"I owned some orange groves in Florida that I hadn't paid too much for, wasn't much money in growin oranges. A couple fellas approached me on a partnership. They would build some houses on spec on my groves and we would split the money. Had a nasty freeze the year before so I didn't see much to lose."
"Cleared about twenty grand and thot it was pretty darned good, specially compared to orange juice. My wife and I always had this arrangement that whenever any money was made we would each get half, no matter how it was made ('cept for wages, which went into the house kitty), so I gave her her share and promptly went lookin for more property. "
"Pretty soon I put together a coupla three deals and made money on em all. Course Mama got her half each time and I didn't think too much about it. After a couple years the deals were gettin bigger and pretty soon I could see where I could be a *MILLIONAIRE*, if only I could convince her to go along with her share. Which she would never do. Jest kept takin her share."
The way he emphasized "MILLIONAIRE", you just knew it was important to him. Lotsa people like that about his age (about 60), always figured they had an especially rough time in the depression.
"Well, Ok. We bin married a long time and if that's the way it's goin be, so be it. I'll do er on my own. Couple o more years and I was gettin so close to bein a millionaire I could taste it. If only that woman would use some sense, we could make it easy. But oh no, not her. Now I'm startin to be consumed by bein a millionaire, had over a half million already in cash and mostly property. A few more good deals and I'll be there. That's when I got involved with some REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and some fellas with white shirts, banker and stockbroker types. I was really gettin up in the world."
"Guess you heard about Florida REITs a couple years ago." (This was around 1980). "They all went bust and took me with em. Every damn cent. Every damn acre."
"But not Mama. She had put every cent of her share over the years in Tbills and Bonds. And now you know what she DOES, she gives me an ALLOWANCE. Now don't get me wrong, I love my wife, but have you got any idea what it's like for a man my age (early 60's) to get an *allowance*. But that's alright tho, she don't know it but I been saltin a little away each week, and almost got enough to start buyin and sellin used boats. Got my eye onna little beauty in Shark River I can pick up for eight hundred bucks."
And he opened up his wallet to show some hundred dollar bills. Don't recall seein John much after that so I don't know how he made out. For a couple of years he sent some oranges to us from Florida in the winter.