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HR’s Big Box

HR’s Big Adventure

The Transformation

Saturday, 15 February 2014 at 10:54:12 UTC

The single family housing in our town is undergoing a transformation. I sometimes wonder if this transformation is another sign of the changing makeup of what we view as the middle class here in the United States.

The original single family housing in our town dates from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The vast majority of this housing consists of ranch-style tract housing. Each has a little over 1000 square feet of living space. In 1957, these houses sold for about 18 thousand dollars.

This is around 152 thousand in today’s dollars. Many of these houses now sell as “tear-down/rebuilds.” Developers buy them, tear them down and build new homes on the property. The new houses usually contain 4000 or more square feet of living space. The typical asking price for these new homes is over 1.0 million dollars. The latest of these new homes in our neighborhood sold for a little over 1.2 million dollars. This is about 142 thousand in 1957 dollars.

The following pictures show the difference in size between the original and new houses. The picture on the left shows a completed new house to the left of a late 1950s vintage house. The picture on the right shows the same house with a new house under construction to it’s right. Click/point on the pictures to enlarge the photos.

This table shows a comparison of an original versus new house.

What’s the moral of this story? In 1957, people who could afford an 18 thousand dollar mortgage bought homes in the town. In 1957, 142 thousand dollars was equal to the 1.0 million dollar cost of today’s new homes. A large majority of these people could not afford to buy a house here back then if the price of a new home in 1957 dollars was equal to the price of a new home in today’s dollars.


Groundhog Day 2014

Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 09:13:24 UTC

groundhog-day-more-winter-black-white-thumbPunxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, so we can look forward to six more weeks of winter.  Or can we?

Potomac Phil, his “stuffy” counterpart here in the DC Metropolitan Area, also predicted six more weeks of winter, which is quite a feat since he’s been gone from this mortal coil for a number of years now. Potomac Phil, who fancies himself as an “inside-the beltway” know-it-all, also had this not so surprising comment.

Groundhog image courtesy of MyCuteGraphics.com. It is subject to the usage terms and conditions cited therein.

What’s in a Name?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 at 16:42:17 UTC

My parents were part of the Greatest Generation.  In our family just about everyone of that  generation in my Dad’s family had a nickname. While nicknames are still around, they are nowhere near as common as they seemed to be for folks of that generation.

My Dad’s name was Harry and his nickname was “Boots.”  I have no idea why and I was not smart enough to ask him while he was still with us.  I never heard anybody call him anything but Boots, other than my Grandfather.  My Dad had two brothers, Lionel and Joseph, whose  nicknames were “Duck” and “Piggy,” respectively.  Again I have not a clue of their origins.  When I was a kid, everybody except my Grandfather called them by their nicknames.  To him they were always Harry Bruce, Lionel and Joe Henry.

My dad had four sisters: Loretta, Margaret, Olive and Joan.  Aunt Loretta’s nickname was “Sis.”  Aunt Margaret was known as “Marg,”  Aunt Olive was called “Ollie” and Aunt Joan was known as “Jo Ann.”

Loretta never married. I don’t think Aunt Margaret’s husband John had a nickname, but his son John, Jr. was called “Junior” well into his high school years by all in the family.  Aunt Ollie’s husband Francis, who everybody called “Frank,” was the only person I can remember that always called her by her given name Olive Marie, or most of the time, Marie.  Uncle Frank was from southern Maryland.  He called the men “Hoss” as in “Hey Hoss, how you doing?” I don’t recall  Aunt Joan’s husband Ralph having a nickname.

My Mother’s name was Mildred and her nickname was “Medee.”  as in “Me Dee.”  Again, everybody called her by her nickname, including my Dad.  And as for me, my name was Harry Bruce Jr., but everybody in the family called me by my middle name as did friends, schoolmates, teachers, and whatever.

I had to own up to my first name of Harry when I joined the US Air Force.  It was just much less confusing to everyone to be known as Harry.  Most of my adult life I’ve been Harry or “HarryB” to the outside world, but I’m still “Bruce” as far as the family is concerned.

Bionic Birthday

Thursday, 7 November 2013 at 00:01:56 UTC

 Happy Birthday to my bionic right hip.  It’s one year old today.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013 at 07:16:48 UTC

911memorialTwelve years, two wars and billions of “borrowed” dollars gone down the rabbit hole…Al Queda, Iraq, Afganistan, Lybia, Arab Spring, NSA, Syria….  The more things change, the more they stay the same.