“A Home of My Own”


After college, I returned to Portland, Oregon and got a job working for a travel agency. This job had nothing to do with my English major, but in the 1969 Portland job market I was expected to do female work, basically typing. I could not get my error-free word per minute rate high enough to qualify for most jobs. A father of an old school friend hired me to book Trailways bus tours.

I earned $65 a week and a friend at work told me about her neighborhood’s affordable places. I was able to rent the entire first floor of this house for $90 a month including utilities except for heating oil. I bought some used furniture from a store on the corner and was set. My upstairs neighbor was very nice, but I suspect she earned her money “on her own,” since she went out in the evening dressed to the nines and had no day job.

The house had an old wringer washer in “my” basement and a clothesline in the back. I had a big kitchen and was able to keep cooking my “Italian” meals for friends.  I enjoyed my independent life with a neighborhood tavern around the corner, a grocery store near by and my own home. Finally I really felt grown up.

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