My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
A Journal (more or less)

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I decided to make that the "theme" for the next box--get as much possible relating to that topic and have it all together. Today I just got as far as donations, most in the form of charitable annuities. This is something where you give money to an agency (school, church, etc.) and they pay you the equivalent of a fairly high interest rate until you die. Then they can keep the annual earnings themselves. The rate is based on the donor's age and life expectancy tables.

Mona had no close relatives so this made a lot of sense. She had invested very conservatively in government bonds (for the most part) and as time went by she started making these annuity donations. She would make a donation of $10,000 and get about $700 income each year--paid out monthly. She had made a bunch of donations by the time she died, without affecting her income negatively.

She made several to the Tulane Library, and I was able to follow the history of the library as it grew to what it is today.

There was a library manual, with an introduction to the services, including an explanation of the Dewey Decimal system. And at that time only graduate students were allowed in the stacks--if you were an undergrad you made out a call slip and gave it to a staff member, who would then find the book for you.

When I was at Cornell in the mid-50s they had that system. When I returned to college in my late forties I was delighted to discover I had to find my own books. Not only did I find what I was looking for, but I also found related books which frequently turned out to be quite helpful.

And did you know that in the 1974 the minimum wage had recently been raised to $2 an hour? (I made $.65/hr in my first job in 1952. People over 18 made $.75/hr.) Of course, prices were in line with the lower wages, and there weren't as many "have-to-haves" then. My family didn't buy a TV till about 1953.

Today the house-eating machines were eating houses along the road to the old bridge. They have to be careful not to let the debris get into the waterway, so they are using barges. It's sort of hard to see just what they are doing when you are in home-bound traffic, but there were a lot of workmen doing it.

Out in the lake there were more barges, but these were for electrical work on the lines that cross the lake. They can't be reached from solid ground so they put the big bucket trucks on barges and work from there. When they installed high-tension lines in the swampland on the south shore back in the sixties, they set the poles with helicopters. And once (since we've been back) I saw a guy working on one of the lines--not from a barge but hanging from a helicopter.

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