Rubber and pea money and timing.....

by clif high March 7 2015 7:38am

Just before the previous 'great' Depression set in to the local Pacific North West area in the 1930's, my step grandfather, smelling the changes in the wind, invested his savings in a share of what was called a 'gold mine' in central Washington state . It was a mine, of a sort, having a hole in a hill in which the 5/five share-holder/miners lived in the Summer when on site, however all of the gold was being extracted by panning methods in the local stream as the mine was far too distant in very trecherous terrain for the owners to pack in heavy equipment. As he told his story, my grandfather did mention the occassional 'experiment' with this 'new technology (for them)' of locally produced dyno-mite. But in the end, the miners were successful in panning some serious (for the days) wealth out of the uninviting area and bitterly cold streams that cost my grandfather feeling in the ends of his hands for the rest of his life, but he always maintained it was a small cost to pay for what they all gained. My grandfather used his gold to prepare for the up-coming 'Bigger War' (his name for WW2).

He had gotten his start as a smart human just prior to World War 1. He had his suspicions about what was coming, and as a young man, and to his family's horror, he put all his meager savings into buying tires. Yes, rubber tires. Mainly tires for Model A and T Ford cars, but near the end he was packing in even bicycle tires up to the rafters in his small garage/shed on his property. As he had anticipated, when the Bankers War (WW1) erupted, rubber became a scarce commodity, especially in the less populated, and less industrialized parts of North America, one of which definitely was the Pacific North West of that day.

So step-grandpa made back his 'rubber money' and more. He once admitted to having made more than 100/one hundred times his investment on some of the tires in his garage as they were sold over the course of the war years. He also was quite candid in that yes, he was a 'war profiteer', but then so was Rockefeller and Morgan, so why not he?

Grandfathers' story continues through World War 2, which he also knew was coming. In that bit of foresight, he sold his PNW house, including the now empty garage, took all the new gold, the last of his old 'rubber money', and his family down to California where he bought a defunct cannery.

Yes, it was one of the lesser famous canneries from the iconic 'Cannery Row' area. He knew that this Bigger War was going to involve many more men, and reasoning that the Goobermint was going to need someone to sell them foods to feed "all them poor son's o'bastards", so why not him? He set about raising money, and working hard until the old cannery was whipped into shape. Throughout the war he steadily canned peas and carrots and corn and fish and sold it to the goobermint as fast as they could generate steam for the giant autoclave and as fast as the goobermint checks could be cashed.

In a long fishing conversation near Catalina Island years later, step grandfather related that the key to success is indeed timing, but he also noted that he had but 1/one observation in life, and 1/one rule for success: when "men get together and 'think' as a group, calling themselves government, nature makes them all stupid as fuck; and one can not over-estimate the stupidity of goobermint which makes Pea money easier than either Rubber money or panning gold.

However, he also admitted to being far more satisfied with 'muddy gold' in his numb fingers, than a 'dirty goobermint check'.....