Our First Apartment

apartment

It was 1953, I was 27, and my wife, Gloria, and I moved into our first apartment.  The apartment was on a high third floor, had three-and-a-half rooms, cost $50 a month, and boy did it ever need work. First I steamed off all the heavy layers of old wall paper and then painted the walls in the kitchen a bright yellow to brighten up the place. Gloria pointed, and I painted. She was a talented pointer. I tiled the floors and the walls in the kitchen and bathroom.

When my in-laws visited for the first time they struggled to make it up the steep stairs. I told them on their next visit I would carry them up. They loved the apartment and what we had done.

Gloria decorated the front room in black and white. We stumbled across a 21” new Zenith black and white TV set that was encased in a cabinet with doors that were engraved with a Japanese motif. It was in ivory and black and was it ever impressive. The table lamps were all coordinated as was the furniture.

When we were ready to plug the lamp in, Gloria was devastated to find the cord was too short. She was ready to cry and I told her not to fret I would fix it. I knew very little about electric at the time, but how difficult could it be to extend a cord? I bought a few feet of the same colored wire and some electrical tape.

I cut the cord. Only one problem, I had forgotten to pull the plug out of the socket. There was a flash, and I burned up the scissors and the lights went off in our apartment. A few minutes passed while I sat there scratching my head pondering what to do next. We heard a knock on the door and the building janitor was standing there with a quizzical look on his face. I knew him quite well because I helped him out when he had thorny plumbing problems.

“Jerry, all the circuits have blown in the building and we are in complete darkness.”

“I figured there was a problem because I have no light also,” I responded with a look of complete innocence. “Your fuse is the worst on the circuit board, I figured you might know why.” ”Why ask me? I know nothing about electric. All I know how to do is plug something in and hope for the best.” I don’t think he believed me for a moment, but I was too embarrassed to tell him the truth. Three months later they raised our rent $25, and we ended up buying our first home. We were moving up in the world.

When the landlord brought the potential tenants up to see our apartment I could see the look of shock on the landlords face. It was a dump when we moved in but it was a doll house now. The potential renters had just walked through a few of the other apartments and had seen the sharp contrast. They stood there wide-eyed. The man whipped out his wallet and said…”WE’LL TAKE IT.” I looked at the landlord’s face, and I could see the wheels turning and I could smell the wood burning. I knew he was figuring how much he could raise the rent.

(image of apartment courtesy of sattva/ freedigitalphotos.net, image of lamp courtesy of FrameAngel/freedigitalphotos.net)

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, "What do I need that for?" But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, "Jerry's Corner."

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written ... enjoy!

Jerry Goldberg About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, "What do I need that for?" But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, "Jerry's Corner."

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written ... enjoy!

Smiles For All