“I’ve gotten a full-time job. In fact, we all have.” Robert elatedly threw his cap onto the coat rack and turned around, smiling.
“What?” Margaret looked up, startled.
“Jackie! Come on down, son,” Robert called up the stairs.
The family assembled in the parlor.
“You know the movie house in Dearborn? The one on Michigan? The three of us are going to run it. Six days a week. Margaret, you can keep it clean and sell concessions. Jack, you can be the usher. The job comes with the uniform. And I will run the mechanicals. It also comes with free housing – an apartment over the bank next door.”
“But we’ve a home, Robert. Here.”
“I’m going to talk to Walker. We can rent it to him. The whole house. Extra money for us. If he doesn’t want to rent it, we can find another.”
“Did you already agree?”
“I did! We can earn twenty dollars a week, the three of us. Plus free housing and another twenty a month for this house… That’s at least one hundred dollars a month for us!” Robert was giddy with glee.
“You agreed? Did you see the apartment?”
“No, I didn’t. We can go tomorrow, though. I asked if we could take a look tomorrow.”
Margaret hung her head in resignation and turned to head into
the kitchen. “You’re the man of the house, Robert. If that’s what you’ve decided…”
As she crossed the threshold into the kitchen, she turned. “An apartment? No garden. No chickens. Food will cost a pretty penny more.” She retreated into the quiet of the kitchen.
“Jackie, you can have five dollars a week.”
“Six days a week? What about after school? What about sports? I want to try out for the wrestling team. I can’t do that if I’m working six days a week.”
“Earning a wage is more important that wrestling, Jack. You’ll understand that someday. You’ll be working with us, just like I worked with my da and brothers when I was your age.”
Jack glumly turned and headed back up to his attic room.
Robert headed into the kitchen. He walked up behind Margaret and wrapped his hands around her waist.
“Full-time work, Margaret. After all these years of struggling with day jobs. It’s my job to support my family, and here is our chance. I would have preferred just me, but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, shall we? Full-time work. For all of us.”
“No garden. No yard. No space.”
“Tell you what, Margaret. We will save our money. I will buy you a better home. As soon as we have enough money. This apartment won’t be forever. Jack is in high school now. He won’t be home with us much longer. It will be just you and me. You will have the home of your dreams in a few years. I promise you that.”
“We’ll see.” Margaret just kept cooking.
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