The 1950’s and early 1960’s banks were local businesses who made money by providing services and loans to their customers. They were profitable, but all of their profits were realized from the banks assets and how they were managed. Checking accounts were charged simple fees and the majority of people kept good transaction records. If you were going to move a long distance or travel outside of your local area you required cash or certified cashier checks from your bank. Some areas used American Express travelers checks, but they weren’t readily accepted in many non metropolitan areas. It was common practice for a bank or business to verify your certified check before cashing them. My first ride down the Las Vegas Strip was a result of getting an out of state cashier check cashed. To get there we crossed over Hoover Dam.
Dad had not planned on going through Las Vegas on our trip from Tucson to Spokane. Dad’s cash was getting low and several businesses had declined to cash a cashier check. It was a week-end and they could not get verification on the check. A store manager in Kingman, AZ suggested Dad go north to Las Vegas where a casino could cash his check. The highway crossed Hoover Dam. If you have never stood on top of Hoover Dam, you can’t imagine the sheer magnificence of this concrete structure. It’s a privilege every American should experience in their lifetime. Las Vegas is another totally fabulous experience that is like no place else. The neon lights, casino’s, people, and atmosphere are fantastic. Our family had a wonderful adventure visiting Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. It took a couple stops, but Dad cashed his check. Off to Spokane.
Mom and Dad rented a house and enrolled us kids in school in northeast Spokane. Sharon and I walked two miles so we could save our public bus fare for other things. Dad was offered a job back in New York on the missile bases. Mom and Dad decided he would fly back to take the job. Mom and us kids would remain in Spokane until the end of the school year. It was mid March and we had missed several weeks of school.
I obtained my Washington Drivers License at fifteen in April. It was a full operators permit with no restrictions. When school was out we rented and packed a trailer, cleaned out the rental house, and I drove most of the way back to New York. I loved to drive, so the five day trip was a great adventure. The morning sun each day was wicked until about nine o’clock. We normally found a motel before dark. Mom did a fantastic job of making this trip across the country with five of us. I like to think we shared the burden with her. Dad and Mom rented a home in Merrill, NY as summer started and Dad worked steady.
Classroom hours were lacking in my sophomore year……………..there were no deficiencies in geography lessons or highway miles.