So Dad didn’t finish art school, and never did become a commercial artist. But Mom
always finished what she started, and then some. She had started out as a shipping clerk when she first started working for North American Aviation. She only took off work for a
few years when we were little, at my dad’s request. But Dad just couldn’t cut it as a
full-time breadwinner. He had an asphalt paving business the whole time we were
growing up, but when he was drinking he wasn’t working, so his company never
amounted to much in those days.
So Mom got her job back and went back to work with a vengeance. She made sure the
mortgage was paid, the kids had food, and the lights stayed on. She was smart, focused,
and a great worker, so she was promoted to secretary and then administrative assistant to a team of engineers. She worked at North American and a few other incarnations of the
same company—thirty-four years in total.
Meanwhile Dad was working just enough to go out and drink. My dad made money and
lost it all over the years of his rocky life, but Mom left her job with a great pension and
Social Security to carry her through the rest of her years.