January 7, 1934
This past week marks the creation and installation of the 1934 family budget, a major operation ordeal that has haunted me for months. Ever since the break-up of the Engineering Department last June we have amputated this and that, but no planning was possible because of sickness and the uncertainties of NRA. The latter still exists, but I am betting on no further reductions in pay; so took the bull by the horns and planned 1934 on the basis of the standard of living which established itself in recent months. This delightful pastime showed a prospective deficit for 1934 of about $450, on the basis of $1300 income. So the axe fell hard; and the car goes in storage; and the big insurance is to borrow from itself to pay premiums until further notice; and the rent is to come down somehow in the Spring; and clothing must go a little farther; and no furniture is to be purchased. And the picture is balanced, if I land the night school job. Another possibility is to try for some tutoring of some of the local well-to-do whipper-snappers along in the Spring. A bright idea of individual envelopes for all cash items blew up when the very first expenditure required change, and we didn't have it. So we have to rely on a book supervision of budget over-runs, requiring a positive reduction in the current estimate of some other item in the event of a given item's downfall. So we are not in debt, and don't intend to, if human planning can do it.
Dick gets a whale of a kick out of spending his dollar from Great-grandpa; upon his own instigation he treated the whole family to a delightful Will Rogers movie on New Year's Day; and has subsequently made trips down town to get a 5 cent car one day, and 4 cents worth of rubber-band ammunition for his gun; not to mention his delight in lending me a dime for budget paper, and reminding me a dozen times a day until paid back. He was delighted with the silver change from the movies: so much more substantial than a mere paper dollar. And Jack nurses his fortune, and has planned to save 50 cents, and spend the other half after cautious cogitation of all pros and cons. I could write a book on the interesting and diverse development of the two lads; but it is such a swiftly moving show that the fascination of parenthood is most difficult to record, unless one could devote full time to catching it on the wing.
Attended Social Club party last night and came home with first prize: a bottle of catsup. Robert bade his adieus and carry-ons in good style, and George countered in excellent form with appreciation for unifying abilities of the retiring padre. I enjoy these gossipy, homely and sometimes catty gatherings one in a while, as an escape from "onerous mundane ado".
Jimmy L. turned up today to compare notes. His philosophy of life is gradually growing to include some of the reverses; but the pain of this growth is still prominent in all his remarks. A likable chap of fairly large possibilities; and the depression will probably benefit him in the long run.
Got my first close-up of George D. when applying for the teaching job. Rather agreeably surprized: none of the blustering sense of inferiority I anticipated. A good deal of the showman, but very approachable, and a good listener. The interview developed into an exchange of views, featuring the change of policy accompanying the sale of MRP in 1925. He echoed the general impression in Keokuk that alas the good old days are no more. He expressed the opinion that a policy of discipline based exclusively on fear of losing a job, is not only unjustifiable in a social sense, but that it is poor economics. The old idea that an enthusiastic employee produces more than he earns, and vice versa. Time proves these things, and the only question is - when?
My teaching prospects depend on the outcome of a Board meeting tomorrow night, at which the fate of the night school will be decided. Night school is a great gamble: there is no predicting the number of students for a given course. On the other hand, the increasing local interest in adult education as an antidote to generally increased leisure hours, is apt to gain support for the idea. Prior to my interview, a course in Electricity was out of the picture this year owing to AKH's withdrawal. The Ames State College Extension appropriation is reduced, and only Garth's Industrial Chemistry was scheduled for support from this source. His nibbs will revive interest, if possible, for support for my Fundamental Electricity. He made a grand suggestion to include Slide Rule instruction as additional bait. This should supplement the other most satisfactorily for the solution of problems. As a last resort, the course could be offered as self-sustaining, on the $4 basis (instead of $1); and let the decision rest entirely on the success or non-success of obtaining the required quota of 15 students. I doubt the succcess of this plan, because of past consecutive four years at $1. However, a fundamental course plus slide rule may draw on a new clientele, and who knows whether or not a higher fee may lead to an impression of greater value. That would be ironical (I was suggested to teach the course originally, and withdrew to a position of offered cooperation, as a supposed graceful acknowledgement of seniority; and was ignored); but don't count chickens.
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