A gentleman named John W. Whitehead writes a holiday-related tome about adjusting to hard times. The intro represents a portrait of a large number of folks who came to Cat in the post World War II era:
When my dad returned to Pulaski, Tenn., after serving in World War II, he couldn’t find a decent-paying job. My birth barely a year later only reinforced what my parents already knew-they had no choice but to leave their home and family and this small southern town behind.
Factory towns were booming in the north. So, like hundreds of other desperate families, my parents packed their meager belongings and we moved to Peoria, Ill., where my dad got a factory job at Caterpillar Tractor Company.
That’s how Grandpa Charlie ended up in Peoria, too. He owned a farm in southeast Missouri but saw better prospects of feeding his family of seven in the factories around P-town.
The rest of the piece is has a “Christmas Story” vibe, leavened by reminders that large swaths of the United States are not sharing in the prosperity typically experienced by those who’ve worked for Cat.
Grandpa Charlie once told me he worked with a guy who was amazed at the idea that a working man could make $100 a week. You think those were the good old days?