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Friday, December 12, 2008

35,000 Jobs to be Cut from Bank of America, My Grandparent's Days..

The news yesterday was just stunning. I know lots of folks who work at Bank of America (Bofa) or whose husband's do. BOFA is big here in Charlotte, even the football stadium is named after that bank and uptown--the pricey part of town is all about the banking industry--which is the major industry of this state.

The south has been hit hard by things like globalization. Cotton was king here, but its not much now. Mills were here, and mostly are overseas now. Tobacco was here, but well you know how that is.

The huge number of pending layoffs is kind of dumbfounding. What happens then to so many folks? I'm thinking most of them probably have big mortgages, car loans, school loans. That many folks has to include many of the better jobs. Last year they laid off alot of lower staff, folks who clean offices and such like. Now looks like the cuts are going to go deep.

Bankers are people too. That always comes back to me, I know that folks are folks.

The bank isn't saying where they will cut jobs, how many in Charlotte-how many just from the merger with Merril. They've made no promises about any of the cuts--its a bit grim to think they aren't saying it won't effect Charlotte. Charlotte has about 15,000 Bofa employees.

I know there have been lots of layoffs from other banks and other companies.
I'm very grateful that Hubby's company is doing ok so far--they do have a hiring freeze but have not cut any jobs. Hubby is here on a loan from a different company--but they are both divisions of the same company. He's been promised the next permanent position in Charlotte and as far as we know we won't lose a job --but who really knows?

That was one of the things that spurred us to buying our house. We wanted something that we didn't have a mortgage on because we want to STAY in the Carolinas. We like the weather in particular as it is better for me physically and Hubby just enjoys it. We also like the inherent friendliness of Southerners. We figured if we own a home outright --we can stay here. Even if threatened with a job loss --we at least would have shelter and could then find a way to make ends meet. That was the plan. We thought if worse came to worse we could live partly off the land and even a job in bagging groceries or late night at a gas station would be enough to pay bills. That was one reason ownership and no mortgage meant so much to us. We figure its kind of a bonus that the house we eventually got turned out to be so big--if things get really bad, our kids could all move home--or maybe others? I have a brother out of work currently, and my sister is going to lose her job early next summer, my Mom also recently was forced to retire because she couldn't afford the expenses of being a realtor when houses aren't selling.

We've already had to move because of a job loss--more than once. In the years since our marriage in 81, we have relocated to get work several times Enough is enough. I guess that was our thought about getting a place we don't owe money on. Dunno if that is all it takes to find some stability in life--but I think it will give us a good shot at it.

Yesterday one of my friends told me her son would work to help us on the house if we like. He is out of work--due to a health problem. He lost his last job, and a string of not so good jobs mainly because of repeated surgeries to treat a chronic disease and then requiring he rest afterward.

He loves to go to a shooting range and target shoot. Hubby and our sons have done that too. He said he would work 8 hours for $22 for a box of bullets, or for a good meal. Good heavens! I wish I could pay the kid real wages. I know him, he's a great worker and a super nice kid--well--young man. I don't have the money to hire a crew but if I did--he'd sure be on it. Perhaps though we can at least help him out with a little spending cash in exchange for some help with the new house. That's kind of the arrangement we have with son #2 who wants us to help him with his car payment while he is in school --in exchange he says he will work 8 hour days on the house. He's another good kid/young man.

All this kind of reminds me of the stories from my grandparent's generation. My elderly great aunts and uncles used to tell me things about how life was for them in the depression. My Dad's Uncle Al for instance came to live with my Grandparents when he was out of work and my Grandpa got him on at a machine shop. He then met his wife, Aunt Dorothy. Al and Dorothy had a common ground--they were both twins.

They're all gone now, just like the polkas at weddings--none of those anymore either. Weddings are not at all what they were when I was young. When all the old folks were still around.


Well I have heard so many other stories..

Gramma's dad used to slaughter a goose or duck he had brought home and kept in the basement for holiday meals. She raised her younger siblings, most born to her dad's 2nd wife, except Al and Leo who were twins. Her mom died when she was 4--possibly giving birth to Al and Leo? I recall her being aghast that our family BOUGHT dog food, back when I was a kid. You PAY for dog food?? Dogs eat what the family throws out--period. That's all she could imagine a dog eating.

My other Gramma felt the same way. What buy food for animals? She came from a family of 11 children. She too helped raise the younger ones. My Gr. Aunt Lois lived with her, she was one of the youngest. My Grampa moved Gramma, and his kids and I presume Aunt L too, to Minnesota to work on that big bridge up in Duluth and Superior during hard times.

My Grandfolks were hard core frugal after raising families during the depression era. You would never have needed to tell them to recycle anything--they automatically re-used just about everything. Gramma M. never owned anything like tupperware, although I did beg her not to put her strawberry jam in re-cycled pickle jars. That's just not right. ;)

Well anyhow, so many stories.. Aunt Suzy used to leave the basement door open for the hoboes that came on the trains looking for work. She'd give them a place to sleep--she had cots in her basement and food. What was horrifying to me is that same woman many years later when she was in her 80s was robbed and attacked in her home in the same Milwaukee. The depression era hoboes were a better breed I guess than the thugs that roam the streets in more recent times.

Well.. things happen. I believe there is a driving force behind history--and its not just what we do or how--it is that unseen hand that steers. Some reason that I don't comprehend or need to understand is at the root of things. I am often pained to see the things that happen, but I find I bring myself to trust they are in God's hands and to just do what I must do in whatever circumstance comes and know that all things are for His purposes. That's what faith gives; accpetance, perseverance and hope.

Praying for the folks who are losing jobs, Hoping it won't be too many folks I know. Knowing that in some ways, good will come of it all, but in many ways it will just be hard. Life--it is what it is.

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