Regularly on Flader's payroll, in addition to Calvin, are Elmer Boller, the bookkeeper, at $30 a week and Bob Moore the apprentice, at $15. Calvin, regularly earning $68 a week, makes $3,400 a year - which is $400 more than Flader paid himself as President of Fred Flader, Inc. Flader has no personal bank account. When he needs cash he writes a check on the company and charges it to his salary. He carries $35,000 of life insurance. He still owes something on the building, which belongs to him, not to the corporation. With three good years he thinks he could pay that off, retire, and live on the rents.
Then Calvin would take his master plumber's examination and run the business. Which would suit Calvin all right. He is thirty-two years old, a graduate of Evanston Township High School, and he has been working with plumbing tools ever since his hand was big enough to go around a wrench handle. He took technical courses at night at Northwestern University and Armour Institute of Technology, and served his apprenticeship in his father's shop. He is married and rents from his father the second of two houses next to the shop. He is serious about his work, approves of his father's plumbing mathods, wants to follow in his father's steps. He's still a journeyman, a working plumber in overalls, but on the frequent evenings when he and his wife go over for supper at his father's house, he looks like any young businessman in a striped blue suit.
The food is good and the eight room stucco and shingle house is comfortable - though it has only one bathroom, and Flader, who has installed so many shiny cabinet sinks in other kitchens, has never had time to modernize his own. At the table there is some discussion of a movie they all saw last week, and of the war, and of politics. Fred Flader, who listens to speeches on the radio and reads Life and the Reader's Digest as well as Domestic Engineering and Plumbing and Heating Business, keeps up with the news. "That Dewey - there's a man for you. He's a fighting cock. He's a free lance. If we had him in the White House things would be cleaned up in a hurry." Calvin says the depression will have to be over sometime, and in good times the d-t-u's (direct-to-you dealers) can't hold out against legitimate plumbing. Business will get better.
Fred Flader, sitting in an armchair by the radio, smoking a cigar, comfortable in his velvet smoking jacket, talks about retiring. It's not time yet; not till he gets this depression licked. He is gloomy when he thinks about the red ink on the ledger, and the seven contracts out of 150 submitted bids, and the d-t-u's. But at the same time he is tremendously pleased with his lifework. He can't think of anything he would change. He believes firmly that, by any logical standards, he has been a success. He is not at all ashamed to be proud of what he has done for himself and for his family - and for Plumbing."
Fred Flader lived for quite a while after this magazine article about him was published - he lived another 20+ years, dying on October 11, 1962 at the age of 80. Here is his Death Notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune of October 13, 1962:
NOTE: We are moving! (Not too far...)
When I started this blog I applied for the name "Under Every Tombstone," however it was not available at that time - nor was "Under Every Gravestone," so I just went with "Under Every Stone." I was recently informed that "Under Every Tombstone" has become available, so starting with our next article the address for this blog will be:
I will eventually move all the articles over to the new blog address, and put a link at the old address, but this is just a "heads-up" to let you know. Thanks to all of you for your continued support.