I am in middle age, yet I still fight nature to slow down the process. I just entered a new phase of my life.
|The entire Wyoming Valley is stuck in the 1930's.
|FDR is second from the left at the podium.
I was born and reared in the area around Wilkes-Barre. My hometown bears the names of John Wilkes and Isaac Barre, who
were two members of parliament. They favored the colonists in the Revolutionary War. I spent less of my life in that area,
and I have not been there since 1994.
Wilkes-Barre is a fine place to live, but someone as educated as I am will find
it an impossible place to make a decent living. Without any connections, I tried to get into politics the last time I was
there, but it led to nothing but temporary jobs. Meanwhile, all the relatives on my distaff side died off, and I brought my
mother to Philadelphia. I have only one cousin on my father's side still in the area, so I really have virtually no one left
alive to visit there.
My primary struggle is to find my place in the economy. I spent eleven years at Penn State,
five as an undergraduate (three of those at the Wilkes-Barre Campus in Lehman) and six as a graduate (eight total at University
Park). I seem to be in a rut of making a living, instead of making a life.
This cartoon, which appeared on Thursday, 1 May 1986, was much too close to reality for me. Nearly
two years after I'd received my MBA from Penn State, I was finally employed. I came all too close to living on the streets,
because I was "overqualified" for everything.
|This preacher pulled a Shilo on me, which is a
|vicious attack in unknown enemy territory (1862)
In a pathetic attempt to get professionals to come back, the chamber of commerce put out this pamphlet. Note how
they try to justify the cheap wages the employers pay. Who makes $50,000 there, anyway? This place is going to
have a severe labor shortage soon, as the number of entering workers continues to drop, and the economy recovers.
Nationwide, employers will want us boomers to stay around because we have few replacements. We have fled the area en
masse, so there will be few left to stay around! The employers dug their own hole by keeping down wages.
Now Wilkes-Barre has "right to work" laws, or better, "right to be exploited" laws. Unions are so weak now that
the councils can get away with favoring the rich, and driving down wages more and chasing more of us out of the area.
No wonder my high school (Bishop Hoban) has combined with the other three Catholic high schools in Luzerne County. Employers
are depopulating the area.