White Men Need Not Apply" (I have seen this happen several times with friends).
Men are getting it from all angles. Very few high-paying jobs exist unless you have an in-demand degree, career women who think you're supposed to be attracted to them, fat disgusting women who delude themselves they are attractive...and there are lots more problems.
Women are getting it from all angles, too. If they get a high-paying career job, men aren't good enough for them. If they get some nothing job, they end up getting some sort of transfer payments for their blobby Wal-Mart asses and their low-IQ kids. So men are supporting them whether they want to or not, through taxation.
The whole bizarre thing is right out of Idiocracy - people who have somewhat of a middle-class existence taxed half-to-death to support obese misshapen women, their skinny drug-addict husbands, and their passel of retarded kids.
This is not good and appears to be getting worse. Because we're not at replacement level, the government is importing low-IQ Third Worlders, who aren't going anywhere except to cut my grass. Their kids are going to cut my grass, too, when they're not filling the prisons.
I used to know some retired men who came of age in the '50s. They told me at that time they'd walk into certain businesses and get hired on the spot. These were working-class jobs, but right from the beginning the pay was high enough to easily support themselves. And they got raises fast.
These days, most of the people who work for minimum-wage are about 35 years old.
When I was in high school, and for a few years after I graduated, all the high school graduates went straight to the steel mill. I'd estimate the starting salary at about $25,000 a year - with a high school diploma. And after several years, about $50,000. And right before retiring, about $70,000.
Minimum-wage was for high school kids working at fast-food places.
One or my father's friend did get a college degree in the '50s. He ended up working for Sears back when it was Sears and not K-Mart. Raises every year, new cars, a house in the suburbs with a two-car garage.
Those days are now gone.
The U.S. is already breaking up because of these problems. The inner cities are so far no-go except for the violent and stupid, the rich are living in gated communities high in the hills, and what's left of the middle-class are fleeing to ethnically non-diverse small towns.
The country breaking up means possibly heading toward Third World status. And it's gotten to the point when you have some kids the family's standard of living collapses and you are still yoked to them for a few decades. No wonder so many men are opting out. Why should they have kids when they drain you economically? Not just a little bit, but a lot, to the point it's crushing?
These problems are overwhelmingly caused by government interference in the economy and the culture for the last 40 to 50 years. So if you want to reverse these problems, get rid of the government interference!
That, however, is not going to happen until the collapse is well on its way. It's going to take a miracle to stop what's coming. Personally, I think once we come out the other side things will be just fine.
But until that time, just about all you can do is prepare for it the best you can.