Monday, March 06, 2006

A Cashless Society

There has been lots of talk about a cashless society. Well, that's nothing new. We had very little, if any, cash during the "roaring" twenties and depression thirties. We all survived, however, by sharing and using the barter system.

Whenever my mother baked bread, it was shared with the neighbors. The same went for sweetbread and malasadas.

My father was the working foreman for Dairymen's Feed Dept. on Sheridan Street. Although he didn't go beyond the sixth grade, he was quite intelligent in many ways. And one of these ways was to convert kerosene incubators into electrical ones.

He had many friends who brought their kerosene incubators to him for conversion. None of them ever paid him in cash for his work. I remember one afternoon when a huge, I mean huge, policeman came to our house carrying a large burlap bag. He gave the bag to my father and a few minutes later walked out with his converted incubator. As for the bag, it contained live spiny lobsters.

My father was also skilled in determining the sex of a chick on the day it was hatched. Cameron's Hatchery in the Wailupe area "hired" my father on many weekends to separate the chicks shortly after they hatched. He received the male chicks in lieu of pay. The hatchery needed the hens to lay eggs.

As a result we always had a hundred or so young roosters and about a dozen hens in our back yard. Once the young roosters reached the right weight he sold them as broilers or fryers. My job was to deliver the cleaned chickens to my father's customers. I loved that job because I was always given candy, fruit or other treats when I made the deliveries. Don't ask me how they paid my father. I never collected any money.

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