A couple of months ago my wife, Lauralyn, read an article in the Wisconsin State Journal asking for a family to volunteer for “We The People Wisconsin Economic Project”. They were looking for a family willing to talk about how the present economy has affected them. I know my wife mentioned it to all of us in the house and I for one said sure because my wife never does things like this and I didn’t really expect her to follow through on it. After I found out that she really did send a letter I almost hoped that we would not be picked. To my surprise we did get picked and the TV affiliate in Madison chose us for monthly recorded interviews with me, Lauralyn, our son David and daughter-in-law Odessa. There will be another family from the Green Bay area and one from the LaCrosse area doing the same thing with another reporter. We will have one interview per month from now until November and perhaps a live discussion on TV before the election with all three families present.
I wasn’t sure if we were really an average family, but we sure were a family that had experienced many things from the economy over the last couple of years. As most of my readers already know we did the three generational family thing mostly out of love of family and wanting to do this rather than having to do this. We had talked about this for a couple of years and saw our son and daughter-in-law being able to help us with things around the house as we got older, keep an eye on our aging process and we thought we could give them a better living arrangement than they had. We also enjoyed the long weekends that we have spent with them at our house over the last seven years. Our two families seemed to mesh very well. We looked at this as being an opportunity to see more of our grandson as he grew up and enjoy the company of our kids.
I thought back to my first home. When I was born in 1947 my parents and I and my mother’s sister and her husband all lived in a Milwaukee bungalow that my Grandpa had built. As I researched multi generational families I found out that in the 1940’s about 32% of the population lived in multi generational homes and that in 2008 that figure was up to 49%. I have a feeling that it is even higher today as I talk with friends my age. They all agreed that this situation was in part due to the economy which is much different than it was when we were their ages.
Yesterday morning a political reporter interviewed us as their video photographer recorded the event as we sat around our kitchen table. The first interview turned out to be mainly questions about who we were and how we got to this point in our lives. I plan to keep the reporters name out of my blog, but I have to let you know that she and her camera man made us feel very comfortable in a situation that might have been very stressful. After the first interview I am glad that my wife answered the call for an average family and feel that there are people out there in Wisconsin and the world that are experiencing the same things that we are and are being affected by the economy in the same way that we are.
Our whole family agrees that the average person is not being heard and that this will help us with our frustrations that government is no longer concerned with what is best for all of the people they are working for, not just the ones in their particular party. Hopefully this experience will not only be beneficial for us, but also for all those that follow our story. I’ve always looked at my life as a journey and not a destination and consider this as just another part of that journey. Life continues to be good and will only get better.
Special thanks to Tom, an old friend, who encouraged us to go through with this.