The Power Couple
I have written a few times about how my dad was in the army. The majority of the years he spent in the service were over before I was born, so I didn’t get to move as much as my other five siblings. I did love hearing about the red Georgia clay and the bitter snows in Albuquerque. My dad finished his military run in San Francisco on one of the prettiest pieces of land in the world: the Presidio. We lived there until 1968. This was the only way my father could afford Medical School.
My parents were very pragmatic. They both entered into a marriage with absolutely no money. My mom’s father was a field worker and made a minimal $1.00 per day; this is how my mom learned her financial savviness. My dad lost his father at the tender age of 9, and from that point on, he was the man of the house. Together, my mom and dad were a power couple.
I can guarantee their complaining was minimal and they never spent a second feeling sorry for themselves. They didn’t let anything stop them. He made it through college, graduating at the top of his class. He then went to medical school where he worked two full-time jobs. One was the night shift at a factory. His job ran in 15 minute cycles; the first 7 minutes were spent nickel plating, the remaining 8 minutes were spent studying. His hard work paid off when he graduated from Loma Linda’s School of Medicine - again at the top of his class. Not even six years later, my parents had adopted six children. We were different races, ages, and all had different reasons for being placed in the arms of another.
Regardless, my parents took us in and they raised us. Our family lived paycheck to paycheck, not a dime’s miscalculation was allowed. This was made possible by my mom’s amazing ability to adapt. She made our clothes by hand and there wasn’t such a thing as eating out. We went on picnics and visited every free venue that the current city had to offer. My parents did this for us every single weekend. There was never a moment where I felt poor, not even once.
My mom and dad also managed to pull off the occasional road trip. Big road trips spanning from coast to coast. We were always packed in a station wagon, and most years, we were pulling some form of a trailer. While we ate cereal for breakfast, my mom would be mapping what town we would stop at for lunch and where the closest park was. When we landed, the Hunt kids rolled out of the wagon like water breaking through a damn. The momentum was stunningly strong and my place in the pile was very important.
As my mom cooked lunch, my dad’s job was to control his mother who traveled with us frequently. My mom and grandmother hated one another, but it was always entertaining to watch. His second job was to get all six of us involved in an organized games. We played tree tag, had wheel-barrel races, and my personal favorite, Lawn Darts. Do any of you remember that game? There were six large metal darts and two circles. Two teams stood in each circle and would take turns throwing spears at the opposing side. The Hunt’s took their games seriously. You cannot believe how agile our family was.
As one could imagine, there were several puncture wounds and even a stitch or two. Thank God our dad was a doctor. After our brushes with death and a hardy meal, we were back on the road. There weren’t any complaints or even noise for that matter - we were happy.
I am not convinced that “instant gratification” is always such a great thing. Doesn’t life go by too quickly as it is? Why do we need to make everything go faster? It isn’t easy, but look what a good plan and determination can yield. Just leave the Lawn Darts in the attic.
I never knew we were impoverished. I was happy and my mom was indeed a very brave woman. My parents really did a fantastic job. Thank you mom and dad! Just in case I never said it before, everything you did meant the world to me. All my love...
Thank you for reading today. We’ll talk again tomorrow. I’ll bring the coffee. -Ruth